"Dubosarsky occupies a unique place in Australian literature. Her works cannot be 'classified' - but neither could Jane Gardam's 'A Long Way from Verona', EB White's 'Charlotte's Web", Antoine de Saint-Exupery's 'The Little Prince'... Their appeal is universal; they are timeless and ageless. All great children's classics have these qualities. And her books, let' s make no mistake about this, are classics. " Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright
"The most graceful, most original writer for young people in Australia - probably the world." Sonya Hartnett
It has just been announced that Ursula has been nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
This award is "the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children's books. Given every other year by IBBY, the Hans Christian Andersen Awards recognize lifelong achievement and are given to an author and an illustrator whose complete works have made an important, lasting contribution to children's literature." The award winner will be announced at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in 2016.
Ursula will be reading from her novel, "Abyssinia", at the Sydney Living Museums Toy Festival at Rouse Hill.
The novel won the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature, and is a ghost story based on the childhood writings of Kathleen and Nina Rouse, especially about their many dolls.
Click here to listen to a short excerpt from the Bolinda audio book, and here for Penguin teachers' notes, and here for background information and resources.
From Sydney Living Museums: "Kathleen had a particular interest in doll play, often staging grand pageants, weddings and funerals in the nursery at Rouse Hill and re-writing popular Victorian melodramatic novels to record the social life of her dolls. She even published these in a house journal called the Rouse Hill Gazette. This doll has led a vigorous, and slightly mysterious life."
A recent interview for the Berlin International Literature Festival
Ursula also has a story, "Little Wars", in the new anthology from Walker Books UK, "The Great War" . This book has been longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal and is a Junior Library Guild Selection for 2015.
Ursula will be reading aloud from both these titles on Anzac Day, at the Liverpool Anzac Centenary Commemoration Event.
Here are some comprehensive online teaching resources on The Red Shoe with particular reference to the Australian Curriculum and the NSW Syllabus, including an essay by Professor Clare Bradford: "Cold War Bricolage: Ursula Dubosarsky's The Red Shoe"
These resources have been developed by the Copyright Agency's Reading Australia program, designed to make significant Australian literary works more readily available for teaching in schools and universities, chosen to give a view of Australia's rich cultural identity: works that would tell Australia's history and also how we are currently developing as a nation.
For Kate de Goldi's essay on "The Red Shoe" for the Library for Young Europeans click here. For other critical responses to "The Red Shoe" click here. For student and teaching resources click here.
Ursula and illustrator Sue de Gennaro together created a specially commissioned story "Reindeer's Christmas Surprise" for the much loved David Jones Christmas Window display in the the Elizabeth Street store in Sydney. The book and accompanying toy reindeers (see pic below) were available in David Jones stores all over Australia.
Ursula has been nominated for the 2015 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world's largest children's literature award administered by the Swedish Arts Council.
Do you love puzzles? mystery stories? and... guinea pigs? Join the world's greatest guinea pig detectives, Coco and Alberta, as they track down mysteries in the big city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in this series of six books, The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno and Alberta, illustrated by Terry Denton. Click here and here for some Coco and Alberta puzzling activity sheets, and here for teachers' reviews and classroom ideas.
NEVER TOO MANY ELEPHANTS ...
AND a rollicking stage version of the book was performed the same week at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney!
"The Golden Day" is an IBBY International Board on Books for Young People Honour Book, listed on Publishers' Weekly's Best Children's Books and is one of the Wall Street Journal's Top Ten Children's Books of 2013. It was published in Germany by Ueberreuter as "Nicht jetz, niemals" and awarded a Lynx prize; and published in the UK by Walker Books. See also thegoldenday.info
A rare jewel. Restrained, poetic literature for adolescents and adults…a small masterpiece.
A cryptic work. A beautiful book.
"Dubosarsky’s spare prose explores the space between innocence and adulthood. Shaped by the girls’ growing awareness of the world, her scenes are uneasy dreamscapes. Questions about responsibility, violence, sex, fear and death bloom beneath their placid surface. Unanswerable, they linger past the end of this slender but powerful volume."
"Atmospheric, chilling and haunting"
Booklist *Starred review
"In a stunning feat of perspective, Dubosarsky inhabits all 11 girls at once, snaking through a thousand small joys and triumphs and fears and petty grudges as they absorb life’s bleakest truths as well their own complicity in them... a masterful look at children’s numb surprise to the most unsavory of adult developments. "
(US) Publishers Weekly *Starred review
"Dubosarsky subtly shows the impact of the tragedy through fragments of conversations, observations, and memories, while expertly sketching a cast of vulnerable, inquisitive children and ridiculous authority figures. Laced with humor amid a steady feeling of dread, the atmospheric narrative chillingly evokes lurking forces capable of tarnishing even the most golden and innocent of days ..."
"Few sentences, when spoken by an adult to a child, possess the sinister ambiguity of: “It will be our little secret.” It is the language of the liar, the creep and the pedophile—a confiding technique that exploits a child’s loyalty to keep quiet something that should probably be spoken aloud. In Ursula Dubosarsky’s chilling, elegant, atmospheric novel “The Golden Day” (Candlewick, 149 pages, $15.99), it is what a fourth-grade teacher in an Australian girls’ school says to her class of obedient pupils. Its effect, especially the “thin, strong bond of shame” it creates, will last through the girls’ childhoods and change the contours of their lives.
The time is 1967, and the teacher is Miss Renshaw, a springy-haired freethinker who begins taking her uniformed charges out of school and into Sydney’s botanical gardens to release their inner spirits... Ms. Dubosarsky deftly conveys the confusion of childhood, the strangeness of things half-glimpsed and only partly understood. With quiet brilliance she evokes the distinct personalities of the classmates who, in a haunting final section, we see again in 1975 as they are finishing their final exams. “The Golden Day” is the sort of book that churns something up deep inside the reader; it will be as hard for an adult to forget as the young people ages 12 and older for whom it is intended."
"The girls’ communal silence in the face of increasingly desperate adults is bewitching. Dubosarsky...makes the simplest observations both poetic and terrifying. If you’re wanting for quality literature in your life, read this now."
"When the headmistress, the priest, the school psychologist and even the police come to question the girls, they silence themselves; eleven petals of a flower close in tight around the bud. They will not rat out each other or their beloved teacher. With haunting, sparse language and a timeless style, Dubosarsky expertly explores this pivotal moment in these girls' lives. She does this by inhabiting all girls' points of view at once. I can't adequately explain the breathtaking tension, urgency and emotional resonance this technique creates. It is unique, highly inventive and it deeply works. ... Perhaps Dubosarsky has arrived at a point of view that is the essence of childhood. I recommend The Golden Day to readers ages 12 and up, and urge adults to read it too."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Delicate, atmospheric and provocative, this bijou tale stirs young adult readers to remember vividly the beguilement in which teachers can hold their little charges, and to consider with mature vision the complex meaning of adult actions that are only half-understood by child observers. With secrecy, elegant language, crime, a short page count, and a touch of the supernatural, here's a teen book club selection that everyone is likely to finish. "
Dubosarsky is one of those rare writers whose work feels both true and invented, always, the uncanny seamlessly interwoven with the fabric of life. It’s impossible reading this book not to think of the quote from Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight: ‘‘But they never last, the golden days. And it can be sad, the sun in the afternoon, can’t it? Yes, it can be sad, the afternoon sun, sad and frightening.’’ The Golden Day is a highly recommended portrait of life interrupted, in all its sad and frightening – but beautiful – reality.
"This acclaimed Australian author takes her chapter titles from paintings and drawings of schoolgirls by Charles Blackman, and her tale beautifully evokes the loneliness of childhood, the claustrophobic confines of a girls school and the dark turbulence of the world outside."
"One of my favourite books this year was The Golden Day...(the girls) in their resolve not to speak up, themselves gradually lose sense of the truth and what actually happened on that fateful morning slips away. This succinct novel combines a love of poetry, an intriguing mystery and an exquisite study of group mentality and the dynamics of friendship."