Australian children’s fiction translated into French.

In 2020, Dr Helen Therese Frank gifted the Library a bespoke collection of Australian children’s fiction books translated into French.

Published in the 20th century in France and Belgium, this collection contains works by some of Australia’s best-selling authors such as: John Marsden, Emily Rodda, Colin Thiele, Morris Gleitzman, Jackie French and lesser-known writers such as: Mary Patchett, H. F. Brinsmead, Henry G. Lamond and E. Boylan, to name but a few. Many are recipients of major literary awards.

All genres of fiction are represented here though humour and adventure predominate.  

Highlights include: 

Bett-Bett, petite princesse Australienne – Little black princess (1905) by Mrs Aeneas Gunn, recounting the adoption of an Aboriginal girl on an outback station in the Northern Territory.

Dr Helen Frank Donation of Australian children’s fiction books translated into French.

Peter Jackson and Co. Australiens – The heart of the school (1919) by E. Boylan. Set in early 20th century Melbourne at the prestigious Catholic boys’ school, Xavier College, it depicts the grim reality of school life.

Les baleiniers du soleil de minuitWhalers of the midnight sun (1934) by Alan Villiers. Vividly describes a whaling expedition from Tasmania to Antarctica.

Frère sauvage  – Wild brother (1954) by Mary Patchett. Narrates the adventures of Warrigal, the dingo as he struggles to survive the ravages of nature and man.

Dr Frank collected these monographs as part of her PhD candidature. Her book Cultural encounters in translated children’s literature : images of Australia in French translation which resulted from her thesis is available online at:  EM ProQuest Ebook Central and on site at the Library.

This post was written by Silvana Sturaro, Librarian from Collections Development & Description

Kaz Cooke donation

Renowned author, cartoonist, and broadcaster Kaz Cooke has been a regular contributor to the SLV collection over the years, and a recently catalogued bundle of books may likely fall below the radar, though the titles there-in are definitely of note.

Almost all of the titles in this gathering come from, expectedly enough, the world of mid-late 20th century comic artists. Comic strip satirist Berke Breathed appears regularly, with one title including a wonderfully preserved flexi-disc by joke heavy metal band Billy and the Boingers. This donation also added to our holdings of books by Edward Gorey, the man who Tim Burton owes much of his sensibilities to (there’s even a pop-up book). Deciding which of the Gorey texts should go in the Children’s Literature area was hard, to say the least, as most of them swim amongst the more frightening parts of the uncanny, and are full of such restless, well-dressed calm.

Matt Groening gets a few mentions in this list too. If you’re only used to the more watered down absurdisms and cynical humour that comes through the ‘The Simpsons’, you could do well to brace yourself a little and dive into works like ‘Binky’s guide to love’ and the ‘Box full of hell’ collection. I could try to describe his uniquely hilarious nihilism here, but this quote from another book in the ‘Life in hell’ series gets that across best: ‘Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come.’

Two other authors featured that are particularly of note are comic artists Lynda Barry and Nicole Hollander. Both were important names in the US comic world in the seventies and eighties in particular, and it is unsurprising that they served as inspiration for the next generation of women comic artists such as Kaz, given their frank and intelligent commentary on and around feminism.

All of the books can be requested via our catalogue to peruse in the library.

This post was written by John Stevens, Librarian from Collections Development & Description

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *