Book People: Vale Beth Green
Beautiful Beth, you will be forever missed by so very many people. You have touched so many lives, including my own and I am so very blessed to have had you as my friend for so many years now.
Beth Green was a teacher librarian legend around Brisbane. I didn’t know her in those days but I have heard oh so many stories. I met Beth as a young teacher librarian (the youngest in fact to graduate from QUT as a fully-fledged TL, I was even on a billboard because of this…yes me. On a billboard. Wonders will never cease). I dutifully went along to my local TL network group (IDTL Network – you won’t find a better TL network in the country) and from there Jenny Stubbs invited me to come along to a Children’s Book Council of Australia, Queensland Branch meeting. Beth took one look at me and pounced on this ‘young, vibrant thing’ as she used to call me. She would regularly say, ‘We need people young people like you, you are the future of CBCA’. I’m no longer that young thing these days Beth!
Along with my TL mother, Robyn Dean, and Jenny Stubbs, Beth Green was my mentor in the world of children’s literature. I am where I am because of these three ladies. My mum instilled a lifelong love of literature and a passion for teacher librarianship in me, and she still does – we discuss our job more than just about any other topic. Jenny Stubbs has introduced me to pretty much everyone in the children’s literary industry in Australia and mentored me in the workings of literature festivals and literary events and Beth? Well Beth has been my biggest supporter, the most loyal of friends, the most knowledgeable of teachers and the kindest of souls.
It was Beth who threw me into the deep end of Presidency of the Qld Branch of the CBCA and believed that I could do it and quietened those who thought that I couldn’t and shouldn’t. It was Beth who nominated me (and my mother and some of my closest friends) for places on the National Executive of the Children’s Book Council of Australia – some of the toughest and most rewarding years of my life. It was Beth who secured me the best teaching partner in the world, Jackie.
It was Beth I would turn to when I didn’t understand the inner workings of Catholicism when I married into a Catholic family after growing up in a Pentecostal/village-like church where robes and ceremony were out and African drums, flutes and backyard pool baptisms were in. Beth would laugh her wicked laugh and gently but passionately explain the workings of the Catholic church to me. She lived her faith too – if she wasn’t cooking for food barn, she was delivering meals, setting up for baptisms or visiting old folks, the sick or the needy. A beautiful Christian lady, Beth knew where she was going – and she’s there now. I sincerely hope God appreciates your biscuits and slices and has a large chest freezer.
I could sit with Beth for hours talking about her husband Don and his trips to the Bardon Bowls Club and the lives of her children and grandchildren. Her adored family were her proudest achievement.
Her family, her faith and children’s literature – pretty sure these were her biggest passions in life.
I will so very much miss Beth’s wicked laugh – most recently heard at Narelle Oliver’s father’s photographic art exhibition. Most loudly heard at this year’s Book Week dinner when mum, Beth and I were squashed into Jackie’s mini for an extremely fast ride into Southbank – where Beth, mum and Jackie spent the entire evening in stitches over my outfit disaster. We laughed more that night than I have in such a long time.
So very, very many of us in the children’s literature community in Australia have very heavy hearts today. Beautiful Beth – I raised a glass of wine for you tonight (we shared many a glass) and read the book that you gave Pud for her very first Christmas, ‘Great Joy’.
Beautiful, beautiful Beth – I know you are with Don now, I know you are bossing Greg Rogers around and I know you’ll be organising a cake bake for God. Enjoy. You deserve it.