The ‘Meet…’ Series: ‘Welcome to the World ‘Meet…Sidney Nolan’
The ‘Meet…’ Series: Welcome to the World ‘Meet… Sidney Nolan’
Random House has done a simply brilliant job with the ‘Meet…’ series; a picture book series about the extraordinary men and women who have shaped Australia’s history. I particularly love that Random House has taken a very innovative approach to the design of these very modern books, which are gorgeous enough to be coffee table books and talking points in your home or office. Far classier than a glossy magazine and far more educational! In a competitive market, it’s always exciting to see a publisher willing to take a punt and do something a little out of the ordinary, which leads to sophisticated books which stretch young readers.
I have loved introducing each of the ‘Meet…’ books to seven year old PudStar, and learning a little more about each of these iconic Australians along with her. They are the perfect blend of non-fiction and narrative and make history accessible and interesting for young readers.
I’m just a little bit chuffed to be involved in the launch of the latest ‘Meet…’ title, ‘Meet…Sidney Nolan’, written by Yvonne Mes and illustrated by Sandra Eterovic. There are extensive teachers’ note here.
I have know Yvonne for some years now, mostly through her work with Book Links Qld and Write Links. Hardworking and dedicated to the children’s literature industry in Australia, I’m so excited that she has had the opportunity to a part of this series. She has painstakingly researched the life of Sidney Nolan, read widely about his life and work and done some Googling! I recently spied a photograph of Yvonne on social media, with the author of a rather large new biography on Sidney Nolan – potentially 5 times the thickness of her own text on him!
Yvonne has chosen one particular point in Nolan’s life to focus her story on – the creation of his iconic Ned Kelly paintings. She cleverly incorporates facts about Sidney Nolan within a text that takes us inside his head and to the thoughts and feelings that he perhaps experienced, this truly is history given life with some skilled writing;
…Sidney’s favourite place was the reading room in the nearby public library. There he read mountains of books, drank rivers of poetry and soaked up the philosophers. He longed to make art like Picasso, Matisse and other modernist artists from Europe.
The modernist believed that art should express ideas through symbols, colours and shapes. They were of the opinion that as the world changed, art needed to change as well. And Sidney felt the same.
A timeline at the end of ‘Meet…Sidney Nolan’ takes us through some of the defining moments in his life and add depth to the non-fiction component of the text, though it is the narrative which takes the reader through the formative years in Nolan’s life and art.
You know you are in for a treat with the artwork by Sandra Eterovic right from the front cover; a bold statement (that works!) with pink hues. Eterovic has created the illustrations with acrylic paint on wood, which adds a wonderful texture to her work. I particularly love the landscapes Eterovic has created – those pink clouds, yellows and the rolling green hills just got me!
How truly thoughtful of me to match my hair colour to the book I am launching. Okay actually that was a happy accident!