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Museum makes tracks into children's literacy

2 MAY 2006

A set of eight books inspired by significant objects from the National Museum of Australia's collection is being launched this week to help children make tracks into literacy and history.

The Making Tracks collection, published by National Museum of Australia Press, features works by leading children's authors and illustrators including Jackie French, Libby Gleeson, Gary Crew, Donna Rawlins and David Cox. The titles, aimed at children aged seven to 10, are set at various stages in Australia's history and are supported by activities on the Museum's website.

National Museum director Craddock Morton said the collection took young readers on a fictional journey through some captivating Australian stories, stimulating their interest in reading and learning about history.

'The Museum's collection reveals some fascinating personal stories and by asking some of the nation's top writers to use museum objects for inspiration, we have ended up with eight wonderful works of fiction that build on these stories and challenge the imagination of young readers,' Mr Morton said.

Children's Book Council of Australia national president Mark Macleod will launch the Making Tracks series on Thursday, 4 May, at 5 pm on the Promenade Deck of the SS South Steyne, Darling Harbour, Sydney. Media are welcome to attend.

The books will be released in two stages. The first four titles being released on 4 May are:

  • One Perfect Day by Jackie French, inspired by a Crossley car used at the opening of Old Parliament House
  • Robbie and the Dolphins by Justin D'Ath, inspired by a Chevrolet truck
  • Ray's Olympics by Libby Gleeson, inspired by the ABC outside broadcast van used at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, and
  • Across the Dark Sea by Wendy Orr, inspired by the Hong Hai refugee boat which reached Darwin in 1978.

The other four books, which will be available from Monday, 31 July are:

  • Hold-up Heroes by Dianne Bates, inspired by the Ranken coach, one of the oldest surviving horse-drawn vehicles in Australia
  • Caravan Kids by Libby Hathorn, inspired by the 1959 Propert caravan on show in the Museum's Nation gallery
  • River Boy, by Anthony Hill, inspired by the PS Enterprise, now moored on Lake Burley Griffin outside the Museum in Canberra, and
  • The Saw Doctor by Gary Crew, inspired by a travelling tradesman's wagon.

Each title in the Making Tracks collection is beautifully illustrated, 198 mm x 130 mm in size and will sell for $9.95 in bookshops around Australia.

For review copies, images or more information please contact Leanda Kitchen on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or Ellen Peterson on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or media@nma.gov.au