A booklover’s guide to Reconnect Festival – Week Three (@EasternRegional)

We are now halfway through the month-long Reconnect Festival. Week Three explores the theme of Space and Time, featuring activities, presentations and workshops that celebrate our shared heritage, community spaces, and future together.

Below is a list of interesting events recommended by Christine Yunn-Yu Sun, the Star Mail’s book reviewer. Nearly all of them are free, but bookings are essential.

The first and foremost is the National Simultaneous Storytime. This year the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has chosen the playful book Give Me Some Space!. Parents/guardians can find their favourite storytime dates and locations at the Eastern Regional Libraries website: https://www.yourlibrary.com.au/reconnect/

Give Me Some Space! (Scholastic Australia, January 2020) by Philip Bunting

Philip Bunting, the book’s author and illustrator, believes that the more fun children have during their early reading experiences, the more likely they will be to return to books, improve their budding literacy skills, and later find joy in reading and learning.

Interestingly, readers are also offered an intergalactic experience with Give Me Some Space! being read by NASA astronaut Dr Shannon Walker from the International Space Station. Further details can be found at the ALIA website: https://www.alia.org.au/nss

May 20 Update: The following image is taken from Philip Bunting’s website, where you can watch an interview with Dr Shannon Walker, as well as the video footage of a rocket launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. In Bunting’s words: “As well as my book, other items on board the rocket [destined for the International Space Station] included a crop of radishes that will grow in the station’s plant habitat, and a new space toilet! Let’s hope there was some space loo roll on board too, otherwise Give Me Some Space! might meet a premature and grizzly end, at the grizzly end of an astronaut.”

A page from Philip Bunting’s Give Me Some Space! Thank you, Philip.

For those eager to travel through time and space, the Lilydale & District Historical Society will host a walking tour at the Lilydale Lawn Cemetery on Tuesday 18 May, 10-11AM (cost $5). Participants will learn about the lives and achievements of those female pioneers, musicians, artists and educators resting in peace there, including Dame Nellie Melba, the renowned Australian operatic soprano.

Another cemetery tour will be hosted by the Knox Historical Society on Wednesday 19 May, 10AM-12PM. Participants will walk around the Ferntree Gully Cemetery and learn about those who are buried there.

For frequent travellers on paper and in the cyberspace, the “Trove Newspapers” workshop at Rowville Library on Thursday 20 May, 2-3PM, will introduce a series of techniques and tricks for accessing old Australian newspapers on Trove, the National Library of Australia’s online database.

To conclude Week Three, lino and woodcut printmaker Chris Lawry will share the history of linocut printings at Belgrave Library on Tuesday 18 May, 2-3PM. There will be a display of Lawry’s hand-printed work from her own lino blocks using traditional methods.

“A Child Who Lived in a Forest” by Chris Lawry, linocut, 2019. Image thanks to: PG Gallery

Also at Belgrave Library, on Saturday 22 May, 11AM-12PM, local historian Terry Russel will present the story of Charlie Hammond, a Dandenong Ranges identity in the early 20th century. Accompanied by a display of Hammond’s works, the event will highlight how the artist documented his life and work in the hills through art and photography.

One of Charlie Hammond’s photographs that he tinted by painting it. Image thanks to: Charlie Hammond’s official website

Finally, Lance Deveson of the Boronia Rotary Club will discuss the history and future of street libraries at Boronia Library on Monday 24 May, 3-4PM. Also known as Little Free Libraries, these “homes for books” in front of public and private buildings are described by Street Library Australia (https://streetlibrary.org.au/) as “a symbol of trust and hope – a tiny vestibule of literary happiness”. They are truly “a window into the mind of a community”, and all booklovers are invited to come and take a look.

Note: This article was originally published under the title “Explore time and space”, by Ranges Trader Star Mail, May 18, 2021, Page 4.

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