The 2018 SRC programming hopes to encourage children and young people to explore and connect with a curiosity of creatures, including our unique Australian flora, and fauna–from real creatures to the imagined, actual to mythological, microscopic to megafauna, our marvellous marsupials and all the classification of Animalia in between.
In addition to books with real life animal heroes, books also feature fictional talking animals that are anthropomorphic; possessing human-like qualities but appear as creatures. This trend to anthropomorphise animals is also an influence in popular television, movies and apps for children and young people.
The use of animals as primary characters enables storytellers the ability to combine the basic characteristics of the animal with human behaviours, to apply metaphor, and to entertain children, and has influenced literature since Aesop and his fables, to the brothers Grimm and their fairy tales.
There is a plethora of Australian and popular fiction whose narratives are also informed by or grounded in our country’s landscape, flora and fauna, such as the Australian classics, Snugglepot and Cuddle Pie or Blinky Bill.
The phrase “Curious Creatures” can also lend itself to further exploration, if considered as a descriptor of the natures of the SRC participants and participating libraries.
Curiosity is defined as one having a desire to learn or know about anything, to be inquisitive. It is this additional connection to the theme that can provide opportunity for continued discovery of new knowledge and skills.
In addition, the term curious is often applied to those things that appear strange and unusual. This connection may allow a different path of exploration for older readers participating in the SRC. Literature that explores the strange, odd, peculiar, funny, unusual, bizarre, weird, eccentric, unexpected, unfamiliar and abnormal, such as Ransom Rigg’s series Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children provide additional pathways for activation in libraries through the summer.
For more on this year’s theme, or to review previous Summer Reading Club programming themes, click here.