Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

March 2, 2013

Gracie and Josh Launch

Down came the rain but it didn’t wash out the launch of Gracie and Josh, a new picture book written by Susanne Gervay and illustrated by Serena Geddes. Despite the deluge, readers, authors, poets, playwrights, editors, parents and children, representatives from the children’s charity Variety came from as far afield as Wollongong, The Central Coast and the Hunter to help launch this very special storybook, including Beverly George, Jodie Wells Slowgrove, Vicki Stanton, Sarah Davis and Nikau, Sue Murray, Rachel Greenwood, Libby Gleeson, Wendy Blaxland, Moya Simons, Meredith Costain, Kristie Lamb and Nina; and many many more.

The unseasonably cold weather and rain was forgotten as the heart-warming storybook of Gracie and Josh was launched amid singing, laughter and storytelling.

Paul McDonald, who hosted the launch at The Children’s Bookshop at Beecroft, introduced Susanne Gervay and Serena Geddes, while Meredith Costain from Ford Street Publishing spoke about the importance of Gracie and Josh.

Susanne, as always, was an absolute delight holding adults and children alike in the palm of her hand. Serena could have popped out of a Disney movie herself, with her natural grace and warmth. Serena spoke of her own experience of having a sibling with a serious illness and how the story had brought back vivid memories and emotions.

Wendy Blaxland led the children and adults in a fine rendition of Incy Wincy Spider, which had everybody laughing, as the rain came down outside. Though the sun didn’t come out to dry up all the rain, the sunny disposition of Susanne and Serena kept their young audience entranced and engaged as Susanne read the story and Serena held up her delightful and imaginative illustrations. Children and adults alike queued to have their books signed by Susanne and Serena. Everyone was delighted to be given the sweetest little ‘Gracie’ in full spider costume, to take home with their book.

Gracie and Josh show how children can use their imaginations and dreams to deal with the effects of a life-threatening illness of a child in the family. In between trying to deal with an illness that they don’t fully understand, Gracie and Josh collaborate to create their own stories. The wit and spontaneity keep the story from becoming too heavy and yet the seriousness of the illness is never diminished. It is a testament to the skill and light hand that Susanne’s writing brings to this story that this combination can be so successfully achieved.

Susanne says: ‘Deeply personal, Gracie and Josh is our public testament to the resilience and courage and love of children’.

I highly recommend Gracie and Josh to all young readers as well as to school and public librarians.

Gracie and Josh is endorsed by Variety, the children’s charity.

Gracie and Josh is Published by Ford Street Publishing and is out in bookshops from today.

For more, please see Susanne Gervay’s Blog

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