Wednesday, September 30, 2015

News from the PANZ Newsletter

Vale Dorothy Butler 

Graham Beattie, PANZ Life Member, remembers a major force in NZ Children’s Literature 

Dorothy Butler was an energetic and irrepressible crusader for books and language who was recognised internationally as an authority on children’s books and reading.

She was the founder of the wonderful children’s bookshop that still bears her name, the author of several significant adult books including Cushla & Her Books, Babies Need Books, Five to Eight and There was a Time as well as more than 20 children’s books including My Brown Bear Barney.

She was the recipient of the Eleanor Farjeon Award, the Margaret Mahy Award, the Children’s Literature Association Award, and many other honours both within New Zealand and around the world. In 1993 she was awarded an OBE for her services to children’s literature and reading.

I remember her saying back in 1999 at the publication of her autobiographical title, There Was a Time, which I had the honour to launch, “I absolutely believe in stories and language from the moment babies open their eyes”.

An endlessly energetic person, Dorothy had eight children with her late husband Roy and in addition to founding and running her bookshop she also set up a Reading Centre for children with reading difficulties, worked as a consulting editor, was a frequent lecturer on children’s literature as well as conducting writing courses and of course writing books herself. All this while being a devoted grandmother to 20 plus grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Her influence in children’s book world was enormous. And believe me that is a significant understatement. I was but one of many booksellers and publishers who was hugely influenced by her.

Rest in peace Dorothy, I shall never forget you old friend.

Writing, language skills focus of new Kiwi education publisher


Our authors - via educational publishers - have practically taught the world to read. Now Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey of newly established S & L Publishing are teaching children the skills of writing to communicate clearly. Their first publication is The Writing Book, which is a book full of practical advice, strategies and support material for writers. Sheena and Louise see it as a useful resource for both teachers and students. 

Currently the two women work from their home offices and are developing a new book titled The Oral Language Book. But with current sales of over 24,500 of The Writing Book plus their busy schedule of seminars for teachers, locally and in Australia and Asia over the next year involving much travel, establishing business premises is on hold for now.

The move to publishing has been a learning curve, but they have already chalked up a major success with The Writing Book.

Sheena Cameron is an experienced teacher who has taught here, the UK and the United States. She has taught at primary, intermediate and tertiary levels. Sheena currently facilitates literacy workshops both in New Zealand and internationally. Prior to establishing the new business, she is the author of The Reading Activity Handbook, The Display and Publishing Handbook and Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies, all published by Pearson.

Louise Dempsey is an experienced teacher, consultant and trainer who has worked in both New Zealand and the UK. In her 15 years experience as a trainer she has presented to audiences ranging from whole school teams, to Principal groups and school management teams. She has developed specialised knowledge in the areas of literacy and effective teaching and learning. Louise has created a range of writing projects for New Zealand and English publishers and the UK’s Department of Education and written sections of the Access English Series and Rigby Navigator teaching guides.

Both Sheena and Louise are committed to spending time in schools, working with teachers and students to ensure the material they develop is relevant and useful. Read the full story here.

Pictured above L-R: Louise Dempsey and Sheena Cameron

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