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ke’s . Lu St


Seriously Optimistic Online Newsletter

Volume 42 - January 2011

IR Home

Girltopia Launch

In this volume... • Girltopia Launch • More fun than a barrell of monkeys • Baby Strengths workshop • Book review • Picture books To contribute to SOON email us at: ke’s . Lu St

137 McCrae St Bendigo 3550 Australia phone: (03) 5442 0500 fax: (03) 5442 0555 international (+61 3) go to IR home page

Developing a healthy, grounded sense of self is one of the main challenges facing girls growing up in the media-saturated 21st Century according to the author of a unique new resource titled Girltopia – A World of Real Conversations for Real Girls.

Author, educator and social worker Jane Bennett says ‘real’ conversations are crucial in helping girls grow into womanhood with a “positive, celebrated and healthy sense’’ of both their identity and their body. With this in mind, Jane, who has more than 30 years experience working in health and social services, has written Girltopia. Girltopia includes a 64-page booklet and 70 full-colour cards for building conversations with girls from age 10, and women of any age. Arranged in five suits including Me, Doing, Feeling, Body and Us, the cards have been beautifully illustrated and designed by Castlemaine artist Robyn Spicer, with hand-cut collages made from Japanese papers. Girltopia has been created to be used by girls and anyone who works or lives with girls, and is published by St Luke’s Innovative Resources, a Bendigo-based not-for-profit publisher of resources for counsellors, educators, social

workers, teams, managers and parents. “In writing the Girltopia cards I wanted to enable conversation and contemplation about as many aspects of girls lives as possible, the great stuff, the fun stuff, the stories, the strengths, as well as the difficult challenging things,’’ says Jane. “My hope is that the Girltopia cards assist these conversations at home, at school and in other settings. I hope that the cards make these conversations easier, more fun, more frequent and more diverse.’’ Each of the Girltopia card suits contains cards featuring phrases and questions about a particular theme. The Me suit includes cards featuring story-telling sentence starters, the Doing cards each describe an overarching mode of action, such as ‘I imagine’, and are intended to help girls build an appreciation of their own skills, the Feeling cards put forward gentle cues to help foster emotional intelligence, while the Us cards provide prompts allowing girls to explore relationships. The Body cards offer opportunities for girls to deepen their understanding and appreciation of their female bodies and, it should be noted, have been designed to invite quite explicit discussion of women’s sexual anatomy. These cards, however, can easily be put aside in contexts where they are not required. The theme of each suit was carefully chosen, says Jane, to help open doorways to ‘real’ conversations.

Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans: it’s lovely to be silly at the right moment - Horace.


Girltopia Launch

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RRP: $62.50 CLICK HERE Catalogue number: 4150


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DON'T FORGET OUR SPECIALS BUTTON Yes, at the top right of our web page we have a little button marked Specials' with some value packs, backlist stock and end of run items like:

Undaground Breaking thru

An Accumulation of Small Killings

Here’s a delightful retelling of Latin American folklore.

Music recorded by young people engaged by St Luke’s Real 2 Reel music program.

By Sue King-Smith

NOW $14.95

NOW 5.00

Walking Your Talk

Walking Words

By Neal Starkman.

By Eduardo Galeano

Walking Your Talk is a resource that helps youth advocates put assets into action.

NOW $50.00



Written by Jane Bennett. Illustrated and designed by Robyn Spicer. Published in 2010 by St Luke’s Innovative Resources.

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Girltopia – A World of Real Conversations for Real Girls




“Ahhh, conversations,’’ says Jane when asked what makes conversations such powerful teaching tools. “When we open the door to conversations, especially with an open, respectful curiosity about the contributions of all participants, surprising things happen. Wisdom, awareness and new understandings emerge. We can gain a deeper understanding of the issues facing girls and they can share their struggles and understanding with each other. “Conversations held in circumstances of respect, openness and supportive boundaries are useful teaching tools for all involved, and it’s hard to imagine having too many of them with adolescents.’’ Girltopia – A World of Real Conversations for Real Girls can be ordered online at Innovative Resources’ website at or by visiting Innovative Resources’ ‘seriously optimistic’ bookshop at 137 McCrae Street, Bendigo.

Sometimes I feel brave


A collection of poetry by Sue King-Smith.

NOW $4.00

I often have long conversations all by myself, and I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word I am saying - Oscar Wilde


More fun than a barrel of monkeys! Graphic artist Mat Jones loves his work. As Innovative Resources’ in-house graphic designer, Mat’s imagination is frequently set free, liberating illustrations which are fresh, original and vibrant. Mat’s latest compilation of vivid, comic-book style pictures will debut in IR’s newest card set, Strengths to the Max – Exploring a Universe of Hidden Strengths, this April. As Strengths to the Max’s main characters – Max, Maxine and Maximillian (The Third) - prepare for lift off, SOON pinched a few moments of Mat’s time to find out more about both Strengths to the Max and its esteemed illustrator. Q: Strengths to the Max features a ‘space’ theme this concept must have been fun to work with . . . A: More fun than a barrel of monkeys! Being rather fond of the Star Wars universe, the original trilogy in particular, and having enjoyed a glut of sci-fi films such as Bladerunner, Alien/ Aliens, Planet of the Apes, Stargate, Sunshine and The Black Hole, between my own inspiration from watching way too much television and way too many movies and with Russell’s (Russell Deal, IR’s Creative Director) enthusiasm for Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Dr Who and Red Dwarf, Strengths to the Max proved to be a most enjoyable creative process. How did the Strengths to the Max main character, Max, develop? Max sort of popped out of thin air, as an observer, among the wheels and bits of scrap metal from the Cars ‘R’ Us card set. If you look at Cars ‘R’ Us, Max is portrayed on such an itty-bitty scale, playing the role of ‘second banana’ to complement the car character. Strengths to the Max provided a chance to put the spotlight on Max, to take what was a secondary character and showcase him, to make him the central character in a new set of cards. Max has so much more definition now, along with the added quirks of extendable legs and a removable head! He’s also got company in Strengths to the Max, in the form of Maxine and a dog, Maximillian (The Third). Your Strengths to the Max illustrations are quite detailed, was this deliberate or an element that evolved as part of the creative process? This evolved from the briefing process during the

creation of the card set. We (Russell, Karen Masman, IR’s consulting editor and I) sat sipping coffee talking about Strengths to the Max two years ago. The brief provided by Russell and Karen made my job a lot easier, and when you’ve got a cool brief being handed down, as with Strengths to the Max, then for me it’s literally like a kid in a lolly shop; Russell and Karen pretty much gave me license to do as I pleased. As part of the creative process, the initial concept drawings for Strengths to the Max were reviewed, some were given the thumbs up and some were pushed aside, and then we pushed on with the final artwork, the drawings were scanned in and I coloured them digitally. If you were to select a Strengths to the Max card or cards which best represented your strengths, which ones would you choose? ‘Adaptable’, ‘Enthusiastic’ and ‘Joyful’. How long have you been a graphic artist? For more than 10 years now. What does being a graphic artist at IR entail? A graphic artist is responsible for making sure the artwork is set beautifully for the printers who print our resources. The graphic artist’s role is to take artwork and put it into print-worthy shape. An example of this is the book, Kids Skills in Action (Ben Furman), which IR published last year. I provided artwork for Kids Skills in Action - random little kids running around in capes and the like - which helped to tie the artwork in that book with the first Kids Skills book. So depending on how the editorial team sees fit, I can conjure artwork at the drop of a hat. Talk about working at IR . . . It’s pleasing to wake up in the morning. I’ve got a nice bunch of people to come and rub shoulders with, and it’s such a relaxed creative process. You’ve created many characters for IR resources, which are your favourites? The koala characters from the Koala Company card set are probably some of my favourites. That’s one of the jobs I’m most proud of; Koala Company Please is in a round tin, with a round booklet rn which was challenging because I hadn’t otvuer created a circular format booklet before. The Koala Company cards were created more than six years ago, and even now I get a warm, fuzzy glow flipping through the set; the mish-mash of expressions

Be like the bird that, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she has wings - Victor Hugo

Baby Strengths Workshop St Luke’s Innovative Resources, Relationships Australia and Anglicare South Australia will celebrate the release of Family Support Worker Jan Player’s Baby Strengths card set with a workshop and launch at Relationships Australia at Hindmarsh, South Australia on Wednesday, April 6. Caring for a baby or toddler can be fun, surprising, challenging, exhausting…the best and the most difficult thing you have ever done!

Bonding or ‘secure attachment’ between babies and mothers or primary caregivers is an essential ingredient in every baby’s development. Recognising the strengths in your baby’s behaviour is central to creating healthy bonds. Sometimes we misinterpret the behaviour of babies or toddlers: what to an adult may be ‘making a mess’ is baby’s way of learning about their world through play.

Baby Strengths is a set of 25 delightfully-illustrated cards for A workshop featuring Baby building healthy attachment between babies and primary carers by: • recognising baby strengths Strengths author, illustrator and • understanding baby cues • nurturing connections with baby Anglicare SA’s Jan Player; Jo • building solid foundations for baby development. Baby Strengths can be used to build conversations with: Press •co-ordinator ofdynamic Anglicare mothers, fathers, grandparents • childcare and family workers SA’s Staying Attached Program; • parenting educators, health professionals …and anyone whoDeal, cares for babiesInnovative and parents. and Russell Resources’ creative director will be held from 9.30am until 11.30am, with the official free launch of Baby Strengths immediately following. St Luke’s Innovative Resources 137 McCrae Street BENDIGO Victoria 3550 Australia Ph: (03) 5442 0500 Fax: (03) 5442 0555 Email: Web:

Uses. Both the workshop and launch will be held at Relationships Australia (SA), Hindmarsh, 49A Orsmond Street, Hindmarsh SA 5007. Dr Anne Sved Williams (MBBS, FRANZCP, Dip. Psychotherapy, Senior Clinical Lecturer, Director Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide) will speak at the launch. Come along and help us celebrate the arrival of a resource which will change the lives of many new mums.

Understanding Baby Behaviours Nurturing Healthy Bonds

Author and Illustrator: Jan Player Designer: Mat Jones

The focus of the workshop, which costs $20, will be the Baby Strengths Cards: Their Origin and

To register for this exciting event, please click on the following link to the Innovative Resources Workshop and Training Calendar by clicking here

or contact at Relationships Australia (SA) or phone (08) 8245 8100. Resources will be available to buy at the venue through the Relationships Australia (SA) Bookshop.

More fun than a barrel of monkeys!... continued. give me a chuckle, and it’s all bundled up in a groovy circular tin. What would you say your strengths are as a graphic artist? Attention to detail, making sure everything is right and in its place and the ability to meet deadlines. What’s the best thing about being a graphic artist? Just the creative potential, it’s absolutely out of this world! Let’s end with a couple of quirky ‘favourite things’ questions pertaining to your work as a graphic artist . . . Favourite typeface . . . Futura Bold. It’s old school, but kind of like the vanilla ice-cream of fonts. Favourite Pantone® colour . . . Over the years I’ve been leaning towards blue,

Pantone 285 (blue) hits the spot as far as I’m concerned. Favourite way to work . . . Gotta have background music, silence is deafening as far as I’m concerned. Thanks Mat! To order any of the Innovative Resources materials which Mat has helped create, click on the links. Card sets: Strengths to the Max – coming soon. RRP: $59.50. Mates Traits - RRP: $44.50. Koala Company - RRP: $49.50. Cars ‘R’ Us - RRP: $59.50. Strength Cards for Kids - RRP: $49.50. Books: Kids Skills in Action - by Ben Furman. RRP: $26.90. Kids Skills - by Ben Furman. RRP: $31.95.

To the world you are someone, but to someone you are the world - Next Eggs by Kate Knapp

BOOK REVIEW.... By Russell Deal

SMALL ACTS OF RESISTANCE I was marching in an anti-war rally during my university days when I mentioned to an activist friend that the Indonesian oppression of East Timor was crying out for social action. His response was that it was important to be ‘realistic’, that independence for East Timor was unwinnable, and in the scheme of things there were bigger and more important campaigns to be fought. At the time I could think of no reply so I did what the majority of Australians did, I remained mute. I then carried the guilt of this fatalistic viewpoint for some 30 years. And it is hard not to be fatalistic about injustice when it confronts us so readily and from so many different directions. At the time of writing there are riots in Egypt and numerous other Middle Eastern countries where oppressed citizens are railing against tyranny. Or think of Burma, China, numerous countries in Africa and Central and South America. But also democracies such as the United States are not exempt from gross human rights abuses: think Abu Graib and Guantamano Bay. And Australia is certainly squeaky clean with our continued blindness to the rights of our indigenous peoples and our inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. When faced by this continued cacophony of human rights abuse it is easy to see why ‘being realistic’ is tantamount to doing nothing. Even if we ‘care’ about human rights and social justice

it is hard to shake off the shackles of fatalism and make a stand. However in so doing we confirm over and over again Edward Burke’s: ‘All that it takes for evil to win…’ A new arrival into Innovative Resources bookshop is a relatively small book of short vignettes each of which tells a story of an individual who broke the inertia induced by tyranny, made a stand, and in so doing changed the world. ‘Small Acts of Resistance’ should be prescribed reading in all our schools and certainly for everyone who claims an interest in fairness and justice. These are stories of tenacity and creativity. Some are well known like Rosa Parks, Raoul Wallenberg and Paul Rusesabagina (of Hotel Ruwanda fame) but others are less known. Some died fighting for their cause. Some died in obscurity. Some were shunned. Others received belated recognition. But uniting all the stories is the realisation by these individuals that they might just be the crucial snowflake that starts the avalanche. This is indeed a book of hope that testifies to the power of creative non-violent action to wear away seemingly insurmountable stone. From football matches to toilet paper, from music to art

installations, from pink underwear to wheelbarrows(!) social action can take some unusual and amusing guises. Indeed ridicule can be a great antidote to oppression. All subversives and everyone with a conscience should read this book, celebrate the power of the human spirit and be encouraged to act rather than be trapped by ‘realism’. My only suggestion to the authors is that they should produce an annual yearbook to capture those everyday continuing stories of bravery against the odds. ‘Small Acts of Resistance: How Courage, Tenacity and Ingenuity Can Change the World’ by Steve Crawshaw and John Jackson. Union Square Press NY 2010. ISBN:978-14027-8124-7

Now available $19.99

If you live your life out of memory, you live out of your history. That’s what one was. If you live out of your imaginations, you live out of your potential. That’s what can be.

Picture books.... Picture books featuring vibrant, bold illustrations and thought-provoking, appealing stories help engage children in reading, and encourage them along the path to becoming lifelong readers. As children across Australia return to school, SOON has perused the shelves of Innovative Resources’ ‘seriously optimistic’ bookshop and compiled a list of top 10 reads focusing, appropriately for this time of year, on picture books. Picture books, of course, are not just for children. Adults too will enjoy many of the themes included in the picture books we’ve chosen to appear on SOON’s Top 10 Picture Book list. All books listed are available to buy online at www. Enjoy!

1. The Man Who Loved Boxes, by Stephen Michael King. Winner of the Australian Therapist’s Award, The Man Who Loved Boxes is a special IR favourite picture book. Saying ‘I love you’ is tricky for some people, but love can be expressed in lots of different ways. A highly original story about a father and son,

and their shared love of boxes. It actually won the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy award for Children’s Literature in 1995. Our own Russell Deal has read it in almost every workshop he has run since then – in some 10 countries on 4 continents.Scholastic, 1995. Softcover, 32 pages. RRP: $12.99.Code: 6040.

2. Someday, by Alison McGhee. A mother’s love leads to every mother’s dream, for her child to live life to its fullest. Someday is a deceptively simple, but powerful ode to the potential of love and the potential in life. Illustrator: Peter Reynolds. Atheneum Books, 2007. Hardcover, 36 pages. RRP: $19.99. Code: 6237.

3. The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley, by Colin Thompson. Human beings live for quite a long time and for a lot of that time are not very happy. Rats, on the other hand, live for quite a short time and for most

of that time are very, very happy. The moral of this extraordinary picture book is that we could all be happier with a lot less. Lothian, 2005. Softcover, 32 pages. RRP: $17. Code: 6154.

4. Always & Forever, by Alan Durant. A beautiful picture book about grief, loss and remembering. Things are not the same in the woods after the death of Fox, but over time Mole, Hare and Otter come to realise that in their hearts and memories, Fox is still there. Illustrated by Debi Gliori. Random House, 2007. 32pp. RRP: $17.95. Code: 6083.

5. Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between, by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen. A picture book which appeals to adults as well as children. With its sensitive discussions about death and beautiful celebration of living, this book has been a source of comfort to young and old. Puffin, 1983. Softcover. RRP: $16.95. Code: 6315.

If you have a mind at peace, a heart that cannot harden, go find a door to opens wide, upon a lovely garden - Next Eggs by Kate Knapp

6. Black Book of Colours, by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria. This is one of the most unusual picture books we’ve seen for a long time. Black Book of Colours is a tactile exploration of colour designed with both visually-impaired and full-vision readers in mind. Printed entirely in black, it describes colour for visually-impaired readers using Braille text and textured images. This remarkable publication not only invites us to contemplate our perception of colour, but fosters appreciation of colour’s essence. Walker Books, 2010. Hardcover, 22 pages. RRP: $19.95. Code: 6601.

8. Oh, The Places You’ll Go, by Dr Seuss. Dr Seuss does it again! When you are in a slump, what is the recipe for unslumping yourself? Dr Seuss has some zany ideas that just might work! This classic rhyme, with its unmistakeable style and illustrations, will put courage in the heart of anyone facing a set back or getting ready for a challenge. Random House, 1990. Softcover, 48pp. RRP: $9.99. Code: 6060.

7. Courage, by Bernard Waber. Celebrate the moments, big and small, that bring out the hero in each of us. Whether it’s being the first to make up after an argument or going to bed without a nightlight, this natural, read-aloud book is likely to spark valuable adult-child dialogue and to help youngsters conquer their own fears. Houghton Mifflin, 2002. Hardcover, 32 pages. RRP: $32.45. Code: 6198.

9. My Many Coloured Days, by Dr Seuss. This concept book introduces children to colours, feelings, and all the fun of Dr Seuss. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1996. Softcover, 40 pages. RRP: $21.95 Code: 6205.

10. The Red Tree, By Shaun Tan. An evocative, delicate and encouraging story about dealing with life when it overwhelms us. The Red Tree is a book in which a child, and the adult who shares it with them, will find messages about understanding, empathy and hope. Lothian, 2001. Softcover, 32pp. RRP: $17.99. Code: 6095.

11. The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children’s Picture Books, by Desdemona McCannon, Sue Thornton and Yadzia Williams. This is an informative and attractive book for anyone who fancies writing or illustrating a children’s picture book. Topics covered include inspiration, drawing skills, narrative, storyboards, characters, typography and page layouts. Allen and Unwin, 2008. Softcover, 160 pages. RRP: $35. Code: 9614.

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.

- Next Eggs by Kate Knapp

DON'T FORGET OUR TRAINING IN 2011 We have now confirmed St Luke’s Autumn School coming up on March 21-25, The Literary Therapist is in the calendar again for March 28-30, The Travelling Toolshed May 2-3, our new Strengths to the Max on May 16-18, Girltopia May 30-31 and The Uses of Sadness with Karen Masman on June 6.


Newsletter number 43  
Newsletter number 43  

Seriously Optimistic Online Newsletter number 43