Brian, Janeen (Paulette) 1948-

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BRIAN, Janeen (Paulette) 1948-


PERSONAL: Born March 13, 1948, in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia; daughter of Frederick Keith (a business manager) and Paulette Elsie (Allert) Colyer; married David Ridyard, 1968 (divorced, 1972); married Tony Brian, 1976 (divorced, 1978); partner of Jonathan Grant (a driving instructor); children: (first marriage) Natalie; (second marriage) Cassie. Education: Wattle Park Teachers' College, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, Registered Primary Teacher Certificate, 1966. Hobbies and other interests: Keeping fit, yoga, travel, making mosaics, going to the theatre, film-going, reading and writing, gardening.


ADDRESSES: Home—11 Short Ave., Glenelg East, South Australia, 5045 Australia. E-mail—[email protected] ozemail.com.au.


CAREER: Children's writer. Primary school teacher and librarian, South Australia, 1966-90; professional children's actor, Patch Theatre, South Australia, 1980-84.


MEMBER: South Australian Children's Writers (EKIDNAS), South Australian Writers' Centre (board of management member, 2000-2001), Australian Society of Authors, Children's Book Council, Trees for Life, Patch Theatre.


AWARDS, HONORS: Ian Maudie award for article, Fellowship of Australian Writers, 1987, for "The Dreaming of Dying"; commended title, Casino Beef Week Promotions and Casino Writers' Group, 1991, for Dispossession; third place in children's stories, Coolum and Interstate Writers' Association, 1991, for "Thistle" and highly commended, 1991, for "Emergency"; second place, Eaglehawk and Dahlia Festival Awards, 1996, for poem "Ward 5K"; commended, Calambeen Literary Awards, 1997, for Shankra Steps Out; Honour Award, CBC Book Awards, 1997, for Pilawuk; winner, Calambeen Literary Award, children's short story, 1997, for "Pegasus"; CBC Notable Books, 1998, for Rocky, Dog Star, and Duck Down; highly commended, Equal Opportunities Award, 1999, for Max Colwell and Maria Donato; commended, Children's Peace Literature Award, 1999, for Leaves for Mr. Walter, highly commended, Midlands Literary Awards, 2000, for children's story, "Small Frog, Balong"; Honour Award, Early Childhood, CBC, 2002, for Where Does Thursday Go?


WRITINGS:


children's short fiction


Tomorrow Is a Great Word, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1991.

Moving On, illustrated by Katharine Stafford, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1992.

The Ups and Downs of Desmond, illustrated by Jim Tsinganos, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1992.

The Charms of Thomas Filbett, illustrated by Annie McQueen, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1993.

Brolga, illustrated by Annie McQueen, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1994.

Winnie Whistlebritches, illustrated by Trevor Pye, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1994.

Dust in My Eyes, illustrated by Veronica Osborn, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1995.

Dragon Fire, illustrated by Pauline King, Wendy Pye, 1995.

The Kite Place, illustrated by Min Huang, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1996.

Circus Detective, illustrated by Tom Jellett, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1996.

Dog Star, illustrated by Ann James, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1997.

Duck Down, illustrated by Mike Johnson, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1997.

Rocky, illustrated by Harry Slaghekke, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1997.

In a Pickle, illustrated by Bettina Guthridge, Addison Wesley Longman (South Melbourne, Australia), 1998.

Alex and the Dragon, Macmillan (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1999.

Time Wise, Macmillan (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1999.

Wild Abbie! illustrated by Rae Dale, Addison Wesley Longman (South Melbourne, Australia), 1999.

Fudge and the Pet Detectives, illustrated by Bettina Guthridge, Addison Wesley Longman (South Melbourne, Australia), 1999.

Tom and the Terrible Crankyshanks, illustrated by Bettina Guthridge, Addison Wesley Longman (South Melbourne, Australia), 1999.

The Adventures of Ramsden Plum, Barrie Publishing (Kew, Victoria, Australia), 1999.

Rats, Crispin Canoodle! Barrie Publishing (Kew, Victoria, Australia), 2000.

Train Trouble, Pearson Education Australia (Frenchs Forest, New South Wales, Australia), 2000.

The Surprise Patch, Pearson Education Australia (Frenchs Forest, New South Wales, Australia), 2000.

What a Load of Rubbish, Pearson Education Australia (Frenchs Forest, New South Wales, Australia), 2000.

Sea Stars, Pearson Education Australia (Frenchs Forest, New South Wales, Australia), 2000.

What's in the River? Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 2001.

What's Wrong, Aram? Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 2001.

Pitch Black, Nelson Thomson Learning (Southbank, Victoria, Australia), 2002.

Party Time! Penguin (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2002.


children's nonfiction


South Australia's Early Colonial Years, illustrated by Cait Wait, Hodder & Stoughton (Lane Cove, New South Wales, Australia), 1985.

Amazing Landforms, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1992.

Natural Disasters, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1992.

Rescues, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1992.

Making Masks, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1995.

Making Pop-ups, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1995.

Pilawuk: When I Was Young, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1996.

Maria Donato: When I Was Young, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1996.

Max Colwell: When I Was Young, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1996.

Young Achievers Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1996.

Sausage Jam! (playscript), Longman/Pearson Education Australia (South Melbourne, Australia), 2002.

Theseus and the Minotaur (playscript), Longman/Pearson Education Australia (South Melbourne, Australia), 2002.

Brothers Grimm (biography), Pearson Education Australia (South Melbourne, Australia), 2003.

children's poetry


Putrid Poems, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1985.

Petrifying Poems, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1986.

Vile Verse, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1988.

Four and Twenty Lamingtons, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1989.

Off the Planet, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1989.

Fractured Tales and Ruptured Rhymes, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1990.

Stay Loose, Mother Goose, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1990.

Christmas Crackers, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1990.

(With Gwen Pascoe) There Was a Big Fish, illustrated by Steven Woolman, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1992.

One Hundred Australian Poems for Children Random House (Milson's Point, New South Wales, Australia), 2002.


children's picture books


My Sister Learns Ballet, illustrated by Jim Gully, Childerset (Melbourne, Australia), 1984, published as Friends Learn Ballet, Gareth Stevens (Milwaukee, WI), 1985.

Mr. Taddle's Hats, illustrated by Carol McLean-Carr, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1987.

Down They Rolled, illustrated by Jane Cheshire, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1987.

Andrea's Cubby, illustrated by Simone Kennedy, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1988.

Beach Pirates, illustrated by Annmarie Scott, JamRoll Press/UQP (Nundah, Queensland, Australia), 1993.

Thumpety-Rah! illustrated by Maurizio Dotti, Wendy Pye (New Zealand), 1996.

Mr. Dallytap's Magic Coat, illustrated by Nathan Jurevicius, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1996.

The Letter-Box, illustrated by Deborah Baldassi, Era Publications (Flinders Park, South Australia, Australia), 1997.

Leaves for Mr. Walter, illustrated by David Cox, Margaret Hamilton (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1998.

Silly Galah! Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 2001.

Where Does Thursday Go? illustrated by Stephen Michael King, Margaret Hamilton (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2001.

Wishbone, ABC Books (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2002.

Its and Bits of Nature, Van Gastel/South Australian Museum (Wingfield, South Australia, Australia), 2002.

(Reteller) The Tinderbox, Pearson Education Australia (South Melbourne, Australia), 2003.

Teddy Bears Picnic (playscript), Pearson Education Australia (South Melbourne, Australia), 2003.

Author of numerous short stories for children and adults; contributor to Animal Scraps, Omnibus/Scholastic (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 2003; contributor to anthologies, including Original Sin, 1996, and The Girl Who Married a Fly, 1997; author of children's television scripts and plays; contributor of poems and articles to children's magazines, including School Magazine and Cricket, and to adult publications, including Prime Time, Australian Woman's Weekly, Primary Education, and Australian House and Garden.

WORK IN PROGRESS: The Horse That Could Fly, Thomas Nelson (Southbank, Victoria, Australia), 2004; Pop-up Fox, Penguin Australia (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2004; two picture books, a novel, and a collection of animal poems.


SIDELIGHTS: Janeen Brian is an Australian author of over sixty works for children, including picture books, short story collections, nonfiction titles, short novels for young readers, and poetry anthologies. A versatile and prolific writer, Brian is the winner of the 2002 Honour Book Award in the Early Childhood category of the Children's Book Council for her picture book title, Where Does Thursday Go?, which has also been translated into four languages. Brian brings to her writing an intimate knowledge of the reading needs of children gained from over twenty years as a primary school teacher and librarian, as well as the mother of two children.

Born in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1948, Brian has continued to make her home in the same vicinity, though she has also traveled internationally, in Britain, New Zealand, Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, and for three months lived in a remote Indian village. As a child she developed an early love of reading, making up plays and stories, and creating things in general. Such projects included knitting and sewing, in addition to more literary efforts. Growing up near the ocean, Brian also developed a love for the sea in all its moods. Unfortunately for the young Brian, she also grew up with few books in her home; with no school library to speak of, she got her reading material by borrowing books from other children. "I wish I'd been a bit braver as a child," Brian noted on her author's Web site, "because once when I went to the small local library with a friend, my friend got such a telling off from the librarian because she'd brought a book back late, it stopped my going to the library (which I'd only just discovered) for many years." Brian's father was sick during much of her childhood, but he still found the energy to recite funny poems to her, some of which she committed to memory. She got her "love for the ridiculous" from such early verse exposure. The radio was another companion, introducing her to the world of plays and stories.

Brian attended Adelaide's Brighton Primary School and High School; at the latter she enjoyed her English classes, especially the plays she read. While languages came easily for her, math and science were a different matter, requiring more effort. In 1966 she earned her teaching certificate from the Wattle Park Teachers' College in Adelaide and went to work as a primary school teacher and school librarian, a position she held from 1966 to 1990. In her first years of teaching, she started dabbling in writing; her first creation was a short story, "Little Blue Pig," which was rejected. She began writing more seriously and stubbornly at age thirty, attending a weekend seminar on writing and becoming determined to stick with it until she was published. To augment her teaching income, she wrote for a wide variety of markets, placing stories in magazines, writing jokes, greeting cards, and even running a personalized poem business for a time. Additionally, she was a part-time actor and voice-over presenter. Then in 1990 she decided to "take the plunge" into writing full time as she told CA. "It was the best thing I could have done," Brian further explained. "To live from an income of writing is strong motivation to write."

One of her early titles, Friends Learn Ballet, was chosen for the "Growing Up" series from U.S. publisher Gareth Stevens. Reviewing that picture book in Reading Teacher, Kathleen Naylor praised the manner in which the story "reinforces reading skills through the context of family values." Naylor also noted that the books in the series provide "enjoyable reading." Beach Pirates, inspired by Brian's own love of the Australian coast, tells the story of a picnic at the beach. Frances Kelly, writing in Emergency Librarian, found the picture book to be a "delightful . . . treat for all ages."

More aquatic themes are presented in There Was a Big Fish, dubbed a "lively collection" of limericks by Mandy Cheetham in Magpies. From poetry, Brian turns to short novels with Moving On, the story of three children in a fatherless family learning to deal with their mother's new and controlling friend. Patsy Jones, reviewing the easy-reader in Magpies, was of two minds about Moving On, noting that while Brian's text will not "intimidate the not-quite-confident reader," neither will it "convince them of the pleasures of reading." Leaves for Mr. Walter, on the other hand, is an award-winning title about the relationship between a crusty old man and a plucky young girl. Mr. Walter Buttress meets little Emilia one day while dumping leaves into her yard. After all, Mr. Buttress reasons, it is only right the leaves go back in that yard, for that is where the gum tree is that has dropped all the foliage. Emilia is not put off by the old man, nor is she deterred when he threatens to build his fence higher if Emilia's father chooses to build her a tree house in the offending gum tree. "What unfolds is a delight," according to Cynthia Anthony, writing in Magpies. Emilia is able to break through the old man's rough exterior and find a place in his heart by acts of kindness such as carrying fallen leaves away on her bike. She soon discovers that the old man was once a carpenter, skills he ultimately uses to help build the tree house for the young girl. Anthony also noted that "this is a lovely book for children to read or be read to."

Books from Brian geared toward the beginning reader appear in the "Solo" series. What's in the River? "puts a very satisfying spin on dealing with pollution," according to Margaret Phillips in Magpies. In the book a group of jungle animals who become increasingly disturbed by the things they find in the river decide to take such refuse back to the people living upstream who obviously misplaced the items. What's Wrong Aram? again deals with animals, though this time with ones held in captivity and how they are changed by such an experience. Aram the elephant becomes bored by captivity, but is saved by the new zookeeper, Deb. "All the stories [in the series] will be enjoyed by readers," concluded Phillips in Magpies. Animals are at the center of 2001's Silly Galah! as well, but this time featured in eighteen one-stanza poems which are "sure to be a favorite," according to Phillips. Each poem is accompanied with brief factual information about the animal, "combining fun with fact," as Phillips further remarked.

Of the works by Brian to be published in the United States, one of the most popular has been Where Does Thursday Go? Bruno the bear has had a great time at his birthday party, but now that the day is ending, he wonders where the time has gone so quickly. He in fact goes in search of Thursday with his friend, Bert, and at one point decides that the moon is Thursday because it reminds him of his round birthday cake. Booklist's Carolyn Phelan found the book "gracefully written," while a reviewer for Publishers Weekly called it a "gentle tale." Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, reviewing the title in School Library Journal, concluded that Where Does Thursday Go? is a "perfect bedtime story."

Brian, who does workshops in schools much of the year in her native Australia, is an industrious professional with a regular schedule. Her writing day begins with a brisk walk, and by 8:30 she is at her desk in her home office. Writing first drafts with paper and pen, she revises her works on the computer. "I am very disciplined and determined as a person," Brian told CA. "I can focus and concentrate and I think this has been one of my best attributes where writing is concerned." Brian concluded, "I write because I love it; because I can channel experiences into words; because I can play with language, and because I have a strong commitment to children and their reading. Writing for me is, and maybe always will be, hard fun!"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:


periodicals


Booklist, March 1, 2002, Carolyn Phelan, review of Where Does Thursday Go? p. 1139.

Emergency Librarian, March, 1994, Frances Kelly, review of Beach Pirates, p. 20.

Magpies, September, 1993, Mandy Cheetham, review of There Was a Big Fish, p. 38; July, 1994, Patsy Jones, review of Moving On, p. 29; May, 1998, Cynthia Anthony, review of Leaves for Mr. Walter, pp. 26-27; May, 2001, Margaret Phillips, review of What's in the River? p. 29; November, 2001, Margaret Phillips, review of Silly Galah! p. 28, and What's Wrong Aram? p. 29.

Publishers Weekly, January 28, 2002, review of WhereDoes Thursday Go? p. 289.

Reading Teacher, May, 1986, Kathleen Naylor, review of Friends Learn Ballet, pp. 986-987.

School Library Journal, April, 2002, Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, review of Where Does Thursday Go? p. 100.


online


Janeen Brian Web site,http://www.janeenbrian.com (March 4, 2003).