Dianne Forbes

Dianne Forbes

I work in teacher education and digital learning at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. I am an online learning enthusiast, and an experienced teacher.

Location New Zealand


  • I would imagine it would be the presence of two languages in a single book (dual language), rather than replacing one language with another (translation).

  • Your point about balancing simplicity with complexity resonates with me Anne. I think it is a matter of personal style and preference - for the illustrator and the readers. My experience as a reader, primary school teacher and parent suggests that some children gravitate toward very complex and intricate illustrations as they like to spend time searching and...

  • Welcome Bryony, you are going to enjoy our interview with Lynley Dodd!

  • Happy new year to those who celebrate at this time, and thank you for joining us here. We are looking forward to your comments and discussion as you work through the course. We hope you will share the picturebooks that inspire you and the thoughts and ideas that arise along the way. Ngā mihi ki a koutou, Dianne

  • We have appreciated your sharing and insights throughout the course Chetna

  • Thank you for sharing your analyses of illustrations. It is interesting to read of how the techniques can be applied, and how the rules are sometimes broken too

  • I enjoy reading etexts for work and pleasure as they are cheap and easy to access, store and transport. I do find however that I am less likely to remember the title of an ebook, or to recall what the cover looks like, as the book is in effect always open each time I pick up my ereader.

  • Very true, we (Nicola and I) work with student teacher and encourage them to read picturebooks with/to students of all ages - including adults

  • @RebeccaSchwartz I loved Babar as well, lots of good memories there

  • Thank you Elena, it has been great reading the responses of all participants.

  • Thank you Rach, I have enjoyed reading your contributions too :)

  • From what we are told, the publisher plays a significant role in this, liaising and matching between author and illustrator.

  • Yes, absolutely. I have to admit when I was a child I did find the book pretty scary though :)

  • It is so important to have books that we can relate to the places we are close to, isn't it. They become part of our identity.

  • Welcome Eva, lovely to have a writer join us. We have been fortunate to be joined by a few writers in previous runs of the course, and you have so much valuable experience to share with us all.

  • Nice to virtually meet you too Romina :)

  • Welcome Rach :) I don't know Brother Eagle, Sister Sky, but I bet Nicola does! It sounds like a vital narrative, I'll check it out, thank you.

  • Wonderful memories are being shared here, thank you all :) We are still checking in to enjoy your posts, so keep them coming!

  • Some real classic titles there Bethan!

  • Kia ora Ra, what lovely vivid memories :) I remember the Elves and the Shoemaker. I loved it too, and the outfits were also a highlight for me.

  • I look forward to reading reflections from those who are just joining us :)

  • If you are just joining us, drop in here and say Hi :)

  • Welcome to the course! If you are just joining us, please know that we (the course facilitators, Nicola and I) are still popping in regularly to see how things are going, to read your comments and to respond to the discussion. Please do keep sharing and we look forward to reading your thoughts.

  • From what I see, there is some diversity in publishers. I recently interviewed Julia Marshall from Gecko Press, an independent publisher generating diverse books https://geckopress.com/

  • You have described that beautifully Daniella :)

  • @ClareBrennan What a fantastic collection! My favourite Christmas themed picturebooks include The Trolley (week 4 of this course), the Christmas Caravan, and my son always loved The Kiwi Night Before Christmas.

  • I have enjoyed interacting with recent participants, thank you for all of your contributions :)

  • I'd like to say something comforting Nicole, but this is distressing. I hope you have a supportive group of colleagues and that you can work and cope with bigotry. I also worry for your physical safety.

    In my places of working and living (in Aotearoa New Zealand), it is often more a matter of silence, absence, and a general void of recognition. There is an...

  • Beautiful memory, and thank you for sharing the link Nicole, it was Gold. 1936!! The Christmas tree made from stacked umbrellas blew me away!

    I chose this particular book as it is precious to me as the daughter of a single mother and I had a trolley when I was 10. I broke my leg in two places on that sucker, aged 12! But not before it earned a little...

  • This is a really compelling analysis and critique Nicole, and reminds me of the role of digital gaming too. One of my favourite games is called Kisima Ingitchuna, Never Alone. Here is a 'making of' clip I find inspirational, even after a few years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9ndBVFrc2U
    I grew up in the 1970s and 80s and I don't recall any LGBTQ+...

  • Yes, possibly, so the animals are a cute and easy way out. And yet they still manage to perpetuate the same stereotypes. I also think that we get what we settle for, and same breeds more of the same. What I mean by that is that if animal books sell well then more will be produced/published and they will remain popular, and the cycle goes on. Of course there is...

  • My guess would be that all parties play a role in this Sarah :) In turn, I am mindful of our earlier discussion of how adults act as gatekeepers. We adults who demand, purchase, support, gift and read diverse picturebooks will influence the production of these.

  • I'm thrilled you were able to find it! I was intrigued and looked it up too, thank you :) I see the English title is 'Pretty stories and funny pictures' which seems quite amusing in itself given the gory details! In my experience, children love picturebooks that are a little bit shocking in their humour, violence or irreverence. I found a pdf of a Routledge...

  • And those universal themes will be an effective way of connecting diverse peoples, thanks for sharing those titles Nicole.

  • @NicoleV That is wonderful to hear Nicole, inspiring :)

  • @SarahA I would imagine that there are many people who underestimate the challenge of writing a picturebook, would you agree Sarah? People sometimes think short is easy, and that anything leaning toward children is somehow inferior too. As you say, this is an intricate pairing and every word and brush stroke counts :)

  • Would you consider the process is similar in the USA Nicole, and that all publishers approach it in a standard way? Do you have a favourite (iconic) series of books that all children grow up with and that people can often quote at length? I wonder what the equivalent might be in America - and I imagine there would be quite a few to choose from too :)

  • I have recently interviewed a publisher who explained that she helps the authors and illustrators to collaborate, and they make decisions between the three of them so that the book is a truly negotiated and collective effort.

  • That's a shame Nicole, do go and seek out the books, they are world famous :) Here is a YouTube clip of the original book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8eGWfE4l9g

  • Yes, the interaction with others around a favourite topic is a wonderful way to learn isn't it Clare. Far more social and less transmissive. Discussion is also one of my favourite ways of learning :)

  • Thanks Sarah, it is fun sharing favourite books with others :)

  • That sounds like an amazing collection Clare! How many picturebooks do you estimate you have? Are there particular categories you look for? I look forward to hearing more and to reading what you share about your collection as the course goes on :)

  • Paul also made an excellent point about the difficulty of travelling to access food. I thought of this today, as I subscribe to a newsletter for volunteers in my region. Today I see there is a listing asking for volunteers to support people who have issues with accessing food by delivering it to their doorstep. There are roles for people to deliver hot meals...