Como resident’s debut children’s book shortlisted for national award

Como resident and art teacher Michael Speechley's debut picture children book made it to the shortlist of the CBCA Awards. Picture: Supplied.
Como resident and art teacher Michael Speechley's debut picture children book made it to the shortlist of the CBCA Awards. Picture: Supplied.

WRITING and illustrating a children’s book was more than just passing the time for a Como resident, it was a way to teach kids the dangers of consumerism.

The All New Must Have Orange 430, published in May last year, is the debut publication for Irene McCormack Catholic College art teacher Michael Speechley.Mr Speechley said he wanted kids to figure out how to think about their purchases through the main character, a boy who always wanted the newest thing on the market.

“It looks at the negative sides of consumerism and advertising, making people a little more aware about how these work,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a worry when kids are targeted, even at a young age.

“Fidget spinners are a classic example.”The All New Must Have Orange 430 is one of six books shortlisted in the Picture Book category of the 2019 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards.

“There are so many good books and to see that this book has been shortlisted is a genuine surprise,” Mr Speechley said.

“The intrinsic reward about making this book is that it helps to address the long term effects that consumerism has on the environment.”

Mr Speechley said the idea was birthed almost 10 years ago during a university project which involved turning found objects into artworks.

“People sometimes think that it’s a very quick and easy process to write children’s books,” he said.

Mr Speechley’s next book The Gift explores the themes of loss and grief and will be available in September.

The CBCA Award winners will be announced on August 16.