Picture Books

Writing picture books for all ages is challenging and beautiful. For young children they discover story and illustrations. For older children, teens and adults there is so much more to uncover – from world peace, diversity of faiths, inclusion, family, disability, migration, war, love.

Susanne Gervay

Elephants Have Wings

‘Elephants Have Wings’ is the beautiful story of two children embarking on the great journey of discovery, nestled in the wings of a mystical white elephant. They fly across the world, seeing its beauty, then conflict, to discover, there is a pathway to the humanity in all of us.

Why is it called Elephants Have Wings?

In Hindu mythology during the monsoons that refresh the earth with life-giving rains, the clouds bringing rains are regarded as the WINGS OF ELEPHANTS.

The Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant

‘Elephants Have Wings’ is a re-visioning of the parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant for everyone.

There are many versions of the story of the blind men and the elephant. tale, where a group of blind men (or men in the dark) touch an elephant to learn what it is like. Each one feels a different part. They argue over what they feel, until they realise they are touching the one elephant.

It opens discussion about what is truth.

This parable is told in Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism, Jainism and many Asian- Indian religions and studied in philosophy universally.

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Elephants Have Wings is Endorsed by The Blake Prize for Art and Poetry

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The Blake Prize is named after the legendary British artist and poet William Blake (1757-1827). Established by Jesuit priest, Michael Scott and a Jewish artist, Richard Morley to create significant works of spiritual art in 1951 in the search for understanding and peace. The Blake Poetry Prize was added in 2008.

What does the Elephant symbolise?

  • Elephants  are both revered in religion and respected for their prowess in war. Ever since the stone age, there have been images of elephants in art and mythology surrounding them
  • Elephants for many cultures represent courage, hope, endurance, wisdom.
  • Buddha was re-incarnated into a white elephant and at his birth, a white elephant appeared in the sky.
  • Garuda the mythological bird created from the cosmic egg hatched the eight elephants supporting the universe.
  • Ganesh, venerated Hindu Elephant God, is Lord of Obstacles and Beginnings.
  • In Islamic tradition, the year 570 is when the Prophet Muhammad was born and is known as the Year of the Elephant.
  • In Christianity the elephant has become symbolic of Biblical stories. The elephant, if ridden by Peter, symbolizes the church going forth to conquer the world. http://www.christiansymbols.net/animals_7.php
  • Elephants are represented in art, faiths, wildlife across the world.

Elephants are Asian or African and very intelligent and show grief, joy, anger and play.  They form deep family bonds and live in a herd led by the oldest and often largest female elephants. Extremely intelligent, they have memories that span many years. Roaming in herds and consuming hundreds of pounds of plant matter in a single day, elephants need a lot off food, water and space.  However  their habitats are being lost and hunters are poaching them for their ivory tusks.

They are loved but their survival has been threatened.

There are groups like WWF, Australia Zoo and Taronga Zoo working to protect elephants.

Creating the cover of Elephants Have Wings was an artistic challenge.

Creating the cover of Elephants Have Wings was an artistic challenge.

Watch 'Seeing is Believing - Visual Literacy Alive'

Gracie and Josh

by Susanne Gervay and Serena Geddes is endorsed by VARIETY the children’s charity.

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“Gracie and Josh is a book about sticking together – through good and bad. It is about unconditional love and support, about resilience and about never giving up. It is a book that will make you turn to your family members and hug them. It is a book that you won’t easily forget.”

BUZZ WORDS MAGAZINE Reviewed by Francine Sculli

“A sweet telling of siblings loving each other, enjoying each other, and rising above what life throws at them.”

Children’s Book Council Australia, Rachel Greenwood Editor

“It is a story which shows both the joys of being a kid as well as their vulnerability and confusion when confronted with tough stuff, and how the special relationship between siblings is so critical. As much as Gracie is there for Josh, he is there for Gracie.”

Barbara Braxton Teacher Librarian M.Ed. (TL); M.App.Sci. (TL); M.I.S. (Children’s Services)

“It isn’t often—if ever—that a picture book has the power to bring a lump to my throat. This one did it for me. Endorsed by Variety the children’s charity, Gracie and Josh is not a story about fighting a life-threatening disease; it’s a story about life and living — and milking every drop from every minute we have been given. This is a profound lesson for us all. Sadly, the world is filled with children like Gracie and Josh. Every one of them is undoubtedly a hero.”

PIO reviewer Jenny Mounfield

Susanne Gervay

Ships in the Field

A deeply personal story

  • inspired by my parents and family who escaped war and communism as refugees to find home in Australia.
  • inspired by Anna Pignataro’s Italian parents and family who were refugees expelled from Egypt to find home in Australia.

Dedicated to my courageous aunts Margaret, Irenke and Magda who survived unlike many of their family and built a new life here.

Launched by the Olympic swimmer and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lisa Forrest – my aunt Margaret was so proud.

Awarded two Notable awards by the Children’s Book Council;  written by Susanne Gervay and illustrated by Anna Pignataro (ISBN: 978-1-876462-87-1) www.fordstreetpublishing.com

ships-in-the-field-Illustration-of-flying-dogAward winning Illustrator Anna Pignataro illustrates Susanne Gervay’s Ships in the Field

Anna Pignataro has illustrated since a child as a way to make sense of the immigrant experience and explore her creativity. She always knew she’d become an illustrator for young people.

After completing art college she worked in graphic design and teaching, and painted murals for theatre plays and shops. Anna has created more than forty books including her best selling ‘Princess and Fairy’ series; illustrated works by some of Australia’s most renowned authors including Gillian Rubenstein and Colin Thompson; and won many awards for her work. Anna was awarded the prestigious Children’s Book Council Australia, Crichton Award for Children’s Book Illustration; shortlisted for Picture Book of the Year by the Children’s Book Council of Australia; received many CBCA Notable Awards.

Many of her picture books have sold rights throughout the world and her illustrations are exhibited widely including solo exhibitions, and held in private collections in a number of different countries. Her critically acclaimed books, ‘Always and Together‘ and her series, ‘Princess and Fairy‘, with its make-believe world of rabbits are enjoyed in many different languages. ‘Princess and Fairy‘ was included in the 2009 – The Kids Top 50 books voted by Australian children nationwide.

Australia dayAustralia Day Ambassador and Order of Australia

I am proud to be an Australia Day Ambassador awarded at a ceremony with Governor Marie Bashir an Order of Australia.

On the 26th January Australia Day every year I give the Australia Day address often in remote and regional communities, carrying the message of ‘Ships in the Field‘ and celebration of Australia.