Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Susanne Gervey-award winning author

Congratulations to Sydney author Susanne Gervay OAM who has been awarded a Medal in the General Division of this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.
Her titles include:

I am Jack;

Super Jack; Jack Forever; Butterflies; The Cave.
Susanne is the only children's/young adult author in this years awards.

I would like to share a post by Barbara Braxton (with permission)
"This is such a richly deserved award. If you haven't read any of her works,
then you must. Her latest is 'Always Jack' and its focus is breast cancer .
This is the review I wrote last year:"
ALWAYS JACK  Susanne Gervay   Cathy Wilcox
Angus & Robertson, 2010

Jack's back! Hero of I am Jack and Super Jack and his family,

including Nanna (and her infamous purple underpants),
are back in another story, this time dealing with a crisis
that so many families face - breast cancer. Known for being
the author who tackles the big issues, Susanne has drawn on her
experiences as a breast cancer survivor to weave a story of how
a family can receive such shattering news and then pull together
to emerge stronger than ever.
The cover, by Cathy Wilcox, sets the scene perfectly. Jack is on
 his surfboard paddling on calm waters unaware of the big wave
that has risen behind him and is about to come crashing down.
His world, at the moment, consists of his scientific experiment
with his ponto, his photography, his budding relationship
with both Anna and soon-to-be brother Leo, and THE wedding
between his mum and stepdad Rob. What happens when his mum
receives the news after a routine mammogram makes for an
intriguing  and intimate look at this family's relationships and
you soon understand that this disease is a family problem,
not just a mum problem.
Initially, in her innate bid to protect the children, Jack's mum
tells the children to keep it to themselves, not to worry and that
she will be all right. But this is not what Jack and Samantha need
to hear. They are worried, they need to tell their friends and they
 can clearly see mum is not all right so feel she is lying to them.
They feel confused, powerless and shut out of this thing that is SO
big that even the wedding is postponed. 
But Nanna has some remarkable advice that brings the family together
and helps them endure the surgery and the subsequent radiation
treatment so that it becomes almost a positive in their lives.
"Story gives children a voice", Susanne says, "particularly in these
sorts of circumstances. My job, as an educational psychologist and
a storyteller is to give them that voice so that those around them
know what they are thinking."
But this is not a sad , heavy book - Jack's zany jokes, his life-changing
project on Vietnam with his friend Christopher, and his deep love
for his sister despite the surface bickering, shine through to provide
a positive, uplifting tale that leaves a real impact on the reader.
It is not didactic but there is a powerful message both between and
beyond the lines.

Endorsed by the Cancer Council NSW (http://www.cancercouncil.com.au) 
and the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre (http://nbocc.org.au)
this book is an essential addition to your collection. But it is also an essential 
addition to the libraries of those organisations whose role is to support 
families affected by cancer so perhaps you might choose to donate a copy
to them. My colleague and I gave one to our local McGrath Foundation 
breast care nurse. A percentage of the proceeds goes to the Cancer 
Council and the NBOCC so your purchase will touch so many lives.

If you are affected by this disease, the helpline number is 131120 or visit
the National Screening program  for details of the program. 

If you are interested in the 2011 recepients of the OAM you can read this doument


  1. It is such a special honour from my country - thankyou

  2. You are so deserving. I am so delighted to be able to offer my very own personal Congratulations to you!!Thank you Susanne. We are busy exploring your thought provoking books at school :)