Love leads the re-publication of six children’s books

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Jen McDonald with the books

AN unusual combination of family memories and the love of books has led to the re-publication of six children’s books written by the late author, Bettina Ehrlich.

Celebrated at the Austrian Embassy earlier this week (Tuesday, September 17), the six books have been a labour of love for founder of the publisher “For Pity Sake”, Jen McDonald and Canberra arts identity Barbie Robinson.

On show at the official launch were two of the works “Francesco and Francesca” and “The Goat Boy”.

McDonald told those present about the long search for the rights, held by the Jewish Blind & Disabled society, and their eventual acquisition of the right to publish.

Ehrlich, an Austrian painter and illustrator of children’s books, it was explained to those present, was an émigré to England following the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938.

Her unique combination of words and illustrations led to a series of popular books, which McDonald and Robinson believed would be attractive to a new generation. Mcdonald explained that her introduction to the stories had come from her literature-loving father, the famous Queensland journalist, Keith Henry Mcdonald, who used to read her books to his children and enjoy them just as much himself.

Austrian Ambassador Bernhard Zimburg, who hosted the launch, described the European perspective in Ehrlich’s books, which he said could easily traverse national boundaries in what he described as a kind of “universalism”, in Dr Zimburg’s view, the books came from an era when many European countries were not nation states, but rather “realms”.

In keeping with the Austrian flavour of the launch, 16-year-old Canberra pianist Bernice Chua, on holidays from studying in the degree program at Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, performed Chopin, Liszt and her very own composition “Until We Meet Again”.

The Bettina Ehrlich books can be purchased at forpitysake.com.au

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