Archive for the ‘Children’s fiction’ Category

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The beagle’s depressed.

I’ve been holed up for weeks meeting my publisher’s deadline. And after a final, heroic, sixteen-hour sprint to an after-midnight finish, I am ready for an outing… and the beagle’s not coming.

Sorry, Huggy, but this is strictly for humans – especially those who love books for kids.

THE INSIDE STORY is a free, funtastic event on this Saturday 2 November from 10am, organised by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in assocation with specialist bookshops all over the world. In Brisbane, it’s being held at Black Cat Books at La Trobe Terrace,Paddington.

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I’ll be there, along with a host of fabulous authors and illustrators including Pamela Rushby, Katherine Battersby, Peter Taylor, Julie Nickerson, Dimity Powell, Michelle Worthington, Judy Paulson, Candice Lemon-Scott, Samantha Wheeler, JR Poulter, Christina Boolenbach, Stephen Axelsen and Angela Sunde.

Love to see you there too. 🙂

For more information, click on QLD INSIDE STORY.

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It’s that time of year again. The Children’s Book Council of Australia has announced its Notable and Shortlisted books in their 2013 Book of the Year Awards.

If, like me, you’re always on the lookout for quality books for kids, click on the following links for this year’s  CBCA Notable Books and Shortlisted books.

It was a big thrill to see Trust Me Too make the Notable list for younger readers. The Ford St Publishing anthology included my Killer Stories as one of more than fifty contributions from some of Australia’s top writers and illustrators for kids.

It caps a great year for Trust Me Too which  has also been chosen for The White Ravens 2013, an annual selection of the top 250 books for young people from around the world prepared by the International Youth Library in Germany.

Congratulations to all Notable and Shortlisted authors and illustrators, and especially to the ever-affable Gus Gordon, whose short-listed picture book Herman and Rosie  I was privileged to launch in Brisbane last year. Always nice to see the good guys get a guernsey!

Oh for heaven’s sakes, what was I thinking???

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Judging a Drongoes art competition at the local school seemed like such a great idea at the time…. but then in came more than a hundred entries from Grades One-to-Three at St Ambrose’s, Newmarket, and every dang one of them was as cute as a bug’s ear.

The Race, by Tessa, Year One

Jack vs Rocket Robson, by Tessa, Year One

Talk about diversity and depth of talent among our local 6-to-8 year olds. After listening to only two chapters from Drongoes , each child created a unique pictorial take on the story.

Some focused on the race between Jack and his arch-rival Rocket Robson….

Best mates, by Charlotte, Year Two

Best mates, by Charlotte, Year Two

others on the strong bond of mateship that sustained Jack and his best bud, Eric through their toughest times….

and more than a few were inspired by the asthmatic Eric’s nickname, Puff the Magic Dragon! P1000629

The special place where Jack went to be alone with his drongo ‘mates’ was one of the most beautifully depicted scenes …

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Down the creek, by Luke, Year 3

…as were the drongoes that flit in at the end of the story to unexpectedly save the day.

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Drongo by Charlotte, Year One

Congratulations – not only to Tessa and Charlotte in Year One, Charlotte (another one!) in Year Two, and Luke in Year Three – but to each and every one of the entrants from St Ambrose’s.

You are all winners in my book. 🙂P1000633
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And the winners are...

And the winners are…

drongoes

Growing up in the bush, I cut my chops on prime Aussie slang.

Life was full of dills and drongoes, drop-kicks and silly galahs, useless buggers who couldn’t run a bath, and funny buggers who claimed to have hit every branch of the ugly tree on the way down.

Language was full of fun and effect. Cheating and stealing were lower than a goanna’s gearbox, and if you were caught in the act, you took off like a choko vine over the back dunny….

Yet these days, using Aussie slang can be a bit like speaking a foreign language to today’s kids. Hands immediately shoot up in the classroom. ‘What’s a dill? What does drongo mean?”

It occurred to me that some Aussie vernacular was in danger of dying a death if someone didn’t do something….so I wrote Drongoes to help breathe some new life into a favourite Aussie expression.

This latest chapter book in Scholastic’s Mates series of great Australian yarns introduces drongoes – (the bird, the word, and the dogged little triers it has come to represent) – to a whole new generation of newly independent readers.

Drongoes will meet its first readers at the Brisbane schools launch at St Ambrose’s, Newmarket, on Sunday 3 March from 3pm.

First reviews are now in – yay! You can read Fran Knight’s review for ReadPlus by clicking here, Dimity Powell’s review for Boomerang Books, by clicking here and Megan Daley’s review and teaching activities at Childrens Books Daily by clicking here.

Teachers Notes can be found at http://www.scholastic.com.au/schools/education/teacherresources/assets/pdfs/Drongoes.pdf

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It’s here, it’s here, my first little Aussie Mate. (And seriously, with a title like Drongoes, what else could it be?)

When the fabulous Dyan Blacklock at Scholastic first asked me if I’d like to write something for their Mates series for newly independent readers, my immediate reaction was hell, yeah – I’m a sheila from Biloela, I live for great Aussie yarns.

And I have to say that writing Drongoes was about as much fun as I’ve had at a keyboard. It took me back to my own early reading discoveries and the thrill of graduating to big kids’ books with proper stories and chapters and everything (just like younger readers will find in Drongoes ;))

Drongoes is out now, so look out for it in Scholastic Book Club in schools. Or if you’re really keen, you can order it by clicking here. 🙂

Love to hear what you think of it.

Can Jack beat arch-enemy Rocket Robson in this year’s cross-country? If only! A heart-warming story of mateship and drongoes, where the real winner isn’t always the first over the line.

Sending air kisses into the ether – mmwa – to everyone who voted for Dust and Henry Hoey Hobson in THE BIG READ celebrating stories set in Queensland.

Thanks to you, they’ve both come in winners – Dust for Older Readers, and Henry Hoey Hobson in the Younger Readers category.

Saturday’s announcement at the State Library of Queensland by Book Links Qld as part of the National Year of Reading was a great way to end Book Week …and an every better kickstart to Literacy Week (oh yes, the big weeks just keep on rolling for we wranglers of words).

Tomorrow I’m off to Calvary Christian College, and then on to All Hallows and Mt Alvernia later in the week to talk books and writing to secondary students.

And for Brisbane lovers of picture books, please feel free to drop by Riverbend Books at 5pm on Tuesday 28 August for the launch of Gus Gordon’s gorgeous Herman and Rosie. We’d love to see you there. 🙂

Man, oh man, I am so looking forward to putting my feet up this weekend.

(I even have it scheduled in: 7.30 pm this Saturday, 25 August, to help celebrate The Reading Hour as part of the National Year of Reading.)

Book Week is a huge month for authors – it’s our time to shine.

We drag ourselves away from the keyboard and out of the dacks of track, and into our silver writing sneakers to sashay our way through talks and workshops all over town.

The best bits are always the kids and their shiny bright ideas. Though I do have a soft spot for the lunch treats all those lovely librarians and teachers roll out for visiting authors (yes, Warrigal Road State School, I am talking about you. Homemade gyoza. Nom nom. Thank you, Mary and Maureen!)

My Book Week kicked off a couple of weeks ago, but it really hotted up this week and is showing no signs of easing till the end of the month.

Last Sunday, I had a fun day with my made-of-awesome Year-of-the-YA-novel students in at the Qld Writers Centre, followed by many fun days with the lovely girls at Moreton Bay College and the champion little writers in at Warrigal Road State School.

Next week, I’m looking forward to spending my days at All Hallows School, Calvary College’s Literature Day, and Mount Alvernia College. And of course, there’s also the wonderful Gus Gordon’s book launch to look forward to (Tuesday 28 August at 5pm at Riverbend Books for those little and big people who love picture books).

If you need me before 31 August, I’ll be hard to track down during the day. But at night, you need look no further than my couch. I’ll be assuming the position. Feet up. Reading a book.