I wanted to start off this news with the most exciting part of the last couple of months, and give a BIG SHOUT OUT to the CBCA NSW Eastern Suburbs Sub-branch for the launch of their anthology, Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds.
This is such a brilliant concept, and not just because I have a poem in it! It's a wonderful collection of bite-sized stories, poetry and plays, generously written and illustrated by some wonderfully talented creators, including a few famous faces, on this year's book week theme. It really has been community coming together! The book is perfect for kids to flick though before bed, or read with a parent, and a MUST for school libraries and classrooms. Check out #ownwow on social media to see some of the hype.
I must say I was a little daunted to read my piece at the launch in front of the Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of NSW, especially since my poem is titled 'Toilet Tales' and inevitably includes the P word! It consists of three discreet (or should that be indiscrete??) nine word stories, each set in a different world (Old, New, and Other) with a rhyme at the end of them. You can see me reading it on my YouTube channel here. It was inspired by my father's experiences as a boy using the outhouse at night.
Can I also say, what warm and wonderful patrons the Governor and her husband are. Her Excellency described the book as a ‘classic’ and a book “we wished we had read while in upper primary years.” They had also prepared a funny video to advertise the CBCA Collide Book trailer competition. In all they did, they left the guests under no illusion as to who the VIPs in the room were... the children!
Of course, launches are always highlights, and I got to celebrate another one recently - Shelly Unwin's Hello Baby (Jedda Robaard illustrator). I raved about this book last time! At the launch I had an amazing time catching up with many kidlit friends, and while zoom has its benefits, there’s nothing like a good in-person free-ranging natter about all things kidlit. It was so encouraging and inspiring, plus I picked up some great insider hints and tips. I also won an artwork from this gorgeous book!
While in town, Shelly was on the radio giving some great advice about reading to your baby, on Hope 103.2 radio with Katrina Roe. You can listen in here.
So many of my adventures these last two months have gone to the dogs! Archie and I have been overjoyed to see so many pooches in our KidLitLand adventures and even on our TV screen, and in our puzzles! Even the abovementioned anthology has dogs running through it - from green space puppies and Pixie the cavoodle, to graphically illustrated Treepy. There may be more, but I haven't read right through yet!
Apart from the anthology, I've also been reading:
Paws, by Kate Foster. It's a great mid-grade novel about a boy and his dog! Told with warmth, kindness and insight, an own voices, first person narrative about an 11 year old boy with autism and his quest to make friends. Kate celebrated publication day with a fabulous social media campaign, with pooches (including Archie, of course) flooding the internet!
Heroes of the Secret Underground. Susanne Gervay has written a heart-stopping timeslip adventure based on her family’s experience in Budapest, Hungary during the Holocaust. A book that needed to be written, by an author of great skill, sensitivity and insight, who brings the story to light and makes it relevant for today.
Kate Gordon is a master at writing achingly beautiful books, and CBCA notable, Aster’s Good, Right Things, is another of them. It’s a tender story from the perspective a child with anxiety, and is shortlisted for the CBCA book of the year award.
On a recent trip to Canberra, I listened to Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina and read by one of my favourite actresses, Miranda Tapsell. Set in a small country town, it was the perfect mystery, suspense story (albeit chillingly tragic) to read while driving through country NSW.
I always love chatting to Katrina Roe on Hope 103.2 about kids and YA Books, and here is the selection over the past two months:
As you can see, pooches feature prominently (with a few farm animals thrown into the mix)! I've written about Walking Your Human and Future Girl before - I recommend them everywhere!
The four Junior Fiction books are all part of new series, which is exciting. Pepper Creek Ponies by Jess Black and illustrated by Serena Geddes is perfect for 8-10 y/o horse-loving children, like I was. On the younger end of the reading scale, Nerd Herd by Nathan Luff and illustrated by Chris Kennett has lots of slapstick humour reminiscent of old cartoons I used to watch as a kid, but with a kinder feel.
Puppy diary is the latest series from Yvette Poshoglian of Ella and Olivia fame, illustrated by Phil Judd
and is the diary of Archie (not to be confused with StoryHound) and his adventures in doggy day care. The Underdogs by Kate & Jol Temple and illustrated by Shiloh Gordon is a great madcap mystery that kids will giggle at as they try and piece together the clues, and adults will love the zany pop culture references (Dr Spots the gadget-girl Dalmatian is a wink to Q from James Bond, princess Leia, and Dr Spock!) Check out their Instagram account for more.
Talking about Instagram, Archie is barking mad over The Underdogs competition! Post a photo of your pet on Instagram and tag The Underdogs, and you could win your pet a place in their upcoming book! Archie is so excited, he's entered - check the moving image out at Story_hound. You can find more details on The_Underdogs_official Instagram account.
On the back of having a play accepted by The School Magazine, I've sent a couple of other stories to them, without the same success :-( So now I'll look elsewhere for placement. I've also sent out a few stories for adults, and had the pleasure of reading one, titled 'Pickles' to a flash fiction event in the Blue Mountains last weekend.
On my radar:
How good was the National Simultaneous Storytime read from space? How cool to see Philip Bunting’s book, Give Me Some Space, float in zero gravity! And what a brilliant reading by astronaut Shannon! You can watch it here.
The National centre for Australian Children's Literature in Canberra has a fantastically doggy exhibition on until 23rd June, Dog tales: Dogs in Australian Children's Literature. Featuring the works of Bob Graham, Alison Lester and Anne James. I do hope I can get to it before it closes.
Two doggish TV shows: the UK The Dog House, on 10 Play, which is a sigh-and-cry-fest for my daughter and I. The stories of rescue dogs and those who adopt them is both heart-breaking and heart-warming; and Top Jobs For Dogs on ABC i-view, where we've discovered some amazing working dogs.
Looking forward to:
The launch of Nat Amoore's latest mid-grade novel, The Right Way to Rock, on Friday. If you haven't seen Nat's unboxing video of this book, you simply must view it here.
Creative Kid's Tales Writer's Festival on this weekend (I'll be juggling between this and Nat's launch)
CBCA NSW Northern Sydney Sub-branch next event at Gordon library on the 9th June, and our dinner with fantastic Great Debate by some of the funniest authors and illustrators from our sub-branch, on the 21st July. Find out more here.
CYA Conference in July. I have a couple of writing assessments I'm looking forward to.
Well, that's about all from me,
Until next time, stay safe,
PS I'll leave you with a pic of our doggie puzzle - perfect for winter!