Wow! Has it been that long since I last wrote? It’s been a wild ride since the publication of Anchored!! Sending out a big THANK YOU to everyone who has encouraged and supported me, and helped Anchored sail into the hands of booksellers, libraries and, most importantly, readers. My heart is full of gratitude.
I have been posting lots of photos on social media so hopefully you’ve seen a bit of my adventures closer to ‘real time!’ But as we left off last episode of KidLitLand on the eve of the big launch, let’s do some catch up!
The wonderful Kristin Darell helped me launch the book, and gave me a wonderful ‘softee’ bottle of bubbles to christen it with – it was so fun!! I was overwhelmed with the warmth and support of so many people!
If I have one regret, it was that I didn’t make enough fuss of Kristin Darell and her books which were also on sale on the day (thanks to the amazing support of Dymocks Neutral Bay). So let me rectify that now: Kris oozes warmth, enthusiasm, and talent across the board. Some of her favourite things are writing and interviewing, and she is brilliant at both! Her junior fiction Football Fever series is not just for sport-loving readers, but their stories of friendship, navigating conflict, team work and valuing others are above sport and speak to real issues kids (and all of us face). Highly recommended!
Back on the Anchored afterglow, I am thrilled to say that my little Tug and Ship have been generating lots of amazingly wonderful reviews. I won’t bore you with them all here, as most of them are collected on my website here. But what has blown me away even more recently has been the Anchored love in the UK! It got a mention in the The Times in the UK in an article on ‘Best Children’s Books for Summer 2023’ where it was the FIRST of five mentioned (cover shot and all - see below) in the first category of 0-5 y/o along with new books by legends Michael Rosen and Anthony Browne!!!!!!! Gobsmacked!!!! It was also shortlisted for the Rubery Award (an international award for books from independent publishers and self-published creators) AND was also in ‘Our picks of the best children’s books coming out in summer 2023' by The School Reading List in the UK.
Since the launch of Anchored I have been out and about with the book, at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, Sate library, Gordon Library and visiting an array of bookshops, as well as online on blogs and podcasts - with more events to come! You can find links to all the online stuff here. And BIG THANKS to everyone who’s reviewed Anchored, hosted me or mentioned my book on their online and/or social media world! It means so much! Special thanks to Dani Vee for having me on her podcast, and Andrew Dittmar, Dee White and Romi Sharp from Just Write For Kids for having me on their blogs.
Reading Anchored to groups of kids has been such fun! I’ve developed a cute craft activity to make a rocking tug boat with a paper plate that has been a hit (find it here) and I’ve started to learn the ukulele and I can play a few (very) simple songs to go along with the reading. Kids love live music, and it’s been such fun for me to learn- I’ve been so excited to see the steady improvement practicing regularly has made! I’ve been learning online with Bernadette and you can find here on YouTube, if you’re interested.
I’ve also been a joy to celebrate the wonderful launches of friend’s books. Strangely, it seems the sea theme is catching! I’ve been to the launch of Nathan Luff’s first book in a new series: Family Holidays/Disasters: Crash Landing, and Heidi Walkinshaw’s picture book, Some Fish Have Moustaches and I’m looking forward to Amanda Lieber’s My Giant Sea Shell (Illustrated by Kathy Creamer) on the weekend!
Friends bucking the sea trend have been Mick Elliot with his picture book Dads and Dogs (perfect for Archie!) and Kristin Darell with her fourth and final Football Fever: Gala Day and Serena Geddes with her We are Matildas picture book (written by Shelley Ware), both tie-ins with the FIFA Women’s World Cup, but great books about friendship on their own.
Another wonderful event that was a long time coming due to Covid delays, was the CBCA NSW Northern Sydney Sub-branch’s The Great Debate Dinner in which a team of authors and a team of illustrators battled it out over the pressing question: Are words better than pictures? The night was such a hoot! My sides ached from laughing! The teams put in so much effort preparing signs and slogans and even witty t-shirts before-hand, and the ensuing debate was lively and hilarious! Thanks so much to the debaters, Nathan Luff, Mick Elliot and Dani Vee for the words team, and Aura Parker, Serena Geddes and Jules Faber for the pictures team, and Oliver Phommavanh as MC and Marian McGuiness as moderator. You made a lot of people very happy!! PS the words team won – but the real winners were the readers (I stole that line from Oliver P ;-))
Talking about hilarious, I’ve read some funny books recently:
Hamlet Is Not OK – Hamlet relived and re-imagined! What’s not to love? I heard author RA Spratt talking with Al Tait on the YKNR podcast (ep 109), and I knew I had to read it! I was chuckling to myself on the train when I read this one, nudging my daughter and sticking the book in her face saying ‘read this bit!’ Classified as YA due to the themes, but it's an easy read.
Rita’s Revenge by Lian Tanner (illus by Cheryl Orsini) is hilarious, heart-warming and deserves all the awards it’s accruing.
Of course, Amelia McInerney and Lucinda Gifford’s Neil the Amazing Sea Cucumber is so much Deadpan fun!
I am also reading and recommending:
Black Cockatoo With One Feather Blue – a stunning new picture book by the creators of Leonard the Lyrebird, Jodie McLeod and Eloise Short, and a must for anyone who loves the blue mountains.
Runt by Craig Silvey – you would have seen this one recommended everywhere, and a book Story Hound Archie especially loved.
Sick Bay by Nova Weetman – I’m late to the party on this one, that doesn’t sugar-coat life. These are two kids dealing with real life and real problems, and sick bay at the local high school is the unlikely conduit for growth. Heart warming and amazing!
Looking forward to: book launches! Yay!
Fiona Lloyd’s Being Jimmy Baxter tomorrow (22nd) at Berkelouw Books Leichardt
Amanda Lieber’s My Giant Sea Shell on Sunday (23rd) at Bondi Beach.
Rory H Mather’s DOUBLE launch of Sebastian Stands Out and Book Week Bear at Better Read Than Dead, Newtown on 29th.
Looking forward to: CBCA book week and other events:
Pyjama Storytime at Stanton Library, North Sydney on Wednesday 26th, 6-7 pm
Riverina tour in August – I’ll be speaking to NINE schools and signing books at Collins Bookshop in Wagga Wagga.
CBCA Book Week – exhausted from Riverina tour, but excited to visit schools and preschools in book week and beyond!!
I'll leave you this time with something to tempt your taste buds! These are the gorgeous and yummy biscuits my daughter made for the Anchored Launch!
Until Next time,