What a difference a month makes, hey? There we all were, getting on with our lives, making plans, and Wham! Someone slammed on the brakes. And we’re all still reeling, some a bit, others a lot, and some a heck of a lot. My heart is sad. But in this post, I’m going to go the full Pollyanna, and look for the good.
Where I’m writing from today it’s a beautiful sunny day. I’m thankful for that. And yesterday was rainy. I’m thankful for that. And also, last week was the announcement of the CBCA Book of the Year Shortlist – so there’s a celebration! Not only that, you can watch the announcement as it unfolded yourself, because it was all online – see here. Or if you want to just cut to the chase, the list is here.
I was thrilled to see several of my good friends on the list, and some of the favourite books I’ve read recently – like The Secrets of Magnolia Moon. I was especially thrilled to see one of my publishers, Wombat Books with a shortlisted title, The Thing About Oliver – that’s a great accolade for a boutique, independent publisher, PLUS I love the author, .Deb Kelly – I interviewed her for the JWFK blog a while back – find her on this page, here.
Other award celebrations include Wai Chim’s The Surprising Power of Good Dumpling and Sami Bayly’s The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals winning the Indie Book Awards (by the Australian Independent Booksellers) for the YA and Children’s categories respectively. You can watch Sami doing readings of her book on youtube here.
And one of my picture book heroes, Margaret Wild, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement
in Literature Award by the Australia Council. Congratulations, Margaret!
I also want to celebrate the release of some fabulous new books, especially as so many book launches and events have been cancelled. Every new book deserves to be welcomed into the world with a fanfare! So, despite not being able to launch books IRL (In Real Life), the kidlit community is a creative bunch, and there are some inventive ways of celebrating online. Here are a few I’ve found:
Victoria Mackinlay’s Ribbit Rabbit Robot has a fabulous launch video, ably assisted by Nat Amoore, Amelia McInerney and Amanda Lieber, here: PLUS Victoria will be doing a storytime on Facebook live TOMORROW (Tuesday 7th April) at 10.30– details here. I missed out on attending the cancelled launch at Berkelouw Books, Leichardt, so I'll definitely be tuning in!
Deep Water, the latest YA crime/mystery novel by Sarah Epstien is on it’s way to me via a package from Berkelouw Books, Leichardt. I can't wait to read it! Watch an event with Sarah on the 10th April, 6,30 PM LIVE on the Ozauthorsonline platform, set up to help virtually launch Aussie books and host events. The youtube channel is here.
Keep your eye on the Just Write For Kids facebook fan page for a number of online book launches you can be involved in, starting mid April, so make sure you LIKE the page https://www.facebook.com/JustWriteForKidsAustralia/ and follow along. Here’s a link to the first Children's Book Launch Extravaganza on Easter Monday: April 13, 10am-2pm.
Please support our Aussie book creators and local bookstores in these difficult times. Many bookshops are offering cheap mail or free delivery. I’ve got a stack of books on the way from Berkelouw Books, Leichardt, where I was to attend the (cancelled) launch of Ribbit Rabbit Robot.
With so many children schooling from home at the moment, authors and illustrators have come up with some creative ways to engage kids with books online via virtual readings and the like. I’ve posted a video reading of The Scared Book on the International Read to me Day youtube channel, here. Subscribe to the channel and find other author readings too, like Dimity Powell, Yvonne Mess and Emma Mactaggart.
Others doing online readings include Tania McCartney (on youtube) and Gus Gordon (on Instagram).
A few people are trying to keep a list of online author/illustrator resources, one of which is Sophie Masson, on her Feathers of the Firebird blog here. SCBWI is also compiling a directory (worlwide).
If you’re looking for a laugh to lift your spirits in these viral days, check out the twitter hashtag
#kidlitgoesantiviral. Started by author Meg McKinlay, it’s an hilarious splutter-laugh of kid’s book covers re-imagined for the viral age. Here's my book with it's make-over:
If you’re a member of SCBWI, you can attend FREE online workshops each week. They look fantastic, and I'm definitely going to be watching them.
CYA Conference, which I’ve always wanted to attend but haven’t been able, is going online this year too – so now I’ll be able to join in! And it’s over the whole month of July! They have an incredible line- up. Check it out here.
Publisher, Rhiza Edge, is running a short story competition for stories written for Young people and adults 13 + for inclusion in an anthology and with book voucher prizes. More here:
Things I’m looking forward to
1. Coronavirus eradicated and lockdown over
2. Reading those books
3. Zooming with my Writer's group
4. Zooming with my CBCA Northern Sydney Sub-Branch for a meeting an the AGM on Wednesday 8th April.
Until next time, I'm leaving you with Story Hound Archie's most popular recent post, below.
Please, stay healthy and safe.