Happy new year! I hope that the Christmas season was sprinkled with joyful moments, whatever it looked like for you this past, unpredictable year. The picture at left shows one of our joyful moments - Archie as T-shirt art! Thanks to Mol at Pictures of Ernest for the great design!
I’m pleased to say that I feel like the year has gotten off to a productive start for me, and StoryHound Archie has enjoyed romping around the virtual playground of Instagram and Twitter, despite having cracked a tooth and needing dental surgery!
I love long lazy days of reading over the Christmas break, and as well as some gown-up books, I’ve enjoyed these from the kidlit world:
Searching for Charlotte: It was fascinating finding out about Australia’s first published children’s author, Charlotte Waring Atkinson and more broadly, early Australian colonial life from her family’s perspective. It was a joy to read Belinda Murrell’s and Kate Forsyth’s reflections on their ancestors and their writing. PS not a kid’s book, but about a kid’s author
Future Girl: This book is amazing - I’ve already handed my copy to a friend! With fresh characters and a unique perspective, this coming-of-age YA novel is set in an all-too imaginable dystopian Melbourne future. The colourful, journal style physical book is a feast for the senses with its unique texture and colours. I was intrigued to read this novel after hearing an interview with the author, Asphyxia on One More Page Podcast. I’m so glad I did. I learned so much about the deaf community and sign language. I highly recommend this book.
Walking Your Human by Liz Ledden and Gabriella Petruso: Archie and I are super-excited to help launch this fab, funny picture book on Twitter in a couple of weeks. Packed with hilarious dog and owner combos and action, this one’s a dog-lover’s delight! And I adore the playful front/back cover art. Please join in the twitter fun on Tuesday 9th at 8.30 PM Sydney time.
I've been so fortunate to win not one, but TWO books recently!
Searching for Cicadas by Lesley Gibbes and Judy Watson: This is such a stunning book! At once a celebration of the strange and wonderful cicadas, and of the relationship between a grandfather and grandson. Infused with warmth and wonder. No surprise that it’s a CBCA shortlisted book. Thanks to Picture Book Book Club and Walker Books for the prize.
Gemma Riley and the Fashion Fiasco by Jules Van Mil: I’ve just started the first few pages of this one, and already I’m loving the fashion world of Gemma and her sidekick cat, Mr Dior. You can see the author read chapter one here. Thanks to WritingNSW and Pan Macmillan for the book.
My WritingNSW writers’ group restarted this month. I love how this group pushes my writing to be better and helps me find solutions to problems. Already this month I’ve prepared submissions for an anthology and the CYA comp, and their advice has been invaluable. I’ve also just written a new picture book manuscript that I can’t wait to test out on them next month!
This year I decided to commit to StoryStorm – a picture book idea-generating initiative run by author Tara Lazar in the USA. I’ve been on the mailing list and dabbled around the edges in years gone by, but this year I’ve got myself a dedicated journal (appropriately themed, see at left) and I’m off! I’m loving the informative and inspiring daily blog posts. I’m not up to date, but I will catch up, and I’m confident that at the end I’ll have 31 new picture book ideas to play with throughout the year.
Poor Archie has had a traumatic start to the year with a cracked tooth and dental surgery, but he’s back up and running now, and couldn’t have picked more summer-time themed books than Lesley Gibbes’ and Judy Watson’s Searching for Cicadas and Rhian Williams and Nathaniel Eckstrom’s Ten Little Figs (photos below).
Archie has been loving romping around Twitter while he’s been recovering from his surgery. He’s found a virtual doggy playground! So many dog-friendly tweets and parties to go to! Text Publishing offered to recommend a book based on a photo of your pet – so we had to join the fun!
Picture Book Book Club is having a DOG themed twitter party to kick off the year, on Thursday the 4th, with special guest UK author, Richard Jones, whose new book, Perdu, looks adorable! And of course, Archie will be helping me co-host Walking Your Human, with Liz Ledden on Twitter the next week.
Things I’m looking forward to:
1 My local CBCA NSW sub branch planning meeting next week – it's always fun to meet up with friends and plan events for the year ahead.
2 Picture Book Book Club party on the 4th Feb.
3 Launching Walking Your Human with Liz Ledden on Tuesday 9th Feb 2021.
Until nest time, wishing you all the best,