Wow! I can’t believe my last post was in April! So much has been happening and yet not happening! It’s a paradoxical time!
I’ve been pretty preoccupied with the sale of our family home. Phase one moving was earlier in the year, but phase two has been protracted and bigger than I expected, and complicated by Coronavirus (what hasn’t been?). I’ve felt a bit like I’ve been wading through mud. But the sparkling diamond that has kept a glow in my heart has been signing with literary agent, Annabel Barker. You can read about her on her website and see her in action in an interview with Valerie Khoo on the Australian Writer’s centre facebook live here. It’s been a joy to work on my stories with Annabel, and I’m so thrilled and grateful to have her support my writing career.
Whilst I have managed to pop into both a bookshop and a library recently, most of my Kidlit adventures these months have been online, like most activities these days. Here’s some of what I’ve been up to…
I had a ball on the CBCA NSW Lunchtime Storytime live in May. Story Hound Archie joined me (photo above) as I read The Scared Book and revealed two things that he’s scared of (Hint: one is weather and the other medical related). My reading has been taken down now due to publisher permissions, but you can still see some of the other authors over on the facebook page. I took advantage of the Gleebooks special CBCA NSW offer and bought some books (included below, left).
One of the books that excited me and Archie was Kaye Baillie’s Boo Love Books - it could almost be our theme book! I interviewed Kaye Baillie on the Just Write for Kids Blog last month – you can find the interview here.
Talking about buying books, I also grabbed a copy of Deb Abela and Marjory Crosby Fairall's new picture book, Bear in Space, after hearing them chat about their unusual collaboration at a recent CBCA NSW Northern Sydney Sub-branch Zoom event. Paul Macdonald from The Children's Bookshop also spoke, and I ordered signed copies from him online.
The IRL bookshop I stumbled into was The Constant Reader in Crows Nest, and picked up a copy of Nat Amoore's latest Mid Grade novel, The Power of Positive Pranking. For a must-see star-studded video recording of the first chapter, check out the Youtube link here.
I videoed an unwrapping of these gems on Instagram and Facebook, if you want to check it out. I also filmed another book mail unwrapping earlier in May, with these great picture books - you can find that one on my Instagram feed too.
Talking about Deborah Abela, above, I popped my face into the ASA webinars where she was speaking about author presentations online. She’s always so upbeat and positive and encouraging and a fount of knowledge and experience. Thanks Deb, for always being willing to share!
I also Zoomed into the SCBWI Act branch mini conference in June, for a short while. It was great seeing some familiar and friendly faces that I have been missing In Real Life, and hearing about all things Kidlit.
Another zoom event recently with CBCA NSW Northern Sydney sub-branch hearing from Alice Achan and Philippa Tyndale and the experiences behind their book The School of Restoration, about the hope springing from the horrors of war violence in Uganda via the redeeming power of Alice's school for girls. It is both heartbreaking and inspiring.
I have been enjoying Aleesah Darlison's helpful resources dropping into my email inbox. These are short, easily digestible information bites for writers, and can be found on her Greenleaf Agency website here. I recommend subscribing to Greenleaf Agency's website, if you don't already.
I also came across the Lost in Books TV channel which extends the reach of their fabulous multilingual programs. I especially love the Baby music time “We love Music.’ Check it out here.
I'm excited about the new CBCA SCBWI joint venture, Story Scoop. The aim of Story Scoop is to connect SCBWI/CBCA authors/illustrators with schools and libraries, and provide an inspiring and useful teaching resource about children’s books and their creators for adults and kids to enjoy via a free, monthly 20 minute video. Find out more about it here, and watch it here.
Another fantastic CBCA NSW initiative, this time for the kids, is the Collide Book Trailer Competition, for students in Years 3-9 in NSW schools. It closes soon, so check it out here.
I’ve been asked to do a facetime live interview with not-for-profit Braille House, who do amazing things when it comes to sight impaired kids and literacy. They may even transcribe one of my books into Braille! How amazing is that? Look out for that in August.
On a not kidLit front, compulsive evening viewing this past month for my family has been Africam, a livecam at an African waterhole. To think that you can see the animals on the other side of the world, in real time, is strangely addictive! We’ve been watching animals at Tau waterhole, on the border of South Africa and Botswana, where elephants, zebras, wildebeests and antelopes are commonplace, and we even saw a lion on the weekend and were beside ourselves with excitement! Even Cat-on-lap, Opal, finds it addictive!
Things I am looking forward to:
9th September: The next CBCA NSW Northern Sydney Sub-branch zoom event with special guest, children's laureate, Ursula Dubosarsky. We will also be launching Oliver Phommavanh's new book of short stories, and have time for members and friends to show us their book babies. Learn more about it here.
My interview with Braille House.
My birthday this month and reading the books I'm looking forward to getting ;-)
Until next time, stay safe and warm,