August is the most marvellous time on the children's literature calendar! It's when preschools and school playgrounds are over-run with super heroes and heroines, monsters and maidens, witches and wizards, sleuths and sloths, villains and vampires and even a pink flamingo. Yes, I'm talking about Book Week when students get to dress up as their favourite book character. I put together a little blog post about making monster book week costumes - you can see it here. Although book week is over for another year, the costumes are multi-purpose and Halloween is just around the corner ;)
Wendy Fitzgerald (President of CBCA Northern Sydney Sub- branch) and I went in to the city for the CBCA NSW book of the year announcement event. What a buzz! YA author Erin Gough MC'd the event with her trademark dry humour, and WA author Diane Wolfer was the keynote speaker. The theme of Book Week this year was 'Find Your Treasure' and I got goosebumps listening to Diane talking about finding treasure in so many serendipitous moments as she sought out her stories. But there was even more treasure in the room in the form of the student talent! We listened to a number of students review the books on the shortlist, and they were eloquent and insightful. Below are a few of my tweets from the day:
I wonder if your favourite books were the winners - or how did you go picking the winners? Here's a fabulous collage of them all put together by Sandy Fussell for Buzz Words. It shows the winners in each category first, followed by the two honour books. It's a marvellous collection of books.
For a behind-the-scenes look at how these awards are decided, listen to the interview with Gail Erskine, NSW President of the CBCA on the One More Page Podcast here. You can also find interviews with Eve Pownall Honour book author Claire Saxby and winner Idan Ben-Barak in prior episodes. The are well worth listening to.
After the announcement, book week is in full swing, and I got to speak with students at a number of schools and preschools - we had such fun talking about books! Thanks to Greenleaf Press for organising these visits. Two of the school visits were KinderFests and it was a joy to present alongside Georgie Donaghey, Narelda Joy and Jan Latta. Here are few snaps:
I've got my first booking for book week next year - it's not too early to book me up - hint hint ;)
Love you Bookshop Day was also in August. Some bookshops went all out with festivities - like one of my Fave bookshops - The Children's Bookshop in Beecroft - who had events throughout the day including live alpacas! I went along to hear author/illustrator Caroline Magerl in conversation with Susanne Gervay about her gorgeous, latest picture book, Maya and Cat. Of course, I had to show some bookshop love with my credit card!
This month's interview on the Just Write For Kids blog is a continuation of my interview with the lovely Catherine Pelosi and the final instalment will be on the blog next week. I've got so much out of hearing about Catherine's experience in the kid lit world.
I've also managed to read a few books for adults over the past few months - you can catch up on what I've enjoyed over on Goodreads.
And just when you thought it couldn't get any better - August is also Birthday Month!!!! Not only is it my birthday at the end of August, but it's also The Scared Book's birthday! This time last year I was preparing launch celebrations and festivities. So here's a cake for both of us (made and decorated by my darling daughters).
The mug was a perfect birthday present (I broke my previous fave mug recently), and just so there's no confusion, it's a French Bulldog on the mug, not a pug!
Things I am looking forward to in September:
1 My writing buddy and Hope 103.2 radio host, Katrina Roe, is launching her latest book, Lily's Balloon on Saturday 1st September. I'm so excited and proud to be able to help her launch this special book, published by Wombat Books.
2. The wonderful CBCA Northern Sydney Lunch With The Stars is on Tuesday the 4th September, where a bunch of authors and illustrators have lunch with a great-hall full of school students and this year we get to listen to author John Flanagan (Ranger's Apprentice) and illustrator Serena Geddes. I can't wait!
3. Another school visit - to Orchard Hills PS on Tuesday the 11th September.
4. Joining other authors and illustrators at the CBCA Authors in the Hills event speaking to school students in Seven Hills on the 21st September.
5. Australian Reading Hour is on Thursday 20th September. I have a To Be Read pile that would mount to the ceiling if it weren't scattered around the house! Any excuse to read for an hour!
6. Just Write for Kids is launching a Pitch It competition that runs for the month of September. Send in a winning pitch for a kid's book and you could have your manuscript jump the slush pile and land directly on a publisher's desk! Details here. I'm a judge. Should be fun! If you write, consider entering - what have you got to loose?
Just for laughs:
I'll leave you with this pic - just for laughs: my favourite book week facebook post that had me in stitches! It's from a wonderfully supportive f/b community I belong to, called The Duck Pond. You join via subscribing to Girl and Duck. Zoe Collins helps out at 'the pond' and she is an amazing creator - check out her website here. And here is the joke:
Until next time,
August is here again and that means one of the funnest times of the year... Book Week! When we get to celebrate all things book - Yay! And dress up as characters from our favourite books - Yay! And if your favourite book is The Scared Book, then you are so in luck with dress up options that kids can do ALL BY THEMSELVES and exercise their creative muscle ALL IN ONE! And even if The Scared Book is not your favourite book (don't say that out loud, though, you'll hurt its feelings) if you want an excuse to dress up as a MONSTER for Book Week, you can say that it is!
(With so many exclamation marks in this paragraph, how can you not be excited??!!!! I know I am!!!)
So lets see what I'm talking about...
If you didn't know, The Scared Book is full of MONSTERS. The book is scared of MONSTERS and I'm sure there's a MONSTER or two still lurking somewhere in the book that we haven't discovered yet... so here's your chance to dress up as MONSTERS of your choosing!!!! Yay!!! What could be more fun than MONSTER dress ups??!!
Last year at Lunch with the Stars in Manly, my table of students dressed up as all different sorts of MONSTERS - using wigs, Styrofoam balls as eyes, fairy wings and cheap bought or hand made masks decorated with oodles of eyes, even bat-wing headbands - your imagination is the limit!
You can see from the photo with the butterfly above, that I was dressed by Peter Alexander - the PJ fashion designer, as he had serendipitously designed MONSTER PJ's just in time for The Scared Book launch! So if you have any monster PJ's, slippers, scarves, beanies, T-shirts, they'll do too :). Anything left over from Halloween could work well too. Below right, I'm in MONSTER slippers (Peter Alexander, of course!) and a beanie/scarf all-in-one. I've also put together a MONSTER look in the two photos below using beanie and sports cap with ping-pong ball eyes attached with velcro dots. The more eyes the better! Velcro dots are very useful when it comes time for Book Week, I find!
When I ran my draw/make a MONSTER competition last year, I was dazzled by the imagination and creativity of all the kids who entered. You can see some of the amazing ideas in my blog posts here and here. I'd love to see what kids can come up with for MONSTER Book Week costumes! Please post me a snap on facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Of course, you can always dress up as the book itself! Because, after all, the book is a character in its own right. I have an oversized book cover with a hole that would be perfect for the job - but at home you could enlarge and copy, or draw the cover onto cardboard, cut out a hole for your head and hey presto! You're now The Scared Book - just like Digby Fixit in the photo!
What ever you choose to dress up as for Book Week, I hope you have MONSTROUS (as in huge) fun!