What a fun fantastic day at Bookfeast today! I sat with an enthusiastic group of Year 4 students from Haberfield, who were a delight to get to know. And talk about feel like a celebrity - it was pens at 5 paces in the race to get autographs from all the authors and illustrators who were sitting ducks on the table! It was children's book bingo! That's why this photo is blurry - what a flurry of activity!
It was a thrill to meet the amazing Bruce Whatley - what a nice guy! You may have heard me singing the praises of 'Flood' which I think is a splendid collaboration between Bruce and Jackie French. I was also reminded of his first ever picture book -'The Ugliest Dog in the World' - which, although he told us today it was modeled on a boxer, it did remind me somewhat of my French Bulldog, Archie (although you could NEVER call Archie ugly! photo below) Bruce's website is here. I can hardly believe that hundreds of children took home their booklets with my autograph alongside his!
It was also fun to catch up with other wonderful Aussie authors who have some fantastic new picture books - look out for Jackie Hosking's 'The Croc and the Platypus', it's heaps of fun, as is Lesley Gibbes' 'Scary Night'.
I get so much out of attending events like the Book Expo and Big Book Day Out - meeting readers and writers both young and older; engaging with readers who really appreciate my book; rubbing shoulders with the literary famous; sharing stories with the literary up-and-coming; sheltering out of the miserable cold (on Saturday) and relishing the spring sunshine (on Sunday). However, the sweetest joys are often discovering new gems, and sharing in the excitement of others' successes.
The gem I found this weekend was at the CBCA Big Book Day Out on Sunday whilst manning the Northern Sydney sub-branch stall with Amanda Niland. Her picture Book Waiting for Hugo is shortlisted for the Speech Pathology award in the same category as When I See Grandma. This is a delightful book about valuing difference (I wish I had written it!) and it certainly deserves to win. Her other picture book, I Wish There were Dinosaurs is fantastic fun - children and parents alike will want to read this one over and over and over again. Find out more about these books here.
The weekend was rich in joys and excitement to share in:
Fellow Wombat author Katrina Roe's new book is coming out early next year and I got to see the wonderful Leigh Hedstrom's gorgeous illustrations for this book.
Another Wombat author, Penny Reeve's Fearlessly Madison is now out on the shelves - I bought myself a copy signed by the author and illustrator.
Fellow CBCA Northern Sydney member Felicity Pulman (Ghost Boy; Little Penguins of Manly and many more...) had rocketed to Melbourne and back on the weekend to pick up Highly Commended for A Ring Through Time in the YA division of the Davitt Awards presented by Sisters in Crime Australia - congratulations Felicity!
Thanks also to Lesley Gibbes (Scary Night), Tonya Alexandra (The Love Oracles) and Wendy Fitzgerald (Indigo) who were great fun to spend time with over the weekend.