Review: Eco Rangers: Pelican in Peril - Blog Tour

Ebony and Jay are best buddies. They live in the same street and share the same unquenchable passion for wildlife welfare. They might as well be related, they spend so much time cycling around their seaside town together, but this exciting new animal-inspired junior series by Aussie animal-lover, Candice Lemon-Scott, works a treat thanks to Ebony and Jay’s casual and comic friendship.

Together they roam around on their trusty bicycles always ready to lend a helping hand especially at the local wildlife hospital where their altruistic zeal is utilised in the caring of animals and their environment; they wear the titles of Eco Rangers with pride. Occasionally, though, their curiosity and thirst for adventure lands them in serious trouble and that, for us, is where the fun starts.

In book one of the Eco Rangers series, our dynamic duo happen upon an abandoned drum on the beach. Even more alarming, they discover a huge stricken bird covered in oil, a pelican in obvious peril!

They rush the u…

Review: Baby Business


Once Upon A Time: Radio Interview

When ABC Radio Gold Coast's, Josie Sargent invited me to join her on her Once Upon A Time segment to chat about writing books and their impact on social issues within our communities, how could I say no.

Armed with my trusty copy ofAt The End of Holyrood Lane, I headed to one of my favourite beachside suburbs on the Gold Coast, Mermaid Beach and enjoyed a relaxed morning of book sharing and story telling.

Not every story I write has an issue I want to hammer home. Quite the contrary. I believe children's stories must cause their readers to 'move and shake' first and foremost. Move either physically with laughter, joy or some other emotion relevant to the story. Shake with amazement, awe, acknowledgement, and fun! If these reactions are the result of recognising a fundamental underlying message or theme secreted within the story, all the better. Ultimately, we write though because we have something to say, something we have to share and simply can't keep bottled up…

Book Bites: Mother's Day Magic Moments

There are probably as many glorious books tucked away on bookshop shelves celebrating the magic of motherhood as there are ways to say ‘mum’. These are but a sprinkling of newish picture books for significant female role models to share with their kinderlings this Mother’s Day – or any day.

Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide For New Arrivals
When you see the name, Mo Willems, you know chuckles are in store. Supremely clever, witty and super super cute (in a non-cutesy way), this robust hardcover board book is the ultimate new arrival gift.

Postmodern and interactive in style and format, it begins with YOU or at least a reflection of the young tot you might be reading this to thanks to the inbuilt mirror. It continues with a message of thanks and relief, an invitation to lie back, relax, and enjoy the stay then features several notifications that baby might enjoy such as cats and stories. There are cautions that happiness may not prevail at all times, ice creams inevitably will be dropped but …

Review: Pie In The Sky

Remy Lai’s debut middle grade novel, Pie In the Skyis one hefty hunk of a book (all 384 pages of it) yet it reads as effortlessly as a cloud-light Angel Cake. This hybrid graphic novel is an appetizing combination of so many elements attributed to crossing cultures and fitting in, you’d be forgiven for feeling as though you’ve bitten off too much to swallow however, Lai’s wit and sincere prose resonates warmly from start to finish producing one of the most satisfying reads I’ve ever consumed.

It’s hard to refrain from baking puns when reflecting on Jingwen’s story. I blame Lai. She has given the new-kid-in-a-new-country-in-a-new-school-finding-it-impossible-to-fit-in storyline a deliciously original twist by blending winsome characters into emotionally and physically charged situations involving frequent cake making. Honestly, there is more elaborate baking in this book than an entire season of Master Chef.

Almost twelve Jingwen and his younger brother, Janghao along with their recently…

Schoolyards, Stories and Storms: What I Learned about Facing Fears

May is Domestic Violence Prevention Month here in Queensland. It heralds the annual event designed 'to raise community awareness of the social and personal impacts of domestic and family violence and the support available to those affected.'

I hope, picture books, like At The End of Holyrood Lane are able to contribute tothis heighten level of awareness and encourage us all to 'do something', take heart, find the courage to speak up and ultimately foster change. I wrote this article last year whilst reflecting on some of the fears I harboured as a child and how they coloured my emotional makeup.

Some forty odd years ago, I was the new kid in a new school in a new state having relocated from Queensland to South Australia. I could barely understand the strange southern dialect and mentality and felt more bewildered than excited.I was also the sort of child whose closest friends dwelt in books. Stories offered a solace I actively sought. Storybook characters never judged me…

Review: The Afterwards

Some books exude a need to carry them around with you, clutching them close to your chest. The Afterwards is one of those books; at least the hardback version was for me. Some might argue this is not a book for children however, I think it recognises every note of childhood assumption and optimism and allows them to resonate with all the veracity of a typical ten-year-old.

It is a story about loss and losing, of reuniting and realisations, of hanging on and letting go. December and Happiness (Ember and Ness) are best friends, inseparable and as solid as rock candy. When Ness’ death abruptly separates them, Ember is determined to find her way to the Afterworld, a transitional ethereal facsimile of her own world where the dead linger – echo - until they eventually melt from existence.

The Afterworld is a sad, colourless place devoid of life’s vital spark. Yet Ember is unperturbed by the Afterworld’s morbidity and although she finds it hard to breathe the air of the soulless, she remains …