News: Creative Kids Tales Speakers Agency

As many busy creatives will tell you, finding time to write is precious enough without having to carve out extra hours to secure those all important school visits or Book Week bookings. Those same creatives, aka children's authors and illustrators, will continue to explain that it is often engagements at writing festivals, conferences and schools that form the bulk of our income.

Enter the speakers' agencies, those associations devoted to finding their expansive lists of authors and illustrators the most lucrative, exciting and perfectly matched events as possible. Agencies work on our behalf as well as that of the schools and institutions that enlist them to find exactly the right author or illustrator for their literary event. I rely on those agencies I am listed with to not only find but also secure these bookings for me, without them I'd really need an extra Girl Friday to cope.

That's why I'm all a flutter with delight to be signed up with one of the industry…

Kindness and Compassion: Tales of Humanity

Australian’s don’t need much guidance in the arts of kindness and compassion. The outpouring for generosity and empathy from around the nation, indeed throughout the world in recent times, is heart-swelling. As are these next few picture books which define thankfulness, humility, acceptance and understanding. Rediscover the joy in shared humanity.

There are so many things to love about this charming picture book, Three: kombis, dogs, animals, fragrant gardens, raindrops…It is another masterpiece by master storyteller and artist, Stephen Michael King and is imbued with the kind of tenderness that makes big kids weep and little ones smile with joy. The most miraculous thing about Three’s story, apart from his tenacious and spirited outlook on life, is that it took several page turns in before I realised that this adorable little butterscotch-orange and white dog only has three legs. This is shown in the pictures of course but King’s narrative is so engaging, Three’s missing appenda…

Book Bites: Australia All Over

As our fair land buckles and burns in the grip of vicious summer heat, I can’t help but reflect on how catastrophic events like this remind one of not only the fragility of life but also its unique beauty. Across Australia and indeed the world, humans are rallying to make things better for all the worse they have caused. We are all tiny players in this huge game but I hope titles like these below help highlight the best bits of living in Australia no matter what. They are but snippets of my impressions but hopefully enough to water hope and maintain wonder.  Read on! Dream on!

Eco Rangers Wildfire Rescue
This is the third in the Eco Ranges environmentally charged series and one of the most salient to date. Despite being conceived and written well before the awful bushfire events of late 2019 / early 2020, this episode of Jay and Ebony’s conservational crusade ironically involves bushland under the siege of wildfires and wildlife under stress. It also illuminates a less well-featured Au…

Come Fly With Me - Pippa on Holidays

Pippa, the plucky little pigeon from her self-titled picture book, PIPPA, is getting her holly jolly Christmas groove into gear.

She's about to take off on a festive adventure. Want to join her? Discover more about Pippa's story from this excellent write up by Kids' Lit advocate, Norah Colvin and stay tuned for the flight of a lifetime. #comeflywithme
Norah's teachers' resource site, ReadiLearn is a plethora of writing tips, inspirational learning ideas, reading suggestions and educational advice suitable for lower primary aged children either in the classroom or at home, encouraging youngsters (and their guardians) to Live Love Laugh Learn . . . Create the possibilities. What beautiful sentiments at this time of year!
Want to take off with more of my stories? Swoop on by my website any time.

Book Bites: Christmas All The Way

Ask any grandparent: is there any better gift than a book? I may be biased of course, but for me, the go-to-gift at Christmas time, nay any time of year, is inevitably a book. Why? Because it is simply one of those gifts that keeps on giving and giving. A treasured book is a keepsake children can develop a deep gratitude and love for over many years. It’s a vessel of shared time, affection and aspirations. In short, a book gift is a precious thing. Here are some of this season’s best but don’t take my word for it; explore your bookshops this summer for even more sublime stories to share with your loved ones.

The Lonely Christmas Tree
Based on the Yuletide poem, A Visit from St Nicholas (T’was The Night Before Christmas), this gorgeous stocking-sized picture book follows the rhyme and cheer of the original poem but with a cute twist. This rendition centres on a poor forlorn pine tree, alone in the forest who, with a little help from a certain someone, eventually finds solace and a sense…

Book Bites: Nurturing Nature

This week’s round up of inspiring Christmas ideas covers even more titles, some non-fiction that entrance and enhance both a child’s knowledge and imagination. All will make elegant and welcome additions to any Christmas stocking.

Searching for Cicadas
Part nonfiction and part narrative, Searching for Cicadas is an inviting story of a boy and his grandfather and their summertime excursion to go cicada-watching and is part of the Nature Storybooks series. It’s a lyrical tale warmly illustrated reflecting Aussie bush landscapes and close up encounters with one of the most intriguing of our bush insect characters. Prose is interspersed with detailed fact about a number of cicada species and their fascinating habits and lifecycles.

Title: Searching For Cicadas
Author: Lesley Gibbes
Illustrator: Judy Watson
Publisher: Walker Books, $26.99
Publication Date: August 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781922244420
For ages: 4 - 9
Type: Non Fiction Picture Book

Buy the Book: Walker Books, Boomerang Books


Book Bites: Discovering Science

Science. It really is the essence of life, or at least that’s what my Chemistry teacher always led me to believe. And I do, believe in science that is. I think because it is so darn interesting. If you are looking for meaningful, entertaining and interesting Christmas gift ideas that educate at the same time, look no further than some of these radically wonderful, non-fiction, science-y titles.

I See, I See
This little gem is simple and playful in presentation, a lot like Herve Tullet’s, Press Here and Let’s Play series of board books. But don’t be fooled by its economic word play and solid blocks of singular colours and patterns for this artful conception not only enthrals individual readers, it is specifically designed to entertain two or more readers…at the same time. Right side up and upside down text teams with ambiguous or reversible images, which invite page turns and plenty of oohs and aahs. One reader might see up, and the other see down for instance. You don’t need to underst…