Online Course Review: School Visits 101 with Adam Wallace

It’s been a funny old year – understatement of the century – for creators notwithstanding. Many authors and illustrators have had to learn to adapt, to tuck and roll with the constricting challenges presented by a world in lockdown. Online presentations and virtual connections are the new axioms which have sustained many of us, me included, however they are not for everyone. And with Book Week just around the corner and a relaxing of Covid restrictions (for some states of Australia), the traditional school visit is something to look forward to…or is it?For many, especially those at the beginning of their careers, a school presentation can be a thing of infinite stress and anxiety. You want to connect with your audience; it’s why you’re writing kids’ books after all, I hope! But you’ve never left your secluded writerly tower let alone stood in front of a hall of wriggly six year-olds and delivered a rock star quality, life-altering presentation to them. How the heck do you do it?? Grea…

Review: Hello Jimmy!

Hues of winter blues and greys are enlivened by splashes of magnificent emerald green that are, quite simply, Jimmy. Follow the smattering of Jimmy’s green feathers and you’ll soon reach Jack’s story. Jack stays at his Dad’s house now and then. These visits are often strained and painfully quiet as though being together is more of a requirement than a pleasure. Jack wonders about the silences and his dad. Are these symptoms of loneliness, an emotion Jack knows well? How can Jack change these uneasy encounters with someone he is supposed to love?After Dad brings home a stray parrot named Jimmy, Jack feels even less worthy of his father’s love. Jimmy is loud and funny and clever, and full of surprises that amuse and endear him to everyone he meets. Jimmy fills Jack’s father’s house with noise and the type of presence Jack wishes he had causing Jack to retreat into silence and improbable thoughts. He simply cannot deal with anymore ‘surprises’ in his young life, especially ones that seem…

Review: The Man In The Water

As opening lines go, this one has a doozy. So the premise is; young reclusive teen, never the class favourite, sees a dead man in the local lake. Or does he?
We are left hanging on that particular ledge but not for long. Burton's direct narrative and crisp style soon acquaints readers with 15 year-old Shaun's mining town home, his dust-covered school and the people who matter most to him: his best mate Will, the girl he's sweet on, Megan and his over-worked widowed mother. There's one person whose presence, like the undercurrent of a riptide is never seen but keenly felt, and ripples throughout this tale adding a delicious air of tragic mystery and meaning,well two if you also count the man in the water.
Shaun is a awkward teen with no clear ambition other than to shake the grief and confusion of losing a parent that has settled on him. He is part of his school's celebrated debating team but knows that if it weren't for Megan's adroitness and Will's wit, …

Book Bites: Love and Loss in Picture Books

I am a staunch believer in normalising life and keeping it as real as possible for kids. I endeavour to present these convictions through my own picture books, daring to tackle subjects that many adults may argue have no place in picture books. Yet as these superb examples demonstrate, desperately hard to accept subjects, namely loss and grief can be beautifully dealt with in ways that enlighten, embrace and evoke calm. Love and loss are irrevocably linked. They represent life. What better topic for small humans to encounter in picture books? TreeLynn Jenkins and Kirrili Lonergan’s Lessons of Lac series is handful of simply executed but powerful exposes into the lives of the LACs (aka Little Anxious Creatures) and the Calmsters (aka their friends who counterbalance concerns with gentle advice and abundant support). In this episode, Loppy the LAC relies on a giant Tree as a place to practise mindfulness and entreat calm especially when he is worried or upset, like before taking a test. …

Rock On With Pippa!

Stories are for listening to, right? So if watching an animated story time session is not your thing, why not settle back and LISTEN to it instead? If you've got kids in the car or need an audible distraction for your little ones, tune into Little Rockers Radio every morning (11.00 am) and afternoon (5.00 pm) this week for some online Pippa pitch perfect fun.
Little Rockers Radio is a  live streaming program 24/7 online radio station specifically tailored to entertain and enlighten children from birth to six years of age and their parents! Apart from story time there are sessions devoted to songs, nursery rhymes, yoga, mediation and much more. 
Pippa's story time sessions are delivered by the uber animated, entertaining duo, Anthony and Lauren behind Story Surprise. In fact you can tune into their Little Rockers Radio podcasts for dozens of other fun story time adventures. 

Hip Hip Hooray! Puffin's 80th Birthday Book Celebration

Guess what? September 2020 marks Puffin’s milestone 80th anniversary – has it really been that long! Puffin is now home to some of the world’s most iconic children’s book characters. I mean who doesn’t have a copy ofThe Very Hungry Caterpillaror Where Is The Green Sheep? tucked away on their book shelf that you simply can’t bear to part with?

Staples like Where’s Spot? (who turned 40 this year!) and Roald Dahl’s, Matilda (to name but one) have helped nurture and entertain our children’s imaginations for decades and this September Puffin Australia are extending their party fever to YOU! Whenever you next visit your local bookshop, simply purchase two Puffin children’s book titles of your choice and you’ll score your very own Puffin water bottle for FREE!

There are literally thousands of well-loved characters, exciting new tales and firm old favourites to choose from. Here is a smattering of selected titles from Puffin to ‘quench’ your thirst until you get that water bottle for yourself!…

Review: The Theory of Hummingbirds

We are all different in some way. Those differences may be indiscernible, as tiny as the smallest birds on earth, or as with Alba, immediately noticeable and something she has had to drag around since birth. Alba was born with what is commonly referred to as a club foot. Twisted in the wrong way and subject to a brace for most of her life, Alba refers to her physical affliction as, Cleo and can’t wait to banish Cleo for a life more normal.Alba’s asthmatic, science-loving best friend, Levi has a desire of his own, to uncover the mystery of their disappearing school librarian and confirm the location of a wormhole that might lead into another region of the universe. For Alba, normal translates into a chance to run in the school’s cross country race, a two kilometre opportunity for her to not just be part of the race but to be in the race. Only trouble is, she has just two weeks between getting her cast off and Cleo into shape before the race. No one believes she can do it, not even her …