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Showing posts from August, 2011

New Page for the Young Ones

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Kids keep me teetering along that fine line of complacency and wanting to do better. Their sense of logic, realism, fantasy and tender pragmatism somehow weaves into rich, satisfying life tapestries in ways I could never create with mere words, but try constantly to emulate. Their raw enthusiasm breathes life into art the same way coffee kick starts my tired brain. I simultaneously marvel and envy their crafty naivety. This also happens to be why I adore writing for them.

During recent Book Week Writing Workshops, when I asked students why they thought I might enjoy writing, the reply was often, "Because you like having fun." Yes. Who doesn't? Writing for kids is truck loads of fun.

One of the frequently asked questions I got asked (being not quite as well known as JK Rowling) was, "What have you written?" I garbled on about short stories for school magazines, picture books etc.

Hindsight being 100% correct and 100% useless meant I'd completely overlooked …

Dear Budding Authors & Illustrators

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One of the serendipitous side effects of conducting school workshops, is the enthusiastic emergence of creative talent. Following a week of Writing and Illustrating Workshops conducted by Angela Sunde and myself, many students of Coomera Rivers State School, have approached us keen to develop their ideas and launch their stories and illustrations upon the world at large.
Angela was able to assist with various suggestions where kids from 6 - 18 years of age can indulge in the art of creative story telling, poem writing and illustrating. We both strongly encourage children with a creative flare and a burning desire to take it further to check out these sites. They offer kids information about Writing events, Conferences and Workshops, Festivals and Competitions, all designed to show case and promote the work of young writers and illustrators.
If you know of any people who want their stories heard please feel free to pass these onto them.

Somerset Celebration of Literature - Annual Gold Co…

Writers' Workshop Book Week 2011

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Day Three of National Book Week 2011 and I've well and truly set sail on myInaugural Writers' Workshop sojourn. I've always been thrilled to be part of workshops on anything of a literary nature, inevitably walking away with some new precious gem of knowledge on the craft of writing and renewed desire to continue turning pages.
Now the pencil is in an other's hand or rather hands. Who would have thought that conducting Writing Workshops could be so utterly enjoyable? Fun, is the best way I can describe my first foray into imparting to primary aged students of Coomera Rivers State School some of the finer nuances of Picture Book writing. Gruelling would be another. Six classes in under six hours was certainly not for the faint hearted but I would not hesitate to repeat the experience.
Any concerns about them not 'liking' the subject matter were quickly dismissed. All grades from Preppies to Year 7 sat enraptured as they were guided through typical picture book:
- S…

Book Week at Coomera Rivers

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Coomera Rivers State School launched itself into National Book Weektoday with all engines blazing. Enthusiastic teachers and volunteer parents transformed the recently opened school's i Centre (library) into a vibrant journey of countries around the globe in keeping with the One World, Many Stories theme.
Each class put together fantastic displays depicting all corners of the world including the Arctic, Africa, Asia and Australia.




To promote a love of all things literary, a Galaxy Book Fair is also running all week courtesy of Scholastic Books. Kids can browse through the hundreds of titles on display and purchase their favourites as well as participate in some fantastic competitions.   
 Last but by no means least, to celebrate the art of story telling and the magic of reading, local, well known and talented children's author and illustrator, Angela Sunde was on hand to guide students through the secrets of illustrating picture books. Work shops from 5 to 12 year olds cove…

One World Many Stories

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That's the theme for this year's Children's Book Council of Australia Book Week and it's on soon ~ 20 - 26th August 2011.
For me it's a time to not only promote children's literacy but a chance to celebrate and embrace the joy of reading. If children are our key to the future then the power of written information in its multifarious forms is the vehicle they must learn  to operate. With it they can venture anywhere, anytime and achieve anything.
There could never be too many stories to fill up this world. Don't be afraid to share yours, write one, enjoy one, draw one with a young person you know..... at any time. I'll be conducting fun workshops on writing picture books at a local primary school. Can't wait. Check out The Book Chooks ways to Celebrate Book Week. It's chock full of fantastic ideas and novel activities to get kids involved with the fun of fabricating with words, weaving new worlds and exploring their imaginations.

Everything Old is New Again

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You might know him or her as Mr Whippy, Super Soft Server, the Ice cream Man. What ever your moniker for these wickedly delightful interruptions to your Sunday afternoon, one thing is for certain; the Mr Whippy Van is a prime example of howthe more things change, the more they stay the same.

I remember waiting, barefoot and singleted, at the fence of our front yard in Townsville many dozens of moons ago, for the Mr Whippy van to appear. I'd been listening to the plaintive peel of Greensleeves for what seemed like hours, gradually getting louder and no less doleful as the van crept through suburban streets closer and closer to our front yard. The mere sound of  of the melancholy tune sent the neighbourhood kids into frenzied rapture. Mum. Mum. Dad. HURRY, Mr Whippy is coming. No body wanted to miss out on a soft serve ice cream.

I can't remember if flake bars were around in those days. They might have been. I do recall the sometimes choking exhaust fumes which wafted around th…

Imagination Sparks Blogfest Exercise

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Charmaine Clancy's Blogfest, Imagination Sparks, has jolted me into blogging action this week. OK I can't offer an exercise everyday thus illustrating why I need to exercise (my creative brain) more. So here is my BOOSTING CREATIVITY EXERCISE.It involves no arithmetic, very few scientific formulas, and your favourite snack can be easily incorporated into the routine.
Step 1: Understand Your Mind
I'm not 100% certain but I reckon the mind's capacity to take in and store data has got to be pretty huge; at least 1 Tbs worth. At least it feels like that some days in my head. And often all that info forms into a thick claggy cloud of bewilderment, stress and inactivity.

Step 2: Hit the Shut Down Button
You need to do this to avoid data overload. De frag, reorganise, unclutter, minimise. Call it what you will just don't fill up your precious head space with anything for a while. If this means missing the social pages so be it. The world will get on without you. There are …