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Showing posts from May, 2020

What Did You Wish You Knew Before Getting Published?

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Need advice to help achieve your writing goals...your dream of publication?
Exisle Academy want to bring your book to the world!
Nestled snugly under the umbrella of Exisle Publishing, Exisle Academy is the new service offering burgeoning writers with aspirations of seeing their words in print tangible ways to fulfill their publication goals.
The Academy's goal is 'to train the next generation of authors, enabling them to navigate the confusing and challenging world of writing and publishing, and share their message with the world.'
To help achieve this, their Author Insights offer advice for aspiring writers from published authors ... like me! The Author Insights series looks at successful published authors from the Exisle and EK Books family, and asks them to share their advice and experience with the next generation of writers.
Visit their site and soak up my Author Interview for tonnes of helpful insights and real life anecdotes.

Review: Lizzie and Margaret Rose

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I often take a ridiculously long time to get around reading something I feel is going to be good. Rather like leaving the roast potatoes (my favourite part) to the very end of a roast dinner. Then suddenly a book will call to me, wanting to be read. I believe this way invites a more organic reading experience. And what a book at such a time!

Lizzie and Margaret Rose is a gripping middle grade novel by accomplished historic children's author, Pamela Rushby set in the early years of World War II. Rushby wastes no words on superlative mundane description rather chisels her supremely defined characters from the world in which they exist. From the shrapnel strewn streets of London to the balmy coastal suburbs of Townsville, Rushby's talent for honing emotion from action allows readers to engage head on with ten-year-old Margaret Rose and her eleven-year-old Australian cousin, at least this reader did in a way that required the occasional swiping away of tears.

When Margaret Rose…

Book Bites: Keep 'Em Counting!

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ABCs and 1 2 3s are not only the fundamental building blocks for learning and communicating, they establish connections with ourselves, our cultures and humanity as a whole. These next few picture books are perfect for exploring those connections, introducing sounds, letters and numbers to pre-schoolers whilst providing sound material for ever important reading time, during lockdown time or anytime!


B is For Baby
ABC books come in an infinite number of guises. This one is singularly different because it focuses on just one letter of the alphabet rather than all 26, in this case, the letter B. We begin with the obvious, Baby but as the story evolves, we and baby are introduced to a marvellous collection of other B words: beads, basket for example. But what is in the basket…? Bananas of course! Or is it something more? This spectacularly illustrated non-fiction picture book is really a cyclical visual journey of baby’s unplanned journey from her African village into town where she is reu…

Chocks Away - Paper Plane Making with Pippa!

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Cancelled holidays equates to cancelled fun and the destruction of expectations for kids and in this great period of change, represents just another significant adjustment they have been forced, not asked, to endure. Although remaining physically grounded may still be the case for many, it does not imply you can't go on adventures. Kids' authors, like me, take off on a daily basis thanks our imaginations. Imagination is one of the most powerful and sure-fired ways to enjoy the ride. Making stuff is another and together with Pippa as my inspiration for taking flight and getting out there, I've knocked up this little video that allows you to soar...by

 Making a Paper Plane!

This is a very simplified version of a basic paper plane but it flies extremely well, long and high! Pippa and I would love for you to experiment and modify your design to see if you can out-fly us. Send us a video or picture of your completed aeronautical master piece and I'll pop it on this blog!

Review: Tomorrow, When The War Began

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Admittedly, I'm a little late getting around to this one and although a staunch fan of Marsden, if I had read Tomorrow, When The War Began two decades earlier, the plausibility and impact no doubt would have been far more intense.

Despite that, this remains a telling story of tenacity, teen relationships and ingenuity - the kind kids had before they plugged themselves into mobile phones. Using one's wits under pressure is never a straightforward thing. Survival text books may help but chuck in generous dollops of distress, an alarming lack of adult assistance, huge clods of uncertainty, a ridiculous amount of gun-wielding marksmen and of course no app to advise you what to do or how to think and you've got yourself a situation a lot out of the normal and way out of control.

A handful of Wirrawee's rural youth led by Ellie return from a secluded weekend camping trip to find their world upturned, their town invaded and their families held captive by an unknown foreign f…

Watch: reading@homeTV Episode 2 with Pippa!

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Fly high with your favourite little book birdie! Yes, it's Pippa and together we were lucky enough to share the storytime couch with fellow picture book character, Glitch and Michelle Worthington on Channel 9Go's new children's educational show, reading@homeTV.
Reading@homeTV is one of three learning based programs devised by the Queensland Education Department's drive to deliver (shows to) support language and literacy development for children in kindergarten to Year 3. 
In collaboration with the Autism Hub and Reading Centre, the department partnered with Channel 9 and several well-loved local SE Queensland and interstate children's authors to read and share their favourite picture books. The program features reading coaches as well who read books aloud and facilitate interactive learning experiences to enhance every child's schooling-at-home experience. The show also encourages children to become involved with the Premier's Reading Challenge; you'll …

Review: The Night of the Hiding Moon

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The first thing that wowed me about this picture book was the gorgeous title font; simple yet elegant, a bit like the moon, which is the premise for this story.

Then, in contrast to the gold infused cover, promising and light, we are plunged into a world of speculative obscurity and thunderous roars. Felix is marooned in a night of storms. A night where the moon has slipped her moorings and has gone into hiding. At first afraid and conflicted by the storm's rage, Felix soon gathers his bedside buddies, takes his torch and embarks on an idea.

Rather than run from the shadows, he decides to make one into his friend, an ally who is brave and strong. His shadow friend is this and more. Her daring and beauty transform the night into a bold show of shadows, each as elegant and fearless as she. Each as restless to enter the tempestuous night and face it down.

Felix hesitates as you might expect; a thunderstorm is awfully confronting after all, but he eventually follows them with his tor…

Mothers' Day Magic

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Mothers' Day - an accumulation of so many things: the caress of a gentle hand when you’re feeling less than yourself; the comfort of a kind voice that understands your deepest thoughts; the knowledge that someone is always there for you no matter what. These are the attributes of motherhood that should be celebrated every day, by all those who administer them and receive them. Here are two picture books that exemplify the goodness of motherhood and its importance in the notion of family.


Isla’s Family Tree
Isla is a little girl with tangerine coloured hair and some serious worries. She is struggling with the realisation that any day now, her family is about to change. As we all know change can bring with it a suitcase full of concern and what ifs. We can only guess what Isla’s might be but as the firstborn it seems pretty obvious that she is anxious about the threat of her impending new sibling. ‘Our family is too full!’ she protests. And then her mother informs her, they are havin…

Review: The Tell

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Raze is a young teen with a pedigree heritage. His dad is a feared mafia boss and convicted felon. His older brother is keen to pursue an unlawful way of life; it pays tremendous dividends in the form of big booties after all. Being the son of such notoriety does not come without some major conflicts. For Raze, aka Rey Tanic, life is a continuous violent clash between his criminal family's expectations of him and his desire to break free from them and live a life less outlawed. An existence more normal and honest are Raze's simple dreams.

He tries his determined best to keep his head down at school and is fortunate to have mates like Ids and Candy on his team. They're a motley crew glued together by spray paint and an unspoken respect for each other. Each is battling their own struggle against an identity title they'd rather not have, except maybe Ids who is the brilliant cool comical chum throughout. One title they do revere is MCT - their graffiti tag. Despite the n…