Showing posts from 2019

Review: One Tree

To pre-empt a roundup of nature-friendly children’s books, I thought I’d shine the spot light on One Tree, the latest creation by duo, Christopher Cheng and Bruce Whatley.

The first thing you notice about One Tree is its understated simplicity. There’s a certain duplicity afoot too, for this larger-sized hard cover edition sports a burnished red spine and textured illustration that entices the caress of fingers. However, the spine is not cloth bound as appears and the undulating fields depicted on the front cover are not course to the touch.

This enigmatic ruse continues once you slip inside this story. Text appears mostly on the left-hand side pages, framed pictures on the right, all set against a weathered hazelnut cream background giving the reader as sense of reading something ancient and revered, like a treasured fable. This effective set-up sagely escorts readers through a young boy’s story that begins long before he is born in a mountain village where his grandfather resided in…

Winners: Pie In The Sky

Delighted to announce our winners are:

Anna Malta, QLD Kate Justelius-Wright, NSW
Each of you have won a copy of the outstanding graphic middle grade novel, Pie In The Sky by Remy Lai. 
Thank you to everyone who entered. Honestly your creative culinary suggestions (and recipes!) made our tummies rumble and our hearts melt. It was so hard to choose just two winners - a bit like me trying to decide which dessert to have - impossible!
For those who missed out, please fear not; you can get a terrific taste of this book from my review of Pie In The Sky or if you are lucky enough to reside in Queensland, why not go to the Pie in the Sky book launch, 21 June at Where The Wild Things Are Bookshop, Brisbane from 5.30 pm. It's sure to be a sumptuous experience!

Review: A Quiet Girl

In a world where the screams for attention are often paralysing, loud and unrelenting, Mary dwells in comparative silence. Her thoughts are mostly imperceptible. Her words heard only by the keenest of ears. Her actions measured and calm. This quietness allows Mary to ‘hear things nobody else heard’, soft, seemingly insignificant things easily overlooked in the chaos of everyday living. Mary is, A Quite Girl and this picture book by master storyteller, Peter Carnavas, is as unpretentious as it is attention grabbing.

The only trouble with being so unobtrusive is that inevitably you are completely overlooked. This is what happens to Mary to such an extent that her own family are not able to hear her as she attempts to relay a new and wonderful discovery to them.

Mary tries her hardest to speak up but it is never quite enough to break through the clamorous cacophony of life and despite the benign urgings from her family to ‘use a nice loud voice’, Mary withdraws even more until one day, s…

Cover Reveal: Pippa

Pippa is a little pigeon with big blue-sky ambitions: to fly solo and explore the world beyond her nest.

Her parents are less than thrilled  with their risk-taking, feathered fledgling and smother her with well-meant yet suffocating warnings until one day she ignores them all and takes the leap into the unknown…alone.

This plucky little pigeon is also the star of my latest picture book, Pippa, which she considers something of a self-titled achievement! She is young, feisty, determined and wilful, just like many youngsters, and she refuses to remain grounded by her parents' overprotective ways.

But what happens when she throws caution to the wind and encounters more adventure than she bargained for? You can find out for yourself this July when Pippalands in bookshops around Australia.

Masterfully illustrated by Andrew Plant and published by Ford Street PublishingPippa is a light-hearted adventure tale about striking out alone, following your dreamsand experiencing what it’s like…

Book Bites: Board Books with Heart

One of the most sensible, go-to gift ideas for any new parent is a book. Never mind newborn can’t even focus yet let alone read; the thought of gifting something so rich in inspiration and entertainment to share with baby as they grow and learn about their world softens and warms every heart.

Here are a handful of recently released board books that will fill any gift basket, or nursery bookshelf, with sunshine and joy.

Kindness Makes Us Strong
This sturdy little picture book is robust enough to endure the tug and pull of eager little hands (and mouths) and pretty enough to brighten any bookshelf. It’s part of a series (Love Makes A Family) by vibrant author illustrator, Sophie Beer featuring simple statements that underpin the quality of kindness; of having it, sharing it and living it. Beer’s trademark bold, bright retro-sque illustrations shout positivity and display strong themes of diversity and duality reminding us kindness is not only how we behave but who we are.

Title: Kindness…

Giveaway: Pie In the Sky

Pie in the Sky is the deliciously addictive debut novel by Brisbane author, Remy Lai. It's a story of fraternal love, grief, loss, realising your dreams, cultural adjustment, and more happily, cake! I absolutely adored sinking into this absorbing middle grade tale which is told in heart-tugging prose and entertaining line illustrations (also by Remy). It's an immensely satisfying read sure to spark laughs (and the odd tear or two) in readers aged 8 - 12 although I'm betting adults will get as much out of it. Judge for yourself from my review.
Thanks to the sweet people of Walker Books Australia and to celebrate it's imminent Australian release this month, Dim's Write Stuff has not one but two copies of Pie in the Sky to giveaway!

To enter, simply tell me in 25 words or less what your favourite food is to cook with your family?
Email your answer along with your name and postal address to dimity. The two responses we like best will each win a copy of the book. Competi…

Crystal Clear: At The End of Holyrood Lane Crystal Kite Award Winner

Flick, the little girl who lives at the end of Holyrood Lane is doing her happy dance right now. And why not, her story, At The End of Holyrood Lane has won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Members' Choice Award 2019 for the Australia New Zealand Oceania region.

As the scribe of her story, I'm feeling pretty chuffed, too. And a little overwhelmed and incredulous. I mean considering the incredible level of talent the other two shortlistees possessed, I honestly thought my day in the sun was had and was more than satisfied to bask in the warmth of just being shortlisted. But I confess, nothing brightens the life of an author like a bit of bling. Crystal bling no less!

I should not have doubted the allure and strength of this story, though. After all, with a illustrative narrative provided by the exceptionally talented, Nicky Johnston, Flick had every chance in the world of having her story noticed.
And noticed it was. Without the phenomenal ground swell of support and voting provided by …

Review: Young Dark Emu

For those of you who are not familiar with Dark Emu, this younger reader rendition by Bruce Pascoe will soon bring you up to speed. Young Dark Emu: A Truer History not only depicts Australia’s pre-European colonisation, it gently prompts school-aged readers to consider a different version of this history.

It’s a common, long-held (mis)conception that Aboriginal Australians were a nomadic people living serendipitous lives at the mercy of the land and its inhospitable climate; views that often equate to an uncivilised, lowly race incapable of sustaining long term civilisation. It turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.

Using documented, personal eyewitness accounts secured from the records and diaries of the first European explorers and settlers, Pascoe reveals the true nature of Australia’s Indigenous occupants. It’s a fair dinkum coin flip for this information documents the numerous ingenious ways Aboriginals not only harnessed the best qualities of the land they inhabited …

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…