Showing posts from March, 2019

Speed Launching: How to Share Your Story in Three Minutes

Fellow Speed Launchers, Kelly Hibbert, Aleesah Darlinson and Christina Booth As part of the recent spectacle that was the SCBWI Sydney 2019 Conference , I was fortunate enough to be part of a crackerjack collection of creatives involved in what was billed as ' a celebration of books' at The Children's Bookshop in Beecroft but quickly became known as 'a speed launch event'. What is a speed launch? Quite simply, it's less a than handful of minutes which said author has at her disposal to extol the many wonders of her latest picture book publication, wax lyrical about its glorious marriage of art and words, regale listeners with the story behind the story, and tease them into loving the characters so much you have them begging for a signed copy before you've even paused for breath. Phew! It's no mean feat delivering all that in three short minutes. Yes, that's the average amount of time allowed to effectively pitch your wares despite it taki

Get Appy: Circus School Digital Picture Book

Ironically, Circus School was one of the first picture book texts I ever penned. It originated as an assignment for a writing course I was undertaking several years ago and features Elise the Elephant who is about to fulfil her dream of performing in the circus. She embarks on her first day of circus school bursting with excitement but in spite of her Coach Caroline’s enthusiastic encouragement, soon realises she is not exactly cut out for life in the circus. Or is she? In a delightful twist of reality, Elise is one elephant who can’t wait to join the circus. This bouncy story of self-discovery and tenacity for pre-schoolers features oodles of fun word play and exuberant onomatopoeia. I just love how Beatriz Mello's illustrations bring Elsie and her circus school chums to bouncy, spinning, teetering life.You simply must discover their antics. This digital story was also featured in Virgin Australia’s inflight kids’ entertainment program in February 2017 as part of

Review: Everything I've Never Said

Sometimes, I delay reading a book not because the cover doesn’t grab me (it did). Not because I was scared of drowning in an emotional whirlpool (I wasn’t, well perhaps a bit). I often dislike the distracting hype surrounding a new release. I like to wait until the book calls to me on its own and in this case, Ava finally called loud enough for me to hear. Which is saying something, for Ava is unable to speak. I’m glad I waited to take on Everything I’ve Never Said for it is truly something special. Told without froth and bubble, and very little hand waving, this novel possesses a greatness of heart that will make you weep and chuckle out loud. Ava is sassy and sharp as a whip. She has the observational skills of a bald eagle and the heart of a whale. Opinions and thoughts, words and desires bubble within her without restraint, yet she is unable to express any of them thanks to Rett syndrome, which dominates her physical abilities. Her greatest desire is to be heard. But how

A Perfect Publication: Kookie Magazine

I am pleased as punch to see my short story, Perfect Prue , published in the latest edition of the Kookie Magazine, Issue 6. Perfect Prue   is a short story about competitive cousins, capsizing catastrophes, fitting in and sailing! Grab yourself a copy of this awesome little mag and read it for yourself, soon.  KOOKIE (as in smart KOOKIE) is a girl-powered, award-winning print magazine for ages 7 to 12+. It is chock-a-block packed with interviews, fiction, craft, puzzles, comics, articles on science and nature, art and activism, sports and technology plus pages of reader contributions and pics, sure to keep young female tweens exploring and thinking. This magazine is also 100% ad-free and comes out four times a year (March, June, September, December). I had an absolute ball soaking up its articles and heartily recommend it for any middle grade readers who want a magazine dedicated to thought provoking issues but also FUN! Illustration from Perfect Prue courtesy of

Review: Hugo The boy with the curious mark

Hugo is anything but one-dimensional. He is also a paint palette away from dull but he feels grey on the inside because of the curious, rainbow coloured mark he was born with. Despite the assurances that it will ‘ just disappear’ from his family, the mark grows bigger and brighter, so conspicuous and unavoidable that his grey turns into abject sorrow.   Hugo is unable to love the mark that signifies his difference so unmistakably, yet he cannot deny, it is part of the person he is; part of his whole. His wise grandmother assures him his difference is as wonderful as he is but this does not alleviate the isolation that engulfs him. As with many youngsters presented with this type of identity verification, Hugo embarks on a search for self and someone else who might be just like him. It’s a long rainbow-less trip until, finally, across a crowded train platform, he spots a flash of red and orange and blue and green. Someone marked like him. He reaches for her but the crowd swal

Review: In The Shadow of an Elephant

First impressions count. They are (for me) seldom wrong. However, like a painting on the wall, a second, closer look can often enhance if not alter those first gut reactions. Closer inspection often reveals hitherto unseen beauties secreted among shadows laden with meaning. This is precisely why I adore picture books. My first impression of Georgie Donaghey’s , In the Shadow of an Elephant was that it was an immense story; a picture book attempting to embrace a life story as boundless as the African Savannah, just as brutal and beautiful. Even the magnificent front cover of Lualani the elephant required a full cover wrap to encompass her complete gorgeous form.