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Showing posts from June, 2019

July School Holidays Young Writers Workshop: Keep it Short!

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Short stories. I've been writing them since I first dunked a toe in this business of writing for children. In fact, one of my first ever publications was a short story, An Eggspensive Venture, that appeared in the Blast Off NSW School Magazine back in 2009. I was pretty chuffed to say the least. And the thing that kept me writing them? The enticement of competitions and the myriad of themes to write about.

The experience of entering my short stories in so many comps and awards (and even winning a few) and being commissioned to write them for magazines and anthologies not only kept my creative juices bubbling away, it also taught me volumes about submission guidelines and working to deadlines; not to mention what it takes to make a story compelling enough and succinct enough to  fill up the time it takes to suck a mugful of hot chocolate through a Tim Tam.

If you are or know a young person who loves making words sing (or Tim Tams) and needs help composing them into pithy short sto…

Book Bites: Environmental Empathy

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The subject of environmental awareness prevails more frequently now within school classrooms than ever before. Children’s stories allow discussions to rotate gently around this global concern. These next few picture books and novels encourage understanding and promote empathy in ways that young children are capable of embracing and actioning themselves.


Emily Green’s Garden

This winning play on words picture book is suffused with every hue of verdant. Lush greens, sandy browns and lilac blues tendril casually across the pages as author, Penny Harrison cultivates a story of change and mindfulness. In many ways, it reflects the engrossing tale, One Tree by Christopher Cheng; where a young child’s world is transformed by a simple discovery and subsequent drive to nurture life until a significant change takes place. In this case, it’s the greening of Emily’s entire suburban neighbourhood. Life was lovely before but radiates a better kind of lovely following Emily’s gardening exploits. An e…

Review: One Tree

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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

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CONGRATULATIONS!
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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 …