Showing posts from February, 2020

Festival Fun: Voices On The Coast

Last year it was the StoryArts Ipswich Festival which rocked my humble author boat. This year I was fortunate enough to kick off 2020 with one of my favourite literature festivals, the Voices on the Coast 25th Anniversary  , presented by the Immanuel Lutheran College, Sunshine Coast. For the last quarter of a decade, this festival designed specifically to attract children, young adults, emerging writers and eager readers to listen and workshop with Australia’s leading authors, illustrators and performers has been taking prime position on SE Queensland's literary event calendar. And it's not hard to see why; a plethora of quality presenters, a packed program of author and illustrator sessions and talks and a gamut of entertaining community events ensure the Sunshine Coast really does sparkle for four wonderful days. A cluster of crazy creators: L-R Martin Chatterton, Pip Harry, Jacqueline Harvey, George Ivanoff, Mark Smith, Wai Chim, Suzy Zail, Malla Nunn, Lili Wil

Review: Evie and Pog: Take Off! and Puppy Playtime!

This joyfully illustrated new junior series by gifted author / illustrator, Tania McCartney is an exuberant romp about the garden and neighbourhood playgrounds with best friends, Evie and Pog. One is a young girl who adores cake, knitting and favours daisies above any other pretty thing. If Evie could read books, bake cakes and roll about in the daisy-spot grass all day, her life would be near complete, much the same way a dog's would be. In fact, sometimes Evie's behaviour is more pooch-like than her best friend, Pog's. Pog is a young - well let's call him a Pug type breed of dog who's predilections for vegetables, engaging newspaper stories and a good pot of tea seem a little whacky or rather out of whack at first, but soon settle into the tone of the story. For it is precisely Pog's refined and reserved nature along with his level-headedness that cleverly counterbalances Evie's compulsive and clumsy capers (she trips over a lot!). These two spe

Review: I Am Change

This story tugs you in forty different directions at once. That's not to say it's confusing to read. It's not. It is however an emotional junket that exposes the reader to a battery of feelings ranging from anger disgust, sorrow, disbelief, exhilaration, joy, hope and triumph. Lilian's story is pre-empted in a small but powerful way by the foreword by Namukasa Nusula Sarah, a female native of Kampala, Uganda. Like Lilian's real life name sake, Nakamya Lilian, the initial catalyst for this story, Sarah provides an inescapable authenticity yet despite her opening words, Zail's narrative chimes with a legitimacy all on its own, so genuine, so sincere, it'll have you rising out of your seat with conviction. Lilian is a young teenager on the cusp of womanhood. However despite the fact that she lives in our modern times, her home is a humble village in the countryside of Uganda. She walks to school, fetches water by hand from the well every day, squats to

Book Bites: Too Cool For School

Here in Oz, Term One is in full swing. The first-day wobbles have stabilised and the tears have dried; well I can't speak for every parent but here's hoping! In case your tiny tot is still feeling a bit apprehensive about this big new adventure called school, cast an eye over these titles that address learning, dealing with change and forging friendships. Let’s Go On a … series This jolly new board book series is more suited to pre-schoolers but I just love the winning combination of Natalia Moore’s chipper illustrations and Welsh author, Rosalyn Albert’s   rhythmic text. This series focuses on modes of transport with titles about ferries, trains and rockets. It’s fun and engaging, perfect to share with young children or for encouraging new schooler-goers to discover language. Title: Let’s Go On a…series Author: Rosalyn Albert Illustrator: Natalia Moore Publisher: New Frontier Publishing, Catch A Star imprint, $12.99 Publication Date: November 2019 Format

Review: Turtle Trackers

I find it very hard to fault Samantha Wheeler's work. Simultaneously entertaining and informative, her eco -issue-based junior / middle grade novels have a keep-forever-quality that calls loudly to young animal lovers. Turtle Trackers is exactly that; a rousing, endearing tale about a young boy still in the grips of grief after the loss of his father, living and maintaining a seaside caravan park with his mother who yearns to learn more about the conversation of nesting turtles that frequent their stretch of coastline. The massive fly in Isaac’s ointment is that he is perpetually flat out running errands for his mother, cleaning the park and maintaining relations with caravan park guests. There is precious little time for anything else including fun. The quirky cast of permanent park guests adds colour, verve and welcome humor, while the arrival of a famous yet feisty travel blogger sends everyone into a tither. Isaac tries in vain to balance his park duties with his 10-yea