Kool Kidz Stuff

Hi ya! Thanks for visiting my blog and welcome to a page dedicated to kids who like to Read, Write and Draw. Cruise by regularly for updates on stories I've published plus fun activities and advice on the art of creating stories.

For a bunch of creative fun, recipes and crafty downloads relating to the stories I've written, head to my website and check out the fab Kids' Korner for all the Downloadable Fun!
If you're a teacher or librarian, what are you doing on the kids' page?! Joking- that means you must be really cool and after more ways of connecting my stories with your kids. You'll find them all in my awesome collection of Teachers' Notes. Enjoy!

If you have a bit of a creative flare with words or pictures and a burning desire to take it further, check out the following links. They will give you plenty of info about Writing Events and Conferences, Festivals and Competitions all designed to develop, show case and promote your work. There are literally dozens of excellent sites not to mention blogs but here are some of my favourites. Check out the links on my Home Page too for more useful information.

In case that's not enough, check out Chris Bell's page, Young Writers' Resources. YWR highlights writing competitions, noting those which are currently open along with other websites and links where budding young writers can find information on everything from punctuation to polishing your stories until they blind you with their brilliance.

Child Writes is an amazing project run by Emma MacTaggart that aims to 'nurture literacy and creativity, and give primary school aged children a voice by offering them the opportunity to write and illustrate their own children's picture books.'  This program offers an excellent selection of workshops to hone your inner scribe.

Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom of the page. You'll see some more of my stories. Stay for a while and read them. Some have even won competitions. I've included a few pics by the very talented Jimbo for your viewing pleasure too.

School Holiday Writing Workshop Boot Camps 

- Write Like An Author  This is an internationally acclaimed writing course for middle-grade students that shows you how to write stories the way authors do. On a four-day, school holiday writing camp, a professional author will take you on a journey of fun and discovery, learning how to create, develop and write awesome stories, guiding you every step of the way. The course has been developed by international award winning author and writing coach Brian Falkner and proven for over nine years in classrooms in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. I'm one of the official facilitators of these camps that run all over the globe (mine are usually in SE Queensland). Here's a flyer of a typical camp.

- Draw Like an Illustrator holiday camps are the sister program to the writing camps that run in conjunction with them. They are hosted by published professional illustrators and are sensational if creating in images is more your thing. Check out the website for upcoming holiday camp dates.

 - Meanjin School Holiday Writers'  Camps These holiday writing workshops are open to students aged 10 - 15 years and run in SE QLD locations. They invite a selection of well known authors, illustrators and creators to share their secrets and tips. I've been lucky enough to present at a couple including the 40th Camp in 2018. 

Kool Kids Writing Blog Sites, Competition Links & Activities

- Writing Classes for Kids is a brand new blog site by children's author Dee White for writers of all ages and especially kids. The site has heaps of information on writing workshops, competitions and links to other useful writing sites. Have a look now.

- Just Kidding Australian Creative Writing Competition runs annually by the fun online magazine, Just Kidding. Fab prize packages are usually up for grabs plus you get to work with a popular, well-known children's author as your mentor. Various ages groups from 9 - 12 years-old are catered for so give it a go.

- Dorothy MacKellar Poetry Awards is a site dedicated to the oldest and longest running poetry competition for school aged kids in Australia. Worth a look if writing in verse is more your thing.

- Writing for Fun excellent FUN site with loads of writing, art and poetry competitions throughout the year. Great prizes on offer too.

- International Short Story Competitions  A great chance to improve your writing and get your work in an international magazine, Litro. Awards for Young People run every year.

- Kids' Book Review A brilliant one stop shop for checking out the latest book reviews by people dedicated to sharing great reads for kids, including reviews by the kids themselves. There are also regular competitions and giveaways and interviews worth checking out too.

- The Book Chook is a super cool and informative site for parents, teachers and kids run by a writer and real mother hen, Susan Stephenson. Here you'll find book reviews, tips and resources to connect yourself with children's literature and how to create it. Here's an example: Helpful Resources for Young Writers 2017.

Writing Festivals, Conferences, Events

- Somerset Celebration of Literature  Annual Festival on the Gold Coast. Includes National Novella Writing Competition.

- Voices on the Coast Youth Literature Festival Annual Festival on the Sunshine Coast. Publishes Small but Loud book for schools.

- The Ipswich Festival of Children's Literature Festival held every two years in Ipswich QLD. Includes Writing and Illustrating Competitions. This is the dedicated official Blog.

- Children's and Young Adult Writers and Illustrators Conference CYA Annual Conference in Brisbane includes Hatchlings which caters for 8 - 18 year olds with workshops and writing and illustrating competitions.

Children's Literature Magazines

- Kookie Magazine is quite possibly one of the most brilliant girl-power inspired tween mags on the market. Choco-a-block crammed full of fun, interesting, facts, crafts, fiction and  activities not to mention real-life stories, this is a great magazine to read by also contribute to. One of my stories, Perfect Prue featured in Issue 6 March 2019! So cool.

- Alphabet Soup Aussie Magazine for kids 6 - 12 who love reading and writing.

-Bug in a Book On line literacy hub with Bug Kids Club useful for activities, book reviews and competition opportunities.

- Burke's Backyard Magazine Well OK this mag is not exactly about kids' lit, but it features monthly Kids' Pages where children are invited to 'edit' their own articles and win gift vouchers for their school library plus cool prizes for themselves. It's a great way to get into writing. Application forms are available on line.


As part of one Queensland school's Book Week in May 2012 celebrations, I was fortunate enough to be invited to conduct writing workshops with children aged from 5 to 12 years. One of the exercises the students there attempted was a group based activity using the various elements of a RAFT grid to construct a creatively written piece as shown in the examples below. RAFT = Role, Audience, Format and Topic. Some of the samples they came up with, in the very limited time allocated to them, were unexpectedly clever and imaginative. They also displayed a fair amount of parody. WELL DONE to everybody at Coomera Rivers State School who took part. Why not let your imagination go wild and write something using the categories on the RAFT. Or better still, try making your own RAFT grid to work from. Let your creativity go crazy.

Aqua girl
The Fabulous Four
Persuasive Letter
Convincing them to allow her into their group
Wonder woman

The Joker
Post card
While he is in jail

The Incredible
Iron Man
To be his partner at a wipe out challenge competition
The Lone Ranger
Robin Hood
On the importance of wearing a mask to establish and maintain identity
Lara Croft
Indiana Jones
An TV advertisement
To visit outback Australia

Sample of Jackson Huggonson's Persuasive Letter to the Police attempting to have Goldilocks thrown in jail, based on the Fairy Tale RAFT grid. Aged 12 years.

Dear Kind Sir,

We are sad to admit that we have been robbed and neglected by one of the worst and unjust of people. She has robbed us of our weekly provisions and destroyed one of our chairs, and was found sleeping in our son's bed. When we tried to question her, she screamed and ran away shouting HELP which was such a displeasure to us all. We are very sure that we are now half deaf.

Yours sincerely,
The 3 porridge-less Bears

Sample of an Invitation sent to the Joker from Aqua Girl based on the Super Hero RAFT by Grade 5 students Hannah Jay, Dakota Csorba, Jailyn Goodwin, Luis Lees, Bailey McLean and Khye Augest all aged 9 and 10 years.

Dear Joker
Your jokes aren't funny and you are evil, but we think you should be invited to our
Outback Australian Disco.
We don't like to leave people out. Everyone is going to have a good time so
 don't wreck it.
Do not bring any weapons or all the Super Heroes will fight back - Capish?
There are going to be citizens that you won't know so try not to hurt / kill them.
Love all the Super Heroes
P.S. don't hurt Batman too much
From Aqua girl xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

(Sounds like AG has a crush on Batman to me - Dim)

August 2011 -  I recently conducted a number of school Writing Workshops as part of Book Week 2011. Maybe your school was involved with Book Week. Perhaps a well known author or illustrator visited your school or local library and you were lucky enough to listen to them speak. One of the questions we are often asked (if we are not quite as well known as JK Rowling) is; What have you written?

Here's a sample of  An Eggspensive Venture , a short story I wrote couple of years ago. It was published in NSW's The School Magazine Blast Off which is for readers aged  9 - 10 years. I think chooks are a real crack up but I'm not sure our hero, Charlie feels the same way. What do you think?

Excerpt from "An Eggspensive Venture" Blast Off Magazine

Read my latest short story for kids published on AWO as part of their Bedtime Stories for Kids series. Here, you'll find terrific, funny, sometimes touching stories written especially for you by people like me.

"Marcie's Green-Eyed Monster" is a tender look at some of the emotions kids experience when they have to deal with radical changes in their lives. Marcie is in danger of being caught by the thing she fears the most. Can she see it through?

If I can do it, anyone can...well with a little practise. Want to read another short story? Click on this site Creative Kids Tales and enjoy, "The Boy Who Lost His Laugh"  1st prize winner in the writing Classes for Kids Comp July 2012

"The Boy Who Lost His Laugh" is a short story which recently won first and third place in two different Writing for Children Awards. It's a feel good story a boy finding his sense of belonging and learning to laugh again. Have you ever felt like you've lost your happy mojo? I'm sure it's lurking around somewhere, waiting to be found, just like Tim's.

Tim was just like most kids. He had hair he forgot to brush. Freckles splattered across the top of his nose, and he got smelly when he ran around too much.
Except Tim didnt have any parents or a family of his own or a place he called home.  Tim was a foster kid.
It had always been like that. He was used to it; forever changing families. He never completely unpacked his dinosaurs anymore. Why bother?
Only somewhere between the first foster home and the Joneses, hed lost his laugh. He couldnt remember when or how he lost it but with all the moving he just didnt have time to look for it anymore.
The Jones kids meant well and tried hard. But nothing they did could turn Tims frown upside down.
Tim wished he could stay with them forever. He liked it when Dianne worried about him and the ridiculous racket the twins made in the mornings. And the way his foster mother, Gina Jones tucked him in at night with a rosy smelling kiss right in the middle of his freckles made his heart flutter.
But he was careful not to feel too happy. He knew, one day, he would be leaving again. When Tim spotted the foster care lady having a cup of tea with Gina, he sighed and closed his bedroom door. He peeled his posters off the wall, rolled them neatly into tubes and secured them with rubber bands, then pushed them under the bed alongside his box of dinosaurs, ready for the next move.
As he left his room, he noticed Gina sign a wad of papers and hand them over to the foster care lady. He entered the backyard just in time to see Mr Jones rocket into the air. Tim had forgotten about the trampoline. It was a combined birthday gift for the twins. Gina appeared next to Tim and gave her husband a smiley two thumbs up.
Woo Hoo! cried Mr Jones. Now we have two new additions and reasons to celebrate, he yelled in between bounces. Everybody, BOING! Tim is now officially a Jones. Hes here to stay!
The kids cheered. Gina clapped. Dianne worried.
Dad, should you be on that thing with your leg in plaster?
Couldnt be surer! he shouted and sinking his weight deep into the trampoline, shot like an arrow into the wall of the tree house. His shorts snagged on a nail while the rest of him plummeted to the ground.
Wow, nearly broke the other one, he gasped staggering awkwardly onto his good leg. Im alright, he puffed, as his tattered shorts slid to his ankles revealing his Pokka-dot underpants.
Tim collapsed backwards, clutching his middle. There was silence for almost a full minute; a record for the Jones family.
Then Benji asked, Whats that? They all listened, and heard an odd honking squeal, like a bicycle horn being squeezed too hard. Only it wasnt a horn at all.
It was Tim laughing.
Artwork by Art of Jimbo

Drop by again soon for more excerpts of my stories and don't forget to let me know what you think. Feel free to ask me questions too. If I don't know the answer, I'm sure I know someone who does.

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