Review: A Humorous Anthology of Short Stories by Australian Children’s Authors

Laugh Your Head Off Again, Various authors, Andrea Innocent (illus.), Pan Macmillan, 2016 Synopsis: 9 authors, 9 stories to make you laugh your head off again. A busting moment + a pet show + a ten metre high concrete tomato + a dog with a knack for trouble + the perfect footy pie + a mischievous monkey + a king on a break from his kingdom + a legendary lunchtime bandit + a llama farm camp = one hilarious book. Laugh Your Head Off Again is the companion title to the 2015 Pan Macmillan book...
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Review: A Fun Look at the Adventures of a Raccoon Who Thought She Was a Dog

Pumpkin: The Raccoon Who Thought She Was a Dog, Laura Young (author), Pan Macmillan 2016  Synopsis: When Laura Young found an injured baby raccoon in her back garden she didn't know what a big part of the family she was about to become. Laura and her husband, William, named her Pumpkin and her bond with their rescue dogs, Toffee and Oreo, was soon obvious. The three of them take naps, watch TV and cuddle each other and Pumpkin is always with her two new mums. Be prepared to fall in love with ...
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Top 16 of ’16

  Every year I, together with my two girls, reflect on our year in books - the ones that made us laugh, cry, connect, ponder and encourage affection. I also usually review my statistics on books borrowed, received for review and bought, but this year let’s just say, it's hugely extensive, and still counting. So, once again, of all the beauty, heartbreak, joy and wisdom we've so fortunately added to our literary repertoire, here are Miss M (age 7) and Miss A’s (almost 4) top 16 childre...
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Review: A Picture Book Exploring the Life of Dame Nellie Melba

Meet... Nellie Melba, Janeen Brian (author), Claire Murphy (illus.), Random House, 2016 Synopsis: Dame Nellie Melba was Australia's first classical music star. The beauty of her singing was celebrated around the globe. She was appointed Dame Commander, OBE for her enormous fundraising efforts during World War One and today she is commemorated on Australia's hundred dollar banknote. This is the story of how she rose to fame, and how she brought opera to Australians in the city and in the bus...
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Review: A Moving Picture Book Dealing with Love, Loss, Family and Legacy

One Photo picture book, Penguin Books, Ross Watkins, Liz Anelli
One Photo, Ross Watkins (author), Liz Anelli (illus.), Penguin Books, 2016 Dad came home one day with one of those old cameras, the kind that use film. But Dad didn’t take photos of the regular things people photograph... Created by Ross Watkins (who you may know as the illustrator of The Boy Who Grew Into a Tree, written by Gary Crew), the story in One Photo is at once moving, poignant, timely and inspirational. Many adults will be sure to identify with the story, which revolves around th...
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Penny Morrison – Riding the Wave

Penny’s wonderful picture book Captain Sneer the Buccaneer (illustrated by Gabriel Evans and published by Walker Books) was released in September to great fanfare and Penny has been riding the wave of swashbuckling book launches and appearances around the Sydney area since. Penny also has a series of board books for preschoolers (The ‘Hey’ books, recently shortlisted for the CALEB award) and other Christian resources published by Christian Education Publications (CEP) over the last few years. He...
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Review: A New Picture Book Perfect for Dog Lovers

Oh, Albert! Davina Bell (author), Sara Acton (illus.), Penguin Books, 2016 Synopsis: Albert can’t help getting into mischief when no one is around. But one day he goes too far... Oh, Albert! A perfect story about a family and their not-so-perfect (but loveable!) dog. Oh, Albert! is an adorable picture book perfect for animal-loving families who will no doubt enjoy reading about a mischievous dog, Albert, who is lovable but also often a handful. The story’s honest look at dog behaviours...
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Cream Rising – Marian McGuinness Part 3

I'm so excited to be able to announce that since posting our last part of this interview, Marian has had yet another story accepted for publication by The School Magazine! Congratulations Marian! In Part 3 of this interview, Marian talks about what she has gained from the writing mentorships and offers a few other top tips. [PHOTO: Marian receiving 2014 CBCA Mentorship and Charlotte Waring Barton Award - presented by Belinda Murrell] What have been the most helpful lessons for you f...
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Lesley Gibbes – To Infinity and Beyond Part 3

We take off into the New year with the third and final interview with the wonderful Lesley Gibbes. Thank you, Lesley, for being such a generous interviewee and providing us with information to help us all on our writing pathways. See part 1 here and part 2 here Lesley, what do you see as the milestone moments in your pathway to publication? Are they similar across all books, or different for each? A lot of the milestone moments in my early publications have come from writing courses. For m...
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Lesley Gibbes – to infinity and beyond…

Last month I attended the launch for Lesley Gibbes’ second published picture book Bring a Duck at the Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft, Sydney. Lesley has had phenomenal success since her launch into the children's book scene last year with her first ever picture book, Scary Night, illustrated by Stephen Michael King. I am excited that she has agreed to be interviewed for the Just Write For Kids Blog. Lesley, I hardly know where to start in our interview – so much has happened for you ...
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