KidLitVic2017 Reflections

I'm still buzzing after a day of encouragement, empowerment and energy. A day filled with camaraderie, connections and reverence. KidLitVic Meet the Publishers Conference 2017 in Melbourne on May 20th certainly achieved its goals for attendees to network, showcase talents, and “kick-start, build, reinvigorate and strengthen” our creative journeys. Conference organisers, Alison Reynolds, Coral Vass, Jaquelyn Muller and Nicky Johnston once again did a stellar job in putting it all together. Eve...
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#InterviewByBook with Renee Price

Title: Digby and the Yodelayhee Who? Author: Renee Price Illustrator: Anil Tortop Publisher: Create It Kids Genre: Picture book Age Group: 2-7 years Please tell us a bit of what your book is about. Digby Fixit and his friends follow their second adventure, in an attempt to solve the mystery of a noisy noise. Could it be the sound of an ant trail? An instrument? An elephant? And why is it so noisy? What kinds of themes / issues are raised in this story? Digby and the Yodelayhee W...
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Penny Morrison – Riding the Wave Part 3

This is the third and final part of my interview with Penny Morrison, author of Captain Sneer the Buccaneer, the Hey! series and The Mighty Mighty King Christmas Book. In this installment Penny reveals the patience needed to be an author as she discusses the circuitous path to publication of Captain Sneer the Buccaneer. See part 1 here and part 2 here. Penny, Captain Sneer, published by Walker Books, was released in September 2016 but I understand all was not clear sailing (pun intended:) ). ...
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In the Presence of Giants

The title of this article might seem a misnomer given the physical stature of both Margaret Wild and Julie Vivas, however there is no doubt about their giant status in the picture book world. It was an absolute pleasure to hear them speak in conversation with Belinda Murrell at the CBCA Northern Sydney sub-branch Christmas party on the last day of November 2016. Margaret’s writing has long been a touchstone of mine with her exquisite use of words and her perfect emotional pitch. I return agai...
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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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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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Lessons from a punnet of tomatoes.

One thing I love about the creative industries is that several people can have a similar idea yet express it in totally different ways. This was brought home to me the other evening when attending a talk by CBCA judge, Cathie Tasker. Cathie pointed out that two of the books shortlisted for awards this year were on the same theme, yet they were different in so many ways – Mr Huff and What’s Up MuMu? You can see even from the covers the difference in approach and mood – such a contrast! Wal...
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Diving into Picture Books—Signposts for Authors and Illustrators

Are you an aspiring or emerging children’s book author? Not too sure of what you have to do? How do you write that opening sentence? What is a story board? Do I need one? How do I work with an illustrator? Do I need to find one? What are agents looking for? The answers to these questions, and more, are just ahead. Writing Picture Books Opening sentences are important for every story, every novel—and this includes Picture Books. Find out the various types of sentences you can use for yo...
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Read, read, write.

I've just added this accumulated pile of books on my desk to my Goodreads profile. It got me thinking about the importance of reading for writers. One of the things I put on my Writers' Action Matrix at the beginning of the year was "Read books in your genre - study their elements." It's something that keeps cropping up in my interviews with authors. I am so fortunate to be given copies of books for children to review for Reading Time and Creative Kids Tales, and this forces me to analyse how an...
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