Title: Ori the Octopus
Author: Anne Helen Donnelly
Illustrator: Anne Helen Donnelly
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Age Group: 2 – 5 y.o.


Please tell us a bit of what your book is about.

Ori the Octopus likes to help his friends. But when he helps his friends all at once, he gets all tangled up. Ori’s friends don’t like to see Ori tangled, so they help him do all the chores.

What kinds of themes / issues are raised in this story?

Friendship, helping others and teamwork.

How are these important to you in raising awareness to your readers?

The themes are social skills that pre-schoolers and younger children will all be trying to learn at that age, helping others and teamwork!

Who or what inspired you to write this story?

My initial inspiration was mothers! All of us who multi-task and do loads of things all at once.

What is your favourite part of the book?

When I read the book to children, and we get to the part where Ori is getting his tasks mixed up he has crossed eyes. He also gets his tasks mixed up. For example, he sips the cake instead of mixing it. Sometimes, the children laugh at this mix up and I do love to hear them giggle.

How would you describe the publishing process? Were they supportive? How long did it take?

This book took me about a year. I used a free-lance editor and a free-lance designer. I learnt loads from the free-lance editor. He had worked extensively with the NSW Dept of Education so really knew his stuff. How would I describe my first self-publishing process…
learning with every decision. Some things I’ll do the same the next time around, some different.

What was the collaboration like between author and illustrator? Juicy gossip, please!

Well, I occasionally argued with myself, but in the end, I won.

What has the feedback / audience response been like so far?

Really good feedback about the book and good reviews. There is still a bit of a stigma about self-publishing at times but even those who deal with books regularly, eg. librarians were asking me which publishing house I went through. The end customer, ie. the children and their mums usually, I really feel have not had any idea that I have self-published. I am also getting good feedback in terms of the event circuit. I have put a lot of effort into marketing myself and I do feel it’s paid off. I have done/am doing free and paid events. This book came out in April, and in October I have another Ori book coming out and am already organising the tour schedule.

What teaching and learning ideas would you suggest to complement this book?

The book itself has teacher/parent notes. Tips to get the child thinking and participating. I also have a very interactive website www.annehelendonnelly.com with 16 free printable activity sheets. From simple activities such as colouring-in to simple counting and adding.
At the back of the book there are cut-out characters from the story. Attach a craft stick to them and you have puppets! There are 6 puppet videos (short and safe to watch) on my website made from such puppets. The children can watch these videos and get ideas about staging their own puppet to entertain mum and dad!

Do you have a book trailer for your book? Please share.

No trailer. But I do have a video reading of my book:


Please let us know where we can find more on you and your book.

My website is best: www.annehelendonnelly.com

And Facebook.

Thank you for sharing your fun story with us, Anne! 🐙

Anne lives in Sydney with her husband and her two young children.

She has taught dance, been an entertainer at children’s parties, and she reads and teaches art and craft to children. She paints children’s canvasses and makes greeting cards.

Anne has been encouraged to share her story-telling, her illustrations and her creativity resulting in her Ori the Octopus series. The first book Ori the Octopus is closely followed by Ori’s Christmas, both released in 2017.

Anne is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Australian Society of Authors (ASA). She attends seminars regularly to keep her up to date in all sorts of skills and areas such as writing, illustrating, the book industry and story telling with the Story Tellers Guild!

She hopes you enjoy her books, events and all the free activities on her website.

#InterviewByBook #OriTheOctopus

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