Writing Books and Verityville Folk: Interview with Elizabeth Mary Cummings

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We’re heading down to Verityville to find out more about the characters and their delightful, passionate and talented author, Elizabeth Mary Cummings. We recently celebrated the release of Elizabeth’s new picture book, Rain Shaker, which you can revisit here. Writing from a child’s perspective, Elizabeth takes on a fresh way of seeing the world and the roles of others in it. Her Verityville series acts as a link to engaging children in literature with real life topics and reinforcing that ‘fresh perspective’, activism and appreciation for the value of our environment and society. Join us in learning more about Elizabeth’s inspirations and motivations, and her lively Verityville books (illustrated by Johanna Roberts).

Where do your ideas come from?

Image from The Sweetest Lollipop Lady in the World


Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Image from Mrs T and the Magic Pencil

What is your interesting writing quirk?

Image from Hair Magic

How did you learn about the craft of writing?

Image from Mrs T and the Magic Pencil


Some of your other independent books…

I have a psychology background (my undergraduate degree was psychology and business studies), so I have always been fascinated with the psychological aspect of life – my first book was The Disappearing Sister – a sibling’s account of anorexia nervosa (2015) and more recently I have published another picture book on mental health for children titled The Very Bad Thing – a narrative about trauma and survival.

My newest independent release is Amazing Hands, a non-fiction STEM book about hands – what they do, where they go and how they come into contact with germs. Essentially it is a book to help children understand why hand washing and hygienic practices are important and how they can be in control of their personal hygiene without instilling fear about disease.



Show us all of your Verityville titles!





In case you missed it… The advert trailer of the lively picture book series, Verityville

Follow Elizabeth Cummings and purchase the Verityville books at the website:

Elizabeth Mary Cummings: https://elizabethmarycummings.com/

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Marvel at the ordinary made extraordinary with Elizabeth Mary Cummings and her wonderful series, Verityville, appearing at the following media sources…


Organised by Books On Tour PR & Marketing. Email: info.booksontour@gmail.com

Mother’s Day Beauties 2020

Mother’s Day may look a little different this year, but no less filled with love, warmth and the joy our families bring to our hearts. Here are a few titles that are perfect for sharing with loved ones, swelling with comfort and spreading tingles in the most glorious of ways.

Lola and Grandpa cover

Lola and Grandpa, Ashling Kwok (author), Yvonne Low (illus.), Little Pink Dog Books, May 2020.

This book is like an angel that has been sent down from heaven. It radiates a light that glows amongst the dark, when a sad loss is brightened by the purest of hearts and joyous memories that flood our souls to the core. Both text and illustrations are profound in the way they touch our every sense. Lola and Grandpa is a picture book about a special bond between a little girl and her grandpa – precious for families to share together to celebrate life, the beauty of nature, and the power of memory. A keepsake for all time.

My full review is here: www.justkidslit.com/bookreview-lola-and-grandpa-by-ashling-kwok-and-yvonne-low.


Not Too Far From My Back Door, Tania Louise Smith (author, publisher), November 2019.

A troubled girl with big emotions, bursting out stronger than she can imagine, is taken on a journey of soul-searching and connection to mother nature. As she wanders, her spirits are lifted by the breeze, her strength is supported by the mountain, her shine is replenished by the sun, her peace is restored by the shade of the softly spoken trees, and her purity is inspired by the blissful ocean. A beautifully poetic tale that reminds us all of our inner strength and the healing powers of being at one with mother nature. Mesmerising, artistic illustrations stroke gently on our emotions as we too, wander along the path, that is ‘not too far from my back door’. Share the bond of nature with your mother this Mother’s Day.



Remembering Mother Nature, Stuart French (author, illus.), Ethicool Books, April 2020.

If there ever was a time to be inspired by the mother of all mothers, it’s now. In this delightfully rhyming and important story, the reader is directly introduced to ‘old lady’ Mother Nature. The joyous colours, friendly faces and pretty scenes remind us of the beauty that she has cared for; the amazing wildlife and valuable habitats that make our world so wonderful. But what happens when Mother Nature starts to get tired, when human influence causes damage and the land starts to die? Remembering Mother Nature gives clarity to young ones about our negative impacts on the earth in an accessible way, and also encourages a kind of empowerment that gives readers the confidence to make change, and be the ‘superheroes’ of the future. This is the greatest gift our ‘Mother’ could ask for!

Find out more about Ethicool Books.


The Fabulous Cakes of Zinnia Jakes: The Crumbling Castle, Brenda Gurr (author), Nancy Leschnikoff (illus.), New Frontier Publishing, March 2020.

Do you have someone in your family who loves to bake? This absolutely delicious new series for early to middle grade readers is like a cake pop of fun, with its food-related language sprinkled throughout, its light dusting of humour and a spattering of suspenseful messes to add to the cake-baking equation that needs to be solved. Zoe, aka Zinnia Jakes, is a nine-year-old undercover cake business owner, with a penchant for delivering cakes with a difference. The Crumbling Castle represents many challenges, from decorating the elaborate cake itself, to having a good business acumen, to making the right choices when it comes to helping others out. It’s not without themes of friendship and family dynamics, mathematical reasoning and lessons on home economics and the art of baking with love. Sweet enough to share with any member of the family, from age seven and up.


Bedtime, Daddy!, Sharon Giltrow (author), Katrin Dreiling (illus.), EK Books, May 2020.

This is the most adorable, informative tale on how to put Daddy to bed. It may not be about Mums, but a good poke at Dad’s funny antics might just be an equally fun treat! Bedtime, Daddy! encapsulates a kind of pure innocence, combined with the masterful manipulation of bedtime excuses that we know of our children, however, completely turned on its head. It’s young bear trying his darndest, until absolute exhaustion, to get his Daddy bear to stay in bed by attending to his every beckoning. One more book, thirsty, needing to poop, monsters under the bed, room too dark, too bright… And if you thought you already figured out the twist, there’s another cheeky one at the end! Perfectly simple, instructional language with a child-like quality, supported by animated, mixed media illustrations that are just so funny, make this book utterly charming and definitely worthy of a read every single night. Love it!



Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums, grandmums and special persons out there! Xx

Reviews by Romi Sharp


Other gorgeous books to share with the family that you might like to check out:

Isla’s Family Tree by Katrina McKelvey and Prue Pittock, EK Books, April 2020.

Goodnight, Glow Worms, Aura Parker, Scholastic, March 2020.

In My Dreams, Stef Gemmill and Tanja Stephani, New Frontier Publishing, April 2020.

Happiness is a Cloud, Robert Vescio and Nancy Bevington, Big Sky Publishing, May 2020.



The Quick Six Interview with Kerry Malone

Welcome to The Quick Six Interview with Kerry Malone!

Kerry Malone is a Canberra-based children’s author. Her picture book You can do it Joey! was released in 2015 and her new chapter book, Sophie Makes New Friends is now available.

Sophie’s stories were inspired by some of Kerry’s experiences. She first started wearing glasses when she was five years old and her glasses weren’t as cool as Sophie’s. Without her glasses Kerry couldn’t see much and spent a lot of time lost at the beach.

Kerry loves writing books in libraries and cafes. Her favourite cafes are the ones which sell doughnuts.

Find out more at:



Who wrote, illustrated and published this book?

I wrote the book and was thrilled to have Meaghan Thomson, the illustrator for You can do it Joey! back on board. We learned so much from our experience indie publishing Joey that we did it all again!

What is it called and what is it about?

Sophie Makes New Friends is the first book in a new series of three chapter books for readers aged 6 – 9 years of age
It’s Sophie’s first day at her new big city school. Without her old friends, who will sit with her at recess? Will she make new friends?
She eventually finds the courage to say hello to Phoebe. Will Phoebe convince Sophie to join the skipping team?

When is its release / launch date?

Sophie Makes New Friends was launched at the end of October 2018.

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

The original idea for this book was written in 2006. I was experiencing some serious eyesight issues and was not coping. I sat outside one day with a marker pen, some paper and a glass of wine and wrote a story about a little girl going to school for the first time wearing her new glasses. Ten years later I started writing about this little girl and her stories morphed into Sophie’s series.

Why is this book meaningful to you and why would its message resonate with readers?

Sophie Makes New Friends is special for me as some of Sophie’s experiences are based on mine as a chid growing up wearing glasses and being a bit shy. The stories wrote themselves really and I was often surprised by the ideas that popped into my head. Working with Meaghan again was so much fun and we want readers to see themselves in Sophie’s stories and hopefully relate to some of her experiences.

How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?

I’m so grateful to Canberra booksellers who support local authors and love seeing Sophie on their shelves. She is now available at The National Library Bookshop, Harry Hartog Woden and Paperchain Bookstore.
I’m starting to organise book signings and events to promote Sophie and Independent Publishing so keep an eye on the website. There is also a shop on the website if anyone wants to purchase a copy!

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Be a Future Sleuth and WIN!

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📼📱📮 C’mon Future Sleuthers! It’s a MASSIVE  #BookGiveaway 📼📱📮

Put your best sleuthing skills to work because we are giving you the chance to conceptualise the most amazing, technologically advanced gadgets of the future! And you could WIN not one, not two, but three – yes, THREE books in the Max Booth Future Sleuth series by Cameron Macintosh and Dave Atze. All courtesy of Big Sky Publishing. How cool is that?!

All you need to do is tell us, ‘What technological device, equipment or advancement would you like to see in the future?’

*Open to Australian residents only. To enter, comment on this post or on social media. Winner will be notified via email and/or Facebook and will be required to provide an Australian postal address. Prize courtesy of Cameron Macintosh and Big Sky Publishing.

Enter as many times as you like. Winner will be selected at random. No further correspondence will be entered into.

Closes midnight AEST Friday November 23, 2018.

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KidLitVic2016 Meet the Publishers Day by Alison Reynolds

Guest Post

by Alison Reynolds

imageJust Write For Kids is delighted to welcome Alison Reynolds to share about her exciting upcoming event – KidLitVic2016 in Melbourne this May. Alison and Dee White together have organised this prodigious occasion in support of emerging and accomplished authors and illustrators seeking tips and feedback from expert publishing professionals.


Thank you so much for inviting me to share the details of the inaugural KidLitVic2016 Meet the Publishers Melbourne Day. We would love to see some of you there!

Dee White and I had often thought it was such a shame that Melbourne, unlike other cities, didn’t have a specific event where Children and YA writers and Illustrators could meet Australian publishers.

We decided to create our own event as we believed that Melbourne as an UNESCO city of literature would support a Children’s Writers and Illustrators conference of its own. The response has been amazing.

The publishers have all been extremely supportive and excited to attend our event. The ticket sales have been so successful that we’ve nearly sold out two months before the event. Everything bodes well for a brilliant day.

The non-profit inaugural KidLitVic2016 event will be held at the State Library Victoria on 7 May 2016.

The day will consist of publisher panels covering topics like YA, Illustration, Picture Books, Series, Chapter Books, Middle Grade and Publishing – what’s hot and what’s not.

One-on-one fifteen minute manuscript and folio assessments are available for an additional fee. There is also a cocktail party at the end of the day for an additional cost.

ALL illustrators attending the conference are invited to display their portfolios (whether they have a booked assessment or not). A table will be available to display portfolios along with business cards for the duration of the conference.

For more details check out http://kidlitvic2016.wix.com/meetthepublishers

Here is the stellar list of the Publishing Professionals attending!



Thank you, Alison for informing us about this wonderful event! It sounds like it will be a brilliant and memorable day. 

Make sure you check all the links at the event’s website for all your FAQs.

You can also visit Alison Reynolds at her website and Twitter page.