Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with Debra Tidball!

It is with HUGE excitement to feature one of Just Write For Kids’ very own – the dedicated and passionate kidlit advocate and award-winning author of When I see Grandma and The Scared BookDebra Tidball is here to talk about her stunning new picture book release, Anchored! Thanks, Debra, for sharing your gorgeous story with us! 🙂 x

Debra’s tale is written with a beautiful lyrical prose of exquisite language, including metaphors and buoyant words that uplift when her ‘Tug’ boat character needs it most. Together with Arielle Li‘s soft aquatic tones, amiable anthropomorphic vessels and divine ocean views, Anchored is afloat with tender, love and care. My review appeared first at Books + Publishing. “A sensitive tale of connection near, far and across the waters, Anchored is a hopeful, heartwarming story demonstrating to young children that no matter the distance between them and a loved one, fondness always remains with a little tug on the heart.”

FREE comprehensive teaching notes are available at the EK Books website (written by me!). Plenty of scope for teaching and learning in the areas of Literacy, Science / STEAM, Humanities and Social Sciences, Mathematics, Health and Physical Education and The Arts.

Debra Tidball is an award-winning author of picture books, short stories, poems and plays, with qualifications in social work and children’s literature. Coming form a military family, she knows how love can reach across oceans.

Debra has loved diving into the children’s literature world. Since When I See Grandma was published, she has been a book reviewer for the Children’s Book Council (CBCA) Reading Time and Creative Kids Tales, as well as a blogger at Just Write For Kids. She is the secretary of her local CBCA NSW Sub-branch and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Debra also loves getting involved with initiatives like International Read to me Day and Book Giving Day.

Please visit Debra and sign up to her fantastic newsletter at Home (debratidball.com)

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Check out the details for the launch of Anchored on Saturday April 29 at Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre, NSW: here.

WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?

I wrote, Arielle Li and EK Books published Anchored.

WHAT is it about?

It’s about a big ship, a little tugboat and the sustaining and transformative power of being anchored in each other’s heart. It’s for anyone who has to spend time apart from someone they love – whether it be several hours, while children are at school or preschool and/or parents are at work; or days, when children spend time between parents; or years when loved ones are living or working far away.

What is your favourite part of this book?

There is so much about this book I love! If I had to choose one page, it would be when Tug is waiting for Ship to return. There is so much going on visually on this page to create a strong sense of longing: the smallness of Tug swamped by the cranes and in shadow, looking into the wide sunset distance hopeful of Ship’s return. And the sunset colours are so pretty!

WHEN did you begin writing this book?

I began writing Anchored early in 2021. My family had recently moved to a home close to a harbourside walking track, which was perfect for those on-again off-again Covid lockdown days! I’m sure that the sense of loss of physical connection due to the pandemic infused the story.

When is its release / launch date?

Anchored is released on the 5th April.

Its first ‘outing’ will be a book reading and signing at Dymocks Neutral Bay 11 am Thursday 13th April, and I’m having a launch on Saturday 29th April 2pm in Kirribilli.

I’ll also be at Where the Wild Things Are bookshop in Brisbane on Friday 14th April 10am for their Storytime festival.

WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?

I love walking around Sydney Harbour when I get the chance, and I became intrigued by the working watercraft I saw, especially the tugboats, leading out and bringing in huge ships. I started playing with the idea of tugs being small yet powerful, and on the way, the power morphed from something physical, to something emotional that would ‘tug’ on reader’s hearts!

WHY is this book meaningful to you?

Short answer: Anchored is about the most important thing in the world – love and connection. I don’t think you can get more meaningful than that! It’s also very pretty!!

Longer answer: The navy ships I see on my walks prompted me to tap into how I felt when I was little and my Dad was in Vietnam with the RAAF. I remember when I got a postcard from him, or he brought presents home on leave, and how it felt to know that he had been thinking of me even though we were oceans apart! That’s why I’ve dedicated the book to my Dad.

Why would its message resonate with readers?

We all have to spend time apart from people we love, and Anchored has a comforting and empowering message that loving and being loved transforms your experience, even when you are distanced from each other. It’s about the power of love – and I think everyone will resonate with that! My publisher says it’s a ‘warm hug of a story’ and think we all need warm hugs!

HOW do you feel about the illustrations / cover design? How do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?

I absolutely adore the illustrations by Arielle! From the front page, the colours and expressions on the characters elicit an emotional response – you just want to pick the book up and look inside, and then hug it! Throughout the book Arielle has conveyed mood via tone, perspective and expression to convey all the feels – eg. fear/bravery, loneliness/comfort, beauty/serenity. What she’s done is magical! And pretty!

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

I have been very busy organising promotional things, like the readings and launch mentioned above, as well as networking with libraries and bookshops for storytimes and signings. I’ve been guest writing for various blogs, and exploring ways to get the word out to military families. I’m the guest author for the April twitter party on Picture-Book Book Club, and I’m organising regional visits in country NSW later in the year PLUS… I’ll be reading Anchored at the Family Day at the Sydney Writer’s Festival’s Big Backyard!

You can find Anchored at any good bookstore, either in store or online (buy from EK Books). If they don’t stock it, you can order it in.

OTHER information or experiences you’d like to share?

Did I mention the illustrations are pretty?? 😉

Thanks so much, Debra! I’m sure everyone agrees, Anchored is absolutely beautiful! 🙂

#thequicksixinterview #anchored #loneliness #comfort #connection #picturebook

5 thoughts to “The Quick Six Interview with Debra Tidball

  • Verity Croker

    This book sounds so beautiful and I can’t wait to read it.

    • Just Write For Kids

      Hi Verity! Thanks for your comment. You will absolutely love Debra and Arielle’s book! It’s something special! 🙂

  • Melissa-Jane Fogarty

    This book looks and sounds gorgeous! I’ve added it to my to-buy list.

    • Just Write For Kids

      That’s fabulous, Melissa-Jane! It really is a gorgeous book! Enjoy it! 🙂

  • Debra Tidball

    Thanks Verity, that’s very kind 🙂


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