Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with Diana Harley!
It’s a pleasure to welcome author Diana Harley to the blog, sharing her inspiring picture book release, Fantastic Gymnastics; a fun and educational book about exercise and physical movement. Thanks for being here, Diana! 🙂
About the Author
Diana Harley is a writer, author, poet and playwright living and working in the Bega Valley of NSW. Diana has written a number of fiction and non-fiction books for children, has had two adult poetry anthologies published and has won numerous awards for her poems and short stories. Two of her short plays have been produced and performed in regional NSW. She has run writing workshops for both adults and children and enjoys getting writers writing! She is a chocoholic, loves wedgetail eagles and reading is her favourite hobby.
You can find out more about Diana and read some of her short stories and blogs on her website: dianaharley.com
You can also purchase her books from her website.
WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?
“Fantastic Gymnastics” is written by me, Diana Harley. I am a writer, author, poet and playwright living and working in the Bega Valley of NSW. I have written a number of books for children, including: “Butterflies”, “Beetles and Bugs”, “Underneath the Apple Tree”. You can find out a bit more about me at my website : dianaharley.com
“Fantastic Gymnastics” is illustrated by Sue Rama. Sue is an award-winning illustrator of over 15 books for young readers. You can find out more about her at her website: www.suerama.com
“Fantastic Gymnastics” is published by me, with the help of Ingram Sparks and now my printer Dan at CanPrint in ACT.
WHAT is it about? What is your favourite part of this book?
My book is called “Fantastic Gymnastics” and it is a rhyming children’s picture book (for the 0 to 8 year-old age group), which aims to introduce young children to the fun and excitement of learning basic skills and exercise in a “kindergym”/gymnastics setting.
My book showcases how gymnastic exercise helps children develop in so many ways: balance, control, coordination, discipline, strength, flexibility and social skills.
It also shows how physical exercise in this fun environment, along with a growing sense of competence and confidence, greatly bolsters a child’s overall development. These skills promote brain development while providing the foundation for a lifetime of healthy physical activity.
My book has been developed with the aid of teachers and a chiropractor. On each of the illustrations are words written in pale-coloured capital letters which provides information about the benefits to the child of the exercise being attempted – this is a great way for teachers, parents and caregivers to understand what children are getting out of each activity. My Glossary explains, in simple language, the terms used with each illustration. Terms such as “Gross Motor Skills”, “Spatial Awareness” and “Proprioception” are explained simply and clearly.
“Fantastic Gymnastics” is also a multicultural book and a book aimed at kids of all abilities.
My favourite part of the book is really the message it sends out to children everywhere – all nationalities, all abilities, all personalities, my message is universal and I really like that.
WHEN is its release / launch date?
“Fantastic Gymnastics” was released in July 2019
WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?
I was inspired to write this book after taking my two young sons to “Kindergym” in our local area. I was struck by how much fun my kids, and all the others, were having with such simple activities – and how much confidence they gained in their bodies and their abilities to attempt tasks through this form of fun exercise.
Attending kindergym with my kids also brought back memories of my own childhood where we were always doing handstands and trying headstands, skipping and jumping – so I wanted to recreate some of those great memories in my book.
WHY is this book meaningful to you and why would its message resonate with readers?
I wanted to write a book that had a “give it a go” message – not just for kids, but for the adults in their lives. I wanted to encourage them to just have a go, have a bit of fun and enjoy themselves. Half the fun is in the trying! And getting good at something is even better when you’re a child!
Seriously…I have also been concerned about childhood obesity and the sedentary lifestyles that we seem to be forced into nowadays. I felt that if I wrote this book and presented a fun, educational and meaningful message to both children and adults, it would encourage more interest in exercise, mental and physical health and social interaction at all levels.
I also wanted to send a message to the adults in kids’ lives that even though they may not be a gym junkie or professional athlete themselves, they can give the little people in their care a great start towards a happy and healthy life by just being there for them at this type of activity, interacting with other parents and children in this type of fun environment and, again, just “having a go”!
The illustrations that Sue Rama has produced are absolutely wonderful!. They are colourful, fun, anatomically correct and absolutely convey the messages of my book.
The illustrations definitely convey the feeling and mood I envisioned. They are engaging and educational and are great for both children and adults. I am very grateful to Sue for her hours and hours of hard, exacting work in relation to these illustrations.
How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?
I have promoted my book through my website (dianaharley.com), the local media down here in the Bega Valley of NSW and through school visits.
It can also be bought through Ingram Sparks website.
Exciting news for me!! : I now have a distributor in Beaglier Books – so my book can be brought through Beaglier.
Thanks so much, Diana Your book has a wonderfully inspiring and motivational message! 🙂
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