Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with Steve Heron!

It’s a pleasure to welcome back author and children’s presenter, Steve Heron OAM to the blog, sharing his new picture book release that is full of beauty and wisdom, Ling Li’s Lantern; a book of compassion, challenge and true kindness. Thanks for being here, Steve! 🙂

About the Author

Steve’s passion is to power hope in children, especially through children’s literature. His love of picture books is shown by his extensive collection. He craves to write quality picture books and novels that engage children, at the same time aid them to handle the tricky things in life. He aspires to keep it real and unreal for kids in his books, some for fun, some to stir hope.

Steve is the founder of Nurture Works Foundation and developed the acclaimed ‘BUZ – Build Up Zone’ social and emotional programs and initiatives used in many schools throughout WA. In 2016, he was listed in the Queen’s Birthday honours and received an Order of Australia Medal for contribution to the social and emotional wellbeing of children.

His first dabble with writing for children led to a series of six picture books in the ‘Feel Safe Feel Right Series’ published by Nurture Works in 2007. Steve has extensive experience working with children in schools and is no stranger to doing presentations to kids. He has a positive web and social media platform to promote his books and presentations.

A champion of wellbeing for children, he has been called an affirmative vandal and a hooligan of hope.


You can find out more about Steve and his work on his website: www.steveheron.com

Please follow Steve at the following links:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?

Author:            Steve Heron

Illustrator:       Benjamin Johnston

Publisher:        MidnightSun Publishing


WHAT is it called and what is it about? What is your favourite part of this book?

Ling Li’s lantern

After she and her siblings are set a challenge to nurture their wisdom, Ling Li returns from the village with only a lantern to guide her way. How will she prove herself to her father? Ling Li’s Lantern is a heart-warming story of compassion, kindness and the true nature of wisdom.

My favourite part:

This is the hardest question to answer. All of it? I like the rewarding feel of it in my hands knowing that it is a story I wrote, so wonderfully illustrated and published. I think my favourite part is knowing that now the book is published it will tilt the world toward the more compassionate side of the scale. (May I add – at a time when the world needs it)



WHEN is its release / launch date?

Release date: 1st September 2020

Launch dates TBA – Perth late Sept/early Oct. Sydney – October.


WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?

The idea first came when I was writing a drama for a creative arts camp for children on the theme of light overcoming darkness. Inspiration came from Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s quote. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.” And the quote from the old book, “The foolish will confound the wise.”


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

The manuscript is the first of my picture books to be picked up by a mainstream publisher. When I asked, “why do you want to publish my book?” Anna Solding from MidnightSun said, “It is a wonderful story, it made us cry and the strong character is the girl.”

Too often we think of wisdom in material terms. The idea behind the story is to reveal that true wisdom is about how we treat others and the world. Readers will appreciate the simplicity and genuine compassion of Ling Li. Her innocence in not trying to over-prove herself but just being herself is enough to demonstrate special wisdom to her father. In simple terms, be kind, and the rest will look after itself.



HOW do you feel about the illustrations? Do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?

I first met Benjamin Johnston at a SCBWI Conference in Sydney when I perused his portfolio. I told him at the time I would love for him to illustrate one of my books. (I had Ling Li’s Lantern in mind) When the publisher asked if I had an illustrator in mind, I didn’t hesitate to suggest Benjamin. He said yes to illustrating the manuscript on its merit without realising it was me and the conversation we had at the conference. Benjamin didn’t disappoint. The story is about light; Benjamin’s illustrations superbly capture Chinese culture in a time and place. His magnificent sense of perspective comes from his architectural background. Each illustration with its subtle, restrained colour palette draws the eyes to the brighter colours and brings light to the forefront. Simply put. Benjamin has nailed it.


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

Currently in the process of promotion via the normal channels including press releases, all social media angles, visiting bookshops, contacting the Chinese community, emailing schools and libraries, and through my website https://steveheron.com/ and MidnightSun https://midnightsunpublishing.com/

It will be available through regular bookshops and online bookstores.


Thanks so much, Steve!  🙂

Ling Li’s Lantern is available to purchase at: Booktopia


#linglislantern #steveheron #picturebook #compassion #kindness #wisdom

5 thoughts to “The Quick Six Interview with Steve Heron on Ling Li’s Lantern

  • Norah

    What a lovely story. I enjoyed getting to know Steve. While this book sounds, and looks delightful (I love Benjamin Johnson’s illustrations – he did a great job on Andrew King’s Engibear’s series), I am especially interested to hear about Steve work promoting children’s social and emotional wellbeing. It’s a topic close to my heart.

    • Just Write For Kids

      I agree! The story sounds wonderful and illustrations are magnificent. Thanks for your comment, Norah x

      • Norah

        My pleasure, Romi.

  • Debra Tidball

    This sounds so beautiful and the illustrations capturing the light are divine. Can’t wait to see this one in real life.

    • Just Write For Kids

      Agreed! Ling Li’s Lantern looks stunning! Thanks for your comment, Debra x


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