Friday, November 29, 2013

Working with Books by Jenny Stubbs

If you're a reader, chances are that you are also interested in meeting your favourite authors and find out more about the processes involved in writing and illustrating. I know I always did! And if you like reading now, you may also want to work with books in the future – whether it’s as an author, illustrator, publisher, editor or – as in my case – children’s literature festival organiser.

Through my job with the StoryArts Festival Ipswich, I get to meet some of my literary heroes and learn more about book craft at each Festival. We've just held our 10th Festival and have grown and learned with each one.  The StoryArts Festival Ipswich is for people like you and me, who love reading and who work – or want to work – with books.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Thrilling Journey by Shelley Kenigsberg

It's a thrilling journey — the author–editor relationship.

You’re working with an editor? Great. Having an editor can mean an interesting (even exciting) collaboration is on its way. A journey with a professional who can help a writer make their story the best it can be.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Favourite Picture Books by Emma Allen

It’s interesting – when you are first getting to know someone they often ask, “What are your favourite books?”

published by Scholastic, 2013

When you learn about a person’s favourite books, it can reveal things about them: how they think, what they like, the problems they face, how they see the world, what they like about the world and what they don’t.  So when people ask me what my favourite books were as a child, I am excited to think on the topic because I get to learn about my childhood self: what I was like and what made me feel.

When I was growing up, I loved many books. Here are four of my favourites:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Twins by Sean Williams

Some of you reading this will be twins.

Most will be fraternal twins. A few of you will be identical twins. You might even be mirror twins--identical siblings who are the mirror images of the other. Around three in every thousand births is a set of twins, so whatever kind of twin you are, you’re incredibly special.

I’m not a twin (I’ve asked my mum a dozen times so I’m pretty sure) but I’ve spent a lot of time writing about them.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Squid and the Whale by Rod Clement

Truth is,  I was supposed to have written something last week but due to unruly behaviour of one of our pets I was unable to get to the computer.

A couple of years ago my daughter, who was addicted to stories of mermaids and underwater cities at the time, requested a Giant squid for her birthday.  When I asked about this down at the pet shop, I was told they had sold out the day before but they did have one Colossal squid out the back.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Recap: Week Three

Week Three!  Where has November gone?!

Only one more week of our online literary festival, one more week of great writing from our wonderfully talented guest authors.  Of course, you can always do as I like to do and reread the posts from time time, discovering new bits to enjoy with each this week's guest posts.

Book Review - When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books (Random House), 2009)

Madeleine, 13, Cockermouth, UK

Book Review - Jump

Jump by Sean Williams (Allen and Unwin, 2013)

Nick, 12, Canberra

Book Review - The Winter Knights

The Winter Knights (The Edge Chronicles) by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell (Doubleday, 2005)

by Benedict, 13, Durban, South Africa

Book Review - Outcast

Outcast, Book Four of Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver (Orion Children's Books, 2007)

 Aphiwe, 13, Durban, South Africa

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Business of Writing by Fiona Inglis

Writing can be a lonely business.

I frequently hear writers tell me how difficult it is to find time, inclination, focus, space and inspiration to write.  Many writers work from home, which I imagine can be tricky – there is always a load of washing to be done (the forecast said possible showers), the study floor could do with a vacuum (how much better to work in a clean room), a coffee with a friend (could provide some dialogue to help get over writer’s block)…

2013 KOALA Award, The 26-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

I also hear often that handing over a new piece of work can be agonising. Is it working? How do I know if I’m the only one who’s read it? What will my wife/sister/best friend/teenage son think of it? Will they think it’s about them? Will they say it’s good just because they love me?

This is where a literary agent can come in.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Beyond Cristy Burne

or why I love science, history and blood-sucking monsters. 

What if I told you that late at night, after you’re tucked up in bed, a frog-like mutant sneaks into your bathroom and licks it till it’s clean?

What if I told you that your umbrella will one day sprout hair on its handle and an eye on its head, and hop up and down your hallway blowing raspberries?

What if I warned you that a tiny snail can grow large enough to crush you to death, or that mermaids harbour vampiric tendencies or that eating fruit is horribly dangerous for your health?

I didn’t invent any of these monsters. They’re all creatures from Japanese mythology. Just as European myths have dragons and fairies and werewolves and vampires, Japanese myths have… well, Japanese myths have some of the craziest, most creative, most dangerous, most hilarious monsters I’ve ever come across.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Reader's Story by Finegan Kruckemeyer

Before I was a writer, I was a reader, and thought that words and stories were things for taking in, instead of sending out.  I ate up stories as fast as I could find them, and enjoyed rainy days as much as sunny ones because of this.  Which was good, because I grew up in the south of Ireland, and there were a lot of rainy days.

The author as a young boy

Then at age eight, my family and I flew halfway around the world to Australia, and started a new life here. There was a new school and new friends and a new park right across the road, and all us local kids played outside a lot, so I started enjoying sunny days as much as rainy ones.  But always the love of words remained.

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Top 10 Indigenous-authored Books by Anita Heiss

It’s always difficult to do a ‘best of’ list, but when push comes to shove, we all know we have favourites.

As part of IndigRead in May, I pulled together ten of my favourite Indigenous-authored children’s books in the last few years and am delighted to now introduce them to Reading for Australia's audience of readers in Australia and around the world.

If you click the links, you can read why I love them so much. This list is in order of publication date:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Recap: Week Two

Another week of guest posts and another week in which I am awed at the creative talent and generosity of our guests in sharing great writing and interesting topics with us.


Book Review - Dancing Jax

Dancing Jax by Robin Jarvis (Harper Collins, 2012)

Leo, 12, Canberra

Book Review - Rescued by a Dog Called Flow

(previously published as) Flow by Pippa Goodhart (Barn Owl Books, 2006)

Jessica, 11, Durban, South Africa

Book Review - The Death-Defying Pepper Roux

 The Death-Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean (Harper Collins, 2009)

Nicholas, 12, Durban, South Africa

Book Review - Love that Dog

Love that Dog by Sharon Creech ( Harper Collins, 2001)

 Madeleine, 13, Cockermouth, UK

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Supporting Creativity by Jacqui Dent

The Australian Society of Authors  works to advance and protect the interests of literary creators, so enabling them to make the most of their creativity. 

With around 3000 current members in Australia and overseas, we represent people who write or illustrate for publication.

Our members include children's writers, graphic novelists, biographers, illustrators, academics, cartoonists, scientists, food and wine writers, historians, ghost writers, travel writers, romance writers, editors, bloggers, computer programmers, journalists, poets and novelists.  We even have a special membership category for junior writers.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Magic Exists by Donna Hosie

If I said the word “Muggle” to you, what would you think?

Book cover reproduced here under Allen and Unwin's site licence.  More information about this book here.

If you thought I was making a strange noise, then you probably aren’t going to want to read this post. But if you immediately thought of wizards and wands and good versus evil, then you might want to keep on reading.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Someone Else's Story by Sarah Davis

It’s a hard life, illustrating other people’s stories.

Toucan Can! (written by Juliette MacIver, Gecko Press, 2013)

My work begins when the publisher sends me an email with an innocent-seeming Word document attached - it’s only 2 pages of black and white text, but there’s a whole world of crazy characters and strange adventures locked inside it, and it’s up to me to set them free.

My first task is to select just the right delicious biscuits, make a lovely cup of steaming hot tea, find the comfiest chair in the house, and then sit down and read the story. (It’s a tough job, but someone's got to do it, right?)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Poetry Sucks! by Mark Carthew

Poetry Sucks!  Certainly this one does.

 Mark Carthew: from Machino Supremo! Poems about Machines by Janeen Brian and Mark Carthew (Celapene Press)

This particular poem uses some of the many writing tools that poets work with when they play with words ― ALLITERATION (where letters and other word sounds bounce off each other), RHYME, RHYTHM, REPETITION and ONOMATOPOEIA (where the look and sound of the made up word conjures up its image).

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Friday Recap : Week One

Welcome to our second online literary festival at Reading for Australia.  It's been a big first week!

Each Friday, I’ll be posting a recap of the week’s events in case you missed them and invite you to tell us what you’re reading. If you’d like a recommendation for new books to read, send a comment telling us what sorts of books you like and other readers may be able to give you some suggestions.


Friday, November 08, 2013

Book Review: Mister Monday

Mister Monday by Garth Nix (Scholastic, 2006)

Madeleine, 13, Cockermouth, UK

Book Review: Gangsta Granny

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams, (Harper Collins, 2011)

Sonali, 11, Durban, South Africa

Book Review - Meltdown

Meltdown by Sam Hutton (Harper Collins, 2005)

by Bharveer, 13, Durban, South Africa


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Mirrors and Windows by Erica Wagner

Anniversaries of any sort allow for reflection and this year, the 25th anniversary of Allen & Unwin’s publishing for children and teenagers is also, coincidentally, my personal anniversary of working in publishing.

The books I’ve edited or published speak to me like powerful time capsules - taking me right back to when I nervously started off as a trainee editor with Penguin Books in 1988 through the years to Allen & Unwin, where I am so lucky to work today.

More information on this book can be found here.

Publishing remains a mysterious business to outsiders as the main stories that we read in the media feature authors whose work has been plucked from obscurity, become international bestsellers, turn into films or mini-series and everyone lives happily ever after.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

How Scary is Too Scary? by Clare Havens

I recently had a very interesting discussion about my first book, A Bella Street Mystery: The Secret Formula with one of the judges of a literary festival.

More information about this book can be found here

In her introduction to my book, the judge told the audience that the book was truly terrifying.  She said that she had had to get out of bed to check the locks after she finished reading it as it had scared her so much! When a fan said there should be a movie made of my book, the judge said it would have to be rated MA and there should be a parental warning sticker on the book cover!  She was, thank goodness, being tongue in cheek but she raised an interesting point:

 How scary is too scary for middle grade fiction?

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Playing with Words by Meredith Costain

Do you like poetry? I love it!

Poetry has always been a big part of my life. I grew up in a house with lots of stories and books. We read and recited poems full of rhythm, such as The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes and Tarantella by Hilaire Belloc – who also wrote scary ‘cautionary tales for children’.  My favourite was Matilda, Who Told Lies and was Burned to Death.  I loved reading that one out loud, especially to my annoying sister.  And I also loved the poems of AA Milne, the author of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Monday, November 04, 2013

The Story Road by Isobelle Carmody

People often ask writers about writers’ block. I always answer that I do not experience writers’ block. I think regarding writing difficulties as a block is a good way to brick your creativity up forever.

Naming is a powerful thing.

Naming a thing shapes it. Maybe that is why we care so much about the names we give to our children and our pets, and of course, to our characters. Names are not just labels.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Welcome by Wayne Mills

Hello Everyone!  Welcome to the second online literary festival at Reading for Australia.

There are more terrific guest authors, more book reviews by kids, more discussions and comments and, of course, many more books to discover during this month-long reading adventure!

The winning team in Singapore from St Hilda's Primary School.  October 2013

Good Books Not to be Missed!

Wayne Mills is the founder and quizmaster of the Kids' Lit Quiz.  He is passionate about kids reading for pleasure and works to ensure that readers are challenged to read widely across a range of literature.

Over the years, Wayne has read thousands of children's books and it is hard for him to list just a few of his favourite books.  Some of the books he recommends are included in the "Good Books Not to be Missed" lists he provides to students taking his courses at the University of Auckland.  The lists given here are his 2013 Reading Lists.