I'm a children's author, wife and mum in no particular order. I perform these jobs simultaneously and I love them all!

Thursday 24 August 2017

Book Week School Visits 2017 - Escape to Everywhere!

Photo: Maroubra Junction PS library display

Book Week is such an exciting time for schools, libraries, librarians, teachers, parents and kids as the nation stops to celebrate books, reading, storytelling, writing, and illustrating.

Book Week is also a highlight on the calendars of authors and illustrators all over.

So where did I escape to? I went everywhere!

School 1: DALE Christian School, Waratah

DALE Christian School, Waratah is a special needs school catering for children aged 11-17 years. Kirrili and I had the great pleasure of talking to all of their students last Friday, 18th August, the afternoon of the Book Week Awards announcement. They had had a Book Week parade earlier in the day and Kirrili and I got to finish their celebrations by stepping them through the complicated process of how picture books are produced. Kirrili then workshopped some drawing techniques. These students were so tuned in and really appreciated our presentation. Kirrili and I left on a high!

Photo 1: Drawing emotions
Photo 2: sketches from our upcoming book, 'Up To Something'
Photo 3: Thank you gift

School 2: Greta Public School

Greta Public School recently refurbished their tired library and held their grand opening on Monday, 21st August. Kirrili and I were VIP guests along with several others including the local mayor. Their library is now amazing! 

Library monitors were ready to answer questions and demonstrate how the new technology worked. Some old visitor books were on display. I was very excited to look at old editions of The School Magazine from 1962!

After the official opening and morning tea, Kirrili and I ran two workshops with some lucky children. But we think we were the lucky ones!

We were introduced to a new Promethean 'smart board' (we were told it's like a smart phone on wheels). Kirrili learnt how to use the digital whiteboard app on this smart board only 30 minutes before our presentation and then demonstrated on it during our workshop. How clever!

The children had completed a lot of work on our book before we arrived so we were chuffed to see some of their artwork displayed on the library walls. Magic!

Photo: Kirrili and I

Photo: Kirrili in action

Photo: Dandelions artwork

Photo: Kirrili using the digital whiteboard app - very tech savvy!

Thank you gift: handmade charm with dandelion seeds encased - very thoughtful

School 3: Fern Bay Public School

Fern Bay Public School is a small seaside school with less than 60 students from K - 6.

While Kirrili was presenting at another school, I visited Fern Bay PS on 
Wednesday, 23rd August.

During my three sessions, we pulled my story apart and discussed the themes, we walked through the writing process (including rejections) and highlighted how important it is to edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite ... you get the picture ... until a story is just right.

Then I shared the process of submitting, finding an illustrator, the illustration process, and all the way to seeing the book in the shops or on library shelves.

This little school really appreciates books as they didn't have an onsite library until 2 weeks ago (YES - 2 weeks ago!) and the day I was there was their first library borrowing day.

It was an honour to be their first guest author in their brand new library and I'm sure they will adore every book they have after having barely any for so long. And now they also appreciate the process books go through to make it in their hands.

Photo: Here I am in action with some infants students

'We think you're DANDY and we're not lion :)' - super cute!

Photo 1: I adore my handmade welcome sign
Photo 2: School History sign

School 4: Maroubra Junction Public School

Photo: Welcome Sign - all these languages are spoken at MJPS 

A 4:30am get-up and a 5:15am leave to travel to Sydney was worth it once I met the 300 infants students of Maroubra Junction Public school on Thursday, 24th August. This was my last school visit for Book Week, 2017 and it finished with a bang!

Photo: Year 1 MJPS

The children were very engaged as I shared my publication journey with them and inspired them to never give up and keep reading and writing.

I was invited to visit their library and was blown away by how special their library space was. 
(Allisa, you are one super clever lady!) 
It was full of beautiful Book Week displays featuring some of their favourite shortlisted titles.

I was very honoured to be able to say I personally know or have met some of these clever book creators.

Photo: 'Gary' by Leila Rudge

Photo 1: 'Chip' by Kylie Howarth
Photo 2: 'Captain Jimmy Cook Discovers Third Grade' by Kate Temple, Jol Temple and John Foye

Photo: 'The Patchwork Bike' by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van T Rudd 
(Van T Rudd is also the winner of the 2017 Crichton Award for a Debut Illustrator)

Photo: 'Nanny Loves' by Kylie Dunstan

Photo: 'Fabish' by Neridah McMullin and Andrew McLean

I presented three sessions to over 100 children each time and was amazed by the display of manners and enthusiasm for learning. It was a lovely way to end a very busy Book Week.

Thanks to The Children's Bookshop Speakers' Agency for co-ordinating this school visit.

Photo: Thank you gift: 'Maroubra on the Menu' - School Centenary Cook Book

Phew! Time for some rest and to catch up on some sleep. I hope you, your children, friends and family enjoyed Book Week celebrations wherever you were. My children's school is celebrating Book Week next week so it's now time to help my children organise their costumes. At least I have lots of ideas from my travels this week.

Wednesday 9 August 2017

Book Launches Galore!

Photo: google images

Oops, I didn't realise I haven't used my blog since April until recently. That just means I must have been busy doing some interesting things (and I have - can't say much yet!), and I must have lots to tell you (and I do!). This post is about all the book launches Ive attended recently.

I love going to book launches. Celebrating the birth of a new book so kids have even more variety for their reading choices is a wonderful thing. Knowing the author and/or the illustrator and how hard they've worked just gives even more reasons to celebrate.

Launch 1: Renee Price and Anil Tortop - Digby and the Yodelayhee ... Who?
Saturday, 4th March at Wallsend Library

Renee's launch was full of singing, music, craft, food, fun and laughter as she launched her second picture book, the mate to her first, Digby's Moon.


Launch 2: Anthony Wood and Lorraine Robertson - Dancing Charli
Tuesday, 11th April at Belmont Library

This launch was in the school holidays so lots of kids were available to dance around and pretend to be parrots. Craft and cake finished off a lovely morning perfectly. I have lots of photos but they just won't load onto my blog. 
(I've been trying for about two hours - so I've given up - sorry Ant!)

Launch 3: Jess Black - Little Paws series
Saturday, 22nd April at Ground Up Espresso Cafe at Carrington

Jess launched her new series, 'Little Paws' in April. Unfortunately the soccer draw didn't allow me to attend this one but I heard it was an amazing event with real puppies. Congratulations, Jess!

Click here for more information about how the series came to be on Jess Black's blog.

Launch 4: Deb Kelly and Gwynne Jones - Chalk Rainbow
Saturday, 1st July at Wallsend Library

Deb Kelly and Gwynne Jones launched their first book together on my daughter's birthday. In between soccer games and birthday celebrations, I managed to slip into this launch and help them party.

Launch 5: Lynn Jenkins and Kirrili Lonergan - Ollie's Treasure
Friday, 21st July at Wallsend Library

A Friday evening launch was perfect for this event. Family and friends came to celebrate Ollie's Treasure after a long day/week at work and school.

Lots of food, wine and mindfullness activities were shared just before the kids enjoyed Lynn's public reading of this beautiful book for the first time. Then the kids were launched into the library for a real treasure hunt using their senses.

Congratulations to my talented friends!

Launch 6: Jess Black - The Keeper of the Crystals Series - Book 5 and 6
Saturday, 5th August at Wallsend Library

Congratulations on the launch of book 5 and 6, Jess! 
These books are wonderful if you have a child who loves reading fantasy mixed with some environmental issues. Book 7 and 8 are in the planning stages.


There were more launches I couldn't attend would you believe. But it's hard trying to keep up with everything. These events always give a great opportunity to catch up with writing and illustrating friends whom I don't see very often due to the nature of creating in solitude. 

I look forward to more upcoming book launches in my area. Yes, more are around the corner.

Happy reading, creating, illustrating and dreaming x