A bookish Autumn

Autumn is all but over, and in a weird absence of red and yellow leaves, it’s at least been sprinkled with bookish highlights. Each recent event, book launch or catch up has felt like a post(ish)-Covid reunion, or a frenzied fun-fest in case we’re locked down once more (sorry, Melbourne. It might be us too at any moment.)

Walking Your Human was royally read by Sarah Ferguson (as in, the Duchess of York herself – whaaaat?!) on her YouTube channel! Super exciting to see, and there was even a real life dog in the recording studio (just like the dogs in the book – with a mind of its own). Check it out:

I also attended a sparkly, feelgood launch for a non-profit kids’ anthology produced by the CBCA Eastern Suburbs Sydney sub-branch. Old Worlds New Worlds Other Worlds is full of poems, stories, plays and illustrations by a huge range of creators, and I was so thrilled to contribute a play co-written by team One More Page called Kate, Liz and Nat’s Epic Picnic. It’s a wacky little adventure to another world via a playground rocket ship (and what happens when you’re followed home by space puppies!). The Governor of NSW, the Hon. Margaret Beazley AC QC ran the official launch proceedings, CBCA’s Elizabeth Cummings MCed, and a bunch of us read excerpts from our stories. It was fun to catch up with so many people in the kidlit community, moments that are no longer taken for granted in this Covid-y world we find ourselves in.

Old Worlds New Worlds Other Worlds book launch at the State Library of NSW – with Kristen Darrell, Ursula Dubosarsky and Oliver Phommavanh (pic by Kristen)

There’s been some other great events too! I had a whirlwind weekend in Canberra, not only taking in art, visiting playgrounds resembling seed pods and whizzing by the lake on an electric scooter (recommend!), but presenting at the SCBWI ACT Conference, too. This was a wonderful event run by Shelly Unwin, Catherine Meatheringham and team, full of inspiring talks. Kate, Nat and I did individual talks, then came together later for a panel about our podcast, One More Page. Illustrator Max Hamilton spoke about her illustration journey with lots of tips for getting your illustration work noticed. Maryanne Ballantyne and Donna Rawlins from Wild Dog Books spoke too, which was very entertaining! My talk was a workshop on tapping into your talents to enhance your kids’ book career, with interactive bits making everyone do a bit of self-analysis. It was fun! And some attendees later told me they had a few lightbulb moments, which makes me very happy indeed.

A fab weekend in Canberra, presenting at the ACT SCBWI Conference

I also spoke about Walking Your Human at a CBCA Eastern Suburbs event (more book peeps! More catch ups! Plus dumplings!) and did a team presentation about One More Page for a CBCA Newcastle meeting, this time via Zoom.

In between, there’s been writing, podcasting (my most recent interview was with author Yvette Poshoglian – you can tune in here), and of course, reading. For my adult book club, we just read The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. In #LoveOzYA reading, I devoured Jenna Guillaume’s You Were Made For Me, which was lots of fun (think a dream boy brought to life, Weird Science style). I’m currently reading timeslip middle grade Elsewhere Girls by faves Nova Weetman and Emily Gale, and next up is Plum and Woo by Lisa Siberry, a female-centric middle grade detective series. A picture book standout from the pile was Anna MacGregor’s new title with Scribble, A Pair of Pears and an Orange. So cute and clever!

I’m not sure what winter will bring, but it better be book-filled and non-virusy, and also involve ramen. Happy reading and writing! x

Recent reads in kidlit land

 

Over the last few months I’ve discovered and readย a bunch of truly extraordinary kids’ books – some are by favourite creators, others by first-timers. They include:

THE BRILLIANT IDEAS OF LILY GREEN by Lisa Siberry

This is a debut middle grade novel which also happened to win Hardie Grant Egmont’s Ampersand Prize. It was a standout read for me this year – fresh, intriguing, full of feeling and tinged with suspense and magic.

NOP by Caroline Magerl

This is absolutely gorgeous – an abandoned stuffed bear at the Dumporium gets a new chance, in the most unexpected of ways. Dreamy illustrations, a work of art.

TILLY by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker

I was always going to love this. It’s Jane and Anna! The heartwarming story of a girl’s buried treasures under a staircase, and the bittersweet passing of time.

THE SECRETS OF MAGNOLIA MOON by Edwina Wyatt

This is Edwina Wyatt’s junior fiction debut, starring a lyrical, literary, whimsical character who looks at the world in her own unique way. Such beautiful writing. A stunning cover too, with illustrations by Katherine Quinn.

MISS KRAKEN by Nicki Greenberg

Fun, wry and quirky, Miss Kraken (yes, an actual Kraken) is the fed up teacher of a rowdy, cheeky bunch of kids. Everything comes to a head on an excursion to the aquarium. Hilarious details in the illustrations!


A HOME FOR LUNA
by Stef Gemmill and Mel Armstrong

A debut PB about a lost cat, penguins and a search for home. I loved this gorgeous story and the illustrations are totally my kind of style. Lovely language throughout.

MONTY AND THE POODLES by Katie Harnett

An unlikely friendship story (hooray!) about some posh poodles and a street dog, by the creator of Franklin’s Flying Bookshop, Ivy and Lonely Raincloud and more. A Parisian feel to the illustrations (hello, cover crush), and a super satisfying ending.