I write books for children and like going to the beach. Winter makes me cranky but chocolate helps.
This is my space to wallow in whatever writing I want without the weight
of purpose. It's not a commentary of my entire life, or my life as an author,
but I do like to ponder picture books and writing. Come wander beside me
and share your thoughts.
April 10th, 2012
Littledog will be broadcast on Play School tomorrow at 9:30am on ABC2.
I enjoy hearing other people read my books. Usually I’m the one reading so it’s always a small thrill to hear how someone else presents a story. (Often I think, “That sounds good. Maybe I should try it that way.”)
It’s a bigger thrill to hear someone else present one of my stories on national television. Big Rain Coming was on Play School several years ago and now I’m looking forward to Littledog’s turn in the morning.
The Play School theme notes for the week are here. (Look for Littledog under Wednesday.)
A Littledog printable colouring in sheet is here.
You can read about Littledog’s road to publication here and find teaching notes here.
There is lots more about Littledog on Pinterest here.
And you can buy a copy here.
Go Littledog! Go!
March 2nd, 2012
Rebecca Copely has invited me to answer some tricky questions like this:
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as a writer?
What was one of the most surprising things you have learnt from writing?
What was the book that most influenced your life — and why?
Pop over here to read my answers.
February 26th, 2012
I write picture books. I don’t illustrate them. I can’t illustrate them and I don’t really want to illustrate them. I believe that both the illustrations and the text are of equal importance in my books. They play a dual role in telling the story and engaging children.
While I completely understand that stunning illustrations are the first thing you notice when you open a picture book the following comments will offend me if you have one of my books in your hand:
- Children’s books are really all about the pictures aren’t they?
- The best thing about this book is the artwork.
- Your book is great. I didn’t get a chance to read it but the illustrations are wonderful.
You won’t offend me if you say:
- The pictures are beautiful.
- Isn’t the artwork gorgeous?
- The illustrations are perfect.
And you definitely won’t offend me if you say something positive about the words. I put quite a lot of thought into those.
January 24th, 2012
Here’s a fun exercise for fellow writers: Answer these two questions -
What do you write?
Why do you write it?
(It’s harder that it looks.)
What I Write
I write all kinds of things. Sometimes I write about small dogs and sometimes I write about dads and babies. I also write about the weather, especially when it’s raining. I write stories that children seem to like. I write picture book stories, so adults must like them too, otherwise children will never get to hear them. At the moment I’m trying to write about a girl who wants to be a mermaid. It’s tricky because such a story has been told before and I want to create something that’s original but still feels natural. I have to watch out for clunks because there should be a comforting rhythm to a picture book text. Some of my finished books include Littledog (it’s meant to be one word because that’s the dog’s name) My Dad Thinks He’s Funny and Big Rain Coming. Once I wrote a story about a holiday but no one wanted to publish it, probably because it wasn’t really that good. The same thing happened with my story about singing frogs. Plenty of times I write rubbish by mistake but every now and then I write something lovely. I write all kinds of things.
Why I Write It
I tried to give up writing once. It was during a busy time when I felt like I was drowning in the stress of an overcrowded life. I knew I needed to throw something overboard to stay afloat so I tossed writing over the side. (It wasn’t paying the bills after all.) But instead of feeling lighter, I felt like I was suffocating under an even greater heaviness. It pulled me deeper until I was forced to acknowledge what I’d always really known – writing was, and is, my life raft. When I write I feel free. Other writers understand what I mean. When we write we feel buoyant. We find peace through our writing. That sounds like nonsense to some people but not to other writers.
So I write for the nourishing weightless feelings of peace and freedom and then there’s the other reason; my ego. I write because I like being a published author. I like seeing my name on book covers. I like achieving success in a highly competitive field and I like the challenge of creating something from nothing. When it comes down to it, all reasons considered, I write for myself.
How would you answer?
*I stole the idea for these question from the Emerging Writer’s Festival site. They’re asking potential 2012 panelists to send in their answers.*
November 2nd, 2011
While travelling around Australia with my family I presented in lots of schools both big and small. Here is a list of ten things that made me smile.
- The teacher who bought the books for the class reading corner herself because she didn’t like the stale reading program her school chose to rely on.
- The siren-less schools that play music whenever it’s time to go inside.
- The country principal who phoned me the night before my visit to introduce himself because he would be out of the school the next day.
- Another country principal who ran into to car park after school to apologise for having been too tied up during the day to join in a session.
- The teacher with sixty children filing into her class for the author session who still took the time to kneel and listen to an upset child and then gave the child a gentle squeeze around the shoulders and told them how brave they were.
- The class of children who came in after lunch bursting to tell their teacher about what they’d been reading because she listened with such a genuine interest.
- The librarian who rearranged the school library on her own so that the picture books were facing out because little students need to be able to make their own selections freely.
- The teacher who crouched down next to the student who was finding it difficult to ask their question so that the child could whisper it into her ear.
- The teacher who was so excited by her students’ own writing that she asked if part of the visit could be dedicated to them reading their work to me in celebration.
- The teachers who smile fondly, rather than frown, when their five year old students ask very off the wall questions. (My favourite ‘question’ so far this year has been, “Um. I’m a little bit sweaty.”)
Thanks for having me everyone. I hope to be back soon.