Head to Sun Seeker Press for more information on how to purchase.
Check out the book trailer for 'Overcome'!
Head to Sun Seeker Press for more information on how to purchase.
I am completely OVERCOME with emotion (pun intended) to announce the birth of my beautiful picture book, well and truly a piece of my heart, published by Sun Seeker Press and coming June 2020.
From the description:
In this poignant and personal love letter, Jesus reminds children of who he is and their incredible value to him, helping them to overcome fear, worry and anxiety. Through its timeless message based on verses from the Bible, kids and adults alike will be reassured of God's love for them and presence with them.
This book is perfect for children who may feel afraid or anxious about what they see in the media by encouraging them to experience God’s peace and to learn to trust Him in all circumstances.
The rhyming text is both soothing and uplifting as it guides readers through the uncertainty they encounter in this world.
32-page hardcover picture book. Includes bonus activities for kids.
The issue of fear and anxiety has been on my heart for some time, seeing the increasing problem of children suffering anxiety and feeling overwhelmed by their fears. I felt compelled to write this manuscript to bring the words of the Bible to life and to show kids that God loves them immensely and speaks directly to them.
Based on text from the Bible, I chose to write Overcome in a way for kids to understand that God wants to trade their fears for His peace. I wanted them to be reminded of His incredible power and victory over all things, His love and care for them and every detail of their lives, and that they CAN overcome their fear and anxiety with His help.
My prayer is that this book will help both children and adults to understand and experience God's love and peace.
Coming June 2020.
Check out five more of my early reader books, published by Library For All. These ones are suited to beginning readers, with simple text and picture cues.
All are available to buy through Dymocks online bookstore and 'proceeds from each sale benefit nonprofit organisation Library For All, helping children around the world learn to read'.
Click to buy each book:
The Tree House
In The Garden
The Yummy Garden
Baby Is Crying
To make a direct donation to Library For All, please click here.
Thank you for your support!
Something beginning with 'B'!!
Introducing 'Busy Busy' written by Yours Truly (winky face), illustrated by Jovan Carl Segura and published by Library For All.
This is the story of an adventurous girl, Malia, whose mother tasks her with collecting water, weaving a basket and keeping the flies off their fresh catch of fish. However, Malia simply wants to explore and enjoy nature instead of doing her chores. When she discovers an injured bird in her travels, Malia completes her chores without even realising! Read 'Busy Busy' to find out why!
This story is a reminder to notice the beauty around us in the midst of our busy lives, bringing joy and contentment to the mundane.
Buy your copy here!
Introducing LIBRARY FOR ALL!
I attended a workshop on the weekend facilitated by the lovely Michelle Worthington and hosted by a not-for-profit charity called 'Library For All.'
This is an amazing charity and I want to get the word out there about who they are and what they do.
Library For All seeks to provide access for children all over the world to quality reading and educational books. In the countries where they distribute, Library For All source local writers to ensure books contain culturally relevant material.
A significant problem was discovered when books were being destroyed by mould and weather conditions in third world classrooms and the difficulty of replacing these. So Library For All have devised an app containing all the books in their library which can be accessed by anyone, anywhere. Along with the app, they are equipping third world classrooms with tablets with charging capabilities and connectivity.
From their website:
Library For All was founded by Australian entrepreneur Rebecca McDonald. Moved by images of suffering in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, Rebecca relocated with her husband to volunteer on community projects. What affected her most during her years in Haiti was seeing classrooms with hundreds of children that had no books. As a keen reader of e-books herself, the idea for an accessible, culturally-relevant digital library hit Rebecca like a lightning bolt.
Working with influencers and expert collaborators in the US, Rebecca successfully grew Library For All from idea to organisation in 2013. This ground-breaking digital library initiative provides a scalable solution to the lack of accessible books in developing countries. To date, the e-library has reached thousands of children across Haiti, Rwanda, Republic of Congo, Mongolia and Cambodia.
Rebecca returned to Australia in 2016, where she now drives innovation across the Asia Pacific region. With a young family, she is more passionate than ever about the social and economic benefits of literacy education, ensuring that children and young people have the opportunity to become lifelong readers.
What an incredible vision for such a worthy cause!
To make a donation or for more information, head to
Library For All
How do you define writing success?
As a writer, when you think you're doing the same old over and over again, and when you think you aren't making any progress...
When you feel like nothing's happening...
Let me explain. I'm realising how often we base our opinions (and things we believe to be true) on our own perceptions. We might allow ourselves some self pity because after months of submitting we still haven't had any success.
My question is, how do I define success?
Dream Agent #1 (insert name here) signing me on? Definitely.
Publishing contract and hard copy book on shelves? Definitely.
The problem is that some writers stop there. That is their definition of success and that's final. My challenge to you (and myself) is to continue your list of success definitions.
I am constantly writing no matter what is happening.
I am revising and polishing projects.
I am beginning and working on new stories.
I am often researching, listening to webinars, attending workshops and conferences to improve my craft.
I keep submitting and searching for the agent/editor that will love my work as much as I do.
I am having my work critiqued and critiquing other writer's work.
I am always reading books in the genre that I write in.
I am thinking, dreaming, imagining and creating.
THOSE are also in my list to define success. Writing is a process. Representation and Publication doesn't happen overnight and it requires A LOT of hard work (and sometimes many years) to achieve these bigger outcomes of success.
So let's aim to focus on the little successes along the way. And, hopefully, one day those big successes will happen too!
Good luck with your writing and may you experience success today :-)
Book Week is just around the corner so now it's time to start planning your costume for your school parade!
Since this year's theme is 'Australia - Story Country', I've listed below some ideas of costumes for characters from Australian books, stories or story-tellers.
Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs
- Tan/brown beanie and t-shirt
- Gum leaves tied to belt
- Gum leaves decorations
Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey
Small and Big by Karen Collum & Ben Wood
- Red button-up jacket
- Black pants
- Closed-in shoes
- White hair chalk
- Yellow dinosaur-like stuffed animal
Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey
- Pink clothes
- Silver striped horn with elastic
- Pink horse ears on head band
- Silver plastic cups for hands and feet (hooves)
- Sparkly, silver wool/ribbon for tail and mane
Pete the Sheep by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley
- White clothes
- White wooly jumper
- Cotton wool balls for decoration
- Black akubra hat
Edwina the Emu by Sheena Knowles & Rod Clement
- Brown, feathery clothes
- Pink tutu and ballet shoes
- Hair in bun
- Blue cheeks
- Emu beak (make with cardboard and elastic)
The Runaway Hug by Nick Bland & Freya Blackwood
- Orange Onesie (full body pyjamas)
- Cover onesie in red dot stickers
There was an old lady who swallowed a mozzie by P. Crumble & Louis Shea
- Blue/green dress
- Yellow shawl/scarf
- White necklace
- Purple curly wig (or purple hair chalk/spray)
- Straw hat with purple ribbon and bow
- Round yellow earrings
- Fly swat!
Ella and Olivia by Yvette Poshoglian
- Pink leotard, tutu and ballet shoes
- Tiara or pink ribbon for hair
- Hair in bun
The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan
- Long sleeved dark shirt
- T-shirt over the top
- Dark hooded cloak
- Belt with pretend weapons
- Pretend bow and arrow (make it using sticks and string)
- Shoulder bag
Friday Barnes by R.A. Spratt
- Red tie up shoes
- White shirt
- Brown cardigan
- Green hat
- Piggy tails
- Magnifying glass
The Impossible Quest by Kate Forsyth
- Long sleeved shirts
- Short sleeved tunics over the top
- Belts and satchels
- Make your own swords and bow and arrows using sticks, cardboard and string
- Long dresses (with full skirts and medieval-type sleeves)
- Hooded cloak
- Stick for a staff
- Shield made out of cardboard
- Fabric belt/sash
- Head piece across forehead
Andy, Terry and Jill from the Treehouse books
- Cartoon card paper cut out of character's face
- White or black shirt (singlet for Jill)
- Black pants or black/white checkered skirt
- Black electrical tape to outline Andy's shirt (as seen above in WImpy Kid example)
Banjo Paterson - Australian Storyteller
- Dark Suit with white collared shirt underneath
- Dark tie or bow tie
- Dark akubra hat
- Notebook and pen
The Rainbow Serpent - Aboriginal Dreamtime Story
- Colourful clothes in different layers
- Colourful dot stickers
I hope this has helped to get your creative juices flowing! If you have any other ideas, please share in the comments. I'd love to hear from you!
For more ideas on Book Week costumes in general, click here.
Happy Book Week :-)
My husband and I have been talking for quite a while now about starting our own herb and vegie garden, so it was with even more excitement than usual that I was looking forward to the launch of 'A Patch from Scratch', written and illustrated by Megan Forward.
I was not disappointed!
This book is a beautiful portrayal of a real suburban family wanting to live like people on a farm. From getting chooks to mixing compost, from planting to harvesting, it culminates in a feast using all fresh ingredients from their own garden. I love that it's an informative 'how-to' book for kids, students, families and adults but told in an engaging narrative. The beautiful illustrations are bright and fresh.
Although longer than the current 500 word standard for picture book texts (close to 1900 words), we found ourselves so engrossed in the story and production of the garden that we didn't even notice the higher than usual word count. There's so much information nestled into the story, written in first person as the little brother in the family.
I love the fun loving nature of the main character and his realistic voice, one that children will, no doubt, find appealing. He loves getting dirty and making a mess, he imagines dirt smells like a cave and he thinks a 'rocket' plant will take them to the moon when they eat it!
It's also an interesting read for adults. It includes so much useful information on starting a vegie patch, like planting marigold flowers amongst the vegies to confuse the pests, making insect repelling sprays from natural ingredients, and showing a compost plan with ingredients to include. (The compost plan is adorable as it's a real picture drawn by Megan's son including little pac-man figures representing the bacteria helping enrich the soil - so cute!)
To top it all off, there's extra resources at the back including a glossary, relevant books, an illustrated cycle of how a vegetable garden works and recipes for the food mentioned in the story which can be made using ingredients from your patch.
The book launch was heaps of fun for kids at the lovely Riverbend Books in Bulimba, Brisbane. After hearing the story, they moved downstairs to participate in planting their own seeds, drawing with charcoal and painting in watercolours. I was very impressed to see their enthusiasm and talent!
I can't recommend this book highly enough! Calling all kids, parents, grandparents, teachers, and librarians - you have to get your hands on a copy of this!
Congratulations Megan and Penguin Books on 'A Patch from Scratch', a beautiful, engaging and informative book, inspiring the beginnings of my own patch from scratch!
What would you like to grow in your own patch from scratch? Leave a comment!
#picture book # children #kids #vegetable #garden #sustainable #grow #healthy #education
Oral language underpins everything and without it one cannot express thoughts, knowledge and learning. For this reason, among many others, reading to children is fundamental for their development. And what a bonus - sitting and sharing a cuddle whilst making beautiful memories! It is especially lovely sharing some reading time together as your children go to bed. The makings of some sweet dreams!
In honour of International Read to Me Day, here is my list of favourite read-aloud books (in no particular order) filled with beautiful rhythm, lyrical language, delicious words, wonderful humour and engaging stories.
For younger children:
And for older children:
Please share your favourites in the comments. I'd love to hear from you!
#read #reading #books #novels #stories #story #children #kids #bedtime #activity #ideas
When I heard that James was unwell and it was uncertain whether he could present on Sunday at the Story Arts Festival, I was more than a little disappointed (and concerned for his health, of course)! I was anticipating his session ‘Writing and Illustrating Picture Books’ based on the perspective and wisdom of an accomplished author/illustrator.
Thankfully, in spite of illness James presented his session, starting with the basics of picture book story styles. With each type he included examples of picture books written in that style. For example, ‘There was an old lady’ is a classic cumulative structure and ‘Ten little monkeys’ is written in de-cumulative structure.
James shared some general tips for picture book texts including:
· Write about things you can be bothered drawing
· You don’t have to write it if the pictures can show it
· Read the text out loud – it should flow with no clunks
· Only write in rhyme if you’re really good at it
He then discussed the publishing process and what it involved for his debut picture book ‘The Last Viking’. He described how illustration ideas can evolve and showed some spreads from the planning process for this book.
James then went into great detail regarding the principles of visual literacy. These included:
· point of view
· image boundaries
· line quality
· left to right
· words vs pictures
It was fascinating to see these at play in his illustrations in his upcoming picture book ‘My Dead Bunny’ by Sigi Cohen. He drew our attention to the size and shape of characters, the point of view for each illustration and the reasons behind these, how a single colour with shades of black and white effectively create tension and set the scene, how our eyes ‘read’ a spread and why illustrations are drawn in the layout to account for this, and how images and text work together to complement each other.
James discusses some of these on his blog. If you’d like to know more, check out:
Drawing on body language: http://jamesfoley.com.au/2015/08/18/drawing-on-body-language/
Meet the cast of My Dead Bunny (part 1): http://jamesfoley.com.au/2015/07/28/meet-the-cast-of-my-dead-bunny-part-1/
Meet the cast of My Dead Bunny (part 2): http://jamesfoley.com.au/2015/07/30/meet-the-cast-of-my-dead-bunny-part-2/
Meet the cast of My Dead Bunny (part 3): http://jamesfoley.com.au/2015/08/04/meet-the-cast-of-my-dead-bunny-part-3/
Just a typical Children’s Book Week session (with zombie animals): http://jamesfoley.com.au/2015/09/01/childrens-book-week-madness/#more-1897
A BIG thank you to James for presenting in spite of sickness and for imparting his knowledge and experience with us!