Thursday, March 31, 2011

Aussie Heroes series is now available from Readings in eBook format

The first two books in our non-fiction Aussie Heroes series are now available from Readings in eBook format.

We are excited! You can now purchase Dame Nellie Melba and Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop from Readings. All the internal illustrations are in colour and look fabulous on an eReader device.

The next book in the series, Fred Hollows, will be released in both print and eBook format later this year.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Little Treasures are a hit in Bologna

The first news is in from Bologna and it seems this gorgeous Little Treasures collection of Peter Carnavas’ work is ever so popular.

Our creative designer Nick has given Peter’s books a clever new look. Each book has a logo to reflect its simple but important message – Love, Environment, Family and Self Worth. Peter’s fifth book, The Great Expedition, is about resilience. Nick is still working on a logo for this one!

The Great Expedition will be released on the 1st May.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Bologna Book Fair 2011

We have been frantically busy over the last few weeks in preparation for the Bologna Book Fair.

Posters, bookmarks and dummy books have all been created in anticipation of the next four days. After ten years in the business we can confidently say we are experts at cutting and pasting!
The boys have now arrived in Bologna after their gruelling flights and have just completed putting the finishing touches on our fabulous stand. They are now asleep, but this is what they did before they slept.
Rod Hare is cheerily looking forward to the prospect of creating the ALC stand!

Peter Whitfield adds a poster to get in his wife’s good books after leaving her behind!

Applause! They are doing a good job.

As always we are in good company. A sneak peek at our neighbours:

There stand is a tiny bit bigger than ours. Sigh!

If you are in Bologna pay a visit to the Australian Licensing Corporation stand. We are next door to Bloomsbury. Rod and Peter will delight you with a mass of brilliant Australian books.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kids Book Swap is on tomorrow - Meet fabulous illustrator Serena Geddes

The last Friday of the month is tomorrow and we have our book swapping shoes on.
The talented illustrator Serena Geddes will be our guest tomorrow afternoon.
Serena began her career as an animator for Disney, but in 2009 she followed her dream, determined to become a children's book illustrator.
Since then she has illustrated  this:

and this:

and this:

I am sure you will agree that Serena is a fabulous illustrator.
She is currently working on Lily's Wish, a delightful book for Christmas.
Here are some of her roughs:

Do come along to meet Serena. She will be showing off her brilliant skills at 3.30pm tomorrow afternoon at Forestville library.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A True Person - a valuable insight for children today

There has been a great deal of visual footage in the press recently and many questions have been asked in our home regarding the Christmas Island Detention Centre.

I reached for a book we published back in 2007 to give our children more insight into the lives of refugees.

A True Person is written by Gabiann Marin and illustrated by Jacqui Grantford. It took a couple of years to complete this project and during this time the ending of the book was changed to reflect the current situation at the time. After much public outcry, in late 2005, child refugees were moved into more suitable community detention.

Initially Mwalo (an African man) left the detention centre, but by the time the book was almost ready for press the ending was changed and Zallah (a young girl) and her mother left the detention centre for community detention. Mwalo stayed behind.

A True Person is a moving story which highlights the bond between Mother and Daughter in times of adversity.

Zallah and her mother have escaped their war torn country and are looking for safety in Australia. Instead of freedom they find themselves in a detention centre. Zallah struggles with the reason for this punishment. For Zallah there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

This is a gentle tale that gives children a glimpse of life as a refugee.
The book has also just been made available on CD through Gecko Educational.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cartoons, kooky characters and plot driven mysteries just for the kids!

School holidays will soon be upon us.

The kids will be under your feet or locked away playing the Xbox. But, you would much rather they were having the time of their lives being inspired by stories, kooky characters and cartoon creations. We know you would. So we have made it easy for you. Three brilliant author/illustrators will be sharing their magic with kids during the Easter break.

The workshops will be help at a fabulous bookshop – The Children's Bookshop in Beecroft. They are celebrating 40 years this year so wish them a Happy 40th Birthday as you walk through the door.

Illustrating Picture Books with Peter Carnavas

In this hands-on workshop, students will be sharing drawing tips and ideas for creating picture books with well-known Australian illustrator Peter Carnavas. Peter will share his knowledge and expertise and children will develop illustrating techniques to bring characters to life!
When: Monday April 11th, 9-12-30pm
For: Students Aged 8-12
Cost: $50 per student
All materials are provided. Book early
Peter Carnavas will be releasing his fifth picture book in May this year. You may even get a sneak peek of The Great Expedition before it is released. Peter is the author and illustrator.

Draw Dream Write Delight

… A creative writing workshop for younger kids ...
Imaginations will run wild in this writing and illustrating super-session with children’s author, Aleesah Darlison. Create and draw cool, kooky characters and get started on a story about them.
This workshop promotes creativity and sharing of ideas. Free goody bag included.
When: Wednesday 13 April, 9-12-30pm
For: Ages 7-9
Cost: $50 per student. All materials are provided. Book early
Aleesah Darlison is the author of the sparkling new series, Totally Twins. The third book in the series will be released in August.

Calling all Future Writers!

Author Sue Whiting will be leading a writing workshop for students aged 9-12 years.
Participants in this workshop will be exploring the writing process, focusing on writing skills and gaining tips on developing plot, character and setting! Activities will be hands-on and students will particularly gain insight into ways to improve writing skills.
When: Thursday April 14th, 9-12-30pm
For: Students Aged 9-12
Cost: $50 per student
All materials are provided. Book early!

Sue is the author of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and A Britt Brady Mystery:The Hairy Legs Heist.

RSVP for all workshops:

02 9481 1881

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Celebrating Australian Women on International Women's Day

Today we are celebrating International Women’s Day.

As we look back over the history of Australia there are many women who have shaped and contributed to our society.

Last year we released the Aussie Heroes series, a new series of junior non-fiction books which reflects the heroes of Australia.

The books are for primary school aged children and are written as a narrative, complemented by colour illustrations throughout.

Our first female hero is Dame Nellie Melba. She was the first great Australian diva, but she also worked tirelessly for the war effort, staging numerous fundraising concerts in support of the Red Cross and other charities.

Our next female hero, the manuscript has just dropped into my inbox, will be Mary MacKillop.

Perhaps you have a particular hero whose life has had an impact on your own?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

From Hippos to Histories

Best known for There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake, which was recently translated into Chinese, Hazel writes across media, for adults & children.
Sir Edward‘Weary’ Dunlop in the New Frontier Aussie Heroes series is her latest print & ebook.
An ambassador for literature and for literacy, Hazel is involved with the 2012 National Year of Reading. She holds webinars ,mentors and is on the Australian Society of Authors’ committee.

Hazel, you are well known for your children’s picture books, especially the well known and much loved classic There’s A Hippo On Our Roof Eating Cake.
Your latest book is a non-fiction book for primary school children entitled Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop.
How different is it to write a ‘history’ book for young children as opposed to a storybook?
The first challenge in writing a junior history is to find anecdotes (mini stories) and a viewpoint likely to interest a reader of that age.
The next challenge is what to leave out.

In writing about one person, you need to read widely about the challenges of their period of history, especially if you weren’t living then. Next you need to read all the detailed adult biographies available on them, and their contemporaries.

There is as much work in writing history for young readers as there is in writing for adults. The skill is in how to shape the facts of the setting and the person in a way which makes sense to a young reader who may not know much about that time or place or even that man (or woman).Or be unfamiliar with certain abbreviations like POW (prisoner of war).

I did have some research help on ‘Weary’ because he’s a man about whom there are many stories, by people who knew him personally and are still alive.

Each type of book has different challenges, whether history for children, adult non- fiction or writing fantasy- based picture books. And then there’s scripting too. It’s a bit like a smorgasbord of food. Sometimes you feel like savouries, other times your taste is for something sweet or spicy. I enjoy having a balanced diet of varied tastes of ideas in different formats.

The proportion of time spent on research is considerable for a history book, because the facts must be accurate. I’ve recently discovered the term ‘fact-checker’which is difficult to say, but vital to have.

Have you written any other books in this genre?
‘Antarctic Close up’ in the National Museum ‘Making Tracks’ series, about the telescope from Mawson’s Antarctic expedition was for a similar age group. That story is ‘faction’ as it has a little dramatic licence in including a10 year old boy in the polar ice. But it is based on the real John Collinson Close (hence the title) who was on Mawson’s expedition. It’s called ‘memorabilia’ when you write a story around an object. That book was commissioned by the Museum, as were others in the museum memorabilia series, and the real telescope can be viewed there.

My Writing A Non-Boring Family History book is used in workshops, when often adults are shaping stories for the children in their families as well.

Is it harder to write fact than fiction for children?
More research is required. But in some novels, which are works of fiction, getting the facts to make the settings believable, takes an equal time e.g. the outback setting with feral pigs and chopper flying in my Outback Feral YA novel. Or the Antarctic iceberg, expeditioner and wildlife facts of picture book ‘Antarctic Dad’. Facts provide you with a time or place framework, but you need to creatively craft a story within that. I enjoy the challenge of improvising against a factual setting. Some of my stories are ‘faction’ which use a factual setting but a made-up character. I do not call these a history.

Other times, I’ve scripted plays using facts, where the characters have names like FIRE or WATER or BORE and act accordingly.

Some factual writing is about how things work e.g. the writer has to understand that process, before they write it more simply for the child reader.

An example would be writing about some of Weary’s homemade surgical or medical equipment in the POW camps.

How did you get involved in writing Sir Edward 'Weary’ Dunlop?
By invitation from New Frontier I had already written Flight of the Bumblebee picture book linked with the classical music of Rimsky Korsakov.

The ‘Aussie Heroes’ concept, where the emphasis was on community contributions rather than only sport, interested me.

Did you know much about ‘Weary’ and what type of research was necessary?
I’d read Weary’s biography earlier, and knew of his medical connections plus I’d travelled in Asia where the POW camps had been. My husband was familiar with Weary’s rugby skills.
A researcher Gail Arkins offered her help, as her medical family had known Weary, plus she checked the military facts. Once I mentioned I was researching Weary, people who had worked with him, or whose family members he had operated on, told me stories.

Although I did some Internet research, I also read many books about Weary, and some about other camp doctors.

We visited the ‘Weary’ statues, and researched the symbolism of the steps representing those who worked on the railway and in the camps.

How do you define the word ‘Hero’ and why how important is it to inspire children with such role models?
A hero is one who inspires by example.

It is very important to distinguish between a ‘celeb’ famous only for being in the media and a person who has done something significant to help others.

A hero may solve a problem for a community, discover a cure or invent a gadget.
But a hero is not perfect and may have weaknesses.

We all need role models, to inspire us, to try beyond the day-to-day.

A footballer who plays skilfully, but misbehaves in public, is not a good role model.
Easy to read histories of inspiring Australians can provide facts about ‘real’ lives, not fictional super- heroes., although there is a place for fantasy too.

What was the most fascinating fact you discovered in the writing of the book?
Weary’s resourcefulness in ‘making-do’ possibly came from his farm childhood.
Risk-taking can pay off, if you are stoic about accepting the consequences when things go wrong.

I was also fascinated that so many people felt they ‘owned’ Weary via their stories.

What other Australian ‘heroes’ do you think we should be introducing our children to?
Let’s rename all the boring ‘Station and Railways’ streets, Australia-wide , with the researched names of ‘heroic’ locals who have solved problems.

Female scientists, pioneers like Granny Smith (Apples), inventors, business people who have found new ways of making things, explorers of the country or of the mind.

New Frontier Publishing’s series Aussie Heroes now has two titles available and a third on the way, Fred Hollows. How important is this series in terms of supporting the national history curriculum? What do you think of the curriculum as it stands at present?
Once students find out about ‘historic’ people and the challenges they faced, they get inspired. The problem is the lack of historic material in accessible formats for junior readers or viewers. The stories need to be dramatically told, not just in chronological order. The stories need to be in print and e-books as well as TV documentaries or multi-media.

Maybe using the Aussie Heroes series for modelling of students’ own research and writing/scripting of a local ‘hero’ could be a start. Write about local State Emergency Services workers, ambulance officers, political activists, artists in new media, interpreters, un-sung heroes who quietly do their jobs or volunteer?

Reading history is not just about dead people. It’s about WHY someone might have acted that way in those circumstances. That’s the mystery of history.

Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop
Written by Hazel Edwards
Illustrated (colour) by Pat Reynolds
Released: 1st March 2011
Age 9+