Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Join us for Kids Book Swap this Friday

On the last Friday of every month we throw a party at Forestville library.
We share a book with the kids and invite an author or illustrator to attend.
This month Sophia Whitfield, publisher and author, will be the guest at Kids Book Swap.
Come along and join us for this fun filled event. There will be cake!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Celebrating Dame Nellie Melba's 150th Birthday

The first great Australian diva, Dame Nellie Melba, celebrates her 150th birthday today.

Born Helen Porter Mitchell, she changed her name to reflect her Melbourne heritage. In 1887 Melba made her operatic debut. She went on to sing in all the great opera houses of Europe.

During World War I Melba worked tirelessly for the war effort organising fundraising concerts across America.

Dame Nellie Melba is one of our great Aussie heroes.

Aussie Heroes: Dame Nellie Melba is written as a narrative for children 7+. There are coloured illustrations throughout the book reflecting Melba’s glamorous, colourful life. It is also available as an ebook from Here is a sneak peek.

A book by

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Great Expedition is launched in style

On the weekend The Great Expedition, written and illustrated by Peter Carnavas, was launched in style by Kelly Dunham, the festival director of Voices on the Coast. Guests were treated to music, a little history and some fine storytelling.

Krissy and Fiona from Avid Reader were most hospitable hosts. Krissy presented Peter with a birthday cake insisting that we all sing Happy Birthday to The Great Expedition.

The Carnavas band opened the event with a rendition of Botany Bay on the accordion, ukulele and guitar.

Peter then worked his illustration magic. He informed us that his Google searches for Burke and Wills had shown them to be Don Burke and Prince William. With a good deal of skill Peter turned these two famous individuals into two other famous Australians – the Australian explorers Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills. The Great Expedition is loosely based on the adventures of these two characters.

The Great Expedition is a humorous tale with an underlying Peter Carnavas message for kids, which makes every one of his books so special. We can’t tell you any more – you will have to read the book.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hazel Edwards shares a poignant moment in her writing career

As an author you never know how far your book will travel. Nor possible effects it may have on others’ lives. Occasionally there’s special moment, when a reader contacts you. Or even a potential reader.

I had one of those significant moments this week. It was about relating to a hero, who was a relative.Fact evokes different responses from fiction.

Poignant e-mails arrive about fictional picture books and YA novels with which readers empathise. Parents write to me about the psychological importance of the ‘Guess What, There’s a Hippopotamus on the Hospital Roof Eating Cake’ picture book in helping a child patient adjust to hospital. Or about ‘f2m;the boy within’, the YA novel which has evoked genuine responses of relief because of the subject matter of transitioning gender has been portrayed in an approachable way in fiction.

‘But ‘Weary’ in the factual New Frontier Aussie Heroes series has been evoking responses from the ‘parent’ and ‘grandparent’ wanting to share a ‘hero’ with their young ones who are caught up with ‘celebs’ and in need of heroic, historic role models.

With a factual book, chances are that others knew the subject. And the readers have their stories to share too. I’ve had a few calls from those who knew ‘Weary’ or ‘Fred Hollows’ and each time, I wait to see if I got a fact wrong. But usually, it’s overwhelming praise from the reader, that the subject has been acknowledged in an accessible way for younger readers. And for the opportunity to provide historic ‘heroes’ who have actually done something for others rather than just been fashionably photographed as a ‘celeb.’ e.g. superficial socializing in front of camera.

I had a poignant moment today when Weary's former secretary Valda Street contacted me to get an autographed copy of my 'Weary' book for Sir Edward’s grandson Edward with whom she retains frequent contact.

A charming lady, who has close contact with the grandson, 'who is just like Weary' and regards him as his hero , but whose father Alexander is hospitalised with dementia. We shared anecdotes.

It's conversations like this which make the writing worthwhile.(I did notice she always called him Sir Edward, not ‘Weary’.)

I told her about being asked to speak about 'Heroes' and Weary to teenage Sudanese and Somali males at the Coptic Christian school and she said the grandson is hungry for stories of his grandfather and also wants to be a surgeon and is interested in the peacefulness of Buddhism.

Valda said Weary forgave, but never forgot his POW experiences. Agreed about the flaws such as road rage but also said at the time you don’t realise you are working for a hero. A 'big' man . And now his medical and rugby charities continue this compassion.
I've posted an autographed copy today.

Further resources for the Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop book are available on Hazel Edwards' website.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's a book launch and you are all invited!

We are so excited! In two weeks we will be in Brisbane to launch Peter Carnavas' latest book, The Great Expedition.
The launch will be held at Avid Reader bookshop on Sunday 15th May at 10am.
Come along and say hello. Peter has a few surpirses in store.