Festival Fanfare (part 1)

Rabbit - floatAs mentioned in my last post, I was invited as an emerging author to speak at Mackay’s Whitsunday Voices youth literary festival. I returned to Brisvegas many days ago, but after several days of festivities followed by the big literary dinner, I’ve only just caught up on sleep and rejoined the land of the living.

The festival itself played out over Thursday 16th and Friday 17th of this month, and was run by a bunch of delightful teachers, volunteers and students. I had the opportunity of speaking with all the kids from prep through to grade three – kids who were enthusiastic, engaging and full of both thoughtful and hilarious questions. They truly made little-old-me feel like a rock star (I was even asked to sign many drawings and school diaries!). Several of my talks were in my original grade 4 and 5 classrooms, which brought back some very vivid memories of my childhood self.

While each talk varied slightly depending on the class, they looked something like this:

  • Storytelling: I introduced myself as someone who tells stories through words and images. We also discussed the history of storytelling and how it has evolved
  • Reading: The classes were my first test audience for Squish Rabbit. It was such a thrill to see how they responded to the story. I was constantly amazed at how their minds unpacked the characters and events
  • Discussion: There were lots of questions about how I made the images and where the ideas came from
  • Illustration Workshop: I went in armed with a cartooning workshop on people, but all the classes requested I teach them how to draw Squish and his Squirrel friend Twitch, which was great fun
  • Characterisation: After the drawing workshop, the kids created their own versions of my characters by adding colours, clothes or props. They were so imaginative that I had to share some





Agent Twitch


Daddy Squish, mummy Squish and baby Squash :)

Even though I was invited there to talk, I feel like I left with more than I contributed. Everyone was so generous and the kids filled me with energy and self-esteem, as well as many ideas for future stories…


8 Responses to “Festival Fanfare (part 1)”

  1. 1 Karen Tyrrell July 21, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Thanx Katherine. I love reading your BLOGS … A beautiful fresh perspective on children’s writing and illustrating!!
    The KID’s pics were gorgeous! I’m still a teacher at heart!

  2. 2 Sheryl Gwyther July 21, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Fantastic, Kath! And I so loved that the kids’s drawings were their own creations rather than colouring in someone else’s drawing – good on you! True creative processing.

  3. 3 chrisbongers July 21, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    The kids are magic, aren’t they Kath? And so are the illustrators, just quietly. Nick Bland and Peter Carnavas were at Voices on the Coast and I bought their picture books for the pure pleasure of owning them. I’m looking forward to Squish.

  4. 4 Angela Sunde July 21, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I feel as though Squish is already published. He lives in my mind and now in the minds of all those kids, Kath. Great work. I really loved the bookmark!!!

  5. 5 Kathleen Noud July 21, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Hahaha! The kids drawings are great! I just love that most of them have your cute, furry creatures holding some kind of weapon. Priceless.

  6. 6 Katherine Battersby July 22, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Thanks for your lovely words Karen, Sheryl and Angela.

    Chris, I love Nick and Peter’s work. Wish I could have been at Voices – it’s a great festival.

    Kathleen, the boys felt that Squish could be a little more ‘edgy’! I particularly like Squish Vader (‘Squish, I am your father’…)

  7. 7 Lynn Priestley July 27, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Hi Kath,

    I LOVE these pics the kids did for you. It must have been so rewarding to have them reproduce a piece of your imagination. What a great thing. Glad to hear you had such a wonderful time up there. And the bookmarks were gorgeous and a beautiful memento for the kids to keep.

  8. 8 Katherine Battersby July 28, 2009 at 11:57 am

    It was quite incredible seeing how they interpreted my characters. I didn’t anticipate such an enthusiastic response! The bookmarks went down really well – I had kids chasing me in the playground the day after asking for more for their sisters and brothers – so cute!

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About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:


Author Talks

Speakers Ink
Creative Net

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