Archive for March, 2012

The Little Big Book Club

Last month I got an e-mail from my lovely marketing manager at UQP to say that Squish Rabbit had been chosen as an April recommendation by The Little Big Book Club (LBBC). Now I knew a little about this wonderful organisation, so I felt a bit chuffed, shared the news with my dog, then got back to work. About 10 minutes later I got a call from my editor at UQP to say that the e-mail they had sent may not have quite captured how exciting this news was.

And she was right. It was only as I learnt more about the amazing organisation that is The Little Big Book Club that I started to understand just how exciting it is to have a book chosen by them. The LBBC branched off from The Big Book Club, which was established in South Australia in 2003 as a not-for-profit organisation all about (summed up best on their website):

promoting reading, the discussion of books and the promotion of Australian authors and illustrators

And they do an incredible job of all of these things. Their national program includes an initiative called ‘It’s Story Time’ where each month they select three age appropriate picture books to get behind – promoting them to parents, carers and various early childhood sectors. The program includes three age brackets: 0-2 year olds, 2-3 year olds, and 4-5 year olds. They then use their monthly book recommendations as the subject of various newspaper editorial, advertising, activity suggestions, learning time downloads, online e-books, games and many other age appropriate resources. Since the program launched in 2006 it has featured over 234 titles for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, all of which can be found on their website. You can also read more about their amazing work here.

In preparation for the April selection of books, Leanne Williams has already written a great article all about books and self-esteem for the latest SA Kids Parenting Magazine. Not only is it incredibly informative, but it also includes the most delightful photo of Leanne’s sweet little girl sleeping with her copy of Squish Rabbit! Click on the image above to see the full article.

As I was recently in Adelaide, I popped over to the LBBC office in Norwood and got to meet the crew, who are just as energetic and enthusiastic about all things books as you’d expect them to be. While there we made a series of little videos where they interviewed me all about where my ideas come from, the importance of reading for kids (and what I was like as a young reader), Squish Rabbit, the sequel (Brave Squish Rabbit) and also technology and books. It was great fun, and they should be going up on the LBBC website soon. Until then, take a little sneaky peek below:

At the end of my visit the lovely staff also gifted me the most delicious smelling hand cream. Having just used it, scents of vanilla and jasmine are now wafting up from my keyboard…

Adelaide Fringe Festival

It’s so easy to get caught up in the time warp of writing and drawing. To spend too long in my own mind with only my ideas for company. Yet I find in order to fuel my ideas I need to keep my creative well full, by getting out of my head and seeing what the creative world is up to – reading, watching, listening … and attending the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

At least, that was my latest creative adventure. I was lured there by my poetically mischievous partner, with promises of music and plays and cabaret and street art, not to mention great food and wine. I was also an Adelaidian for a short while myself, so it was a thrill to return to a city I know quite well – but this time as a tourist.

In the months earlier I put on my designer cap to help create some posters and postcards for David’s performances. Then of course we had to set out and do some poster spotting when we arrived…

Postcards for the band shows at the Spiegeltent (credit: Justin Leegwater's moth illustration and Matt Leasegang's photography)

'Ghostboy with Golden Virtues' posters around the Fringe

Postcards for David's solo show with Richard, at La Boheme (think velvet, cocktails and cheeky bar staff)

Posters spotted 'Live' in North Adelaide

It was an amazing but ridiculously busy week, and my only regret is that amongst my own work and all the fringe happenings I didn’t get to catch up with some of my favorite Adelaide writers. Next time I will have to make it a more social trip. One of the benefits of having an artist’s pass was that I could get into all the shows for free, so I saw a LOT of art while there…

Fringe Highlights:

  • Michael Workman’s one man play Mercy – The tale of a Cuban man set adrift on the high seas with nothing but a pile of cabbages. A funny, moving and at times achingly beautiful love story, full of heart. Great writing too. While watching it, my chest swelled with all the things I want to make as an artist
  • Sam Simmons’ About the Weather – Another one man play, but this time full of Sam’s mad quirk and sideways meanderings. Loved it
  • The Table – Four polish man transform what appears to be an everyday wooden dining table into an incredibly diverse instrument. Their music moves from amazing soundscapes and playful percussion to hard electro-rock. Completely unexpected (I literally had no idea what I was walking into!)
  • Soap – Acrobatics, opera, comedy and modern dance all happening in bath tubs. This was a lot of fun (warning: if you must sit in the front, wear a raincoat)
  • Drinking cider and dancing with the band at the artist’s Fringe Club (and getting home after 5am…)
  • Delicious pizza at a stall in the Garden of Unearthly Delights (best we’ve had since New York)

Other Highlights:

  • Our only day off spent catching the tram out to Glenelg where we flicked through records, drank milkshakes and danced on the beach
  • Visiting my old favourite eateries to find nothing had changed – still awesome food, great atmosphere and delightful staff
  • Walking into the city through the parks and along the river
  • Visiting the lovely people at The Little Big Book Club (more on this later…)

What I could have done without:

  • Late nights and early starts (this wee rabbit is not as spritely as she once was)
  • A prank gone wrong that had David and I believing we had been violently broken into (Richard, I’m looking at you)
  • Cold nights. VERY cold nights. Adelaide weather, you had prepared me for summer heat!
  • Returning home to the worst flu I’ve had in forever

All up though it was an amazing trip. And not only is my creative well full, but my belly is also full of South Australian delights. It seems I have both some writing and exercise ahead of me…

Hopped into Haigh's for some choc-pepermint frogs but bagged myself a bilby instead


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:

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