Apart from blogging recently about my book launches, I’ve been mostly absent from this blog since about August. And believe me, I’ve been experiencing some blogger’s guilt. So please see this post as a kind of peace offering. Or an apology. Or even a series of visual excuses as to why I haven’t had much time for blogging lately…
A week all about celebrating children’s books, which started in Australia with the CBCA in 1945. This year the theme was ‘Champions Read’, and I got to visit some delightful schools in Brisbane and Toowoomba. These schools put on book fairs and parades and school wide decorations which must have taken weeks to put together. They went all out in showing their love of books, and they made Squish and I feel very welcome.
Look at all those Squish Rabbits! This school created a whole wall of amazing Squish creations in preparation for my visit
These are some of my favourites. There are ghostly Squish Rabbits, cranky ones and plenty of whimsical pondering ones
At this school all teachers and students dressed up as their favourite character from a book. This mother and son team are Squish and Twitch! (so cute)
One teacher discovered I liked stripes, and donated this hat from her book week costume. Think I’ll wear it at Woodford this year…
Not an official work trip for me, as I was just tagging along with my partner. But who wouldn’t find an excuse to escape to tropical Cairns? I took the chance to make it a bit of a writing retreat, and got several thousand words written on my latest work in progress (a young adult novel). After the work was done we were also lucky enough to score a trip out to Green Island…
We all live in a yellow submarine
Brisbane Writers Festival
It was my first year speaking at this amazing festival. I did a bunch of talks with grades 4-6 and a few writing and illustration workshops too. I had a ball, and got to meet so many amazing authors and illustrators.
Brisbane Writers Festival loves books
Write Around QLD / Cairns Writers Festival
Back to Cairns again, this time with Write Around QLD, a BWF initiative that takes authors and illustrators out to regional and remote schools in North Queensland. I was thrilled to be involved, however it didn’t quite go to plan … I may have gotten an awful tummy bug and spent most of the week in the hotel room … but I did get out to a few schools in the end. Next came the Cairns Tropical Writers Fest, where I spoke on a few panels and taught a picture book masterclass, as well as had the chance to meet many budding local writers. I love Cairns – it’s beautifully laid back and oh-so-friendly.
With Katrina Germain, a lovely and talented picture book author
David and I spent a funny night with Tim Ferguson, who was also on the festival bill (he’s not only a talented comic, but also really warm and generous)
Not work related but worthy of a mention because … my little brother got married! We spent a stunning few days in Mt Tambourine and I got to be involved in the reception as the MC. As you can probably imagine, it was a suitably serious affair with no shenanigans what-so-ever…
Me and my little bro
Not sure who these clowns are…
David and I were invited out to Gundy (as the locals call it) to be involved in a festival through one of the schools. This was no small event – they had a massive assembly performance where all teachers and senior students performed skits, there was music and craft stalls and several days where artists were brought in to run talks and workshops. The whole shebang finished with a starlit night of poetry, where the kids performed the work they’d produced with David.
We knew we were getting close when massive cacti started cropping up along the road
We took pup with us and walked along the river each day
The kids and I created a Julia Gillard monster (their idea, not mine!)
Our wacky burger. When the kids had me adding all the farmyard animals, I decided it was necessary to add to the farmer too…
I’d never heard of this amazing organisation until they contacted me. Kumon began in Japan but is now worldwide, and is a method of learning where kids are encouraged to advance their skills beyond what they’re learning at their schools. Some of the most exciting young minds in Australia are involved in Kumon, and each year they hold an awards ceremony for their highest achievers. I was invited as keynote speaker for their Brisbane conference and loved meeting all the enthusiastic learners.
They even provided me with a corsage – cute!
Talking about imagination and literacy
But even with all the events and trips I’ve done and the amazing people I’ve met, the best thing about travel is arriving back home again…