Jul 01

Books Read – April, May and June 2016

Books read in May 2016. Links in titles take you to reviews either here on Reading Upside Down or on Kids’ Book Review.

It’s been a chaotic couple of months for me at home and my reading time has been all but non-existent. I’ve really struggled to concentrate when I’m reading, so I’ve concentrated on picture books. I’m hopeful that I’ll get back on track reading regularly soon. There are so many amazing new releases that I want to read, plus a huge backlog of older titles. Hopefully I’ll get back into a better reading routine in July.

 

READ IN APRIL, MAY + JUNE 2016

Picture Books

  1. Let’s Play by Herve Tullet (Allen & Unwin)
  2. No Way Yirrikipayi! by children from Milikapiti School, Melville Island, with Alison Lester (ILF)
  3. Frankencrayon by Michael Hall (Greenwillow)
  4. I Love Me by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina (Fremantle Press)
  5. This is a Circle by Chrissie Krebs (Random House)
  6. The Playground is like the Jungle (A Big Hug Book) by Shona Innes and Irisz Agocs (The Five Mile Press)
  7. A Family is like a Cake (A Big Hug Book) by Shona Innes and Irisz Agocs (The Five Mile Press)
  8. Love is like a Tree (A Big Hug Book) by Shona Innes and Irisz Agocs (The Five Mile Press)
  9. Incredibilia by Libby Hathorn and Gaye Chapman (Little Hare)
  10. Desert Lake: The story of Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre by Pamela Freeman and Liz Anelli (Walker Books)
  11. Meet Don Bradman by Coral Vass and Brad Howe (Random House)
  12. What Else Could It Be? by Sally Fawcett (EK Books)
  13. Steve Goes to Carnival by Joshua Button and Robyn Wells (Magabala Books)
  14. This Hungry Dragon by Heath McKenzie (Scholastic)
  15. River Riddle by Jim Dewar and Anil Tortop (Scholastic)
  16. My Dog Dash by Nicki Greenberg (Allen & Unwin)
  17. Marvin and Marigold: The Big Sneeze by Mark Carthew and Simon Prescott (New Frontier Publishing)
  18. Secrets of Animal Camouflage by Carron Brown and Wesley Robins (Ivy Kids)
  19. Wolfish Stew by Suzi Moore and Erica Salcedo (Bloomsbury)
  20. Snow Bear by Tony Mitton and Alison Brown (Bloomsbury)
  21. Milo’s Dog says Moo! by Catalina Echeverri (Bloomsbury)
  22. Elephant Kitten by Margaret Evans and Sophie Norsa (Little Steps Publishing)
  23. Hope by Matt Lumb and Kiara Mucci (AIM High Program, University of Newcastle)
  24. The Wombats at the Zoo by Roland Harvey (Allen & Unwin)
  25. On the Train by Carron Brown and Bee Johnson (Ivy Kids)
  26. Lenny & Lucy by Philip C Stead and Erin E Stead (Allen & Unwin)
  27. The Perilous Adventure of the Pilfered Penguin by Class 2H at Newcastle East Public School (Katinka Press)
  28. My Sister is a Superhero by Damon Young and Peter Carnavas (UQP)
  29. Tinyville Town gets to Work by Brian Biggs (Abrams Appleseed)
  30. Virgil and Owen Stick Together by Paulette Bogan (Bloomsbury)
  31. Grandpa’s Big Adventure by Paul Newman and Tom Jellett (Penguin Viking)
  32. Blue, the Builder’s Dog by Jen Storer and Andrew Joyner (Penguin Viking)
  33. Oh, Albert! by Davina Bell and Sara Acton (Penguin Viking)
  34. My Perfect Pup by Sue Walker and Anil Tortop (New Frontier Publishing)
  35. The Whole Caboodle by Lisa Shanahan and Leila Rudge (Scholastic)
  36. Take Ted Instead by Cassandra WEbb and Amanda Francey (New Frontier Publishing)
  37. Blue and Bertie by Kristyna Litten (Scholastic)
  38. Secret Tree Fort by Brianne Farley (Walker Books)
  39. Was Not Me! by Shannon Horsfall (HarperCollins)
  40. Penelope the Mountain Pygmy Possum by Gordon Winch and Stephen Pym (New Frontier Publishing)

 

Junior Fiction

  1. Ruby Wishfingers: Skydancer’s Escape by Deborah Kelly (Random House)

 

Young Adult Fiction

  1. The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis
  2. Bro by Helen Chebatte
  3. The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub

 

Poetry

  1. Lemons in the Chicken Wire by Alison Whittaker

 

General Fiction

April, May + June Total:  45 books

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Jun 01

It’s All About Perspective

“Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.” (To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee)

I first read To Kill a Mockingbird when I was around 13 years old. Beyond the impact of the story, the book was a revelation about the power of narrative. It not only presented a story that raised questions about ethical and social issues, it also showed me that stories can challenge the way you see the world and yourself. That words, and stories, are powerful.

At the time, I photocopied the final chapter of the book (6 pages) and kept them in my folder. I read and re-read Scout’s summary of how the events in their town would have appeared to Boo Radley as he looked out his window. It was a lesson in perspective and understanding and empathy that has stayed with me through the years.

My life is chaotic at the moment. There are some major changes underway and I’m feeling very fragile. The changes are ultimately positive, but I seem to be working through all the emotions each day, sometimes simultaneously. It’s been exhausting. It’s also been a reminder about the importance of considering perspective and more than once I’ve recalled Scout’s observations from the Radley porch.

I’ve received a lot of support from friends and colleagues over the past month or so. I’ve felt loved and encouraged and cared for in a way I really didn’t expect when I set the wheels in motion for this change. Without seeking details or asking me to justify myself, they have simply let me know that I am valued and offered encouragement. I’ve felt humbled and overwhelmed at times and I’ve felt incredibly blessed to be part of a community filled with so much love and compassion.

Of course, not everyone has agreed with my decisions. There has been judgement and anger and questions asking me to justify the decisions I’ve made and the emotions I’m experiencing. It has been tempting to feel hurt and betrayed by these reactions. To wonder why these people don’t trust that I wouldn’t make such a major decision without just cause and without considering the implications for myself, my children and others I care about.

Through it all, I keep thinking of Scout standing on the porch reflecting on the events in her community as Boo would have seen them. I try to step outside my situation and look at it as someone else would – someone who has only seen what has happened on the surface. Someone who has only known the facade I created for my life; who only saw the smiles and laughter and confidence. Someone whose own personal history means they view my actions and decisions through the filter of their own experiences and emotions.

My heart is breaking at the moment – for things past, for things lost, for hurt caused. While I know that I’ve made decisions that will result in a more hopeful and hope-filled future, I also acknowledge that my actions impact a wide circle of people and they are entitled to feel hurt, angry, confused and betrayed. My heart is breaking for them too, as I try to stand in their shoes and view my actions from their perspective.

Why am I sharing this? I’m not quite sure.

Partly because after months and months and months of feeling barren and dry, the words suddenly want to get out. There is a compulsion to write that I haven’t experienced for some time.

But mostly because my current situation has reminded me of the lesson Harper Lee taught me all those years ago about the importance of perspective, both when we look at our own life and when we consider (and judge) the lives of others. Be gentle with yourself and with others. Stand in someone else’s shoes and walk around in them before you presume to understand them.

Our lives are complex and our emotions are fragile. Be the kind of person who gives others room to be broken and encourages them to find the strength to heal. Always remember that the world looks different when viewed from someone else’s perspective.

Broken pottery

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Apr 01

Books Read – March 2016

Books read in March 2016. Links in titles take you to reviews either here on Reading Upside Down or on Kids’ Book Review.

READ IN MARCH 2016

 

Picture Books

  1. A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell (Little Brown & Company)
  2. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (HarperCollins)
  3. In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek and Christine Roussey
  4. Reflection by Rebecka Sharpe Shelberg and Robin Cowcher (Walker Books)
  5. There is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith (Two Hoots)
  6. You Have My Heart by Corinne Fenton (Five Mile Press)
  7. Worries are Like Clouds (A Big Hug Book) by Shona Innes and Irisz Agocs (Five Mile Press)
  8. You are Like You (A Big Hug Book) by Shona Innes and Irisz Agocs (Five Mile Press)
  9. Gary by Leila Rudge (Walker Books)
  10. The Grumpy Lighthouse Keeper by Terrizita Corpus and Maggie Prewett (Magabala Books)
  11. Crabbing with Dad by Paul Seden (Magabala Books)
  12. Blue & Other Colours with Henri Matisse (Phaidon Press)
  13. Arthur and the Curiosity by Lucinda Gifford (The Five Mile Press)
  14. Archie: No Ordinary Sloth by Heath McKenzie (The Five Mile Press)

 

Junior Fiction

  1. Johnny Danger: Lie Another Day by Peter Millett (Puffin Books)
  2. Matty’s Comeback by Anita Heiss (Scholastic)
  3. The Scroll of Alexandria (A Lottie Lipton Adventure) by Dan Metcalf (Bloomsbury)
  4. Nick’s Fabulous Footy Cards by Greg Fish (Hip & Shoulder Books)

 

General Fiction

  1. Outback Sisters by Rachael Johns (Harlequin Mira)
  2. Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue (A Cynster Novel) by Stephanie Laurens (Avon)
  3. Potent Pleasures by Eloisa James (Bantam Dell)
  4. A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna Campbell (Harlequin Mira)

 

March Total:  22 books

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Mar 01

Books Read – February 2016

Books read in February 2016. Links in titles take you to reviews either here on Reading Upside Down or on Kids’ Book Review.

READ IN FEBRUARY 2016

 

Picture Books

  1. Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat by Emily MacKenzie (Bloomsbury)
  2. Echidna Jim Went for a Swim by Phil Cummings and Laura Wood (Scholastic)
  3. Smile Cry by Tania McCartney and Jess Racklyeft (EK Books)
  4. My First Day at School by Rosie Smith and Bruce Whatley (Scholastic)
  5. The Pocket Dogs and the Lost Kitten by Margaret Wild and Stephen Michael King (Scholastic)
  6. I’ll Never Let You Go by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Alison Brown (Bloomsbury)
  7. A Soldier, a Dog and a Boy by Libby Hathorn and Phil Lesnie (Lothian)
  8. Me, Teddy by Chris McKimmie (Allen & Unwin)
  9. Cyclone by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley (Scholastic)
  10. Space Alien at Planet Dad by Lucinda Gifford (Scholastic)
  11. My Family is a Zoo by K A Gerrard and Emma Dodd (Bloomsbury)
  12. Hattie Helps Out by Jane Godwin, Davina Bell and Freya Blackwood (Allen & Unwin)
  13. What Pet Should I Get by Dr Seuss (HarperCollins)
  14. We’re Going on an Egg Hunt by Laura Hughes (Bloomsbury)
  15. Skip to the Loo, My Darling! by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Anita Jeram (Walker Books)
  16. New Year Surprise! by Christopher Cheng and Di Wu (NLA)
  17. The Dreaming Tree by Jo Oliver (New Frontier Publishing) [poetry]
  18. Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark and APril Chu (Creston) [narrative non-fiction]

 

Activity Book

  1. 3, 2, 1… Draw! by Serge Bloch (Wide Eyed)

 

Junior Fiction

  1. Jinny & Cooper: My Teacher’s Big Bad Secret (Jinny & Cooper #1) by Tania Ingram (Penguin)
  2. Jinny & Cooper: Revenge of the Stone Witch (Jinny & Cooper #2) by Tania Ingram (Penguin)
  3. Squishy Taylor and a Question of Trust (Squishy Taylor #2) by Ailsa Wild and Ben Wood (illustrator) (Hardie Grant)
  4. I Can Be… Belinda Clark (I Can Be #1) by Phil Kettle and David Dunstan (Illustrator) (Affirm Press)

 

Young Adult Fiction

  1. Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie (Text Publishing)
  2. Yellow by Megan Jacobson (Penguin)
  3. When I was Me by Hilary Freeman (Hot Key Books)
  4. Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom (HarperCollins)

 

February Total: 27 books (18 picture books, 1 activity book, 4 junior fiction, 4 YA fiction)

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Jan 31

Books Read – January 2016

These are the books I read in January 2016. Links in titles take you to reviews either here on Reading Upside Down or on Kids’ Book Review.

READ IN JANUARY 2016

Picture Books (11)

Nellie Belle by Mem Fox and Mike Austen (Scholastic)

A Patch from Scratch by Megan Forward (Penguin Viking)

Dream Little One, Dream by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina (Penguin Viking)

Its a Little Baby by Julia Donaldson ad Rebecca Cobb (Macmillan)

The Big Fish by Pamela Allen (Penguin Viking)

Bear Make Den by Jane Godwin, Michael Wagner and Andrew Joyner (Allen & Unwin)

Something Wonderful by Raewyn Caisley & Karen Blair (Penguin Viking)

No Place Like Home by Ronojoy Ghosh (Random House)

Old MacDonald’s Things That Go by Jane Clarke and Migy Blanco (Nosy Crow)

Lift and Look: Dinosaurs (Bloomsbury)

Lift and Look: Space (Bloomsbury)

 

Junior Fiction (1)

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf and Grandma’s Wardrobe by Diane and Christyan Fox (Quarto Group UK)

 

Young Adult Fiction (1)

The Reluctant Jillaroo by Kaz Delaney (Allen & Unwin)

 

Gift Books (1)

A Guinea Pig Pride and Prejudice by Alex Goodwin (based on the novel by Jane Austen) (Bloomsbury)

 

January Total: 14 books

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Dec 31

Books Read – December 2015

Instead of posting a TBR list at the beginning of each month, I’ve decided to simply share a list of books I’ve read in a post at the end of the month. Posting a regular TBR list helped to get me back into the habit of reading more diversely, but I’m trying to minimise the number of checklists I keep for myself (I have an unfortunate list obsession), so adjusting these posts to ‘have read’ instead of ‘want to read’ seems to be an easy way to get rid of one list. Due to various family and end of year commitments and a desire to clear a backlog of books I need to review for Kids’ Book Review, most of the books I’ve read in December were picture books.

Read in December

Picture Books (55)

  • A Box of Socks by Amanda Brandon and Catalina Echeverri
  • Hedgehugs: Horace and Hattipillar by Lucy Tapper and Steve Wilson
  • I Have a Dog (an inconvenient dog) by Charlotte Lance
  • All Aboard the Dinosaur Express by Timothy Knapman and Ed Eaves
  • Luke’s Way of Looking by Nadia Wheatley and Matt Ottley
  • Bilby Secrets by Edel Wignell and Mark Jackson
  • A Scarf and a Half by Amanda Brandon and Catalina Echeverri
  • Never Tickle a Tiger by Pamela Butchart and Marc Boutavant
  • Florentine and the Spooky Forest Adventure by Eva Katzler and Jess Mikhail
  • Heather has Two Mummies by Lesléa Newman and Laura Cornel
  • Phasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect by Rohan Cleave and Coral Tulloch (Non-Fiction)
  • Jenny the Jeep by Jack Townend
  • Ben by Jack Townend
  • The Hug by David Grossman and Michael Rovner
  • Yikes, Ticklysaurus by Pamela Butchard and Sam Lloyd
  • You Can’t Take an Elephant on the Bus by Patricia Cleveland-Pick and David Tazzyman
  • The Cloudspotter by Tom McLaughlin
  • The Very Noisy Bear by Nick Bland
  • Pirates Don’t Drive Diggers by Alex English and Duncan Beedie
  • Once a Shepherd by Glenda Millard and Phil Lesnie
  • Hush, Little Possum by P Crumble and Wendy Binks
  • A Gold Star for George by Alice Hemming and Kimberley Scott
  • Wendy and the Wallpaper Cat by Jason Hook and Ilaria Demonti
  • Our Baby by Margaret Wild and Karen Blair
  • Christmas for Greta and Gracie by Yasmeen Ismail
  • Alphabet Town by Bryan Evans and Kimberly Moon
  • Alice in Wonderland: Down the Rabbit Hole by Lewis Carroll, retold by Joe Rhatigan, Charles Nurnberg and Eric Puybaret
  • A, You’re Adorable by Buddy Kaye, Fred Wise, Sidney Lippman and Nathaniel Ecktrom
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Haven Gillespie, J Fred Coots, and Nathaniel Eckstrom
  • We’re Going on a Santa Hunt by Laine Mitchell and Louis Shea
  • This & That by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek
  • Our Dog Knows Words by Peter Gouldthorpe and Lucy Gouldthorpe
  • In the Evening by Edwina Wyatt and Gaye Chapman
  • Teddy Took the Train by Nicki Greenberg
  • Bogtrotter by Margaret WIld and Judith Rossell
  • Those Pesky Rabbits by Ciara Flood
  • Augustus and his Smile by Catherine Rayner
  • Yak and Gnu by Juliette MacIver and Cat Champan
  • Lottie and Pop at the Fairy Queen’s Ball by Shivaun Clifton and Kirilee West
  • Emilia Mouse by Elizabeth Hardy and Sophie Norsa
  • Dotty and the Magpie by Jackie Wells and Dana Brown
  • abc dreaming by Warren Brim
  • Messy Jellyfish by Ruth Galloway
  • Clementine’s Bath by Annie White
  • Dancing the Boom Cha Cha Boogie by Narelle Oliver
  • Goodnight Possum by Coral Vass and Sona Babajanyan
  • Good Enough for a Sheep Station by David Cox
  • Bridie’s Boots by Phil Cummings and Sara Acton
  • Our Love Grows by Anna Pignataro
  • When I See Grandma by Debra Tidball and Leigh Hedstrom
  • Do You Remember? by Kelly O’Gara and Anna McNeil
  • Same by Katrina Roe and Jemima Trappel
  • Australia to Z by Armin Greder (For older readers)
  • I Need a Hug by Aaron Blabey
  • My First Day at School by Rosie Smith and Bruce Whatley

 

Junior Fiction (1)

  • Wolf Boy by Peter Sykes (JF)

 

Junior Non-Fiction (1)

  • Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe

December total: 57 books

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Dec 07

December TBR List

In an attempt at both organisation and motivation, at the start of each month I’m sharing a list of books I read during the previous month and a selection of titles from my TBR pile(s) that I would like to read during the coming month. November has been busy with school visits and other writing commitments as well as several family commitments as the end of the year approaches, so reading time has sadly been very limited. In addition to the books listed below, I have re-read a few favourite historical romances – my go to genre when I’m feeling tired/stressed. December will be another busy month, but I’m hoping to catch up on some of my backlog of picture books and junior fiction with the aim to get reviews scheduled through January.

Read in November

  1. In the Skin of a Monster by Kathryn Barker (YA Fiction)
  2. Sister Heart by Sally Morgan (Middle Fiction)
  3. Numerical Street by Antonia Pesenti and Hilary Bell (PB)
  4. The Colour Thief by Gabriel Alborozo (PB)
  5. Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems (PB)
  6. Penelope Perfect: Very Private List for Camp Success by Chrissie Perry (Junior Fiction)
  7. Please, Open this Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt and Matthew Forsythe (PB)
  8. Where’s Jessie? by Janeen Brian and Anne Spudvilas (PB)

November  total: 8 books (5 picture books, 1 junior fiction, 1 middle fiction, 1 young adult fiction)

 

December TBR List

PICTURE BOOKS

  • If… by David J. Smith and Steve Adams
  • The Perilous Adventure of the Pilfered Penguin by Class 2H at Newcastle East Public School
  • The Creatures of Dryden Gully by Aunty Ruth Hegarty and Sandi Harrold
  • In the Evening by Edwina Wyatt and Gaye Chapman
  • The Football’s Revolt by Lewitt-Him

 

JUNIOR FICTION

  • One Rule for Jack by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina (ill. Craig Smith)
  • Wolves of the Witchwood (The Impossible Quest #2) by Kate Forsyth
  • Mystery & Mayhem (Alana Oakley #1) by Poppy Inkwell
  • Nonsense! Said the Tortoise by Margaret J Baker
  • Mister Cassowary by Samantha Wheeler
  • Frank Einstein and the Electro-finger by Jon Scieszka (ill. Brian Biggs)
  • Emily’s Tiara Trouble (The Anti-Princess Club #1) by Samantha Turnbell (ill. Sarah Davis)

 

MIDDLE FICTION

  • The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua
  • Voyage of the Moon Child (Empire of the Waves #1) by Christopher Richardson
  • Ophelia: Queen of Denmark by Jackie French
  • The Grimstones Collection by Asphyxia
  • The Forgotten Sisters (Princess Academy) by Shannon Hale
  • Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray

 

YOUNG ADULT FICTION

  • Off the Page by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer
  • Frankie and Joely by Nova Weetman
  • Fearless (Hidden #3) by Marianne Curley
  • The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  • Stay with Me by Maureen McCarthy
  • Cloudwish by Fiona Wood
  • The Guy, The Girl, The Artist and his Ex by Gabrielle Williams
  • Mein teuflisch glamouröses Praktikum by Gabrielle Tozer
  • Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie

 

GENERAL FICTION

  • The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
  • The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

 

NON-FICTION

  • The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made by Fiona Katauskas
  • Backyard Bees by Doug Purdie
  • From India with Love by Latika Bourke
  • Numbers are Forever by Liz Strachan
  • Very Good Lives by J K Rowling
  • Remembered by Heart by Various (foreword by Sally Morgan)
  • Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Is This My Beautiful Life by Jessica Rowe
  • Authorpreneurship by Hazel Edwards
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Dec 04

Books Writers Read with Hazel Edwards

Author interview by Hazel Edwards

Hazel Edwards and Susan WhelanI am very pleased to welcome Hazel Edwards to Reading Upside Down. I have been delighted over the past couple of years to develop a friendship with Hazel via email and social media and more recently to have the opportunity to meet Hazel personally at the Writers in the Park festival in Sydney. Hazel’s There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof eating Cake was a favourite story with my children when they were younger.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
Nicole Hayes’s One True Thing, well sustained YA teen voice, and Leah Kaminsky’s The Waiting Room, powerful, poetic and disturbing. Plus Three Dragons for Christmas (Christmas Press) which includes Sophie Masson’s story. This is a beautifully produced book, which I am giving to my grandson.

I spoke at First Tuesday’s Bookclub at Camberwell’s Dymocks, which has the most well informed readers and met both Nicole and Leah on the panel. One of the privileges of being an author-speaker. You find new authors.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
Mysteries with unusual settings where I learn about the real place and that society but also enjoy the sleuth’s problem-solving and care about the character.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
I rarely re-read. (Except for hippo books on request)

Where do you read most often? Why?
In bath. On Ipad when travelling. Audio books when driving.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
No. I read very widely. I finished a wall of Enid Blyton by age 11.

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
Because I meet many authors, I try to support them by buying their books. Usually I read by recommendation.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
There’s a Hippopotamus On Our Roof Eating Cake because it has been read by three generations to their children and the shared experience is part of their nostalgic history. The other book might have blank pages, so the future could write their own.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
My memoir or Questory (Quest + Story) Not Just a Piece of Cake; Being an Author (Brolga Publishing) is unlike my other books. Aimed at an adult audience, it goes behind the pages, to share the realistic details of the life of a long term author who also has a family.

As the back cover reveals:

Hazel Edwards has a cake-eating hippo on her roof , an OAM for Literature and thousands of book-children,as well as a real family. Plus a readership in thirteen languages.
Using ‘anecdultery’, Hazel explains why long term writing is risky but vital culturally. The hippocampus is where memories are kept, even those of Antarctica, where Hazel was an expeditioner. She shares her author work style, Hazelnuts mentoring and the quandary of how much to reveal. (OAM is not for Hippo as an Outsized, Awesome Myth.)

Hijabi Girl, a funny, junior chapter book is a co-written with OzgeAlkan, a YA /children’s librarian and illustrated by Serena Geddes. It will be available in early 2016.

There’s also a possibility of some of my work being performed. Children’s theatre is my greatest love. When a book goes into other media that is so satisfying for the original creator.

Not Just a Piece of Cake

 

Hazel Edwards is a well known and respected Australian author. Her work covers a range of genres and includes books for children, teens and adults and works of fiction and non-fiction. She is best known for the classic picture book There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake, which celebrated it’s 35th birthday in 2015. Hazel’s latest book is the memoir Not Just a Piece of Cake: Being an Author (Brolga Publishing) and her junior fiction title Hijabi Girl will be available in early 2016. Visit Hazel’s website for more information about her books and writer events. You can also find Hazel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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Nov 01

November TBR List

In an attempt at both organisation and motivation, at the start of each month I’m sharing a list of books I read during the previous month and a selection of titles from my TBR pile(s) that I would like to read during the coming month. October was a hectic month and I tried to focus on YA and general fiction novels on my TBR, so I didn’t read as many books as I would have liked. I did manage to include some poetry and a couple of novels though, so I’m happy with the final tally.

Read in October

  1. The Patterson Girls by Rachael Johns (General Fiction)
  2. The Foretelling of Georgie Spider (The Tribe #3) by Ambelin Kwaymullina (YA Fiction)
  3. The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan (General Fiction)
  4. Harriet Clare: Boys Beware!!! by Louise Park (ill. Marlene Monterrubio) (Junior Fiction)
  5. Meet Sidney Nolan by Yvonne Mes and Sandra Eterovic (PB)
  6. Lola’s Toy Box: The Treasure Trove by Danny Parker (ill. Guy Shield) (Junior Fiction)
  7. The Christmas Peg by Cameron Williams and Matthew Martin (PB)
  8. Animal Architects by Daniel Nassar & Julio Antonia Blasco (Junior Non-Fiction)
  9. Alice’s Food A – Z by Alice Zaslavsky (Junior Non-Fiction)
  10. The White Rose (Lone City #2) by Amy Ewing (YA Fiction)
  11. The Peony Lantern by Frances Watts (Middle Fiction)
  12. Ten Thousand Skies Above You (YA Fiction)
  13. Haiku Journey by Deborah Kelly (Poetry)
  14. Pickle & Bree’s Guide to Good Deeds: The Birthday Party Cake by Alison Reynolds and Mikki Butterley (PB)
  15. The Callahan Split by Lisa Heidke (General Fiction)
  16. Where’s Jessie? by Janeen Brian and Anne Spudvilas (PB)
  17. Silly Squid by Janeen Brian & Cheryll Johns (PB – poetry)
  18. Happy by Pharrell Williams (PB)

 

October  total: 18 books (6 picture books, 2 junior fiction, 1 middle fiction, 3 young adult fiction, 3 general fiction, 2 junior non-fiction, 1 poetry)

 

November TBR List

PICTURE BOOKS

  • If… by David J. Smith and Steve Adams
  • The Perilous Adventure of the Pilfered Penguin by Class 2H at Newcastle East Public School
  • The Creatures of Dryden Gully by Aunty Ruth Hegarty and Sandi Harrold
  • In the Evening by Edwina Wyatt and Gaye Chapman
  • The Football’s Revolt by Lewitt-Him

 

JUNIOR FICTION

  • One Rule for Jack by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina (ill. Craig Smith)
  • Wolves of the Witchwood (The Impossible Quest #2) by Kate Forsyth
  • Penelope Perfect: Very Private List for Camp Success by Chrissie Perry
  • Mystery & Mayhem (Alana Oakley #1) by Poppy Inkwell
  • Nonsense! Said the Tortoise by Margaret J Baker
  • Mister Cassowary by Samantha Wheeler
  • Frank Einstein and the Electro-finger by Jon Scieszka (ill. Brian Biggs)
  • Emily’s Tiara Trouble (The Anti-Princess Club #1) by Samantha Turnbell (ill. Sarah Davis)

 

MIDDLE FICTION

  • The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua
  • Voyage of the Moon Child (Empire of the Waves #1) by Christopher Richardson
  • Ophelia: Queen of Denmark by Jackie French
  • The Grimstones Collection by Asphyxia
  • The Forgotten Sisters (Princess Academy) by Shannon Hale
  • Sister Heart by Sally Morgan
  • Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray

 

YOUNG ADULT FICTION

  • Off the Page by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer
  • Frankie and Joely by Nova Weetman
  • Fearless (Hidden #3) by Marianne Curley
  • The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  • In the Skin of a Monster by Kathryn Barker
  • Stay with Me by Maureen McCarthy
  • Cloudwish by Fiona Wood
  • The Guy, The Girl, The Artist and his Ex by Gabrielle Williams
  • Mein teuflisch glamouröses Praktikum by Gabrielle Tozer

 

GENERAL FICTION

  • The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
  • The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

 

NON-FICTION

  • The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made by Fiona Katauskas
  • Backyard Bees by Doug Purdie
  • From India with Love by Latika Bourke
  • Numbers are Forever by Liz Strachan
  • Very Good Lives by J K Rowling
  • Remembered by Heart by Various (foreword by Sally Morgan)
  • Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Is This My Beautiful Life by Jessica Rowe
  • Authorpreneurship by Hazel Edwards
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Oct 11

Blog Tour: Sad the Dog – Meet the Team

Author interview by Sandy Fussell

Sad, the Dog by Sandy Fussell and Tull Suwannakit

 

Sandy Fussell and Tull Suwannakit are Team Sad, the author and illustrator behind the picture book, Sad the Dog. Today they answer a few questions about their shared work and each other.

Sandy Fussell

Sandy Fussell

What were your first thoughts when you saw the illustrations for Sad?
I almost didn’t recognise him. The Sad I knew (who was female and called Cassie) was a spaniel-type dog with thick grey-black fur and floppy ears. Sad was a little Staffordshire Bull Terrier, with pointy ears and an eye patch like a pirate. But it only took one read of the text alongside the illustrations to realise Tull had drawn the real Sad and the story now rightfully belonged to him, not Cassie.

Were there any parts of the text that required particular polishing?
It amazes me that a story with less than 400 words could have a plot hole – but I had one. My ever-wonderful editor,Sue Whiting, pointed out Sad accepted his new owners too readily, that an unloved dog like Sad would need to be coaxed and encouraged before he responded to gestures of friendship. So the scenes where Jack offers a walk, a comfy dog bed, crunchy biscuits and delicious sausage were added.

What is your favourite illustration?
It’s hard to go past the sheer loneliness and hopelessness of the scene where Sad sits beside his doghouse underneath a leafless tree – and howls –nose to the sky. The colours are glorious and the stark branches and fallen leaves emphasize how absolutely everything has been lost. When Sad becomes happy, I have a second favourite illustration, the one where Jack and Sad pretend to be pirates. It looks like so much fun.

Describe Tull in five words
Talented, generous, empathic, innovative, approachable.

 

Tull Suwannakit

Tull Suwannakit

What were your first thoughts when you read the manuscript?
When I read the story, I felt a sense of lost, sadness and loneliness through the eyes of Sad. The dog tries every possible way to please his owners but never quite being appreciated. Yet amidst the “sadness” surrounding the story, there is a heart-warming ending when Jack and his family moves in. Sandy’s use of simple but emotive driven words work so beautifully on many levels, drawing me into being a part of the narrative.

The contrasting tone in the narrative blends potent elements between abandonment and a sense of belonging, making it more than just a storybook, but serves as an underlying message of empathy and point of connection for me as the reader with Sad, the dog (or more appropriately, Lucky).

Did you receive much in the way of editorial direction from Walker Books?
I have been very fortunate to be working with a wonderful team of people at Walker Books including Sue Whiting and Gayna Murphy, who in many ways help bring the visuals together. It’s always good to have a second pair of keen eyes to determine the seamless flow in texts and illustrations.

What was your favourite section to illustrate?
I really enjoy illustrating the scene where Sad woke up in the morning to find Jack sitting next to him. It’s the first time we get to see a bond being made. To me, the scene is almost like the “new beginning” for Sad. He is no longer fearful, his tail starts to wag and best of all, he is happy to have a new found friend by his side. The tone of colours shift from dark, muddy blue to bright morning hues and the leaves blossoms with lush shades of green.

Describe Sandy in five words
Professional, down-to-earth, humble, talented, optimistic.

How to Draw Sad, the Dog

A touching look into the life of an unloved pet and the heart-warming journey towards finding your true home.

Sad, The Dog

by Sandy Fussell and illustrated by Tull Suwannakit.

Thursday 1st October, Kids’ Book Review
Friday 2nd October, Kirsty Eager’s Blog
Saturday 3rd October, Buzz Words
Sunday 4th October, Sandy Fussell’s Blog
Monday 5th October, Susanne Gervay’s Blog
Tuesday 6th October, Boomerang Books Blog
Wednesday 7th October, The Book Chook
Thursday 8th October, Creative Kids Tales
Friday 9th October, Dee Scribe Writing
Saturday 10th October, Children’s Books Daily
Sunday 11th October, Reading Upside Down
Monday 12th October, Sandy Fussell’s Blog

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