Archives for category: Total Awesomeness

Hands up if you LOVE Andy Griffiths? Yep, we think he’s pretty terrific too. Andy has been flying around Australia promoting the latest in his ‘Treehouse’ series. He kindly took some time out to answer a few questions we conjured up. Actually that’s not true. Some fabulous Ferrets came up with these pearlers. We think he answered them rather well… Thanks HEAPS Andy and THANK YOU kids!

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Why do you like writing childrens books?     

Some of my earliest and most intense reading experiences were the books I read as a child. Books like The Cat in the Hat, A Fish Out of Water, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh and The Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair went in very deep and a large part of the fun I get out of writing is attempting to capture the magical, intense feelings I experienced when reading them in my own writing.

How many rejections did you have before you got published? How did this make you feel?

I had plenty of rejections for my early attempts to write a book but this did not discourage me overly much. I knew I still had a lot to learn about writing and humour and I also knew that the only way to learn was to give it my best shot and send it out. Every now and again a publisher would make a helpful comment or say something enouraging so even though they didn’t publish my book I still felt that I was making progress.

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Do you give the illustrator a basic sketch of your ideas before he does his own sketches for your books?

I give Terry a good idea about what I want but I don’t give him too much detail as it’s always a better and funnier drawing if he re-invents the ideas in his own unique mad way. The drawings always surprise me and often inspire me to change or extend the story to do them justice. By this method we come up with a book that neither of us could have created by ourselves.

Are all your books funny fiction?

Yes, pretty much. Something happens when I pick up the pen and, even when I’m trying to be serious, something funny starts happening. I’ve learned to just give in and go with it.

How long have you been writing books for?

I’ve been writing stories, drawing cartoons and having fun with words since I was old enough to pick up a pen. My first book, a creative writing textbook for teachers, was published in 1993. We republished a completely rewritten and re imagined version of this book earlier this year called ‘Once upon a Slime: 45 fun ways to get writing fast!’

How do you think of, imagine and create the books you do?  

By reading lots of books, watching lots of movies, staying fit and healthy and keeping my eyes and ears open to the funny (and not so funny) things that happen to all of us every day!

Andy Griffiths is one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors. He has written more than 20 books, including nonsense verse, short stories, comic novels and plays. Over the last 15 years Andy’s books have been New York Times bestsellers, won more than 50 children’s choice awards, been adapted as a television cartoon series and sold more than 5 million copies worldwide

 

Hey Lego fans, did you hear about the two Canadian high schoolers who launched a Lego Man into the stratosphere? Ok maybe I’m totally slow on the uptake, but all the same it’s a pretty cool story! Well we’ve just received the book that tells the amazing tale.  The book also includes a teachers resource guide, science activities, classroom craft, games and more!

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We have just moved house. With that has come two shiny new rooms for the boys. Previously used to sharing we are now entering a whole new domain of ‘personal space’. This week they both procured old cd players which now sit pride of place beside their beds. Sometimes, when life just gets too much for our (almost) six year old, he heads to his bed and has a little rest to gather himself and reflect on his mammoth role in the classroom, on the soccer field, and just generally on earth. There in the comfort of his own zone he’ll pick a favourite audio book to listen to.  For his birthday, I have decided to treat him to a pair of these fun new earphones from Crayola and Griffin. Simply called ‘My Phones‘,  kids can personalise and enjoy their favourite stories (or songs) with the safety of the inbuilt sound control limit. And guess what, they have just arrived instore, blue for boys, pink for girls. I kind of want some for myself now too, but shhh, don’t tell my son…

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News just in – sighted on the streets of suburban Hobart. It’s on the ABC, so it MUST be true – dinosaurs have been seen and are causing havoc!!

And our final winning entry. We hope you’ve enjoyed them all. Do you have a favourite?

The pavement stung my toes as I hopped out of my car and headed towards his place. The sun blared and burned down my back as I shifted along the street. I wasn’t sure if my sunglasses were protecting me from the glare of the sun or the burn of the guilt rippling around me. Even the sky was angry and ashamed. I stopped and stared at the searing hues overhead, an aching bruised medley of a salty red that I thought could only come from a bloody bitten lip. It was still 30 degrees out but I didn’t know if it was
the heat or my conscience that was causing the sweat to gather down my spine and between my breasts.

My cheeks heated as I knocked on his side door. He looked up and I knew he knew. He turned and cranked the radio a little too loud, and his hand stayed on my sweaty shoulder a moment too long. He led the way out to our spot on the steps. The dusk had darkened but there were no stars in sight. It was as if the sky knew. The only glint came from the beads of sweat that were caught in his beard and I knew not long ago I would have run a finger or a forehead or a tongue along his jaw. His eyes caught mine for a fraction of a second before he cracked open two bottles of cider, which soon sat sweating and sparkling on the steps unnoticed.

We thought you might like to read the terrific winners in our Fault in our Stars competition….

The brief: Got a problem with your stars?  To share how much we love John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, here’s your chance to win one of THREE copies of his awesome book.

The details: All the stars have gone out, and we want you to tell us why.  You’ve got 300 words to write a micro story.  All we’re telling you is that the twinkling lights have disappeared – the rest is up to you.

Life.

The halls of the colossal building stand tall above the almost empty corridor. As I twist my head up in awe at the roof, a sense of joy and insignificance overwhelms me, reminding me that I’m so very small compared to the dark world outside.

Turning my attention back to the room at hand, I start moving slowly through the darker parts of Max’s childhood. The tormented last days of Jake’s life, in spite of the favouritism Jake received, it only made him more concerned about the lack of attention Max got from their father, even through his chemotherapy and illness to the very end.

Pictures line the walls of the hall, but there was something disturbing about all the pictures, Max’s face was always in the dark, edited or cut out.

Leaving these frightening images I come to the end of Max’s childhood, and the early years of his teen life don’t really get any better. Five years after Jake’s death, you would think it a time for new beginnings.

I stop walking as I come to an elegantly framed canvas painting, picturing a child walking down a dark street in the rain away from a man. The boy was recognizable as Max but his face remained shaded. Beneath the picture there was a date 08/1/12.

Coming to the end of the hall there’s a single picture, a picture of Max in his blazer surrounded by his friends. In this picture Max’s face is visible, with the biggest smile he’s ever smiled. Under the picture is a date, 1/03/12. The date he came out.

I look in the mirror on the wall and stare at Max’s face, my face. And somewhere, in the empty vacuum of space, a light, however small came into existence.

– Max Brown

It’s been a pretty outstanding week for us here in Hobart. In the aftermath of the catastrophic bushfires around Tasmania, the local community has rallied like nothin I’ve seen before. When we learnt of the loss of Dunalley’s local district school we knew we had to act. We put a sign up asking for book donations, a little message appeared on Facebook. What happened next blew us away.
Five days after our initial call out we’ve had to stop donations rolling in. Dunalley Primary School once again has books! It’s been a wonderful exercise in community friendship, generosity and compassion, and as a recent arrival to Tasmania, what a pleasure to live amongst its people.

Here’s the link to our feature in today’s paper!

It’s a pleasure to be able to support local authors, especially when they are writing for kids. Nick Falk is technically a local, although his accent does lend itself to that from Old Blighty. We’ll forgive him for that as he’s a jolly good writer and has a pretty terrific energy about him. Tomorrow he’ll be launching his first picture book for little un’s, all about naughty trolls who have a tendency at meal times for juicy humans. When Troggle gets fed up with eating limbs he suggests an alternative – vegegubbles! What’s next is the story of how he finally wins his family over with hilarious results.

If you’re in town in the morning, do pop along. There’s rumours of hungry trolls foraging around the traps, so keep a look out everyone, you never know what’s lurking around the next corner…

 

I’m sitting down to read the latest offering from Newbery medal winning Stead during my lunch break. No-one is giving this book a bad review, in fact our Summer Reading Guide is calling it “intelligent, moving…(with) gasp-out-loud moments.

This is a book about the games we  play and how we choose to play them.  Georges (named after pointillist artist Seurat) reluctantly becomes the first member of a spy club headed by his neighbour, an odd boy named Safer. But when the assignments start to darken, Georges starts to question how far he should go for his new best friend.

Kids aged 10+, go get this book, I can’t wait to get started…