A Bookish Adventure

I started this blog to document an extended trip to the US and UK in 2012, introducing children to my Alice-Miranda series. It's hard to believe that it's just on four years since we launched the first Alice-Miranda title - and now there are nine books out in Australia with another five still to come. When I first came up with the idea of this precocious seven and a quarter year old, I had no clue that she would take me on such an amazing journey, not only in Australia but also across the world. I visited 37 schools while we were away in 2012 and gave over 80 talks - it was fantastic. In 2013 I've been on lots of new adventures in the UK - visiting schools from London to Southampton, Lancashire, Scotland, Newcastle and back to London again. After that I headed off to meet readers in Singapore. In Australia I've been to Melbourne, Perth, Albany, Alice Springs and Brisbane. There's a new series too - about a gorgeous little girl called Clementine Rose. She and Alice-Miranda don't know each other yet, but they will soon.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A productive week filled with excitement!

Life as an author is never dull that's for sure.  I spent Monday this week with the English faculty at Pennant Hills High School, working through strategies for teaching writing on their Professional Development Day.  They are a great team and I came away feeling really excited about how motivated and enthusiastic they were -no mean feat given it was their first day back after a term break.

My other big goal for the week was to finish the manuscript for Clementine Rose and the Famous Friend. It's the seventh book in the series, so seems a way off in the future as we've just last month released Clementine Rose and the Seaside Escape which is number five.  Clementine Rose and the Treasure Box is set for released in July then Famous Friend will be out in October.  Many hours later and after the usual helping of self doubt, I pressed send yesterday and am now hoping that it passes muster.

There's no break between books as I've already started plotting the eighth story in the series and plan to have it finished by the end of the month.

In amongst all the writing and usual emails and other weekly tasks I was thrilled to learn on Tuesday that Alice-Miranda in Paris has been shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards in the Older Readers Category 8-14.  It's such a huge honour to be there alongside Anh Do, John Flanagan, Nikki Gemmel and James Phelan.

This morning the REAL awards shortlist was announced and Alice-Miranda In Paris is there too but on the Younger Readers list.  I guess that's a good thing, that the stories are read by young and a little bit older!

The REAL (Reading and Enjoying Australian Literature) awards are the shortlist used for YABBA, KOALA, KROC and COOL, the children's choice awards in Victoria, NSW, NT and ACT.  You can see all the books that the children have selected below.

It's incredibly rewarding and humbling to be recognised for doing something that I love - especially given that the books are not just my doing.  So many talented people work with me to create them and quite honestly they make me look much better at this than I really am!

To all of the fabulously talented authors and illustrators who have been shortlisted and the teams behind them, congratulations!

The icing on the cake was finding out this morning that a young writer I've been mentoring for the past year has just had a story accepted for publication.  I have had great faith in Corinne since we started working together - she's a star on the rise and to play a small part in helping her get there is incredibly rewarding.  We are definitely planning some celebrations!

Picture storybooks
  • A Bus Called Heaven (Bob Graham, Walker Books)
  • Alphabet Town (Bryan Evans & Kimberly Moon, New Frontier)
  • Annie to the Rescue (Deborah Niland, Puffin)
  • Fiona the Pig’s Big Day (Leigh Hobbs, Puffin)
  • First Day (Andrew Daddo & Jonathan Bentley, ABC Books)
  • Noah Dreary (Aaron Blabey, Viking)
  • The Dreadful Fluff (Aaron Blabey, Viking)
  • The Terrible Plop (Ursula Dubosarsky & Andrew Joyner, Puffin)
  • The Very Brave Bear (Nick Bland, Scholastic)
  • Too Many Cheeky Dogs (Johanna Bell & Dion Beasley, A&U)

Fiction for younger readers
  • Alice-Miranda in Paris (Jacqueline Harvey, Random House)
  • Andy Roid and the Tracks of Death (Felice Arena, Puffin)
  • Billie B Brown: The Best Project (Sally Rippin, Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • EJ12: Kimono Code (Susannah McFarlane, Lemonfizz Media)
  • Extra Time (Morris Gleitzman, Puffin)
  • Extreme Adventures: Monkey Mountain (Justin D’Ath, Puffin)
  • Go Girl!: Style Stars (Chrissie Perry, Sonia Dixon & Danielle McDonald, Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • Meet Grace (Sofie Laguna & Lucia Masciullo, Puffin)
  • The Third Door (Emily Rodda, Omnibus)
  • The Wishbird (Gabrielle Wang, Puffin)

Fiction for older readers
  • Brotherband: The Invaders (John Flanagan, Random House)
  • Con-nerd (Oliver Phommavanh, Puffin)
  • Eric Vale, Epic Fail (Michael Gerard Bauer, illus by Joe Bauer, Scholastic)
  • My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up (Tristan Bancks, illus by Gus Gordon, Random House)
  • Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend (Steven Herrick, UQP)
  • Rangers Apprentice: The Royal Ranger (John Flanagan, Random House)
  • Specky Magee and the Best of Oz (Felice Arena & Garry Lyon, Puffin)
  • The 39-Storey Treehouse (Andy Griffiths, illus by Terry Denton, Pan Macmillan)
  • The Ivory Rose (Belinda Murrell, Random House)
  • WeirDo (Anh Do, illus by Jules Faber, Scholastic)
Fiction for years 7-9
  • The Last Thirteen Book 1: 13 (James Phelan, Scholastic)
  • Doomsday (Chris Morphew, HGE)
  • Finding Serendipity (Angelica Banks, A&U)
  • Hit List (Jack Heath, Pan)
  • My Life as an Alphabet (Barry Jonsberg, A&U)
  • Pennies for Hitler (Jackie French, HarperCollins)
  • Red (Libby Gleeson, A&U)
  • Six Impossible Things (Fiona Wood, Pan)
  • The Whole of My World (Nicole Hayes, Woolshed Press)
  • You Don’t Even Know (Sue Lawson, Black Dog Books).

Children in the ACT, NSW, NT and Victoria will vote for their favourite books in each category in October. The winners of the COOL, KOALA, KROC and YABBA awards will be announced in November.