My Mum’s Special Secret by Sally Morgan ill Ambelin Kwaymullina

My mum teaches me

To laugh with the sunrise.

Kaa, Kaa, Kaa

Will you catch me breakfast, Mum?

My mum teaches me

To laugh with the sunrise.

Kaa, Kaa, Kaa

Will you catch me breakfast, Mum?

A baby kookaburra and mother begin the day early, singing to the sunrise. The pair move through the day together, mother caring for and teaching her baby. Each activity they share is accompanied by the sounds these activities might make, eg flying ‘across the cloudy sky. Swoop, Swoop, Swoop’. When Mama kookaburra reveals a final secret, Baby kookaburra offers one too. Illustrations are stylised and full of bright, engaging colours. Endpapers offer a colourful night sky and suggest the cycling day and night.

Baby kookaburra makes statements about his world and his learning on the left page of each opening and questions are held for the right-hand page of each spread. This structure encourages speculation about what the answer will be and how it will be answered. Listeners are offered the opportunity to join in the movement sounds, and/or act them out. My Mum’s Special Secret is pitched for pre-schoolers and offers information about an iconic Australian animal wrapped up in the relationship between a parent and a child.

My Mum’s Special Secret, Sally Morgan ill Ambelin Kwaymullina
Omnibus Books 2016 ISBN: 9781742991368

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

www.clairesaxby.com

The Lost Girl, by Ambelin Kwaymullina & Leanne Tobin

The girl had lost her way.
She had wandered away from the Mothers,
the Aunties and the Grandmothers,
from the Fathers and the Uncles
and the Grandfathers.

When a young girl is lost in the bush, she is at first scared. But she stays calm, sheltering for the night to keep warm, finding water and bush food to fill her stomach and eventually following a crow that leaves her back to the camp-site, where she is warmly welcomed by her family. When her younger brother asks her how she coped, she acknowledges the help she was given by nature, ‘my mother.’

The Lost Girl is a lavish book celebrating indigenous culture and Australia’s natural environment, as well as the bond between the two. The story is gently told – young readers will fear for the girl, but visual clues form the start make it clear that she is no in danger. instead, she is surrounded by animals and plants which offer her company and protection.

The illustrations, painted in acrylic, use rich natural colours – ochres, greens, golds and silvery greys. The beauty of the scenery is well captured, as is the joy of both girl and family when they are reunited.

A beautiful offering for home or classroom.

 

The Lost Girl, by Ambelin Kwaymullina & Leanne Tobin
Walker Books, 2014
ISBN 9781921529634

Available from good bookstores or online.

Meet My Book: The Disappearance of Ember Crow, by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Delighted today to welcome Ambelin Kwaymullina to the blog to chat about her latest book, the second in the Tribe series. Over to you, Ambelin.

1.         Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.

The Disappearance of Ember Crow, Walker Books, released 1 November 2013.

2.         Why did you write the book?

The same reason I write any of my books. Because I have to. In the times when I do not write the stories build up and up beneath my skin; they begin to whisper in my ear and demand to be told. If I do not write I fear I will explode. Or possibly go crazy.

3.         How long from idea to publication?

About a year, all in.

4.         What was the hardest thing about writing it?

I feel what my characters feel when I am writing; that makes the tough moments for them even tougher to write for me.

There’s this very quiet moment for Ember, when she’s on the road heading into Fern City. It’s the scene that ends ‘There was no one to witness my foolishness now, except perhaps for the crows, and crows kept each other’s secrets…I let myself smile.’

That’s not a particularly dramatic moment, but it was difficult to write because I was conscious when I was doing so of how very vulnerable Ember is. She’s hiding what she feels from Jules at this point; she doesn’t believe it’s possible for him – or for anyone – to truly care about her. I felt so sad for her, my Em; I could feel her isolation, there on the road in the dark.

5.       Coolest thing about your book?

The big revelation moments – and I can’t say anything about them without giving something away! But there’s lots of ‘wow I didn’t see that coming!’ or ‘I can’t believe it!’ moments in Ember Crow.

6.         Something you learnt through writing the book?

Second books are not easier to write than first books. I retain the hope that the third book will be easier than the first two. Not happening so far…

7.       What did you do celebrate the release?

Scrabble tournament with my family. It was a draw between me and my brother Blaze.

8.       And how will you promote the book?

Well – this blog tour, for a start! And I’m in the process of putting my own author website together which is very exciting. If there’s any fans out there who are reading this, once my website is done you’ll be able to go onto it and work out what animal you’d be bonded with in the Firstwood. Pretty cool, huh? (I think it is anyway).

9.       What are you working on next?

Third book in the Tribe series – The Foretelling of Georgie Spider.

10.   Where we can find out more about you and your book? 

www.thefirstwood.com.au

Thanks for visiting Ambelin. You can visit the next stop on Ambelin’s blog tour tomorrow at http://childrensbooksdaily.com/

 

Dragonkeeper

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, by Ambelin Kwaymullina

There will come a day when a thousand illegals descend on your detention centres. Boomers will breach the walls. Skychangers will send lightning to strike you all down from above, and Rumblers will open the earth to swallow you up from below…And when that day comes, Justin Connor, think of me.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (Tribe)

Ashala Wolf is in trouble. She has been captured by the Chief Administrator, Neville Rose, who has a frightening machine designed to interrogate illegals like Ashala. And, in spite of her special skills, Ashala doesn’t know if she’ll be able to withstand the interrogation, designed to unlock the secrets of her mind. Guarding her every move is Justin Connor, an enforcer who isn’t just her guard, but also the very person who betrayed her, by infiltrating the Tribe and learning her secrets. Ashala isn’t sure the Tribe can survive this betrayal.

But all is not as it seems, and as her interrogation goes on, and Ashala’s life hangs in the balance more than once, she starts to question just who her enemies – and her friends – really are.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is the first is a stunning new series, The Tribe, from first time novelist Ambelin Kwaymullina. Set in a post-apocalyptic future where man’s actions have lead to a total restructuring of the world and an awareness of the damage man’s actions does to the Balance of nature, the story sets those who are different because of special powers which connect them to the earth’s forces against the bulk of people who do not. Those who have such powers, Illegals, are not considered Citizens and so must live in captivity, or live outside society. Ashala, whose ability is Sleepwalking – an ability to live and manipulate her dreams – has gathered together other young people with abilities into the Tribe, whose goal is to survive, but also to bring about change.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is a strong start to the series. Kwaymullina has written and illustrated picture books and shorter books for younger readers, and her first foray into a longer form is outstanding.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, by Ambelin Kwaymullina
Walker Books, 2012
ISBN 9781921720086

Available from good bookstores or online.

Charlie Burr and the Crazy Cockroach Disaster by Sally Morgan, Ambelin, Blaze and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, ill Peter Sheehan

Charlie Burr can’t be blamed when a fun prank goes wrong, can he? Well, it seems he can. Even if his sisters pranked him first. And as if upsetting Mum in her birthday week isn’t enough, it seems that there is no chance of beating the school big-boasting, know-it-all, win-it-all, Tim and his cursing bird

It wasn’t my fault. Honestly, it wasn’t!

The joke was supposed to freak out my teenage twin sisters. Not make Mum go psycho!

Lately Mum’s been bugging me to be nicer to Sharni and Tia, She’s always saying, ‘They’re teenagers, Charlie. Teenagers get upset easily. And you go out of your way to annoy them!’

But Mum doesn’t know the twins played a horrible trick on my yesterday.

They sucked me in with a can of my favourite cooldrink – Orange Fizz.

Charlie Burr can’t be blamed when a fun prank goes wrong, can he? Well, it seems he can. Even if his sisters pranked him first. And as if upsetting Mum in her birthday week isn’t enough, it seems that there is no chance of beating the school big-boasting, know-it-all, win-it-all, Tim and his cursing bird. And there’s nothing Charlie would like more than to wipe the smile from the face of the annoying Tim. Particularly if it gives him an opportunity to make Mum’s birthday special. But every idea Charlie – with and without the assistance of his best friend Johnno – comes up with, seems to make everything worse. This could be one time Charlie’s ‘can-do’ attitude might not help.

Charlie Burr and the Crazy Cockroach Disaster’ is part of a series featuring Charlie and his friend Johnno. They are imaginative and enthusiastic young characters living in a community where there is still plenty of freedom for children to explore their own imagination. Charlie’s adventures could have been cooked-up by many a mid-primary-aged child. Children will relate well to Charlie’s ideas as well as to the things that go wrong. The story occurs over the space of a week, but text is further broken up by wandering bird prints. Text is wide-spaced. Cover art is reminiscent of several popular internationally produced contemporary fiction series and aimed at the same market. Young readers, particularly mid-primary boys will enjoy this realistic romp. Look out for other titles in the same series: Charlie Burr and the Three Stolen dollars and Charlie Burr and the Great Shed Invasion.

Charlie Burr and the Cockroach Disaster (Charlie Burr)

Charlie Burr and the Crazy Cockroach Disaster by Sally Morgan, Ambelin, Blaze and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, ill Peter Sheehan
Little Hare Books 2012
ISBN: 9781921714863

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

www.clairesaxby.com

How Frogmouth Found Her Home, by Ambelin Kwaymullina

On the dawn of the very first day,
Grandmother Frogmouth said, ‘We Tawny
Frogmouths will make our home in the trees.’
All the Frogmouths said, ‘Yes, Grandmother.’
Except for one, who said, ‘Not me!’

When Grandmother Frogmouth tells all the Frogmouths where they will make their home, young Frogmouth decides she will find her own home. She looks in many places, including a kangaroo’s pouch and a wombat’s den. These homes might be perfect for kangaroos and wombats, but they didn’t suit Frogmouth. She thought she might live with the Sun, but Sun ran away, leaving the world in darkness. Now all the animals are confused about who they were. But Frogmouth, having travelled so far in search of a home, had all the answers. But although she helped them, they were unable to help her find Sun. Frogmouth looks again to the sky. And there she finds the answer she’s been seeking: her perfect home. Illustrations are simple shapes with wonderful colours and design, each a piece of art. End papers feature the bright colours of the interior in bold stripes.

There’s one in every family, every crowd, isn’t there? The one who has to do their own thing. And in this family, it’s Frogmouth. Her restless searchings send her in all sorts of wrong directions and see her involved in the games of others. But her journey also helps her sort out the other animals when Sun disappears. And eventually she finds her home, and also helps Grandmother Frogmouth in leading the other Frogmouths. There are themes of family and world, helping and asking for help. This is a delightful creation story with very engaging illustrations, ideal for young children both pre-school and school age.

How Frogmouth Found Her Home

How Frogmouth Found Her Home, Ambelin Kwaymullina
Fremantle Press 2010
ISBN: 9781921696015

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
www.clairesaxby.com

This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.

Caterpillar and Butterfly, by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Caterpillar lives alone in her leaf and turns down exciting experiences. One day she wants to hide away so she forms a chrysalis. When she finally comes out she is a beautiful butterfly and she tries lots of exciting things with her friends and spreads her story among other butterflies.

A great picture book by Ambelin Kwaymullina, good for small children aged 1-8.

There was once a caterpillar who lived all alone. Everything around Caterpillar seemed large and strange and she was full of fear.

Caterpillar lives alone in her leaf and turns down exciting experiences. One day she wants to hide away so she forms a chrysalis. When she finally comes out she is a beautiful butterfly and she tries lots of exciting things with her friends and spreads her story among other butterflies.

A great picture book by Ambelin Kwaymullina, good for small children aged 1-8.

Caterpillar and Butterfly

Caterpillar and Butterfly, by Ambelin Kwaymullina
Fremantle Press, 2009

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.