Of Poetry Collections

I’ve been pondering poetry of late, particular poetry for children, inspired both by some study I’m doing and by the rediscovery of some of the poems of my childhood, including that of A. A.  Milne, some of the earliest poetry I remember loving  (along with Dr Seuss).

So I’ve been thinking a lot about what it is that makes a poem, the different forms used, and the ways that poetry is collected.  The poetry I’ve been sampling is pretty varied – from Blake, to Ted Hughes,  to AA Milne , to Michael Rosen and more. And, of course, because I’m a proud Aussie, I’ve been revisiting some of my favourite Australian poets. Which has reminded me that there aren’t a lot of children’s poetry books published in Australia, particularly single author collections. For now I’m not going to attempt to analyse why – that’s perhaps a whole series of blog posts.  Instead, I thought I’d start with a list of the poetry collections published in recent years. Initially I looked for those published in t past 5 years, and asked friends on Twitter and Facebook to help.  I ended up with a few titles that were more than five years, but in order to prevent the list being too depressingly short, I’ve kept those in.

So, here it is, my list of single-poet poetry collections for children published in recent years.  I’m hoping I’ve missed some, and that this post will draw some comments from those who remember what I and my friends haven’t.

From Lorraine Marwood:

A Ute Picnic (Walker Books, 2010)

Note on the Door (Walker Books 2011)

Guinea Pig Town  and Other Animal Poems (Walker Books, 2013)

Redback Mansion (Five Islands Press, 2002)

 

Elizabeth Honey

Mongrel Doggerel (Allen & Unwin, 1998)

The Moon in the Man (Allen & Unwin, 2002)

Honey Sandwich   (Allen & Unwin, 1993)

I’m Still Awake Still  (Allen & Unwin, 2008)

 

Steven Herrick

Untangling Spaghetti (UQP, 2008)

 

Doug McLeod

 Sister Madge’s Book of Nuns (most recently Working Title Press, 2012)

 

Colin Thompson

 There’s something really nasty on the bottom of my shoe (Hodder, 2003)

My Brother Drinks Out Of The Toilet (Hodder, 2000)

The Dog’s Just Been Sick in the Honda (Hodder, 1999)

 

Meredith Costain

Doodledum Dancing (Penguin, 2006)

 

Anne Bell

Muster Me a Song (Triple D Books, 2002)

 

Christobel Mattingley

Nest Egg: A Clutch of Poems (Triple D Books, 2005)

 

Max Fatchen

Poetry Allsorts (Triple D Books,  2003)

 

Andrew Lansdown

Allsorts: Poetry Tricks and Treats (Wombat Books)

 

Rosemary Milne

There’s a Goat in My Coat (Allen & Unwin, 2010)

Duncan Ball

My Sister Has a Big Black Beard (Harper Collins, 2009)

Michelle A. Taylor

If the World Belonged to Dogs (UQP, 2007)

 

Janeen Brian

By Jingo! (ABC Books, 2005)

 

Geoffrey McSkimming

Ogre in a Toga (Scholastic, 2007)

John Hay-Mackenzie

Cautionary tales for boys and girls (Murdoch Books, 2009)

 

Jill McDougall

Anna the goanna: and other poems (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2008)

 

So, have I missed any? If you know of any single poet collections published in Australia in recent years, do drop me a line and I’ll add them. I haven’t included verse novels here, because I’m intending to compose a separate list of these, and perhaps also  of anthologies.

February Reads

Another month has passed, and so it’s time to have a look at what I read for February. Pleasing to see my balance being restored towards my chief love – books for children. This month I indulged my six year old self and tracked down old copies of AA Milne’s poetry from Ebay. I loved rediscovering them and have moved from there to lots of other verse and poetry, so look out for them in my March list and beyond.

I only read 12 books, and several of them were short, which is a reflection of how busy my life has been of late. I’m a so reading a lot of journal articles which don’t make it into this list.

Those I’ve reviewed I’ve linked to, as always.

In Falling Snow Mary-Rose MacColl Allen & Unwin Adult
Red Fox Sandy Fussell Walker Books Children’s
Lost Voices Christopher Koch Fourth Estate Adult
The Rosie Black Chronicles Lara Morgan Walker Books Young Adult
When We Were Very Young AA Milne Dean Children’s Poetry
The Girl From Snowy River Jackie French Harper Collins Young Adult
Now We Are Six AA Milne Dean Children’s Poetry
Stories for 7 Year Olds Linsay Knight (ed) Random House Children’s
Unreviewed Adult
Rocket Into Space Ragbir Bhathal and Johanna Davids National Library Children’s NF
Topsy-Turvy World Kirsty Murray National Library Children’s NF
Catch the Zolt Phillip Gwynne Allen & Unwin Young Adult

January Reads

Well, where did that go? And by that I mean January. Seems only seconds ago we were ushering in the new year and now here it is February already!

After last year’s challenge to try to read a book a day (at which I failed miserably) this year I’ve decided not to put a number on t, but I am keeping track of my reading and am going to try to post my list each month.

So, without any further nonsense, here is my reading list for January, with links to reviews

1 Thirst LA Larkin Pier 9/Murdoch
2 The Magnificent Tree Nick Bland & Stephen Michael King Scholastic
3 Sheep on a Beach P. Crumble & Danielle McDonald Scholastic
4 Too Cold for a Tutu Mini Goss Allen & Unwin
5 Dads: A Field Guide Justin Ratcliffe & Cathie Glassby Random House
6 Hannah & Emil Belinda Castles Allen & Unwin
7 In the Company of Strangers Liz Byrski Macmillan
8 Friday Brown Vikki Wakefield Text
9 The Burial Courtney Collins Allen & Unwin
10 Word Hunters Nick Earls UQP
11 Finding Jasper Lynne Leonhardt Margaret River Press
12 Unforgotten Tohby Riddle Allen & Unwin
13 Heather Fell in the Water Doug MacLeod & Craig Smith Allen & Unwin
14 Around the World in 80 Days Jules Verne & Robert Ingpen Walker Books
15 Unnatural Habits Kerry Greenwood Allen & Unwin

 

Six of these were picture books – which I only count in my tally if I also review them – so I definitely had a slower month  reading-wise. Must have something to do with the beautiful summer we’re having in my part of the world.

 

 

 

366 Books: The Outcome

It’s the last day of 2012 which means the last day of the wonderful National Year of Reading.  It also means that it’s the last day of my year-long challenge. Back on January1 I set myself a challenge: to see if it was possible to read 366 books in 366 Days – ie a book a day.

At the time I knew it was a big task but I believed it was doable, even though I also knew there was a good chance I wouldn’t get there – ie it was possible even if maybe not probable. And I gave it a darned good shot. Back on January 1 I also had no idea of just how busy the year that would follow would be. My year has been – well, I won’t go into the year that was, but suffice to say it has been busy. But I kept reading.

Did I each my goal? Nope. But I did reach a final total that I am pretty proud of.

My total for the year: 266 Books.

And what wonderfully varied books they were. From picture books to lengthy nonfiction. From the sad, to the serious to the whimsical and joyous. Romance, murders, sport, babies…

I’m a little sad that I didn’t get the 366, but am really glad that I set myself the challenge and that I recorded my reading for the year. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I will keep a similar tally in 2013, but without setting a target total. It’s a great way of recording for myself what I’ve read.

So, if you’re interested,  here is the final list. Where a book has been reviewed on Aussiereviews, I’ve linked to it. For most that haven’t, I’ve linked to alternative reviews.

Enjoy – and Happy New Year!

 

1 Straight Line to My Heart Bill Condon Allen & Unwin Young Adult
2 Only Ever Always Penni Russon Allen & Unwin Young Adult
3 Harry’s War John Heffernan Omnibus Children’s
4 Just Like That Janet Poole Mountain View Self Help
5 Shadrach Meindert Dejong Harper Trophy Chidlren’s
6 Nanberry Jackie French Angus&RObertson Young Adult
7 Extinction 2 Lizzie Wilcock Scholastic Young Adult
8 The Filth Licker Cristy Burne Frances Lincoln Children’s
9 Crow Country Kate Constable Allen & Unwin Young Adult
10 Note on the Door Lorraine Marwood Walker Children’s/Poetry
11 The Golden Door Emily Rodda Scholastic Children’s
12 Lily Gets Her Wings Elizabeth Pulford Scholastic Children’s
13 Animal People Charlotte Wood Allen & Unwin Contemporary Adult
14 Lily Has a Secret Elizabeth Pulford Scholastic Children’s
15 Button Boy Rebecca Young & Sue deGennaro Scholastic Picture Book
16 I Heart You, You Haunt Me Lisa Schroeder Simon Pulse YA Verse Novel
17 Froi of the Exiles Melina Marchetta Penguin Young Adult
18 The Red Bridge Kylie Dunstan Windy Hollow Picture Book
19 Nog and the Land of Noses Bruce Whatley Scholastic Picture Book
20 How Now Brown Frau Merridy Eastman Allen & Unwin NonFiction – Memoir
21 Revenge Gabrielle Lord Scholastic Children’s
22 Selected Poems TS Eliot Faber and Faber Poetry
23 Lola’s Secret Monica McInerney Penguin Contemporary Adult
24 The Little Refugee Ahn Do Allen & Unwin Picture Book
25 Cooking the Books Kerry  Greenwood Allen & Unwin Adult
26 Flood Jackie French Scholastic Picture Book
27 City of Lies Lian Tanner Allen & Unwin Children’s
28 Bilby Secrets Edel Wignell Walker Picture Book
29 The Biggest Estate on Earth Bill Gammage Allen & Unwin NonFiction – Memoir
30 Selby Sprung Duncan Ball Angus&Robertson Children’s
31 For All Creatures Glenda Millard Walker Picture Book
32 Autumn Laing Alex Miller Allen & Unwin Adult – Literary Fiction
33 The Attractor Factor Joe Vitale Wiley Self Help
34 Come Down, Cat Sonya Hartnett Penguin Picture Book
35 The Outcasts John Flanagan Random House Young Adult
36 Quinn’s Riddles Aleesah Darlison Walker Children’s
37 Willow’s Challenge Aleesah Darlison Walker Children’s
38 Krystal’s Choice Aleesah Darlison Walker Children’s
39 Ellabeth’s Test Aleesah Darlison Walker Children’s
40 The Secret Signal Simon Haynes Bowman Children’s
41 Poetry Matters Ralph Fletcher Harper Trophy Non Fiction – Writing
42 HipsterMattic Matt Granfield Allen & Unwin Non Fiction
43 Darius Bell & the Crystal Bees Odo Hirsch Allen & Unwin Childrens
44 The Coming of the Whirlpool Andrew McGahan Allen & Unwin Young Adult
45 Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck Michelle Gillespie Fremantle Press Picture Book
46 The Bicyle Colin Thompson ABC Books Picture Book
47 Tin Toys Bruce Whatley Random House Picture Book
48 The Jewel Fish of Karnak Graeme Base Penguin Picture Book
49 A Bus Called Heaven Bob Graham Walker Picture Book
50 Vampyre Margaret Wild Walker Picture Book
51 Desert Boys Peter Rees Allen & Unwin Non Fiction
52 The Flying Emu Sally Morgan Walker Children’s
53 Foal’s Bread Gillian Mears Allen & Unwin Adult
54 The Carousel Ursula Dubosarsky Viking Picture Book
55 Assault Brian Falkner Walker Young Adult
56 The Red House Mystery AA Milne Audio Adult
57 Matilda is Missing Caroline Overington Bantam Adult
58 Bom! Went the Bear Nicki Greenberg Allen & Unwin Picture Book
59 Rudie Nudie Emma Quay ABC Books Picture Book
60 Equinox Lara Morgan Walker Young Adult
61 A Bear and a Tree Stephen Michael King Penguin Picture Book
62 Liar Bird Lisa Walker Harper Collins Adult
63 Hatched Asphyxia Allen & Unwin Children
64 Dead, Actually Kaz Delaney Allen & Unwin Young Adult
65 Stella Makes Good Lisa Heidke Allen & Unwin Adult
66 The Quicksand Pony Alison Lester Allen & Unwin Children
67 Every Minute in Australia  Yvette Poshoglian Scholastic Childrens Nonfiction
68 Comeback Peter Corris Allen & Unwin Adult
69 strictly confidential roxy jacenko Allen & Unwin Adult
70 Watermelon on my Plate Paddy Dewan Papyrus Publishing Children’s Poetry
71 Professor Fred Hollows Hazel Edwards New Frontier Children’s Nonfiction
72 The Red Poppy David Hill Scholastic Picture Book
73 Sarah Thornhill Kate Grenville Audio Adult
74 Currawalli Street Chirtopher Morgan Allen & Unwin Adult
75 Raven Lucas: Missing Christine Harris Scholastic Young Adult
76 Mort Martin Chatterton Random House Children
77 The Secret of the Swords Frances Watts Allen & Unwin Children
78 The Poison Plot Frances Watts Allen & Unwin Children
79 Shy the Platypus Leslie Rees National Library Children
80 Sea Hearts Margo Lanagan Allen & Unwin Young Adult
81 Jakes Concert Horror Ken Spillman Fremantle Press Childrens
82 Yippee! Summer Holidays Tjalaminu Mia Fremantle Press Childrens
83 Emu and the Water Tree Gladys Milroy Fremantle Press Childrens
84 All Monkeys Love Bananas Sean E Avery Fremantle Press Picture Book
85 The Festival By The Sea June Loves Allen & Unwin Adult
86 Unnamed Children’s
87 Uncle Tom’s Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe Librivox Adult
88 The Cold Cold Ground Adrian McKinty Serpent’s Tail Adult
89 Mandy Julie Edwards Harper Trophy Children’s
90 Lily Goes Skitter Skating Elizabeth Pulford Scholastic Children’s
91 Lily Lands in Bubble Trouble Elizabeth Pulford Scholastic Children’s
92 The Greatest Liar on Earth Mark Greenwood & Frane Lessac Walker Books Picture Book
93 Unnamed Adult Nonfiction
94 The Ghost of Ping-Ling Peter Cooper Omnibus Young Adult
95 The Shiny Guys Doug MacLeod Penguin Young Adult
96 Unnamed Adult
97 The Night Before Mother’s Day Doug MacLeod Allen & Unwin Gift Book
98 Quiet the Mind Matthew Johnstone Pan Macmillan Self Help
99 The Memory Tree Tess Evans Allen & Unwin Adult
100 The Reluctant Hallelujah Gabrielle Williams Penguin Young Adult
101 Our Nest is Best Penny Olsen & Penny O’Hara NLA Board Book
102 Lightning Jack Glenda Millard & Patricia Mullins Scholastic Picture Book
103 Queen Kat, Carmel & St Jude Maureen McCarthy Allen & Unwin Young Adult
104 Ruffy and Me Dave Trumbull & Adam Carruthers Omnibus Picture Book
105 Three Summers Judith Clarke Allen & Unwin Young Adult
106 The Ink Bridge Neil Grant Allen & Unwin Young Adult
107 Lone Pine Susie Borwn & Margaret Warner Little Hare Picture Book
108 A Day to Remember Jackie French Angus&Robertson Picture Book
109 A Dissection of Murder Felicity Young Harper Collins Adult
110 How I Got My Wiggle Back Anthony Field ABC Books Adult Nonfiction
111 Kick It To me Neridah McMullin One Day Hill Picture Book
112 The Fine Colour of Rust P. A. O’Reilly Blue Door/Harper Collins Adult
113 The Mystery of Riddle Gully Jen Banyard Fremantle Press Children’s
114 Polyanna Children’s
115 Bitter Greens Kate Forsyth Vintage Adult
116 Spitting Image James Roy Walker Children’s
117 The Light Between Oceans ML Stedman Vintage Adult
118 Forget Me Not Sue Lawson Walker Young adult
119 Just Doomed Terry Denton Pan Macmillan Childrens
120 Show Day Penny Matthews & Andrew McLean Omnibus Picture Book
121 A Confusion of Princes Garth Nix Allen & Unwin Young adult
122 Australian Story  Tania McCartney NLA Children’s Nonfiction
123 Scared Yet Jaye Ford Bantam Adult
124 The Mother’s Group Fiona Higgins Allen & Unwin Adult
125 Dancing to the Flute Manisha Jolie Amin Allen & Unwin Adult
126 Mortimer Revealed Asphyxia Allen & Unwin Children’s
127 The Wrong Boy Suzy Zauk Black Dog Young Adult
128 10 Futures Michael Pryor Woolshed Young Adult
129 Love Shy  Lili Wilkinson Allen & Unwin Young Adult
130 Vulpi Kate Gordon Random House Young Adult
131 What Women Want Nelly Thomas Ebury Press Adult Nonfiction
132 The Boy Who Fell to Earth Kathy Lette Random House Adult
133 The Silver Door Emily Rodda Scholastic Children’s
134 Red Libby Gleeson Allen & Unwin Children’s
135 Cannily, Cannily Simon French Walker Books Children’s
136 Five Billion Sold David Glyn n Arbon Publishing Adult Nonfiction
137 Gertie the Witch Valerie Thomas New Frontier Childrens
138 Katie and the Leprechaun Kathryn England New Frontier Childrens
139 Wattle Creek Fiona McCallum Mira Adult
140 After Cleo Came Jonah Helen Brown Allen & Unwin Adult Nonfiction
141 Waltzing Matilda Dennis O’Keeffe Allen & Unwin Adult Nonfiction
142 Dead Wrong Christine Harris Omnibus Young Adults
143 Change the Locks Simon French Walker Books Childrens
144 Other Brother Simon French Walker Books Childrens
145 Wind in the Wires Joy Dettman Pan Macmillan Adult
146 Hey Jack! The Worry Monsters Sally Rippin Hardie Grant Childrens
147 Hey Jack! The New friend Sally Rippin Hardie Grant Childrens
148 Best Friend Showdown Yvette Pshoglian Scholastic Childrens
149 Cupcake Catastrophe Yvette Pshoglian Scholastic Childrens
150 What Makes My Mum Happy Tania Cox Allen & Unwin Picture Book
151 Fallout Chris Morhpew Hardie Grant Young Adult
152 Silhouette Thalia Kalipsalis Hardie Grant Young Adult
153 Metro Winds Isobelle Carmody Allen & Unwin Adult
154 Love Notes From Vinegar House Karen Tayleur Black Dog Young
155 A Youth Not Wasted Ian Parkes 4th Estate NonFiction – Memoir
156 Holier Than Thou Laura Buzo Allen & Unwin Adult
157 Waiting at the Gate Robyn Caughlan Magabala NonFiction – Memoir
158 The Reunion Joanne Fedler Allen & Unwin NonFiction
159 Morgan’s Law Karly Lane Allen & Unwin Adult
160 Bob the Builder and the Elves Emily Rodda ABC Books Children’s
161 Why Pick on Me? Louis Sachar Bloomsbury Children’s
162 Mountain Wolf Rosanne Hawke Harper Collins Young Adult
163 Crazy Mayonnaisy Mum Julia Donaldson McMillan Children’s Poetry
164 Storm Boy Colin Thiele New Holland Children’s
165 Love & Hunger Allen & Unwin Allen & Unwin NonFiction
166 The Owl & The Pussycat Edward Lear Walker Books Children’s
167 The Monster Garth Nix & Sean Williams Allen & Unwin Children’s
168 Baby Animal Farm Karen Blair Walker Books Picture Book
169 Revolting Rhymes Roald Dahl Puffin Children’s
170 The Invaders John Flanagan Random House Young Adult
171 Unnamed
172 The Little Book of Anxiety Kerri Sackville Ebury Press Nonfiction
173 The Meaning of Grace Deborah Foster Vintage Adult
174 Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend Steven Herrick UQP Children’s
175 Unnamed
176 Horrible Harriet’s Inheritance Leigh Hobbs Allen & Unwin Children’s
177 The Forgotten Pearl Belinda Murrell Random House Children’s
178 The Mountain Drusilla Modjeska Vintage Adult
179 Ten Tiny Things Meg McKinlay & Kyle Hughes-Odgers Fremantle Press Picture Book
180 Shark Atack Jackie French Scholastic Children’s
181 Hubert and the Magic Glasses Candice Lemon-Scott New Frontier Children’s
182 The Mapmaker’s Apprentice Peter Cooper Omnibus Children’s
183 Sister Madge’s Book of Nuns Doug MacLeod Working Title Children’s
184 Sam the Cat Sam Bowring & Andrew McLean Working Title Picture Book
185 Rainbow Street Pets Wendy Orr Allen & Unwin Children’s
186 Dragonkeeper Carole Wilkinson Black Dog Young Adult
187 Broken Elizabeth Pulford Walker Books Young Adult
188 Millie’s Something Special Tania Cox & David Miller Working Title Picture Book
189 Tanglewood Margaret Wild & Vivienne Goodman Working Title Picture Book
190 Mummy’s Kisses Paula Clark & Lisa Stewart Scholastic Picture Book
191 Welcome to Normal Nick Earls Vintage Adult
192 The Queen With a Wobbly Bottom Phillip Gwynne & Bruce Whatley Little Hare Picture Book
193 The Coat Julie Hunt & Ron Brooks Allen & Unwin Picture Book
194 Purple Roads Fleur McDonald Allen & Unwin Adult
195 My Book of Jokes Bronwen Davies Scholastic Children’s
196 Ned Kelly’s Secret Sophie Masson Scholastic Children’s
197 Garden of the Purple Dragon Carole Wilkinson Black Dog Young Adult
198 Whisky Charlie Foxtrot Annabel Smith Fremantle Press Adult
199 Dragon Moon Carole Wilkinson Black Dog Young Adult
200 Green Monkey Dreams Isobelle Carmody Allen & Unwin Fantasy
201 Baby Tawnies Judy Paulson Random House Picture Book
202 The Boy Under the Table Nicole Trope Allen & Unwin Adult
203 Divine Clementine Hayley S Kirk Random House Young Adult
204 A Distant Land Alison Booth Bantam Adult
205 My Hundred Lovers Susan Johnson Allen & Unwin Adult
206 Winter’s Light MJ Hearle Pan Macmillan Young Adult
207 Jilted Rachael Johns Mira Adult
208 The Ghost at he Point Charlotte Calder Walker Books Children
209 Waratah House Ann Whitehead Penguin Adult
210 Brumby’s Run Jennifer Scoular Penguin Adult
211 Cold Grave Kathryn Fox McMillan Adult
212 Three Rivers Rising Jame Richards Brilliance Audio Young Adult
213 Moonlight & Ashes  Sophie Masson Random House Young Adult
214 Am I Black Enough for You Anita Heiss Random House Non Fiction
215 Albert of Adelaide Howard L Anderson Allen & Unwin Adult
216 Team Human Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan Allen & Unwin Young Adult
217 The Greedy Crocodile Sally Morgan Walker Books Childrens
218 The Second Forever Colin Thompson Random House Children’s
219 Creepy and Maud Dianne Touchell Fremantle Press Young Adult
220 In the Lion James Foley Walker Books Picture Book
221 The Boy Who Wouldn’t Die David Nyuol Vincent Allen & Unwin Nonfiction
222 Eddie Pipper Janeen Brian New Frontier Children’s
223 The Last Dance Sally Morgan Little Hare Picture Book
224 Watching the Climbers on the Mountain Alex Miller Allen & Unwin Adult
225 The Missing Case Simon Haynes Bowman Children’s
226 Clementine Rose & the Surprise Visitor Jacqueline Harvey Random House Children’s
227 The Beginner’s Guide to Revenge Marianne Musgrove Woolshed Children’s
228 Nobody’s Boy Dianne Bates Celapene Children’s
229 Eic Vale Epic Fail Michael Gerard Bauer Omnibus Children’s
230 Louis Beside Himself Anna Feinberg Allen & Unwin Children’s
231 The Colour of Trouble Gerry Bobsien Walker Young Adult
232 Brave Heart Brett & Hayley S Kirk Random House Young Adult
233 Boomerang Bride Fiona Lowe Harlequin Adult
234 Mary MacKillop: Australia’s First Saint Gabiann Marin New Frontier Children’s
235 Hey Baby Corinne Fenton Black Dog Picture Book
236 The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf Ambelin Kwaymullina Walker Books Young Adult
237 Into That Forest Louis Nowra Allen & Unwin Young Adult
238 The Race for the Chinese Zodiac Gabrielle Wang Black Dog Picture Book
239 everything left unsaid Jessica Davidson Pan Macmillan Young Adult
240 Did My Mother Do That Sharon Holt Walker Books Picture Book
241 Heart of Stone Michael Chamberlain New Holland Nonfiction
242 The Pros and Cons of Being a Frog Sue deGennaro Scholastic Picture Book
243 S.C.U.M Danny Katz Allen & Unwin Children’s
244 The Perfect Flower Girl Taghred Chandbab Allen & Unwin Picture Book
245 The Very Hungry Bear Nick Bland Scholastic Picture Book
246 Banjo Bounces Back Lachie Hume Omnibus Picture Book
247 Star Catherine Bateson Scholastic Children
248 The Amber Amulet Craig Silvey Allen & Unwin Fiction
249 Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto Geoffrey McSKimming Allen & Unwin Children
250 My Home Broome Tamzyne Richardson Magabala Picture Book
251 Miss Understood James Roy Woolshed Children
252 The Gift Penny Matthews & Martin McKenna Omnibus Picture Book
253 Stories for Six Year Olds Linsay Knight (ed) Random House Children
354 The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas Colin Buchanan & Glen Singleton Scholastic Picture Book
255 Malice: Conspiracy 365 Gabrielle Lord Scholastic Young Adult
256 Stage Fright Marianne Delacourt Allen & Unwin Adult
257 Stories for 5 Year Olds Linsay Knight (ed) Random House Children
258 The Third Door Emily Rodda Omnibus Children
259 Be Home for Armageddon Luke Edwards Omnibus Children
260 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone JK Rowling Allen & Unwin Children
261 Harry Potter  and the Chamber of Secrets JK Rowling Allen & Unwin Children
262 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban JK Rowling Allen & Unwin Children
263 Luke’s Way of Looking Nadia Wheatley & Matt Ottley Walker Books Picture Book
264 Go Jojo Go! Tess Bickford & Jennifer Castles Allen & Unwin Picture Book
265 Black Fella White Fella One Day Hill Neil Murray Picture Book
266 The Terrible Suitcase Emma Allen & Freya Blackwood Omnibus Picture Book

 

 

 

Child’s Play: Writing for Kids – a Visit from Deborah Abela

I’m really pleased today to welcome Deborah Abela. here to celebrate the release of her latest book, The Haunted School , and to chat about what it takes to write for children. Welcome Deb!

The Haunted School (Ghost Club)

Child’s Play – Writing for Kids

By Deborah Abela

www.deborahabela.com

Author of Max Remy Superspy, Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend), The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen, Grimsdon and Ghost Club

 

Why do you write for kids?

It started as an accident. After studying Communications at UTS, my aim was to work in adult TV, which I did for a while, but then I was offered the job of Assistant Producer/Writer for a National Kids’ TV show and have been writing for them and loving it, ever since.

 

What are three things you need to be aware of writing for a young audience?

1) Look kids in the eye ….kids will know the second you are being condescending or talking down to them.

2) Don’t preach – be true to your story first, whatever kids learn or take away from your story will follow.

3) Be kid-focussed – let the kids lead the plot and action!

 

How do you judge which age group your story would suit?

I don’t usually think about audience age when I start writing….I just try to write an engaging story, with characters that kids want to hang around.

 

What are three reasons kids’ manuscripts get rejected by publishers?

I’m sure this differs for each publisher but over the years I have heard a few reasons:

* They’ve heard it all before.

* It is too condescending to kids – a lecture rather than a story

* There is no real hook that makes the work stand above other submissions

 

How do you create an authentic voice for your young characters?

I sit with my characters for a very long time before I get to truly know them. Peter Carey calls it an osteopathic click….that moment when your character feels real. It takes time to get to know someone and it is the same for characters. Read your story out loud to hear if it rings true.

 

What do you do when your characters want to take the story in a different direction?

Let them! When this happens, I am usually a few drafts in and my plot has been developing nicely and I have become so familiar with my characters and know them on a much deeper level than I did at the outset. It’s their story now.

 

How do you decide which idea to work on next?

There is usually one idea that speaks above others. With Grimsdon, my story of a flooded city and lost children, I became frustrated at how governments weren’t acting quickly or decisively enough on climate change…then the sea monsters and flying machines took over. With the Ghost Club series, it was because I’d been reading about Charles Dickens and his 200th birthday, which is when I found out about him being the founding member of his own ghost club, which still exists today and investigates ghostly sightings.

 

Always write the idea that excites you the most and hopefully the excitement of your audience will follow.

 

Visit the next stop on Deborah’s blog tour:

http://www.needtoreadthis.com/

Did you miss the previous stop? See:

http://booksforlittlehands.blogspot.com.au/

To see all the stops on the tour go to:

www.deborahabela.com

 

366 Books – March Update

In spite of my busy busy month I am still enjoying the challenge and not regretting setting it for myself. I think without the challenge I would have read even fewer books in March.

This is my third month of my year long self-challenge to read a book a day – that is 366 books in 366 days, to celebrate the National year of Reading. I must confess that having started strongly in January, and keeping up to target in February, march saw a bit of a slide, and although I’m not yet up to the April report, things are looking a bit grim. When I set myself the challenge I didn’t take into account that I was busily looking for a day job. As it happens I ended up with not one, but two jobs, which I started at the beginning of March, at the same  time as the release of  my new book, Do Not Forget Australia. So in March I started two day jobs, launched and promoted a book (including a 14 day blog tour), attended  two literature festivals and, and did some school visits – all the while trying, but not succeeding, to keep up with my reading targets. But read I did, and finished the following books in March:

61 A Bear and a Tree Stephen Michael King Penguin Picture Book
62 Liar Bird Lisa Walker Harper Collins Adult
63 Hatched Asphyxia Allen & Unwin Children’s
64 Dead, Actually Kaz Delaney Allen & Unwin Young Adult
65 Stella Makes Good Lisa Heidke Allen & Unwin Adult
66 The Quicksand Pony Alison Lester Allen & Unwin Children’s
67 Every Minute in Australia  Yvette Poshoglian Scholastic Children’s Nonfiction
68 Comeback Peter Corris Allen & Unwin Adult
69 Strictly Confidential Roxy Jacenko Allen & Unwin Adult
70 Watermelon on my Plate Paddy Dewan Papyrus Publishing Children’s Poetry
71 Professor Fred Hollows Hazel Edwards New Frontier Children’s Nonfiction
72 The Red Poppy David Hill Scholastic Picture Book
73 Sarah Thornhill Kate Grenville Audio Adult
74 Currawalli Street Christopher Morgan Allen & Unwin Adult
75 Raven Lucas is Missing Christine Harris Scholastic Young Adult
76 Mort Martin Chatterton Random House Children’s
77 The Secret of the Swords Frances Watts Allen & Unwin Children’s
78 The Poison Plot Frances Watts Allen & Unwin Children’s
79 Shy the Platypus Leslie Rees National Library Children’s
80 Sea Hearts Margo Lanagan Allen & Unwin Young Adult
81 Jakes Concert Horror Ken Spillman Fremantle Press Children’s
82 Yippee! Summer Holidays Tjalaminu Mia Fremantle Press Children’s
83 Emu and the Water Tree Gladys Milroy Fremantle Press Children’s
84 All Monkeys Love Bananas Sean E Avery Fremantle Press Picture Book
85 The Festival By The Sea June Loves Allen & Unwin Adult
86 Unnamed Children’s

 

If you are quick with your sums you’ll see at the end of March I was five books behind target (that is,  my total thus far should have been 91). Not an irredeemable figure, I’m hoping. As things settle into a better pattern with work, writing, family and the rest, I’m hoping I’ll get back into the swing of things and  make up for time (though I must confess April hasn’t started spectacularly either). You might  also note that there quite a few books on the list this month that I  haven’t reviewed. Some are books I’ve sent the way of my fellow reviewer, and some are on my desk awaiting review. And there are a few that I won’t review because they weren’t review copies. Also, just to clarify, the last one on the list ‘unnamed’ did have a title, but I’ve chosen not to reveal it, simply because it relates to some research I’m doing on a confidential project.

In spite of my busy busy month I am still enjoying the challenge and not regretting setting it for myself. I think without the challenge I would have read even fewer books in March.

I’ll be back with another update in a month or so. Wish me luck!

 

366 Books February Update

Two months into the National Year of Reading, means two months down in my attempt to read 366 books this year. That means it must also be time for an update.

Two months into the National Year of Reading, means two months down in my attempt to read 366 books this year. That means it must also be time for an update.

So 31 days in January, 29 days in February means, by now, I should have read 60 books. And guess what – that’s exactly where I’m at! On target to get to 366 books. These are the books I read in February:

34 Come Down, Cat Sonya Hartnett Penguin Picture Book
35 The Outcasts John Flanagan Random House Young Adult
36 Quinn’s Riddles Aleesah Darlison Walker Children’s
37 Willow’s Challenge Aleesah Darlison Walker Children’s
38 Krystal’s Choice Aleesah Darlison Walker Children’s
39 Ellabeth’s Test Aleesah Darlison Walker Children’s
40 The Secret Signal Simon Haynes Bowman Children’s
41 Poetry Matters Ralph Fletcher Harper Trophy Non Fiction – Writing
42 HipsterMattic Matt Granfield Allen & Unwin Non Fiction
43 Darius Bell & the Crystal Bees Odo Hirsch Allen & Unwin Children’s
44 The Coming of the Whirlpool Andrew McGahan Allen & Unwin Young Adult
45 Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck Michelle Gillespie Fremantle Press Picture Book
46 The Bicyle Colin Thompson ABC Books Picture Book
47 Tin Toys Bruce Whatley Random House Picture Book
48 The Jewel Fish of Karnak Graeme Base Penguin Picture Book
49 A Bus Called Heaven Bob Graham Walker Picture Book
50 Vampyre Margaret Wild Walker Picture Book
51 Desert Boys Peter Rees Allen & Unwin Non Fiction
52 The Flying Emu Sally Morgan Walker Children’s
53 Foal’s Bread Gillian Mears Allen & Unwin Adult
54 The Carousel Ursula Dubosarsky Viking Picture Book
55 Assault Brian Falkner Walker Young Adult
56 The Red House Mystery AA Milne Adult
57 Matilda is Missing Caroline Overington Bantam Adult
58 Bom! Went the Bear Nicki Greenberg Allen & Unwin Picture Book
59 Rudie Nudie Emma Quay ABC Books Picture Book
60 Equinox Lara Morgan Walker Young Adult

If you are quick to count you might notice that although I’m up to 60, I actually started the month ahead, and so didn’t quite read a book a day during February. There are a couple of reasons for this, to do with school going back, writing commitments and speaking engagements. But there are also some books which need more than one day to read.  For example, Peter Rees’ Desert Boys took almost a week to get through – which was well worth the effort, although it took me close to not meeting my quota for the month

As with January, I’ve linked the titles above to the reviews of the books, where I’ve reviewed them. If there is no link it means I haven’t reviewed the book – most probably because it isn’t Australian (in January there were some Australian books which I didn’t review because I was sending them to Claire to review instead).

A new month started today – that’s another 31 books to get read! I look forward to keeping you updated with my progress.

I hope you’re  still celebrating the National Year of Reading.

 

Shortlist: Adelaide Festival Awards

The first major awards shortlist has been announced, with the shortlist for 2012 Adelaide Festival awards for literature announced this morning.

The list is as follows. Where a book has been reviewed here on Aussiereviews, I’ve linked to the review.

Children’s literature award
Aaron Blabey, The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon (Viking)
Kate Constable, Crow Country (Allen & Unwin)
Bob Graham, A Bus Called Heaven (Walker Books)
Rosanne Hawke, Taj and the Great Camel Trek (University of Queensland
Press)
Norman Jorgensen (illustrator James Foley), The Last Viking (Fremantle
Press)
Lian Tanner, The Keepers: Museum of Thieves (Allen & Unwin)
Young adult fiction award
Georgia Blain, Darkwater (Random House Australia)
D. M. Cornish, Monster Blood Tattoo Book Three: Factotum (Omnibus Books)
Ursula Dubosarsky, The Golden Day (Allen & Unwin)
Scot Gardner, The Dead I Know (Allen & Unwin)
Doug MacLeod, The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher (Penguin Books)
Vikki Wakefield, All I Ever Wanted (Text Publishing)
Fiction award
Anna Funder, All That I Am (Hamish Hamilton)
Gail Jones, Five Bells (Vintage)
Alex Miller, Autumn Laing (Allen & Unwin)
Kim Scott, That Deadman Dance (Picador Australia)
Dominic Smith, Bright and Distant Shores (Allen & Unwin)
Rohan Wilson, The Roving Party (Allen & Unwin)
John Bray poetry award
Jennifer Compton, Barefoot (Picaro Press)
Diane Fahey, The Wing Collection: New & Selected Poems (Puncher &
Wattmann Poetry)
Les Murray, Taller When Prone (Black Inc.)
David Musgrave, Phantom Limb (John Leonard Press)
Tracy Ryan, The Argument (Fremantle Press)
Petra White, The Simplified World (John Leonard Press)
Non-Fiction award
James Boyce, 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of
Australia (Black Inc.)
Fiona Capp, My Blood’s Country (Allen & Unwin)
Jim Davidson, A Three Cornered Life: The Historian W.K. Hancock (University
of New South Wales Press)
Mark McKenna, An Eye for Eternity, (The Miegunyah Press)
Hazel Rowley, Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage (Melbourne
University Press) (deceased)
Brenda Walker, Reading By Moonlight: How Books Saved A Life (Penguin
Books)
Unpublished manuscript award
Henry Aybee, The Red Hat: An Australian Gothic Novel
Belinda Broughton, The Sparrow
Rachael Mead, The Sixth Creek
Margaret Merrilees, The First Week
Rob Walker, Tropeland
Jill Blewett playwright’s award
Nicki Bloom, A Cathedral
Elena Carapetis, Helen Back
Duncan Graham, Wolf Hunger
Barbara Hanrahan fellowship
Nicki Bloom, The Sun and the Other Stars
Carol Lefevre, A Maze in the Garden
David Sornig, You, Of All People

Every time one of these lists is announced I am pleased to see favourites on there – but am also reminded anew of how many wonderful books I seem to not get around to reading. Would love to be able to say I’ve read all of these – but I haven’t. So many books – so little time!

The winner of each category will be announced on March 3. Good luck to all the shortlisted authors and publishers

When the Reviewer Gets Reviewed

I’ve been reviewing books for more than ten years, mainly for my own book review site, aussiereviews. I love sharing the word about books with readers and, along the way, promoting the work of wonderful Australian creators and publishers. But it wasn’t until my own books were published and, subsequently, reviewed that I understood the impact of a review.
Reviews are important, in my opinion, for several reasons:
·
  • They help sell books. By reading reviews, people hear about the book and might go out and buy it (or, online, click through a link and order it).
  • They are free advertising for a book. (If they are positive reviews)
  • For potential readers/teachers/librarians and booksellers they inform them about new books, highlighting their appeal, strengths and weaknesses, so they can make informed purchasing decisions
  • For authors, they can make you feel good (if the review is positive) and (whether positive or negative) they provide feedback.

Note that I’ve put the benefits to the author last because, in the end, reviews are not written for authors – or, at least, they shouldn’t be. They should be written for potential buyers and readers.Along the way that means they help authors to sell books and to learn, but that’s really incidental.
So I knew all this, of course I did. But then, having written a couple of thousand reviews of other people’s books, I started to get reviewed. My earliest trade titles, Doggy Duo, Floatingest Frog and Pemberthy Bear garnered a few reviews. But when my first verse novel, Pearl Verses the World, was published, suddenly lots of reviews started coming in. My little book was reviewed in newspapers, magazines, on websites and on blogs. It is still being reviewed, almost three years after it was first published.

Before Pearl was released, I’d had lots of people tell me how good it was – my mum, my kids, my editor, my friends. But then it was released intot he big wide world and I had to face what people who DIDN’T know me would say. Waiting for those first reviews was scary.

But then they started coming. And reviewers seemed to like it. They said things like:
This slender little book is, like its heroine, a treasure.
                                    (Magpies, May 2009)  and
Expertly written.
                                    (Coast Kids, June 2009)  and
A poignancy that is truly touching.
(Reading Time, August 2009)

Reading these reviews made me feel pretty good. They stroked my ego and made me feel like a real author. I printed them out. I showed them to anyone who’d read them. I cried tears of joy when I read them.

But then…

I got a bad review.

And it  wasn’t just a little bit bad. The reviewer (in a big name newspaper) hated my book. She said the verse was clunky and that she just didn’t feel moved to care about Pearl.  Added to this, the title of the book was misspelled and I wasn’t attributed as the author. Instead, the poor illustrator copped the criticism for her writing skills. (Note, I’ve not named the paper or the reviewer because I do not wish either of them ill-will.)

It was not a good review. There was nothing nice said about the book. Interestingly, the first thing that happened after this review, was that no one wanted to tell me about it. I knew my book was being reviewed on that date, but being interstate couldn’t buy the paper. But friends saw it, and didn’t know whether they should show me it. Once I did see it, I had an email from my publicist trying to reassure me. And my Mum and Dad were very cross on my behalf!

But me? To be really honest, I was a little cross at the misspelling and the mix up over the author, but as for the comments, I was able to get over them pretty quickly. I guess I was lucky because there had been lots of nice reviews previously, so I was able to focus on those instead.

But did I learn anything from this bad review? Yep.

  1. Not everyone will like every one of my books – just as they may not like my new haircut, my new dress, or (shock horror) me.
  2. Clever titles get misspelled (and the verses/versus thing has been a recurrent problem for this book)
  3. Reviews matter to the person being reviewed – but they aren’t FOR that person.
  4. Stuff happens – and then you move on. I couldn’t change the review. I had no right of reply, so worrying about it wasn’t going to do a thing.

In the three years since then, I’ve had lots more reviews – for Pearl, for Snowy’s Christmas and for Toppling. There’s been lots more good ones and, I’ll admit, others that were not so good.  I read them, I smile (if they’re good) or feel a bit sad (if they’re bad) and then I try to move on. With a new book coming out next month, I know I’ll be waiting eagerly for those first few reviews especially which tell me how my book is being received, but then I’ll get busy with my next project.

Reviews do matter – but they can’t rule a writer’s life.

Want to see what two other Aussie authors think about getting reviewed? Head over to Meg McKinlay’s blog As In Egg and then to Anna Branford’s blog. As you can see, we’ve all got together and blogged about the same topic on the same day, so we’d love to hear what you think about our varying perspectives.

366 Books January Update

It’s a new month, which means one month of my National Year of Reading challenge has passed. If you haven’t been reading my posts, or following my updates on Twitter or Facebook, I’ll explain.

This year is the National year of Reading here in Australia. Hooray! A whole year of focus on one of life’s great treasures. All around the country there are events,promotions and challenges designed to get people of all ages, from all walks of life reading more – and loving it! You can see details of the goings on at the official website.

So, I woke up on the first of January and thought to myself – wow, it’s the Year of Reading. I wonder if I can really make it a year of reading, and read a book for every day of the year. And before I could stop and think about it, I’d told the world that that was what I was trying to do. And people have encouraged me,  so I’ve run with it.  You can see my original post which explains the parameters I’ve set for myself, here.

Anyway, it’s been a month, so I thought the end of the month (or, in fact, the first day of the new one) was a good time to check in and see how I’m doing – and, so far, I;m doing fine. 31 days of the year down, and I;ve read 33 books. Here’s the list so far, with links to the ones I’ve reviewed on Aussiereviews.

 

1 Straight Line to My Heart Bill Condon Allen & Unwin Young Adult
2 Only Ever Always Penni Russon Allen & Unwin Young Adult
3 Harry’s War John Heffernan Omnibus Children’s
4 Just Like That Janet Poole Mountain View Self Help
5 Shadrach Meindert Dejong Harper Trophy Chidlren’s
6 Nanberry Jackie French Angus&RObertson Young Adult
7 Extinction 2 Lizzie Wilcock Scholastic Young Adult
8 The Filth Licker Cristy Burne Frances Lincoln Children’s
9 Crow Country Kate Constable Allen & Unwin Young Adult
10 Note on the Door Lorraine Marwood Walker Children’s/Poetry
11 The Golden Door Emily Rodda Scholastic Children’s
12 Lily Gets Her Wings Elizabeth Pulford Scholastic Children’s
13 Animal People Charlotte Wood Allen & Unwin Contemporary Adult
14 Lily Has a Secret Elizabeth Pulford Scholastic Children’s
15 Button Boy Rebecca Young & Sue deGennaro Scholastic Picture Book
16 I Heart You, You Haunt Me Lisa Schroeder Simon Pulse YA Verse Novel
17 Froi of the Exiles Melina Marchetta Penguin Young Adult
18 The Red Bridge Kylie Dunstan Windy Hollow Picture Book
19 Nog and the Land of Noses Bruce Whatley Scholastic Picture Book
20 How Now Brown Frau Merridy Eastman Allen & Unwin NonFiction – Memoir
21 Revenge Gabrielle Lord Scholastic Children’s
22 Selected Poems TS Eliot Faber and Faber Poetry
23 Lola’s Secret Monica McInerney Penguin Contemporary Adult
24 The Little Refugee Ahn Do Allen & Unwin Picture Book
25 Cooking the Books Kerry  Greenwood Allen & Unwin Adult
26 Flood Jackie French Scholastic Picture Book
27 City of Lies Lian Tanner Allen & Unwin Children’s
28 Bilby Secrets Edel Wignell Walker Picture Book
29 The Biggest Estate on Earth Bill Gammage Allen & Unwin NonFiction – Memoir
30 Selby Sprung Duncan Ball Angus&Robertson Children’s
31 For All Creatures Glenda Millard Walker Picture Book
32 Autumn Laing Alex Miller Allen & Unwin Adult – Literary Fiction
33 The Attractor Factor Joe Vitale Wiley Self Help

 

You can see I’ve read a real range of books – across age groups, formats and subject matter. So far 7 picture books (yes, I know these are short and help my total, which is why I’m only counting them if it’s the first time I;ve read them AND I review them), 10 children’s books, 7 young adult, 4 adult fiction, 4 adult nonfiction.  Lengthwise they’ve ranged from the picture books to  one of over 600 pages. Some have taken more than one day to read, and one of the challenges I’ve had is to not worry about the tally so much but to really enjoy each book. It’s not a race – it’s an adventure.

I must say that the big revelation for me has been that setting myself this challenge has helped me rediscover some of the fun of reading. Yes, I;ve always loved reading, but as a reviewer with an always-large review pile, sometimes it feels like a chore – especially when I feel guilt about the size of that pile. Suddenly, in January, my pile is going down and I’ve also allowed myself time to read things not in that pile.

Onto February. I’m halfway through two different books at the moment – because I’ve decided to read a chapter of a writing book every day. And, looking at my pile, I have some great reads ahead of me in the next 29 days. I’ll update you again soon.

In the meantime, I would love to hear about any challenges you are participating in this year.

 

Sally