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

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:

Did you miss the previous stop? See:

To see all the stops on the tour go to:


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
Norman Jorgensen (illustrator James Foley), The Last Viking (Fremantle
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
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.




366 Books – First Update

It’s 20 days since I woke up on New Years Day and decided (a little impulsively) to set myself a challenge – to read 366 books this year (you can read my initial post on this here). So I thought it might be time for an update.

So far, I’m right on track – I’ve managed 20 books in 20 days. This is my list so far:

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 Children’s
6. Nanberry Jackie French Angus&Robertson Young Adult
7. Extinction 2 Lizzie Wilcock Scholastic Young Adult
8. The Fitlh 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

I am really enjoying keeping track of my reading in this way, and seeing just what the spread is of age groups, genres, formats etc. Of the 20 so far,  18 are Australian, 7 are young adult, 7 are children’s/younger readers, 3 picture books, thee for adults (one fiction, two non fiction). There is one collection of poetry, and one verse novel. Allen & Unwin and Scholastic are well represented in the list of publishers – which is a reflection both of the number of books those two produce and the number they send me to review.  Another interesting statistic is in the gender balance – four books by male authors and sixteen by women. Interesting because there has been no conscious decision there, it’s just how it’s fallen.

So, how do I choose my books. Usually from the top of my review pile (which is actually not a pile but a shelving system in my office. I shelve them in the order I receive them and generally read them in that order. But this year I am trying to read more  books not from my review pile, and have started a little pile of books I want to read for the first time or re-explore. Also, I do occasionally move books up my review pile if I’m simply hanging out to review them or f I need a shorter read. For example, whilst I was ploughing my way through Froi (almost 600 pages), which happened over four days, each day I also read something shorter.

Am I still enjoying the challenge? Yes. No regrets at having set it for myself at all.
Will keep you updated as it expands

Hope you, too, are having fun reading whatever you can during this National Year of Reading.

Oh, BTW – where I’ve reviewed a title in the list above, I have linked to that review!

A Big Welcome

Welcome to the new look Aussiereviews!  Having been here on the world wide web sharing reviews for over ten years, the site was well overdue for a bit of a facelift.  And now, after a redesign and manually transferring all of the old reviews (over 2000 of them)  from the old html based files to the new WordPress based management system, it is ready to go live. Hurrah!

A screenshot of the old Aussie Reviews layout
The old website

So, what’s new?

  • The look and layout of the pages, especially the pretty new banner designed by Murphlet 2
  • The easier to navigate menus, with the ability to browse the categories easily from the top menu.
  • This blog, which will allow me (and, perhaps, guest bloggers) to chat about the running of the site as well as news and views aboutAussie books and publishing.
  • The use of tags at the end of each review which will make it easier to find books by publisher, author, illustrator or topic

    A screenshot of the current Aussie Reviews layout
    The new website

What is unchanged is that Aussiereviews will continue to review as many new release Australian books as possible.

So, have a look around, see what you think, and please keep enjoying our reviews.

Lots of Love




May I ask one favour? If you are an author, illustrator, publicist, website manager or blogger who has previously linked to this site or, especially, particular reviews, could you take a few moments to update your links? If you have linked to the homepage your link should still work, but if you have linked to particular pages or reviews, it will need updating.  You should be able to locate the new page using the search box in the menu bar above.  Once you’ve found the right page,  simply copy and paste the new url wherever you had an old one. Thanks heaps!

366 Books in 366 Days

Happy New Year to you! I had a pretty awesome 2011 but am really excited about the promise of a brand new year and loving that 2012 is the National Year of Reading. Also really excited about my role as local ambassador for Bunbury, WA.

I had toyed with the idea of a reading meme for the National Year of Reading, but there are so many other really good ones already that I hesitated to add another which might duplicate what was already being done.

But then I woke up this morning and had this great idea for a reading challenge for myself. It’s the YEAR of reading, isn’t it? So what if I could truly make it a year of reading by reading a book for every day of the year? That would be 366 books in 366 days (the leap year gives me the chance to squeeze in an extra book).

No sooner had I formed the idea than I was tweeting and facebooking it, so suddenly I’d made this partly formed idea into something I’d announced to the world. But hey, making it public might motivate to actually do it – or to give it a darn good shot.

So, yes, I am going to try to read 366 books in 2012. These will come from across genres and age groups, so they will range from picture books through to very serious works of literature, and nonfiction too. I’m already an eclectic reader, so don’t plan to change that too much.

However, to avoid the urge to just sit down with my picture book collection and read my way through the first 366 of those, I’m making a rule for myself that I’ll only count picture books that I read for the first time, and also review – because the time it takes me to read and review a picture book is equal to reading a much longer book.

Where possible I will review the books I read on Aussiereviews, if they fit within Aussiereviews parameters – ie I only review Aussie author or published books here, and don’t review a book if I can’t review it mostly positively. But I have also decided independently of this challenge that I need to spend a bit more time in 2012 reading stuff that I don’t plan to review – because there are so many wonderful books from overseas, and classic books, and childhood favourites and so on that I never get around to reading because of my focus on Aussiereviews.

So here’s my plan:

  1. Read at least 366 books in 2012.
  2. Keep a list of these, and chronicle my progress on my Nameless blog and on Aussiereviews, as well as through social media (twitter and facebook)
  3. Review those which can be reviewed on Aussiereviews
  4. Include as many as possible that I read because I want to (whether or not I’ll be reviewing them)
  5. Only include picture books in the 366 if I also review them
  6. Lastly, and importantly, I’m only going to stick to this challenge if I enjoy it. If I find myself beating myself up over getting behind, or not blogging about it often enough or whatever, I’ll stop. Reading should be fun!

I’ll keep you informed with my progress as much as possible. Would love to know if anyone else decided to give this idea a shot.

Now I’m off to do some reading. Happy National Year of Reading!