Australian Author of Children’s Books and Teen Books: 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Beginner's Mind

'I'm a musical scientist.' - Bjork

I remember hearing Bjork say this in an awards speech years ago and I thought she was just trying to be Icelandic and weird. But now I understand.

I see the same sentiment echoed in the TED talk above (worth watching), which argues that children are, potentially, the best scientists due to the few pre-conceptions and expectations they bring to an activity or experiment, and for their willingness to play.

The same idea is echoed in Zen master Shunryu Suzuki's book Zen Mind Beginner's Mind when he says 'This is the real secret of the Arts: always be a beginner.'

Science, Art and Religion seem to agree that experimentation, the willingness to be wrong and beginning without a pre-meditated end in mind, is how we discover new things and, perhaps, move forward as a species (if, in fact, there is a 'forward'. But now I'm just being Icelandic and weird). I wonder if experts in Mathematics, Engineering, Business and other disciplines have their own way of expressing this idea.

My new vow is to start each day as a story scientist and to be open to what happens. It will be fun if not productive.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Children's Author Attacked by Readers

I recently attempted to make a two-minute video for my new book My Life & Other Stuff That Went Wrong with a bunch of rotten kids. They ruined the whole thing. 

I realised later that one of the kids in the video was the guy who previously sent me a blackmail letter. Let this be a warning to other unsuspecting authors.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Boat Racing in the Jardin du Luxembourg

One of the best things about this six-month family travel-writing-homeschooling-photography adventure is the variety of simple-but-fun activities you find to do with kids. We're lucky enough to be staying in Paris for six weeks while I research and write a new book. I write in the morning while my wife homeschools our guys, then we head off together in the afternoon (sounds idyllic but I don't want to mislead you. It's just as crazy as everyday family life, but with interesting stuff to look at.)

My boys and I had heard that the Luxembourg Gardens was fun so we set off on a rare sunny Sunday and found sail boats to hire on the pond. We invested two euros in the Australian vessel.

There were remote control boats but the boys reluctantly agreed to hire the stick-push version.
They soon declared that the sailing boat was potentially faster than it's remote control cousin.
Music to a cheapskate father's ears.
So we hired another boat and held a miniature America's Cup.
Tourists were amused by the wild cheering and hooting and a dodgy rendition of the Australian national anthem. 
Australia came home strong in each race, the Americans almost foundering
in the middle of the pond after a collision with a duckhouse.

Off to discover a very cool playground with high-speed flying fox.
And these pedal-powered billy-carts. When there's a battle to be had, these  guys are happy.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Life & Other Stuff That Went Wrong

'With the same kind of hilarity, groan-making grossness, ridiculous situations and craziness [as the Andy Griffiths and Jeff Kinney laugh-out-louds], boys in particular will revel in these books from Tristan Bancks.'
- Sue Warren - Oz Teacher-Librarian Network


'Top Book Gift for Kids' - The Book Chook

'I was reminded of Paul Jennings' short stories... The stories start off plausible but by the end have stretched into (very funny) tall tales. Recommended for upper primary / lower secondary students, public libraries and reluctant readers everywhere.' - Magpies Magazine

Synopsis (What's it About?)

Is your grandpa super-angry? Has your Nan ever tried to climb Mt Everest? Have you started your own playground freak show? And have you ever risked your life to save your pet rat from certain destruction?

I have. I'm Tom Weekly and this is my life. Inside the covers of this book you'll read lots of weird-funny-gross stories and learn the secret of my strangest body part. But I guarantee that won't freak you out as much as the story of how Stella Holling, a girl who's been in love with me since second grade, tricked me into kissing her.


  Buy a copy of On The Run, signed by the author Tristan Bancks

I tried to make a 2-minute video about the book with a bunch of rotten kids. It was kind of a disaster...

Read a Free Sample of Short Story, Freak!

''If you're a fan of Andy Griffiths and Jeff Kinney, My Life and Other Stuff That Went Wrong is the book that has been missing in your life.' - The Little Bookroom, Melbourne

Learn to draw My Life's Tom Weekly in this 41-second masterclass with illustrator, Gus Gordon

Download My Life Colouring-In Pages


What kids and critics are saying:

Here's what reviewers said about the first Tom Weekly book, My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up

'These bite-sized bursts of fun are inspired by Paul Jennings, Andrew Daddo and Andy Griffiths, the sort of stories that will keep kids enthralled.' - Oliver Phommavanh in Buzz Words Books 

'A sort of Aussie tall-tale version of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Bancks' latest features stories with a high-level gross-out factor.' - Booklist 

'Are you ready to laugh? Yes? Good. Because you won't be able to help yourself once you open this cover ... Boys will love this book. Fans of Griffiths, Gleitzman and Jennings will be thrilled to have this book in their collection.' -

[BIG thanks to all the kids who have offered ideas as the stories and covers have developed and to the brilliant Gus Gordon, Zoe Walton, Brandon VanOver, Catriona Murdie, Sophie Hamley and Astred Hicks, whose story smarts, design skills, illustration and editing have brought the book to life.]



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

St Pancras Clock Tower Apartment

We recently stayed in an extraordinary apartment inside the clock tower of London's revamped St Pancras Station. The apartment is right beneath the clock and there's a ladder in the loungeroom leading, Hugo-style, to the timepiece. Below are some pics (and a here's link to the AirBNB booking page if you're in the market. Peter, the owner, is a fascinating guy and the perfect host).

The large loungeroom with 60 ft (?) ceilings - perfect place to tackle jet lag
and dream on a new book idea.

Skylight in kitchen ceiling in case you need to check the time.
Books everywhere! The best private book collection I have ever seen. A lifetime of reading.

View out to the revamped square in front of Kings Cross Station
Lots of places to escape with a book or hide and write. Kids are welcome, too.
Some of my faves and many I've always meant to read but haven't.
And when your stay ends, you can slip downstairs and jump on the Eurostar to Paris or Brussells.
We didn't but I recommend you do. Very 007.
More adventures soon – a day in the Jardin Du Luxembourg with kids!

Friday, November 8, 2013

UK Travel

Our family travel-writing-educational adventure continues. Here's a wrap-up of a month in the UK in pics and a few words. In London we stayed in an extraordinary apartment in the clock tower of St Pancras Station above. (Will share some pictures and the Airbnb link in my next post.) We've since moved on to Copenhagen, Berlin and Prague. Lots of good adventures had. 
Longing for London after 24 hours in the air.
At the British Library
Street art, Neals Yard, London. 
The Strand, London. Have been gathering story fragments for a new book as I travel.
Exploring the old neighbourhood, Shad Thames, where we lived for four years.
With my fine and lovely wife.
Pre-match warm-up at Arsenal v. Stoke City 
A day spent at Bath Children's Lit Fest with author buddy John Boyne and his publisher, the lovely Annie Eaton.
John in action at the fest, reading from his new book Stay Where You Are and Then Leave.
I bought the best notebook from this incredible stationery store, Scriptum, in Oxford.
Breakfast in the Great Hall at Keble College, Oxford University, where we spent a night in student digs.
The ceiling of Rhodes House, home of the Rhodes Scholar.
My son drawing on the floor at Rhodes House.
The public library in Stratford-on-Avon.
Stayed a few nights in a gypsy caravan, built by a friend's father. 
The view from a place we rented in Carbis Bay near St Ives, Cornwall.
Who said England didn't have good beaches?
Found some rock poetry on Brighton Beach.
Writin' a book.
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