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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mac Slater Coolhunter Word Find Puzzle

Here is a Word Find puzzle based on my middle-grade Mac Slater Coolhunter books. Happy searching. But first you have to work out the clues below. Just click on each document to download and print. Please leave a comment if you have any problems.

This Word Find puzzle is taken from the comprehensive Mac Slater Coolhunter teaching resources kit.

Mac Slater 1 (Aus edition)
Mac Slater 1 (US edition)

Monday, January 28, 2013

School Library - Cambodia - Room to Read

Construction is in full-swing for the school library being built in Cambodia with funds raised through our Stubbies World Change Challenge.

Room to Read has engaged a large number of parents and local community members in the construction of the library with close monitoring by a local construction committee to provide a safe learning environment for children.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this happen. You have done a fine thing. These images bring an enormous smile to my face and this library will, no doubt, do the same for thousands of kids in coming years.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Soar, Award Winning Short Film, Hits Youtube

Soar, a short comedy film I directed a few years back, is having its Youtube premiere. The film has previously screened on the US Sundance Channel, Qantas Inflight and other TV worldwide.

It is about everybody’s worst travel nightmare - getting stuck next to an obnoxious dork on a plane where there are no spare seats.

I hope you have time to watch and rate it. ;-) Info on the film and pics below.

Awards & Screenings:
Most Popular Film and Best Screenplay at Flickerfest in 2004, Best Short Film at Toronto World of Comedy, a Special Commendation in Comedy at St Kilda and Highly Commended in the Dendy Awards at Sydney Film Festival. Other screenings include London Film Festival, Aspen, Clermont-Ferrand, Melbourne International Film Festival, Interfilm Berlin and the Boston Museum Film Program.

Rupert Reid, Tristan Bancks and Damon Herriman on the set of Soar. (All pics by Kuji Jenkins.)
Soar was shot on Fox Studios Australia’s 747 plane set, built for Mission Impossible 2. Fox were highly supportive of the production. Soar was originally a hit play at Sydney’s Old Fitzroy Hotel and at the Adelaide Festival and was subsequently turned into an ABC radio-play.

The film was written by Damon Herriman and stars Herriman (J. Edgar, Love My Way, Breaking Bad) and Rupert Reid (Matrix 2 and 3).

I hope you get a chance to watch and rate it. NB: unlike my books, Soar was not specifically made for children. It has some strong language but, other than that, is fine for all ages.

‘The best production is the least production. “Production value” is code for forsaking the story.’ 
– David Mamet


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Children's Literature Links & Articles


I share lots of Kid and Teen literature links on Twitter. Here are some recent highlights:

Love this: Inside  Brooklyn studio. [3-min vid]  

* Animated book trailer for Michael Gerard Bauer's Eric Vale Epic Fail 

* Children's Author Blackmailed By Reader (And I won't stand for it.) 

* 10 Tips to Help You Raise Kids Who Love Reading 

* Fun, active creative writing activity for kids: Inspired by Keri Smith's 'How to Be An Explorer of the World' 

* Report: Kids Reading eBooks Has Nearly Doubled Since 2010 (thanks  &)

* A Novelist and His Brother Sell Out Carnegie Hall  Check out this story on  and brother Hank 

* Interesting article: Boys’ love of reading  (RT ) 

* 5 Book Tips For Kids: (Some of my favourite books for children and middle-graders.) 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Year Five and Other Stuff We Made Up

'One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.'
- Goethe

I love it when kids are inspired to create something. Whether it's a short story, a stop-motion movie, a drawing or something that no one in the world has ever imagined.

Last year I visited a school in Brisbane, St Elizabeth's, and spoke about my books Galactic Adventures and My Life & Other Stuff I Made Up. The year five students from that fine institution have since produced a book titled Year 5 and Other Stuff We Made Up, full of inventive stories about monsters and numbats and curses and kids in space and giant chickens.

I thought I'd share it with you.

Here's a link to another funny story by a talented kid – Morris by 12-year-old Raph Atkins.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Author Blackmailed By Reader

Yes, you read it correctly. I regret to inform readers of this blog that I have been sent a blackmail letter. My detective skills kicked in and I twigged to the fact that this was a blackmail letter when I sniffed out this clue:

The letter inside was from some pre-pubescent twerp demanding that I pose with a stupid little ceramic dog that he had, no doubt, made himself, and upload the pictures to my Facebook page.

The twerp I speak of says that he has blackmailed other children's authors like Andy Griffiths and Martin Chatterton to do the same and asked me to 'check out their Facebook history'. Well, I won't 'check out' anything and I won't stand for it! Do you hear me, you pre-pubescent, blackmailing ceramicist? This is not on! Children's authors aren't play things for you to humiliate. We are respected members of the community, sharing knowledge, creativity and a love of literature. Do you understand me?

That is all.

(But just in case you are dangerous and you do happen to know where I live here's another picture of me with the dog. By the way, you're not getting him back, you filthy scoundrel.)


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Writing Workshop for Kids

A writing workshop in Byron Bay for ages for 8-12.
How can you use all the odd, boring, funny stuff that happens to you and turn it into excellent stories? Author Tristan Bancks used bits from his life to inspire his short story collection My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up. Like the time his sister made him eat Vegemite off her toe and the time he had his appendix removed just to get out of school detention. Learn how to mine your own life for cool, weird, funny stories that your friends and teachers will love.

Learning Outcomes
  • Freewriting techniques
  • Drafting
  • Rewriting
  • Ability to source story ideas from personal experiences.
  • Comedy-writing techniques.
  • An understanding of how fact and fiction merge to create fictional stories.
  • The importance of detail in writing fiction and how we find these details.
  • How to ensure that your idea fits the short story form.
locationNRWC office, Level 1 - 28 Jonson St, Byron Bay
date and time10.00am-3.00pm (Friday, 18 January 2013)ticket price$40 NRWC members; $50 non-members

Should be a fun day in Byron Bay these school holidays. Hope you can join us.
You can book or find out more info here:  and 02 6685 5115


Tuesday, January 1, 2013


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