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

Monday, April 29, 2013

Kids Stink Cover Reveal

Hey, here's the cover of my new short story Kids Stink, featuring Tom Weekly from My Life & Other Stuff I Made Up. I've teamed again with Random House and funnyman illustrator Gus Gordon for a story about Cliff Weekly, Australia's Angriest Grandpa.
It's an eBook release so you can pre-order it for $1.01 at Amazon and read it on your Kindle or iPod / iPhone / iPad via the free Kindle app or it's $1.99 at the iTunes store.

If you pre-order now it'll appear on your eReader on the release date, 29 May. I'll add eBook stores as others start stocking it.

Yeehaa! Hope it makes you laugh.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Here is a guest-post review by my nine-year-old son of Lois Lowry's Newbery-winning Number the Stars. He was pretty impressed by it.


by Lois Lowry 

Reviewed by Huxley

Number the Stars is about Copenhagen in the 1940s during the German occupation of Denmark. At that time Denmark had a king called Christian X. When he saw the Germans coming he ordered his navy to be destroyed for Denmark only had a small army and it was useless to resist the Germans.

Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen is thrown into a dangerous world when her family gets involved in smuggling Jews out of Denmark over to Switzerland in fishing boats.

My favourite character is Annemarie's uncle Henrik. He is funny and smart but sometimes stubborn.

My favourite part is when Annemarie has to run to her uncle's boat to give him a package but is stopped by a German patrol in the forest. When they stop her they ask what is in the package and she says she does not know. They snatch the package off her and open it.

I give Number the Stars five out of five.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Inspiring Talks

I have been driving quite a bit, running workshops and talks in far-flung places, and I've been listening to some amazing talks along the way. Here are my five faves right now. They are variously funny, inspiring, educational and confronting and they focus on five things I care about: Story, Happiness, Social Action, Innovation and Creativity. (Start with the 3-minute 'Kid President' Pep Talk above!)

2. James Cameron - Before Avatar - A Curious Boy

3. TEDxBerkeley - Erin Ganju - Room to Read - Scaling Social Good

4. Margaret Atwood - The Publishing Pie: An Author's Perspective

5. Radiohead's Thom Yorke in conversation with Alec Baldwin on 'Here's The Thing'.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Best Books For 7 Year-Olds

My son, like most seven year-olds, has an insatiable hunger for stories. I have read to him just about every day of his life. Now he's developing his own reading world, too. Here are his thoughts on reading and his top book tips for seven year-olds (some of them independent reads. Others have been read to him.)

Do you like reading?

Because it's fun and when you start reading it's funny. I mostly like funny books.

How long do you read for each day?
Sometimes one hour. Sometimes two hours. Chihuahuas. [Laughs at his own joke.]

Would you rather a paper book or an ebook?
Paper 'cos y'know, you can see the pictures and it looks more real and it feels like you're doing the actual thing, turning the pages and everything.

What would you do if, suddenly, there were no more books?
I would... chop my legs off. Ah, one question. How would they disappear? 
[Me: I don't know.]
Then they didn't disappear. Bye-bye!

1. The Giggler Treatment - Roddy Doyle
2. Big Nate series - Lincoln Pierce
3. Nicholas - Rene Goscinny
4. Hardy Boys comics
5. The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick
6. Danny the Champion of the World - Roald Dahl
7. Treeified - Pat Flynn
8. SuperFudge - Judy Blume
9. The BFG - Dahl
10. The Twits - Dahl
11. Fantastic Mr Fox - Dahl
12. Matilda - Dahl
13. Stuart Little - EB White
14. The Thirteen Story Treehouse - Andy Griffiths
15. The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket

And here is his review of The Magic Pudding which he has loved and has been very proud of reading by himself.

The Magic Pudding
reviewed by Luca.

The Magic Pudding is about Bill Barnacle, Sam Sawnoff, Bunyip Bluegum, Benjamin Brandysnap, two puddin' -thieves and a puddin' called Albert.

My favourite character is the puddin'. If you read The Magic Pudding you might think the same. It is hilarious!

The characters sing lots of songs, for example…

"Hurrah! Hurray!
                      Just listen to that;
                  He knows the way
                       To bell the cat.
                  You'd better obey
                      His judgment pat,
                  Without delay
                      Remove the hat;
                       It's tit-for-tat,
                       We tell you flat,
                  You'll find it pay
                       To lift your hat.
                   Obey the mandate of our chosen lawyer,
                   Remove the hat, or else we'll do it faw yer.''


Monday, April 8, 2013

Upcoming Workshops and Events

Sydney Writers Fest at Town Hall
I am running a bunch of fun public talks and workshops about Kids' Books, Digital Storytelling and Creativity between now and September. Here are the details. Hope you can catch one. If you do, make sure you say hello.

24 April - Richmond-Tweed Regional Libraries Tour - Northern NSW
Ballina Library - 10am
Lismore Library - 1pm
Mullumbimby Library - 3:30pm

3 May - Speakers Ink Conference - Write of Passage - Brisbane
State Library of QLD

LitVids Book Trailer-Making Workshops - Mackay
Wed 15 May - Mackay Library - How to Make a Book Trailer
Sat 18 May - Full-day Hands-on Book-trailer-making workshop at Central QLD University

23 June
Queensland Writers Centre - Brisbane
The Voice Writing Workshop (for adults)
An active workshop filled with tools for finding your flow, firing your imagination, and increasing your creative productivity.

24 June
Queensland Writers Centre - Brisbane
Story Safari Workshop (for kids) - Brisbane
Sink your teeth into storytelling in this outdoor writing adventure! Keen imagination and adventurous streak is a must. Khaki is optional.

4-5 July - StoryLab Workshops for 9-15 year-olds - Brisbane
State Library of QLD

6 July - CYA: Children's & Young Adult Literature Conference - Brisbane

5-9 August: Sydney Schools Tour - Fully booked.

12-16 August - Melbourne Schools Tour
May be one day available. For details contact

1-4 August - Byron Bay Writers Festival
Kids', Teen and Adult Sessions

7-8 September Brisbane Writers Festival

10 September - Ipswich Kidlit Fest

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Best Books for 9-10 Year-Olds

Here is a guest-post featuring my nine-year-old son, Huxley, recommending his fave books and answering a few questions about reading.

Do you like reading?

Because it's fun. You're just in another world and it's hard to get out of that world. I d'know, I sometimes just try stuff and then I really love it and if there's more in the series I just really want to get them.

How long do you read for each day?
About two or three hours? An hour in the morning, and an hour in the day for school and another half an hour or so at night.

Paper or eBook?
Paper. More real. You can turn the pages and it feels more like you're in a world rather than just flicking through on the screen.

What would you do if there were no more books?
Burst into tears. (Laughs.)

Hux's Top Ten Books
1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
3. Holes
4. Hardy Boys series
5. Nicholas
6. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
7. Children of the lamp
8. Danny the Champion of the World
9. The Invention of Hugo Cabret
10. My Side of the Mountain

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