Australian Author of Children’s Books and Teen Books: September 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

WINNER of the MY LIFE Short Story Competition

Finally... I can announce the WINNER of the My Life Short Story Competition! After much deliberation, reading and re-reading the many brilliant stories submitted, the winner is.... Indigo from the ACT. She wins $1000 cash for herself, $1000 worth of books for her school and a signed set of MY LIFE books. The picture above was taken minutes after she heard about her win.

Indigo's story, 'Painfully True', will be shared with you in the not-too-distant future. Here's what I said about it in my comments: ‘Painfully True’ is a very funny scenario, vivid in its detail, shocking, honest, well-structured with a brilliant final line. The reader feels the protagonist’s pain but there is humour in every paragraph. And the word ‘bum’ is mentioned several times which, for a My Life story, helps.'

Thank you so much to everyone who submitted a story and please, please keep writing. Keep developing your story and making it better and better with each draft. I hope you see this as another step forward for you as a writer and I hope you feel you have improved your storytelling skills by sending in a story.

There were over 1000 entries and only one winner so missing out on the top prize does not mean that your story was not good. Many deserving entries missed out. Hit up my CREATE page for writing tips and tools and just keep on reading and writing the best stories you can: 

Good luck! I have another super-fun competition to announce when MY LIFE & OTHER EXPLODING CHICKENS is released in March 2016. :)) To hear about giveaways and new competitions you can sign up for my monthly kids' book eNews here: .

Big thanks to the team at Penguin-Random House Australia for putting up such a generous prize.



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ugly by Robert Hoge review

Review of Robert Hoge's Ugly by guest reviewer Ella Sharpe, bookseller at The Younger Sun Children's Bookshop in Melbourne.

In 2013 Robert Hoge wrote a memoir about growing up and living ugly. This year he has published a young reader’s edition. When Robert was born his own mother didn’t want to take him home. After a month of being in the hospital, he was finally taken home for the first time and his whole family, including his mother, fell in love with him.

Robert was born with two deformed legs – both of which had to be amputated below the knee – and a massive tumour in the middle of his face that pushed his eyes far apart and flattened his nose. Robert received special medical attention from a wonderful team of surgeons who made medical history with the operations they performed on Robert’s face and body – allowing him to live a relatively normal life.

In this book Robert defies assumptions about disability and is an inspiration to all children – be they disabled or not. He proves both his mental and physical capabilities, just not necessarily in the traditional way. Denied the opportunity to play traditional team sports that young people are involved in he takes up lawn bowls, forms a strong friendship with his elderly teammate Frank and goes on to be very successful in this field. He makes friends, pulls pranks, grows up just like any other kid and does the best thing of all – accepts himself for who he is.

This is a wonderfully accessible memoir with a great message at its heart and is something that every child or adult should read. Robert’s inner beauty shines through in his prose and, through his admirable self-acceptance and determination to not be defined as other, he has become the disabled role model he lacked when growing up.

Reading age recommendation – 8+


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Helix and the Arrival, by Damean Posner, review

Review for Damean Posner and Jules Faber's Helix and the Arrival (Random House Australia), by guest reviewer Ella Sharpe, bookseller at The Younger Sun Children's Bookshop in Melbourne.

Helix is a caveboy on the verge of becoming a caveman. His Arrival is only a few weeks away, where he will go into the woods to hunt a beast to bring back to Rockfall. But how will he be able to pass when all he’s managed to hunt so far is a rock gerbil (which he then released)? Helix should be preparing for his Arrival but he is more interested in the forbidden world outside of his home in Rockfall. Is the Dark Side, where people are banished, really as terrifying as they say? Are the people from Newstone, where the caves are bigger and the people cleaner, really as dumb as the keeper of stories would have Helix believe? And do the River People from the Lowlands, sworn enemies of the mountain folk, really grow from mud?

When Helix’s friend’s father, Ugthorn, is seriously injured Helix makes the decision to travel to the Lowlands to find help. With his friends Ug and Saleeka, and a tale of miraculous medicine from the Lowlands beyond, Helix crosses the river into a world that is more different than he could have ever imagined. Helix, Ug and Saleeka’s adventure will have extreme consequences for their way of life, that will echo through the mountains for eternity.

This is a light-hearted, entertaining and engrossing read that is difficult to put down. If you like history, adventure and discovering the truth, then this book is for you. This is the first novel of Australian author Damean Posner and I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next.

Reading Age 9 +

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