Two Aussie Verse Novels – and Picture Book NEWS!

How lovely to be with you all again – and have you gathering at my blog for the Poetry Friday link-up.

Today I wanted to share two recent Australian verse novels with you, both published by UQP – and both written by friends.


‘Leave Taking’ was written by Lorraine Marwood, whose earlier verse novels, ‘Ratswhiskers and Me’ and ‘Star Jumps’ (which won the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award for children’s fiction) were amongst the earliest verse novels I read and loved. I’ve known Lorraine online for more years than I can count – and finally met in 2014.

‘Leave Taking’ is a story about grief and farewells; letting go – of places that are a part of the fabric of our lives; of people, forever in hearts and memories. Leaving any home involves a tearing away, but a farm that has been in the family generations surely leaves a bigger hole. And a farm where your little sister once played with you … that your Mum and Dad need to leave, to make new memories … Such a bittersweet letting go.

‘Leave Taking’ is a quiet, story about a country kid called Toby – but the underlying grief constantly tugs at your heart. We never had a chance to know Leah – but through Toby’s memories, and Lorraine’s words, we do.

‘Little Wave’ was written by Pip Harry, her first verse novel – and foray into the younger market. I connected with Pip in 2014, when our UQP books released the same day, and it is always lovely to cross paths online. Even lovelier to meet in real life in Singapore last year, when we celebrated the announcement of our books on the CBCA Notables list. Pip mentioned ‘Little Wave’ during our catch-up, and I was eager to read it.


‘Little Wave is the story of Noah, Lottie and Jack – and a city school’s endeavours to bring a country class to the city for a beach visit. Each child has challenges they are dealing with – but as the story ebbs and flows, beautiful friendships are formed, and characters stretch and grow.

‘Leave Taking’ and ‘The Little Wave are two very different verse novels that I highly recommend.

Never give up on your dreams!

To close my week of hosting, I am so excited to share some good news!

More than 10 years ago, my rhyming picture book, ‘This is the Mud!’ released … and this week we signed the contract on my second picture book – another rural rhymer featuring … beef cattle! (And a bird in the herd.) I’m super-thrilled to be working with the talented and lovely illustrator, Renee Treml, and the beautiful team at UQP. There is a CYA connection … but that’s for another day! (Yay, CYA!)

It’s been a long hard road to a second picture book contract – with some lovely verse novel diversions along the way. This cumulative tongue-twister story was written for my toddler farm boys, way back in 2002. (They’ve grown a bit, since then.) Maybe one day they can read it to their own kids – with illustrations! (Those kids might be down the track a bit, yet.😆)

If you’re joining in the Poetry Friday Party, please leave your link below. I’m looking forward to doing the rounds and seeing where you are all at.

Have a great Friday – and into the weekend.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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  1. Many congratulations, Kat! So happy for your newest additions. I love the title, ‘A Bird in the Herd.’ And, hooray for more novel verses from Australia! They just work with kids…we need more and more. I’m totally taking your idea of props on pages for blog posts. Wonderful addition to the photos. Thanks for hosting. I’m sharing a lovely treasure of poetry swap goodness this week from Michelle Kogan. I am indeed a lucky poet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank-you, Linda. The book is not actually called ‘A bird in the herd’ – but we did for a moment consider it, after reading your comment. 🙂 Glad you like the pics. They just add a few little extras to the story. (And were a chance to revisit my kids’ creativity through the years, pulling props from my shelf of treasures.)


  2. Congratulations on your picture book, Kat! I also love seeing the verse novels. I checked Amazon, but I don’t see them available. I would like to order them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know what is involved in ordering paper copies, but I think in the past, PF friends have accessed digital copies? I have emailed UQP and will let you know when I know more. I share your love of verse novels!


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    • I especially love the effect of the dry grass – which was the easiest prop to get/use! Glad you enjoyed the post, Michelle. (I was in awe of your poetry swap gift for Linda!) And thank-you for sharing the joy of the PB-in-progress.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for hosting, Kat, & for the introduction to these verse novels which sound wonderful. And, congratulations to you for your new book coming. I’m sure it’s great. I first learned about this relationship between beef cattle and herons on a visit to Costa Rica, hope to find your book when it comes out.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, I am already wanting to follow that ‘bird in the herd’….!
    Thank you, Kat, for introducing us to these wonderful writers and books, folks who don’t need introductions on your side of the world, I’m sure. And CONGRATS on that new picture book news!! Thanks as well for rounding up and hosting today – warmest wishes from the Lowcountry over here.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Congratulations, Kat. It is so exciting to pretend to hear the joy in your words. Interesting concept: rural rhyming-I ponder what this will sound like. Thanks for sharing the Aussie novels in verse. They sound interesting and I love that you decorated the books with interesting additions, the reeds/stems, etc. Never Give Up On Your Dreams! sounds like excellent advice. I am so glad that you are pursuing your writing and giving your gift to the kidlit world. Thank you for hosting this week.

    Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a tongue-twister tale, that country kids can relate to – and to take city kids for a quick trip. 🙂 (Actually, it’s really just a fun story, in a rural setting – with a whole tangle of rhymes!) There are times I’ve wondered if I’ve knocked on every door available to me (no room at the inn), and should just step back from the writing scene… and then God promptly opens doors for me, and confirms that I’m right where he wants me. (Which is a good thing, because I love writing!!)


  8. Congratulations Kat! I can’t wait to read about the bird in the herd. I also appreciate your highlighting these two verse novels. I am trying to write a memoir in verse and need all the mentor text I can find. Unfortunately none of these are available in my library system. Thank you also so much for the links you posted on verse novels. They are very helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been enjoying reading your verse memoir, Cheriee. Today’s was a tough one – but I’m so glad the feedback has been helpful for you. Sometimes you just have to get the words down – and then you can shape the poems. Glad the links were helpful – and thank-you for your congratulations.


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  10. As a confirmed collector of verse novels I am grateful for the sharing of these titles Kat. My ever expanding stack of VN’s will benefit from this wonderful post. Congratulations on your new picture book news too.


  11. Congratulations, Kat! You and cows may not have always been on the best terms, but I’m thrilled they’re a cattle-lyst (Ha!) for your new picture book. 😉 Thanks also for sharing the new verse novels—they look great too!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations on your new rhyming picture book. It looks delightful–especially since there are more cows than people where I live! Thank you for hosting today and for sharing the verse novels. They look good, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for this introduction to 2 books I want to read! And congratulations on a second picture book. Wonderful news all the way around.
    Janet Clare F.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. So many congratulations, Kat! I wish we could all get together with all of these books and just chat in person. Such good news, and it’s wonderful to see these new verse novels by friends. Thank you for hosting and hi to the famous birds and cattle over there! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that would be so lovely, Amy. (I’m guessing you’re not anywhere near New York State or Virginia? Or going to NCTE in November? Because if you are, perhaps we could meet and chat.) I have passed on your greeting to the wildlife. xx


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  16. Such fantastic news, Kat! I’m so excited for you and hope your rural tongue-twisting book will be available over here! Both of the verse novels you reviewed look wonderful, and I’m especially drawn to the heart-tugging Leave Taking. Thanks so much for hosting this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will certainly be doing all I possibly can to get it available over there, Molly – though it may not ‘take’ in the US, because it’s about the Australian farming scenario. Some Aussie lingo. But I’m sure American kids would like a peek into Australian farm life, too! Leave Taking is definitely heart-tugging. It’s a tissue read.


  17. Both verse novels sound intriguing, Kathryn. I loved reading the sample pages. Congratulations on your picture book contract -very exciting! Thank you for hosting.

    Liked by 1 person

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  19. Congratulations on the new book, Kat! Thank you for hosting. I am definitely going to order Leave Taking. We are about to leave our home of 20 years — the only place our 19 year old has ever lived. There are a lot of FEELINGS. (Can’t wait to see you at NCTE!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I am sure Leave Taking will resonate for you, Laura. I find change so hard – but usually my fear of change is worse than the change itself!! It’s almost like a form of grief. (And I too am so excited about catching up in November!!!)


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