Melbourne … or Sydney?

I’m thinking about opening up a week, early September, for author talks in either Melbourne … or Sydney. Aside from talks about the stories behind my stories, I offer poetry workshops for kids and teens – also for educators and anyone who works with kids and wants to inspire them to be creative.

Want to hear more, or express interest in a visit? You can do so via the contact form. If there’s interest, I’ll come!

Melbourne … or Sydney? You choose!

Advertisements

Recipe for a Winning Poem

Getting into the spirit with Borobi, at the Queen’s Baton Relay.

With the Commonwealth Games fast approaching, I’m sharing a favourite recipe – for a Sport Star poem. You can’t fail to cook up some winning words!

This recipe requires a mix of metaphors – so we probably should talk about how to choose a metaphor.

A metaphor is a comparison between two things, based on resemblance or similarity, without using “like” or “as”. We use metaphors to create a strong visual image – so choose comparisons that create vivid pictures, and sound appealing. Don’t pick a cliché – that’s already been done.

 

Recipe for a Sport Star Poem:

Sport Star’s Name

Sport Star is… an animal
Sport Star is… an instrument
Sport Star is… a transport
Sport Star is… a tool
Sport Star is… a weather
S/he is ……………………….

 

Recipe poems are great to use in the classroom, because they give a start-point, and structure – but you can spice them up with creativity! For example;

Michael Phelps (short version)

Michael Phelps is
a killer whale.
Michael Phelps is
a set of crashing cymbals.
Michael Phelps is
a supersonic rocket.
Michael Phelps is
a pool cleaner.
Michael Phelps is
a raindrop.
He is the greatest
Olympian of all time.

 

Michael Phelps (extended version)

Michael Phelps is a killer whale
slicing through the ocean
in pursuit of frantic seals.
Michael Phelps is a set of
crashing cymbals building tension
in a dramatic orchestral performance.
Michael Phelps is a supersonic rocket
soaring into outer space –
returning to his own galaxy.
Michael Phelps is a pool cleaner
gone ballistic, slurping everything
in the water.
Michael Phelps is a raindrop… a stream…
a waterfall… crashing and thundering
triumphant down Mount Spitz.
He is an ordinary boy who defied
school bullies and conquered the world –
the greatest Olympian of all time.

Poetry © Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved.

 

Both poems follow the recipe. Both poems are right! The second poem just spices it up more.

(Yes, I know Michael Phelps isn’t in the Commonwealth – and he’s retired. It’s just an example. Incidentally, I wrote this poem after the 2008 Olympic Games – which is crazy, considering how much more he then went on to achieve.)

Now it’s your turn in the kitchen. Choose your sport star, and get cooking. Don’t roast them – or make them stew… Let them sizzle like the stars they are! (Feel free to share your poem, either in the comments below, or through my ‘Contact’ form. I’d love to see it!)

You might also like to kick back and savour a sporty verse novel I cooked up, (released in 2015) about two brothers, Shaun and Toby. Here’s a little taste…

 

“Only a skilled writer can craft so few words into free verse poems which, when sequenced, form a narrative which is engaging, heartwarming and inspiring all at once. On Track ticks all the right boxes for me in terms of a class novel study.”
Megan Daley (Children’s Books Daily)

“This book will ring true for anyone who has ever participated in an Australian sports carnival. The poetry is so well crafted and the story is heart breaking, heart warming and accessible to anyone, whether or not they like sports.”
Younger Sun Bookshop

You’ll find more information about ‘On Track’ under the Kat’s Books dropdown tab.

To find out what else is on the poetry menu, click over to My Juicy Little Universe, where Heidi will be collecting the links to the #PoetryFriday round-up… on Friday!

Seeds of Hope

Even before I realised that today is World Poetry Day, I’d been working on a shape poem, my verse novel, a new poetry workshop activity and I’d been frustrated by the failure to write a quick (yet meaningful) golden shovel poem for Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ little ditty challenge.
I have recently fallen in love with the golden shovel, and written – no, crafted(!) – a couple for my Antarctic verse novel WIP. (I’m mighty chuffed with those, working fact into form!) Anyway, with moments to go before WPD closes in Australia, I did manage a short poem for Michelle’s challenge. I wrote it thinking of cruel words – but in coming up with a title, it ended up as a positive little poem. I guess that’s the power of words – they can be used for hope, or harm.
Yes, there is a reason the last word on each line is highlighted. Intrigued? Read more, here; Golden Shovel Ditty Challenge
Sometimes you have to ‘give up’ to get the good words. (And sometimes you have to keep plugging away. :P)

The Dragon

One of the reasons bullies have so much power is because their victims are often too scared to tell. It’s a struggle that Leroy faces in ‘Bully on the Bus’ – and it’s a huge and important step, for him to speak about it.

Excerpt take from ‘Bully on the Bus’, by Kathryn Apel (UQP)

This Friday, 16th March, is Bullying, No Way Day – a national day of action against bullying. It’s a reminder that we need to be intentional about conversations with our kids – in homes and in classrooms – to know if they are in situations where they don’t feel safe or valued, but also to ensure that they are growing as compassionate beings, respecting others, even in their differences.

Bullying should not be kept secret!

I wrote Leroy’s story to open communication between small people and their carers, enabling young children to identify a situation where they might feel threatened, like Leroy. A flow-on effect is that it’s being used in older classes to foster empathy and awareness – in hopes of reducing bullying.

For more information on ‘Bully on the Bus’, including reviews and teacher notes; https://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/kats-books/bully-on-the-bus.

For more information about Bullying No Way Day check out; https://bullyingnoway.gov.au

It might be Bullying No Way Day on Friday – but bullying is never okay!

—–

This post is (sneaking in early) as part of the Poetry Friday link-up around the blogosphere.

You’ll find more poetry posts on 16th March, at TeacherDance.

Thanks, Linda!

Please feel free to share links to other poems about bullying, in the comments.

 

Singapore Surprise

The blog has been quiet, as I’ve had lots of time travelling, firstly to Brisbane, for school and bookshop visits, followed by an unexpected (short notice) trip to Singapore to catch up with our son (briefly!) and experience the richly diverse country that he is calling ‘home’.

One morning in Singapore I was delighted to discover a long-tailed macaque monkey in the bushes by our motel pool. Seeing animals in zoos (like the luscious Singapore Zoo, which we did enjoy later in the week – with monkeys!) is always lovely – but when they pop up, in the wild… that is super-something-special! I snapped lots of pics of our furry friend.

Singapore Surprise

Ruminating

Shakespeare

A little later, a comment on an Instagram post reminded me that this was Notables Day – when the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) announced the longlist of books for the 2018 Book of the Year Awards. I had been monkeying around, completely unawares… Curious, I checked Twitter to see who had made the list… My Notifications had gone a little crazy, (And so did I!) because ‘Too Many Friends’ was named as a Younger Readers Notable Book – the first time, I’ve had a book on the longlist!

I think the surprise factor will always be my favourite part of this memory – and the monkey! I love that I was hanging out with a monkey, blissfully unaware of this auspicious news!

(I hope there are many more monkeys in my future! 😉 )

It was so lovely to catch up with fellow UQP author, Pip Harry for a celebration at Sarnies the next day. Pip is an Aussie author living in Singapore, and her YA novel, ‘Because of You’ made the Older Readers Notables list, so there were smiles all round! And such fun to share the joy, so far from home!

There are so many great books on the list – from friends and writers I have long admired. I am still mighty chuffed to be sharing space with them!

—–

This post is a part of the Poetry Friday link-up around the blogosphere.

You’ll find more poetry posts, including Tips for Teachers, at Today’s Little Ditty.

Thanks, Michelle!

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Unseasonable Winter Warmers

Bathtime during a camping trip to Cape York, June 2013.

Pause for paws – SavvyCat gets playful, June 2017.

—–

I am always getting caught out with Carol Varsalona’s Seasonal Poetry Collections – because I’m not ‘living’ in the season at the time poems are being collated. Last week I went trawling past photos taken during Winter in Australia (June/July/August). Here are a couple of poetry bites I’m happy with, for the current collection. You’ll note there is no snow in my winter poems. 🙂 (There is no snow, in my winter! 😦 )

This post is a part of the Poetry Friday link-up.
Read more about Poetry Friday.
Follow the link-up with another Aussie author and poet, SallyMurphy.com.au.
Thanks, Sally!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Momentous Moon

This week, of course… The Moon.

I’ve never actually set out to photograph the moon before – and will always see it differently, now.

Last week Irene Latham shared some poems inspired by a prompt in the book, POEMCRAZY: Freeing Your Life with Words by Susan G. Wooldridge. Irene’s words, heart and wisdom were inspiring, and worthy of reading, here. The task was to 1) name an object, 2) describe it, likening it to something else, then, 3) ask it to bring you a quality it has. Whilst my poem was inspired by an evening with the super blue blood moon, it kept reverting back to the purity of the full moon, before it was cast into shadow… (And truth be told, my blood moon photos are not very good.)

I’m curious to know if you recognise my moon from your part of the world. 🙂

—–

This post is a part of the Poetry Friday link-up.
Read more about Poetry Friday.
Follow the link-up with Mainely Write.
Thanks, Donna!

—–

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Picture Books and Poetry

This week I’ve been super-productive with my picture books. I put the final polish on a picture book manuscript inspired by this little bird on our trip to Antarctica, then shared it with the lovely, talented and passionate children’s librarian, Kim Yeomans, who delighted me when she described it as, ‘a ‘quiet’ story with depth and light and shade. It ebbs and flows with tension and emotion.’

For a complete contrast, I then worked on a rhyming picture book I’ve had in my head for some time – well, I’ve had a four-lined repeating stanza, but that was all. I was thrilled when the rest of it romped out midweek, pure silliness and fun, and exactly the riot I was hoping it would be.

Alas, this then happened …

Which still makes me giggle … and blush! Whatever does the courier guy think???!? (The hazards of living in a rural location, where you can be loud and proud and not worry about the neighbours, when you ROAR! 😳)

On that cheerful note, as promised last week, I leave you with two more lai poems, these written over the New Year weekend. What is a lai? You can read more here. (I conformed with syllables but broke some rules with line breaks, in ‘Go Fly’.) They are definitely a form I will delight in revisiting in future.

Not an analogy. Just a reality. Stronger strings affixed now! 🙂

This little dragon was super-quiet and photogenic.

Today is Australia Day, so I’m off with friends climbing Mount Larcom — hoping for clear skies and a cool breeze, so we can enjoy a view over Gladstone Harbour and scattered islands; a little portion of this beautiful country that we are fortunate enough to call home. Who knows what poetry that will inspire?

This post is a part of the Poetry Friday link-up around the blogosphere.
You’ll find more poetry and links at Beyond LiteracyLink.
Thanks, Carol!

Afternote: I am now exhausted but triumphant after a 3am start to conquer the mountain. Alas, the peak was shrouded in mist for the duration, so perhaps we were the losers after all … although it was cool! #win (More pics on my Insta-story, if you’re quick; @Kat.Apel)

MountLarcom - 1.jpg

The view from Mount Larcom @ 6:45am.

Brisbane in February

I will be in Brisbane during February – doing the author thing; school and bookshop visits, catching up with writing peeps and publishers, writing … and all sorts of good things!

If you’re a principal/teacher/librarian interested in a school visit, I still have spaces available. More information here; Bookings Open 2018.

I will be conducting a workshop and Q&A session for teachers and teacher-librarians at Riverbend Books on Friday evening, 16th February, with specific activities to engage students across ages and curriculum areas. For more information, phone: 07 3899 8555, or email: info@riverbendbooks.com.au.

If you’re a budding young poet, you can join me for a poetry workshop at Where The Wild Things Are Bookshop on Saturday, 17th February. Make a plane that is powered by words. Use scissors and glue to create poetry, then hunt for treasure in the Avid Reader’s garden. Tickets are $15, which includes your own copy of Too Many Friends, and all workshop materials. For more information, or to make a Booking, click the link; Kids’ Poetry Workshop Event, or phone: (07) 3255 3987.

Looking forward to finding myself in yet another instalment of the Country Girl Meets City adventure series. Mayhaps you’ll join me. 😉

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

Nothing Stays the Same

2017 was a huge year for our family. So many milestones and achievements for our two lads. We never could have imagined what an exciting year it would be! These last few months I have put writing on hold to immerse myself in the mum-moments. To relive and create new memories. 2018 will bring time in abundance to write … 2018 is our year of Change.

To be honest, I struggle with change. I miss special things that will never be the same – even when it’s change for the best of reasons. Though I have been soooo excited for both our lads and the opportunities that await them this year, eight days before the eldest’s departure, it hit me. Things were never going to be the same again. Life was entering an exciting and different stage. There would be … change!

I may have cried … for days … (And that was before he left.) There may have been times I thought I would choke on my sadness. Squeezing tight then letting go may have been one of the hardest things I’ve done. He may have flown over the oceans; so far away – for so long. And I may have survived! I may even be smiling again. Change may not have been as bad as I had imagined … (I should have learnt this by now.)

Which is just as well, because that is only the first of the changes in store for our family this year!

—–

This post is a part of the Poetry Friday link-up. The poetry form I’ve played with is the lai – a French style following an AAB rhyme scheme over three 3-lined stanzas. The first two lines have 5 syllables, and the third has 2 – and there are only the two rhymes used throughout. You can read my first lai, about willie wagtails, here. I’ve enjoyed writing lais for different photos taken over the new year period – so expect to see more, in coming weeks. 🙂

Read more about Poetry Friday.
Follow the link-up with A Journey Through the Pages.
Thanks, Kay!