Going Places With Books

It’s Book Week in Australia. A celebration of children’s books and children INTO books, as we ‘Escape to Everywhere’. Here are some things that had me smiling this week.

Bundaberg Library kicked of Book Week with a hugely popular celebration of books. Wonderful to see parents engaging with their kids in the rich and creative activities. Kudos to Bundaberg Library staff and volunteers!

I was Quiz Master at the Inaugural Year 9/10 Readers Cup event, hosted by Gin Gin High School. Mrs Glenda George did a great job instigating and organising this. Congratulations to James Nash High School, Gympie, who took home the medallions. Winners were grinners – so that means all teams were winners! #smilesallround

The quickest of quick lunchtime poetry workshops (20mins) – was met with much enthusiasm – and wonderful results!

Enjoyed a morning of reading and book talk with kids at Coral Coast Christian School. Spot-on observations about bullying and friendships – and the importance of kind words. Lovely kids and staff.

Talked poetry with kids at Clermont State School via Blackboard online. Technology is a great thing – though truth be told, I much prefer engaging with kids face-to-face to gauge their reactions and understanding. But this was a wonderful way to make a poetry assessment task *real* for kids, as we analysed some of my poems, identifying purpose, audience and literary devices employed. Great bunch of kids – and teachers!

Received a letter from a book character – in REAL LIFE! I was delighted to hear from Tahnee-in-Year-Two (like Tahnee in Too Many Friends) from Western Australia – and her Mum and Dad! Thanks to a ‘darling’ teacher for connecting us.

So of course I had to send some friends to Tahnee-in-Year-Two; a friend charm, a shape poem, and a template to write her own – and one for a friend, of course!

Met with my Text as Art buddy, Adrienne Williams, to chat about possibilities for our collaborative art installation as part of Crush Festival/Write Fest 2017. (Loving the retro gallery walls in our pic.) The #TextAsArt project will be on display in the Bundaberg city precinct, Bourbong St, for the first two weeks in October. Yay!

I’m sure I’ve missed something – but I’ve probably consumed enough of your time (and megs!) already. Hoping that you’ve enjoyed a snippet of my week and my world – and even caught a glimpse or two of my words. The week of wonderful will close on Saturday, with Let’s Go ‘Boating’ Under the Bridge, a free community event which promises to be interactive, imaginative and a whole lot of fun, inspired by the book, ‘Who Sank the Boat’, by Pamela Allen. More information at widebaykids.com.au. If you live anywhere near Bundaberg, you should be there!

How wonderful to celebrate a love of books and story with others. And a love of poetry! It’s Poetry Friday worldwide, and Jone’s collecting links so Check It Out! (Thanks, Jone.) Next week it’s my turn to host the #PoetryFriday round-up. Eeeep! Guess I’d better make sure I get that linky thing working – and hope to see you here, then! 🙂

I knew I would forget something… and I did! How could I forget this exciting news?!

I’m thrilled to share that I’ve been awarded a May Gibbs Literature Trust Creative Time Fellowship in 2018 – to spend 1 month in Adelaide working on some poetry projects. Sooooo excited about this! I’ll be sneaking in just before the winter freeze. (I hope!!) Huge thank-you to the MGLT for their faith in my projects.

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Mr Ferris Wheel – National Science Week

Inspired by National Science Week, I’m sharing a found poem, taken from the picture book, ‘Mr Ferris and His Wheel’ – a book that I borrowed as much for my late-teenaged sons as for myself. They’re both so busy with studies at the moment that a picture book is about all they have time for! (And we have always loved a good scientific picture book.)

“Before TV and the internet, people from around the globe gathered at World’s Fairs to share their different ways of life and new technologies.”

What grand events the World’s Fairs must have been! It made me a little envious of the days…

Mr Ferris Wheel

World’s Fair;
America to impress 
              the world.

Mechanical engineer
George Ferris
had 
      an idea
           a dazzle
                 an invention.


Construction chief:
                    “It would collapse.”

George:
        “You are an architect, sir.
        I am an engineer.”


        Dynamite.
Quicksand.
        Digging.
Solid ground
deep into the earth.


Trains chugged 100,000 parts.

Monster wheel had to spin;
elegant passenger cars
the size of a living room.

Two thousand tons of steel

                            up, up, UP.

Glimpses of faraway states!

Perfect escape was
                      fifty cents.

                Magical.

             Ferris Wheel.

This was a fascinating read into the skepticism that surrounded the birth of the Ferris wheel. And the success anyway! Without any financial assistance from fair organisers (convinced of its failure, but finding no better alternatives) and bankers (who ‘laughed him into the street’), 34 year-old George Ferris used his own savings, and with the support of a few wealthy investors, financed the monstrosity himself.

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I could share all sorts of interesting snippets with you, but where would I start… and where would I finish!? Instead I will say that you should just read the book yourself! And absorb the varied coloured pallets of the illustrations, that take you back to another time and magical place…

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My son’s favourite line of the book?

 “You are an architect, sir. I am an engineer.”

(There may be some bias in son’s preference. 😉 )

I have missed (in more ways than one!) Poetry Friday for some weeks now. It’s good to be back and posting! I’ll be checking out the links shared on Kay’s blog; http://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org. You can too!

TItile: Mr Ferris and His Wheel
Author: Kathryn Gibbs Davis
Illustrator: Gilbert Ford
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 978-0-547-95922-1

PS  Did I mention that I’m scared of heights? The slow and steady, creaky-freaky Ferris wheel is my least-favourite ride of the Show!

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Bookings Open – 2018

Poetry inspires creativity and builds writing muscles that flex across all curriculum areas and genres. A passionate and diverse poet and children’s author, I have an ever-increasing bag of tricks to share with your staff and students. If your school is considering an author visit, register your interest below.

Student poetry workshops involve fun activities that enable wordplay – and success for all students.

Staff poetry workshop equip teachers with easy take-away activities to use in their classrooms – across curriculum areas and grades.

A Celebration of Friends incorporates activities inspired by ‘Too Many Friends’, blending DIY toys with creative wordplay. Make a palm snake, create a paper chain of poetry friends, power a plane with words, or create a triple twirl word swirl.

During author talks, I share what inspired and shaped my stories, and how I turn reality into fiction. Content varies dependent on the age group, touching on topics of bullying, friendship, sibling rivalry, sporting excellence, identity, self-worth, rural living, a glimpse at Antarctica, and creative things kids can do without a TV!

As a trained teacher and former literacy co-ordinator I am familiar with the demands of the Australian Curriculum, and the NAPLAN Reading and Writing assessment tasks. My goal is to engage students to play with words and be creative!

I have five days available in Brisbane, February 12 – 17, 2018. Travel and accommodation costs are massively reduced! Enquire below to secure your place, and inspire your staff and students in the new school year. Other enquiries also welcome.

More information: Author Talks

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Brisbane Booking

I will be in Brisbane during the first week of August for author visits – and I have one day still available! I offer author talks and poetry workshops, for primary and secondary students – and staff.

“If you are a Brisbane school, I can highly recommend Kat for an author visit.” (Kim Yeomans)

Read Kim Yeomans’ teacher-librarian blog about my May visit to St Martins, in Melbourne.

More information under my Author Talks tab. I’d love to talk creativity and kindness with your class.

Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! Wonderful Wordplay!

Poetry is about word play – and I am loving the playful words that roll around (and bounce and soar) in this picture book about Aussie Rules, written by Katrina Germein and illustrated by Janine Dawson. AFL is not the game of choice in Queensland, where ‘real men play Rugby League’* – so I’m not as familiar with the rules and terms as some. But it is very obvious that Katrina and Janine have between them spent considerable time on the sidelines of the game (perhaps even starred themselves?) and were definitely on the same team when they produced Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! – a  picture book that exudes energy and enthusiasm … and alliteration!

The text is an ABC of AFL! From start to finish it tells the story of an afternoon of football.

Aussie Rules is awesome. I always arrive on time.

As the game progresses, the rain starts to fall…

Patterson pauses then passes to Piper. She positions herself and propels the ball past the post. Perfect play!                 <Click to Enlarge>

By the final quarter there’s quite a quagmire.

I’m super-impressed that Katrina managed to handball so many AFL terms onto the page, in a sequential sporty story that ticks boxes as an alliterative alphabetical text. And I love the details (and activity) that Janine jostled into the illustrations – making meaning of those sporty terms, for those of us not overly-familiar with AFL.

Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! is a picture book that make its mark. I’m sure AFL families will be giving it two flags up!

To read more poetry posts, click across to Carol’s Corner where you’ll find the full round-up of Poetry Friday posts. Thanks, Carol!

* None of the real men in my family actually play Rugby League. It’s just a bit of interstate jest and no harm intended. 😉

KidLitVic – Illustration & Picture Books

Sharing notes on Illustration and Picture Books, taken at KidLitVic 2017.

Illustration Panel

Panel: Melissa Keil (Five Mile Press), Michelle Madden (Penguin), Sarah Mummé (Lake Press), Christina Pase (Windy Hollow)

  • Postcards (at conferences, etc) are lovely. But a link is always a good thing to forward on to others. Need to be able to show it around – at acquisitions, etc. Digital is great.
  • Greeting cards are a way to get your work out there.
  • Michelle loves to see loads of stuff. Consistency is huge – to develop a character and be consistent across the pages. It’s good to see what you can do – different styles (as long as it is strong, and done well) – but consistency is important.
  • Melissa: Colour palette, characterisation, line-work – something that’s really unique.
    A vaiety of styles for a range of products.
  • Sarah: It’s very personal
    May fight for it, if she can see potential, with a really good brief, and a little bit of work.
  • Christina – literary picture books
    If she really loves it – or has something to fill the brief.
    Likes to know/see if they can draw people – because that’s a really difficult thing! (Show them in all different poses and emotions, in your portfolio.)
    Technical skills are vital during the process – to see an illustration from the back angle. Or from a different character’s perspective. It’s almost like illustrators are working with a film screen, not a flat piece of paper.

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Melbourne Highlights

Wednesday: Caught up with my dee-lightful writing friend, Dee White – and her bunny! So lovely to stay with Dee and her family, and have lots of chats over ensuing days…

Thursday: Had a day of author talks at New Gisborne Primary School, where last year they decorated a classroom door as the cover of ‘Bully on the Bus’ – and this year there were lots of colourful hands… but I forgot to click a pic. But I did get a photo of the cupcakes! #thankyouKylie

Enjoyed lunch with some fabulous fun teachers – who wouldn’t normally make the time to eat out! #icouldrelate #butitwassolovely

Ran a staff professional development on poetry across the curriculum areas. I always love this session – and it didn’t disappoint!  Continue reading

Whirlwind Week of Wonderful

Today is Friday – which makes it a poetry day! … After a whole WEEK of wonderful poetry days!! You can catch the link-up at Reflections on the Teche, where Margaret is hosting us this week. Thank-you Margaret. 🙂

Last night I arrived home from an author tour in and around Melbourne – and I had a blast! Talk about eyes opened. That is one HUGE city! But I covered north and south and centre in a wonderful crammed week of school visits, bookshop workshop, kidlit conference, networking, research, friending and just the teensy-tiniest smidgen of sleeping!

And I ticked a few big boxes! Continue reading

All the Busy – and Beautiful!


Life. Is. Busy. #thatisall

Quickest Poetry Friday post ever, coming right at you!

Last week (when I was so busy releasing ‘Too Many Friends’ into the wide, wonderful world) I missed Poetry Friday. But I popped in for a guest post on Be a Fun Mum, Kelly’s blog, with a tutorial on Recycled poetry – specific to Mothers’ Day. Yes, that is this Sunday in Australia. But don’t panic – you are not too late! Click across to Kel’s blog and you can create a gift from the heart for your Mum’s day that is sweeter than chocolates and twice as nice! (I have a couple of different examples there – including another personal favourite, ‘Paradise’.)

In the middle of the busy, I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to stop, and smell the flowers, with thanks to this posy of poetry in the post, beautifully written and illustrated by Avery. What a delight it was to see the pretty petals and smell the the beautiful taste of wind. Thank-you so much to Avery for brightening my week, as a part of the Silver Star Poetry ProjectContinue reading

New Book, New Poem, New Project

It’s been a busy week on the blog. I don’t usually post this much! But here I am again, for Poetry Friday.

On Tuesday I shared a collage of pictures from my exciting mail day.

On Thursday I posted my line in the progressive poem. Irene has the next line on her blog, Live Your Poem – and she’s also collating this week’s Poetry Friday round-up.

Today I’m posting a double tetractys – only my second Antarctic poem (How is this so?!) and the first thing written on a new project I’m currently researching. (It’s just the tip of the iceberg!) This poem likely won’t make it into the project – but I’m testing the water (ice-cold!) and gaining some confidence to strike out on this new adventure.

hut

chink
of stone
on stone on
stone near stone on
stone on stone grey stone
stacked high like brick by balanced, cold, stone brick;
bleak stone walls rise from shale floor; upturned sledge
and planks form the roof;
ice winds bluster
as snow swirls
seal each
chink.

And … for my youngest son’s benefit, I’m also posting my first ‘real’ author pic. A number of years ago he declared I wasn’t a real author until I’d published five books. He’s trying to shift the goal posts now, but … I’m claiming!

Real Author. It sure has taken long enough!

My week’s been wonderful – and super-productive. Hope yours has, too!