American School Visits

November passed by in a blur for me, with three weeks in the USofA cram-packed with school visits and catch-ups with friends. I have a ToDo list the size of Mt Everest that I am still chipping away at, but I am determined to post for Poetry Friday – so here I am with pictures! And some words…but there are not enough words to express how wonderful those three weeks were! Continue reading

Even More #MoPoetry

I do love diarising January in poetry – and have been especially enjoying the dual creativity of picture and poetry. (And the process of combining the two! Such fun.)

Here is this past week’s #MoPoetry2019 for your perusual of the week-that-was. Ending rather excitingly, too, I must say!

Day 18:

Day 19:

Which sparked this little conversation with @annashop_cronulla;

Day 20:

Day 21: If I thought it was bad posting a poem that doesn’t feel finished, it is worse to look back on a poem you’ve posted and find a BLATANT MISTAKE!!! Urgh! This is what happens when you become too obsessed with design and layout. (Though this is the least creative of all my Insta-Poems – but I was playing with two pictures, so… #stilltooktoolong)

I have inserted an edited version into this post – because it’s bad enough looking at the mistake every time I open my insta-page. (I decided to leave it as it was there (with a blushing comment!)… because of course I didn’t notice it until late in the day…🙄 #nobodyisperfect #iaintnobody…🙃)

I was asked if I wrote limericks. Not many – but here’s one, for a bit of fun. I don’t follow cricket – so if there is a Matt or a Gina playing, this is not about either of them! #justforfun #playingwithwords#betterthanplayingcricket😉#watchinggrassgrow #cricket#backyardcricket #summerfun#MoPoetry2019 #InstaPoetry #poemaday#authorsofinstagram #poetryofinstagram#poetrygram #poetry #rhyme #wordplay

Day 22:

Day 23:

Day 24: (Why, hello Good News!)

This week we’re going to Walden with Tara Smith, so join the #PoetryFriday excursion for more great posts. And pop back here next week for the final instalment of #MoPoetry2019! Looking forward to seeing what the week produces. Have a great one.

Thank-you, Mr Postman

My mailman has been unusually busy of late, which has been quite lovely. And I’ve been a bit slow in posting them – to the blog… So, here goes;

1) Imperfect – poems about mistakes an anthology for middle schoolers, edited by Tabatha Yeatts. (Available online here.) I’m chuffed to have my poem, ‘Scared of Cows’ included in this, alongside so many lovely Poetry Friday pals. Yes, as most everybody knows, the farm-girl-married-a-grazier is still scared of cows! (The poem is about my mistake – that led to this enduring fear…)

2) Author copies of the American edition of ‘Bully on the Bus‘ arrived. You may spot the difference quicker than I did…

Spot the difference!

3) ‘Big Blue Whale’ was included in the English for Primary workbook, for Year 7 students, published by Gyldendal Undervisning. It’s been paired with poems by James Carter and Kenn Nesbitt, to inspire kids to write their own shape poem.

4)  A lovely poetry swap from Amy LV. Along with her poem, a wish for ‘Today’, Amy, the Queen of Notebooks, sent 4 gorgeous notebooks. If this is what American notebooks look and feel like, I’m not surprised you all love them!! The paper quality! #swoons I have been meaning to give this notebooking a serious try – and now, thanks to sweet Amy, I have no excuses! Funnily enough, when reading Amy’s poem I was thinking there was little chance of pinecones in my day… and admittedly I wasn’t walking, BUT – on a drive two days later, I spotted a fat pinecone in the middle of the road! Made me smile. Thank-you, Amy, for your dreamy poem and gift – and Tabatha, for organising this fabulous joy-spreading swap. 🙂

Thank-you Mr Postman! I can’t imagine there will be anything anywhere near this exciting for quite some time, now.

And in a nice little touch of synchronicity, this week PoetryFriday is hosted by Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone. I wonder if her postal-person has delivered a little poetry swap package from me! Thank-you for hosting us, Molly!

 

Bystanders and Bullying – Longford Primary Presentation

The Northern region of the Tasmanian Reader’s Cup used ‘Bully on the Bus’ as one of their set texts this year. A creative response component required readers to prepare a creative response to one of the books. The D’Reados, from Longford Primary School, chose ‘Bully on the Bus’ for their creative response, and not only did they achieve a perfect score for their dramatic presentation (Well done!) but they also had a strong impact on audience members, and later, online viewers, with their take on bullying – and the role of bystanders. Not a retelling of the book by any means – but a powerful presentation on the theme. I am so thrilled with what they have produced – and blessed/amazed by the fact that something I wrote has inspired such a thought-provoking representation!

Click the pic to view the video on Longford Primary’s Facebook page.

By being a bystander, you have the power, and the opportunity, to do something about the bullying.

Take that truth and spread it wide in the world, D’Reados! 

This post is a part of the Poetry Friday link-up around the blogosphere. You’ll find more posts at Poetry for Children when the round-up is collected on Friday.

Video Link; https://www.facebook.com/LongfordPrimarySchool/videos/2236538019696632/

Have Wheels, Will Travel

Good news! I’m rather thrilled to share that ‘Bully on the Bus‘ is chugging across the oceans, to Kane Miller Books. #PoetryFriday peeps, it will be coming to a store near you! After all this time. (Picture my very happy face. ☺)

Already reviews are starting to pop up like bus stops across the interwebs…

Like this review from https://heightshappiness.com;

And in a world where too often fists and weapons are used, Beth Sluzewski (heightshappiness.com) also noted;

How beautiful is that? I’m touched and honoured that something I wrote, prompted that beautiful assessment.

I’m hoping there has been joy in your week.

To read more great poetry posts, putter across to Carol’s Corner, (Thanks, Carol!) for the Poetry Friday link-up.

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)

Continue reading

The Younger Sun Bookclub – Too Many Friends

For their November text, the Younger Sun Bookshop Kids’ Book Club, in Melbourne, read ‘Too Many Friends’. After the reading and discussion, they sent me some questions – not just about ‘Too Many Friends’, but about some of my other verse novels, as well. I thought I’d include them in a blog post, in case other kids have similar questions.

Ella (right) wrote; We have just finished our Kids’ Book Club where we were discussing ‘Too Many Friends’ and the kids all LOVED it! They thought the poems looked a bit scary at first, but once they started reading they really loved the story and found it was just as easy to read as a regular novel.

I thought it was important to include this, because it’s something I hear often. The verse novel format looks intimidating… but isn’t! It’s not until you pick up the book and start reading that you discover this for yourself. That’s why wonderful booksellers like Ella are so important! I’m so grateful you supported these kids with such a rich introduction to verse novels, Ella!

 

Now – the questions…

..

Tori – Was ‘Bully on the Bus’ based on your life or someone who you knew?
(They are very excited to read your other two verse novels)

‘Bully on the Bus’ was inspired by some things that happened to my boys on their school bus when they were very little. I realised that what is scary for a small child sometimes isn’t seen as scary by adults. I wanted to write about a situation that makes kids feel sad or unsafe – and write it in such a way that the adults could understand their fear. Writing Leroy’s story sparked a whole lot of memories of things that happened on my school bus as a child – the words spoken and the tone of voice, the looks on the bullies’ faces, and the way they made me feel. I’d forgotten them for many years – but they were still tucked away deep inside.

Eliza – Why do you write about young people and not about adults?
(Eliza thought it was pretty incredible that you could write a young person so well when you’re not one yourself anymore! You must have a really good memory, she says.)

This is pretty special to hear, Eliza. Great observation! For the record, I remember feelings and atmosphere. But I’m not so good on precise details!

As to your question … I write about young people because they’re the stories that touched my heart with a need to be told. Being surrounded by kids has probably helped to give me the voice of varied child-characters. Many of the characters in ‘Too Many Friends’ were a blend of kids who have come through my classes over the years – with a little bit of me-as-a-kid in some of them, too. Maybe I never grew up. 🙂

Ruby – What got you into writing?

I fell down the writing hole when I was at home with my two young boys. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mum, but I needed something for myself, too. (Otherwise, I might have gone a little bit crazy!) We’d been reading heaps of kids’ books – but very few of them were FUN reads that accurately reflected our rural Australian way of life … so I started writing them. As my boys grew, so did my writing.

Rory – Why do you write verse novels and not regular novels?

I started writing picture books, and poetry. (What was I thinking?! They’re both very hard to sell!) Picture books are usually 600 words, maximum, though many of my PB manuscripts are 250wrds. Any time I thought about writing a novel, I’d panic. So many words!! How would I fill a book, without listing everything they ate for breakfast, lunch and tea?

Then I discovered verse novels. And loved them. And started writing them … and loved them even more! They’re not as overwhelming as a novel. Each poem is complete within itself. I can do that!

The first verse novel I started to write was ‘On Track’ – but I only wrote 139 words before I got overwhelmed and put it away … for 9 months! Then over the course of a month, it grew to 653 words … and was put away again for another long stint. It took 6 years to write ‘On Track’. I’m very relieved to say I have got much more confident and productive with my writing, since then! But I don’t know that I’ll be writing novels any time soon. Certainly not for adults! (I’ve still got too many verse novels in the works.)

Sebastian – Why are you scared of cows?

I think that saying, ‘Once bitten, twice shy’ was written just for me. I learn from my mistakes. And never forget …

Thank-you Ella, for co-ordinating the Kids’ Book Club, and introducing young readers to a new genre, then helping them unlock the treasure of a verse novel. I’m delighted you included ‘Too Many Friends’ – loved hearing the feedback and answering the questions.

I’m so glad you bookclub kids are keen to read my other verse novels, too. Sally Murphy, Lorraine Marwood and Sherryl Clark also write beautiful Australian verse novels, that I’m sure you’d enjoy!

For the full Poetry Friday round-up for the week, head over to Carol’s Corner. Thanks, Carol!

 

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Book Week Costumes

Book Week is this week – and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably just starting to think about costumes. Don’t panic! I’ve got your covered, with quick and EASY ideas for each of my verse novels. That gives you more time to do what we all love best, right? READ!!

Enjoy! 😀

Running out of time and in a spin? Shaun and Toby can help you get On Track! Mohawk optional – or DIY with own hair.

Don’t have a discus? Don’t worry! Two plastic plates are perfect. Or a round lid. Or a foam/cardboard circle.

Is this cheating? For simple, easy Book Week costumes? Personally I’m loving the cardboard cutout friend silhouettes.

If Book Week has crept up like a sly wolf, mask your panic with a #DIY mask. Click the pink to go direct to the templates.

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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!

Announcing the Winner – and Sharing the Cinquains

Today is the day to announce… the winner of the signed copy of ‘Bully on the Bus’.

Entrants had to write a didactic cinquain on the topic of bullying. There were some fabulous entries. (I confess, I wondered why I ever had this great idea to hold a competition, because picking one winner is always so hard!) Thankfully I had some help judging… because I could never have done it alone!

But first… the entries! (In order of appearance.)

Power
Excessive, cruel
Resist, repel, overcome
Good will overcome evil
Support.
(Loris Doessel)

Bravado
Offensive, nasty
Fight, harass, annoy
Their own worst enemy
Bully
(Loris Doessel)

Power
Excessive, cruel
Resist, repel, overcome
Good will overcome evil
Support.
(Lois Doessel)

Bullying
Hurtful, dreadful
Targetting, embarrassing, teasing,
No person deserves it
Pain
(Year 4Red SFX)

Bully
Mean, cruel
Laughing, hurting, targeting
Making others feel small
DJ
(Year 4 White SFX)

Bully
Big, cruel
Threatening, scaring, stealing
She wants the power
DJ
(Year 4 Blue SFX)

Leroy
Bullied, small
Sad, helpless, lonely
Always fearful when bullied
Victim
(G in Year 4 W – SFX)

Leroy
Small, calm
Hoping, praying, wishing
Will it ever stop?
Target
(T in Year 4W – SFX)

Meany
Stinky, smelly
Pinch, snarl, punch
Menacing act that hurts
Maggots
(MN)

Bully
Selfish, horrible
Spits, kicks, names
The worse person ever
Bus
(RB)

Courage
Fearless, brave
Stand, unite, support
Stop bullies in their tracks
Friend
(Louise)

Bully
Huge, Meanie
Kicking, shouty, unkind
Attack with road anger
Boss
(LC)

Bully
Big, fat
Punch, pick, push
Big bully rude kicks
Meany
(JB and KG)

Bully
Nasty, rude
Spitting, pushing, pinching
Annoying unkind punching boss
Meany
(RF and CE)

Popular
Smelly, stupid
Snarls, spits, kicks
Very rude dumb bully
Annoying
(SB and JB)

Bullies
Huge, hairy
Pinchy, pushy, picky
The big scary bully
Bossy
(ES, JS, CB)

Bullies
Grouchy, mean
Push, hits, pinch
Hurts like burning lava
Dragon
(AS)

Bully
Intimidating, sneaky
Pushing, lurking, threatening
Stealer of kids lunches
Tormentor
(rachchurlz)

And the winner is…

Bravado, by Loris Doessel.

Bravado
Offensive, nasty
Fight, harass, annoy
Their own worst enemy
Bully
(Loris Doessel)

A tight cinquain that captures the bravado of bullies – who truly are their own worst enemies. Well done, Loris.

But wait! There’s more!

I cannot go past an entry from a Year 3 student. It catches me every time with its controlled creativity – and though there are grammatical errors, I overlook them in my delight of the cinquain. I recognise the simile from ‘Bully on the Bus’ – but also appreciate the cleverness of a young writer who has shaped the words to perfectly fit a new situation.

Bullies
Grouchy, mean
Push, hits, pinch
Hurts like burning lava
Dragon
(AS)

My suggestions would be; change ‘bullies’ to ‘bully’, to be consistent with the singular ‘dragon’ – and change ‘hits’ to ‘hit’ for consistent tense. But keep the magic!

I will contact you both by email, and a signed copy of ‘Bully on the Bus’ will be heading your way.

Thank-you to everyone who shared their fabulous entries. It was wonderful to have your participation, and read your powerful words. There were so many cinquains I marked for their fourth lines, especially; ‘menacing act that hurts’, ‘stealer of kids lunches’, ‘she wants the power’,  ‘making others feel small’, ‘no person deserves it’ – and the unexpectedness of ‘attack with road anger’. You nailed it! And I loved the empowering angle that Louise took with courageous friends.

Bullying. No Way! Day, is next Friday … but we all know bullying is never okay!