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.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stinky, smelly
Pinch, snarl, punch
Menacing act that hurts

Selfish, horrible
Spits, kicks, names
The worse person ever

Fearless, brave
Stand, unite, support
Stop bullies in their tracks

Huge, Meanie
Kicking, shouty, unkind
Attack with road anger

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

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

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

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

Grouchy, mean
Push, hits, pinch
Hurts like burning lava

Intimidating, sneaky
Pushing, lurking, threatening
Stealer of kids lunches

And the winner is…

Bravado, by Loris Doessel.

Offensive, nasty
Fight, harass, annoy
Their own worst enemy
(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.

Grouchy, mean
Push, hits, pinch
Hurts like burning lava

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!

Competition: Bullying. No Way!

BullyCoverOn 17th March it’s Bullying. No Way! Day.

To help spread the message that bullying is never okay, I am giving away a signed copy of ‘Bully on the Bus’. For your chance to win, write a didactic cinquain that fits the theme of bullying. Not sure what a didactic cinquain is? You can read more here.

All you need is 11 words. (But don’t name any bullies!)

Example Cinquain

Click the pic for more info about didactic cinquains.

How to enter:

  1. Entry is open to Australian residents only – kids or adults.
  2. Post your cinquain as a comment below, or as a comment on my Instagram post.
  3. Entries close Wednesday 8th March 2017 – midnight.
  4. Winner announced 10 March 2017.

Judging will be conducted by a panel. Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Poetry Olympics – Join In!

My poem in the latest edition of Countdown, 100 years of School Magazine.

My poem, illustrated by Tony Flowers, in the latest edition of Countdown. 100 years of School Magazine. Could this have been an Olympic gold medal winner…? 😉

Who knew that poetry used to be an Olympic sport? From 1912-1948, Olympians competed in The Arts, which included architecture, sculpture, painting, music and … literature. Medals were awarded for works inspired by sport. In fact, founder of the Modern Olympic, Baron Pierre de Coubertin is a previous gold medal winner, with his poem, ‘Ode to Sport’ (1912) written under the pen-names Georges Hohrod and M. Eschbach. For the musicality of it, I like stanza VI,  but IX sums up the heart of the Olympics.  Continue reading

Science Week Sci-Ku One – Grey

-Users-KatApel-Desktop-Screenshots 2015-08-17 at 9.17.46 amIt’s National Science Week in Australia. The Royal Institute of Australia’s Science Channel is running a Sci-Ku competition, closing Sunday, 23 August. Sci-ku is a really cool name for a science-based haiku (Love it!) and entries need to reflect the theme, ‘Making waves – the science of light’.

There are three categories: Primary, Secondary & Open (no age limit – so jump on board teachers!)

Details can be found on the RIAS website; Follow the entry guidelines link for all you need to know about writing sci-ku. (Teachers, that definition of haiku is EXCELLENT (!) so click across and read it.) Continue reading

PS: Dimity Powell Blog Tour

Today I welcome Dimity Powell to my blog, to talk about her FIRST book – the newly-released, PS: Who Stole Santa’s Mail? 

Congratulations, Dimity. Such an exciting time for you! What a wonderful Christmas YOU will be having this year – if no-one steals Santa’s mail, that is. 😉

Today Dimity is going to be talking about the writing process – and how this first published book has inspired her to continue writing…

Over to you, Dimity.

I began writing when I could properly master the pencil grip. It’s been a continual exploration and accumulation of words and wisdom since that momentous day in kindy. I remember jotting down kids’ book ideas whilst on watch on a super motor yacht as we cruised across the Atlantic, thinking, I’ll write about these properly one day. One day, began around 2008 when I decided to equip my writing satchel in earnest. This is when I really committed to the whole ‘process’ of writing. I did courses, attended workshops, seminars, submitted work, entered competitions, listened carefully, read more, gave up paid employment and last year even learnt how to use Face Book! It’s been a good trip so far. But the training never ever ends.

Hearing the words sing in perfect unison and being moved either to laughter or tears by them is my greatest joy in writing. This is what I want to improve on and most importantly share with children.

Getting it right is the hardest part of writing for me. And finding time for it. I can’t seem to clock on and off to write. I have to write when I can but also when the words want to be written. The two don’t always want to play together.

I don’t think writing is that easy, even when you’re good at it. It involves discipline, skill and technique, and remembering when best and how to use them. But it is easier than most sports for me…I have no eye hand coordination!

The publication of P.S. Who Stole Santa’s Mail? has encouraged me to get on with a second chapter book I began a couple of years ago. I need to reacquaint myself with the characters and their saga before I know if it’s going to ever see the light of day. Creating picture books is my passion. I would love to see a picture book of mine on a shelf somewhere someday. I enjoy writing them and can produce one in days when the fancy strikes, but it takes me ages to perfect them, sometimes years. I am currently polishing a few picture books and short story ideas.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts – and joy – with us, Dimity. Wishing you wonderful sales, and many more exciting publishing opportunities.

PS:  Have a Merry Christmas!

In conjunction with this blog tour, you can go in the draw to win one of three copies of the book PS: Who Stole Santa’s Mail. Send the answer to this question: ‘What do you think Santa wants for Christmas?’ to In the subject line put, PS: WSSM entry. The competition will close at midnight on November 30th  2012. All entries will be assigned a number, and that number will be put in a draw. The winners will be notified by email.

PS: Who Stole Santa’s Mail can be purchased at your local bookshop, or a signed copy is available from You can get to know Dimity at; Dim Writes Stuff.

To follow Dimity on her blog tour, click the links below;

Kids Book Review 17 November
My Little Bookcase  18 November
Sheryl Gywther  19 November
MPA Australia 20 November
Kat Apel 21 November
Elaine Ouston 22 November
Renee Taprell 23 November
Alison Reynolds 24 November
Buzz Words 25 November
Christine Bell 26 November
Dee White 27 November
Jackie Hosking PIO 28 November
Alphabet Soup 29 November
Angela Sunde 30 November

Catty Competition Cat-tures Cats to Purrrrfection!

Thank-you to all our wonderful entrants in the Catty Competition. I can only say I’m glad I’m not responsible for the judging – because just two entrants were in when I knew it was beyond me! It’s over to Heath and Alison for that.

For now I give you… The Cats – in order of appearance in my inbox.


And the winner is…

Heath:  For some reason, I like the last one that is just a sketched face – great eyes!

Congratulations to Branyon – and all the other talented artists who got in on the fun, and shared their purrrfect pictures with us! Thank-you also to Heath and Alison for visiting the blog and being a part of the competition. I have been on author visits in schools the last couple of weeks and have overheard lots of positive things about your Marmalade in my travels. Which made me smile… 🙂 

Let’s get Catty – and a Competition!

Today, I’m going to be a little bit… catty. I’m hosting a cat book on my katswhiskers blog, so we’re running to a theme… and running a competition! (Today’s competition is a little bit different to the other competition that’s running throughout the blog tour at

But firstly, welcome Alison Reynolds and Heath McKenzie – and congratulations on your dreamy new picture book, ‘A Year with Marmalade’.

Thanks very much!

Thank you, Kat!

To start the ball rolling… In keeping with the blog, can you each tell me one thing that you think is… the kat’s whiskers? (Or mayhaps it’s the cat’s whiskers.)

Perhaps my new baby daughter, Ava!

Oooh. Lovely! Congratulations, Heath. I’m sure Ava is the kat’s whiskers!

My family and dog. Although I’m not sure if the dog will like being referred to as the kat’s whiskers! 

Haha! Now that could be a little bit catty, Alison. 😉

Where did you find Marmalade, Alison?  Is he the type of pet you would want to keep forever?

When I was little I had a very special green-eyed cat called Charlotte. I feel as if a cat based on her was just waiting to pop into my mind. I was brainstorming book ideas with my publisher, and we wanted a sort of self-contained character, which is a very cat-like characteristic.  I definitely wouldn’t want to give Marmalade away. I spent half my childhood unsuccessfully trying to convince my parents to let me have another pet.

Alison, is Marmalade one of those cats who willfully does his own thing? Or does he have a soft and smoochy side?

Marmalade is a mixture of snuggles and snarls. He is very independent, but wants to be included and loved. Much like most of us!

Not being an artist myself, I’m always fascinated by the Illustrator’s process. Heath, there’s a lot of whitespace in this gentle, breezy book – almost a touch of whimsy. What influenced your decision in terms of colour and whitespace – and characters?

I felt a simpler approach would suit this particular story – something gentle and not too over-thought or designed. Hence the approach of letting the line do most of the talking and leaving colour to make a single statement in each image.

What I find particularly interesting, is that the children (Ella & Maddy) are line drawings – not colour. Yet Marmalade, who would seem to be of equal importance to Ella, is colour. As is background. What is the artistic reasoning behind this, Heath?

Given a big and striking part of the different seasons, from a visual point of view atleast, is the many distinct colours that emerge each year – colour was always going to be the best way to highlight the changing seasons (and then a little extra here and there where an image might not have a direct seasonal element to focus on!)

As for Marmalade’s colour – for a long while, Marmalade wasn’t in colour but ultimately it was decided Marmalade, being the key player here, might need to stand out that bit more – and fair enough too!

The seasons! When you say it, it is of course, very logical. (I feel a bit of a scatterkat for asking!)

Alison What five individual words best describe Marmalade?

  1. Watchful
  2. Awkward
  3. Fun-loving
  4. Loyal
  5. Purrfect

It’s the ‘awkward’ makes Marmalade so real and loveable, Alison.

HeathI’m hoping you have that cat-like quality of landing on your feet, because I’m going to throw you a challenge… I’m pretty good at drawing the katswhiskers (to the right -> ) but that’s my limit. I’m hoping you can extend my repertoire a bit, and skill me up on some other cat moves.

To help you out, I’ve listed some catty emotions I thought you might cat-ture!

  • ’fraidy cat
  • ecscatic cat
  • purrrrfect cat
  • catastrophic cat
  • caterwauling cat
  • cat-ching cat – on the prowl

They’re gorgeous, Heath!! So much personality on the page.

Now it’s over to you, Alison! What can YOU do with Heath’s examples? (Yes – I am asking you to draw a cat pic for us. :P)

I’m no scaredy cat, Kat. But remember, I never claimed to be a artist!

A very catatonic cat, Alison. And clever word play. Well done, you!


READERS:  This is your chance to get catty!

1.  Draw your best cat picture. You can have a bit of fun with it like we did.
2.  Email it to; contactkat @ optusnet . com . au (no spaces) by 8pm this Friday, 17th August, and
3.  YOU are in with a chance to win your own, signed, original Heath McKenzie cat picture!

Please keep cat files less than 300kb. 

Your pictures will be posted to the katswhiskers blog on Sunday, 19th August, when we will also announce the winner, as decided by Heath and Alison.

So – pick up a pencil, pen or piece of charcoal and get drawing!

Want to read more about ‘A Year with Marmalade’? Follow the blog tour;

A Year with Marmalade Blog Tour

7th Aug Dee White;
9th Aug Karen Tyrrell;
11th Aug Tania McCartney;
13th Aug  Pass It On;
14th Aug  Kathryn Apel;
17th Aug  Dale Harcombe;
20th Aug  Peter Taylor;
22nd Aug  Susan Stephenson;
23rd Aug  Robyn Opie Parnell;
27th Aug Sally Odgers;
29th  Aug  Angela Sunde;
31st Aug Chris Bell;

Looking forward to seeing your cats! >^,^<

CYA – No Cows Illustrations

Meeting Cath (@SquiggleMum) was a wonderful thing.


Two weeks ago I flew to Brisbane to attend the CYA Conference – for those in the Children’s and Young Adult’s publishing industry. The main reason I dropped everything and flew is because my verse novel manuscript, ‘Bully on the Bus’ was winner of the published author category of the CYA Competition.

If you’ve missed that news, you can read more On Verse Novels, Bullies and Wonderful Wins. I’m still smiling – but have also been busy applying insights gained from my face-to-face meeting with Zoe Walton (Publisher – Children’s & Young Adult Books at Random House Australia) who judged the published author section. It’s amazing the big difference that small details make.

One of the many wonderful things about attending the CYA was being able to view first-hand the artwork that my story, ‘No Cows!’ had inspired in the Illustration section of the CYA competition. Now you too can see it, because the pics have been posted to the CYA website. Want to see a whole lot of rural Australian illustrations, with beefy cows, stockhorse and cattle dog – and a bird in the herd that stalks as it walks, eating slugs and the bugs that the herd stirred…?

Click here –>  No Cows! (& other illustrations) – CYA 2012

Love those beefy cattle! 🙂

Click to look at artwork inspired by No Cows!

Madness – Through Round One

Quick update on the March Madness knock-out poetry tournament.

I’m relieved and delighted to say that I made it through Round One of the March Madness – which was a tough battle against a great poem by Carol Wilc. I am now in the next ‘anxious wait’ period – waiting for my next word to be posted. In Round Two, I’m up against Laura Salas, who won Round One with her ‘knack’ poem.

As with all things to do with children’s writing, I am finding the competition to be fantastic fun and friendly! The children’s writing crew has always been one big happy family, and whilst I hadn’t met many of the #MMPoetry crew prior to this event, I am again enjoying being a part of a wider kid-lit community.

A fantabulous event over at Ed DeCaria’s Think Kid Think blog. I hope you can follow us into Round Two!