FriYay! Good News.

It’s Friday again. The wheel spins so fast! But it’s so good to be here with poetry friends again. Because that wheels spins so fast, I’m going to jump right in with a little story and some good news.

My Dad told me recently he had a confession to make; he was a bit embarrassed by ‘Up and Down on a Rainy Day’. Half the words are either ‘up’ or ‘down’. One could maybe even question the skill required to write that. It wasn’t a judgement. And I was quite okay with my dad’s confusion. (My parents are both hugely supportive of my writing!)

After recovering from my laughter, I explained that the book was written to support reading in the first five years of a child’s life. We worked hard to match text and art to that brief. (I’d spent long hours deliberating the other half the words in the text!) But I truly could understand his confusion and embarrassment. Because it IS a very simple text! And yet, in that simplicity, and pared with the adorable illustrations by Janet Turner, so much about life on the farm on a rainy day (Oh the joy!) has been conveyed.

SpeechPath01

Click on the pic to read the full shortlist.

I’ve joked and said I’m therefore rather chuffed by this shortlisting. Because now Dad can hold his head high again!!😹 But in truth, I’m rather chuffed, fullstop. And I’m so proud of the team that got our book onto this list; the @statelibraryqld, whose wonderful initiative has landed a number of titles on the shortlist. And my lovely illustrator, Janet Turner (so exciting for your first picture book!) and editor @kristybushnell, who has played a significant part in so many of books – and same too, the talented designer, Jo Hunt.💕 

And I’m very thankful for the judges and speech pathology professionals who have poured their time and knowledge into reading and compiling this shortlist. Thank-you, Speech Pathology Australia.

My mantra in teaching – in life –  has always been; ‘Do less best.’ I kind of like that it also applies to writing, too. Be economical and deliberate with your word choice. Make every word count! And that there is poetry and picture books, in a nutshell. 🙂

Hoping your Friday is YAY! I’m sure it will be if you join us on the Poetry Friday rounds – with links being gathered by the lovely Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone. Thanks, Molly! Next week, when the wheel whirls round, you’ll find the round-up here!😺

 

Introducing Janet Turner

Jan is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup today at Bookseedstudio with the optional theme: Sing!  Does it work that I am singing Janet Turner’s praises? (I’m pretty sure you all know I’d also like to be signing in the rain…💦🙃) Janet Turner is the illustrator of ‘Up and Down on a Rainy Day’, published by the State Library of Queensland. I thought it would be fun to get to know a bit more about Janet, and her work.

Welcome to the blog, Janet. It’s been fabulous sharing the creation and launch of our picture book – your first book! I remember the arrival of my first book. It involved screaming. Lots of it. Can you give us a sneak peek into Janet Turner’s new book moment?

Well, mine is on record, so a little more reserved!! I first saw the finished book while doing an interview. (You can see the interview here.) It was so wonderful to see it full size and in print rather than through an iPad screen! My favourite part was sharing with my loved ones. I didn’t tell my partner Brandon that I’d dedicated the book to him, so it was very special seeing his reaction to that and the book as he’d seen the whole process.

You’ve worked on some other exciting projects prior to ‘Up and Down on a Rainy Day’. Can you tell us about some of them?

I sure have worked on some amazing projects! My favourite would have been while I was still studying at uni having the opportunity to create the visual identity for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Village. This included designing the logo and additional icons that were used for signage, information materials and merchandise across the village! The design took inspiration from the natural beauty of the Gold Coast (and Queensland). Thongs on the beach, a pandanus for rainforest, an Akubra hat for the outback, snorkel and flippers for the reef, a surfboard for the ocean and a sunset.

What was your medium/process illustrating this book?

I create my work digitally using an iPad. The process began by sketching out our main characters (including my favourite – the excitable pup). Once we settled on those, I worked to create small thumbnail sketches to map out the story, then turned them into final sketches. The fun bit came next… adding all the colour and really bringing the story to life!! A lot of inspiration came from my own childhood, growing up on the farm, and some gorgeous photographs from Kat’s farm! Kat and I both had Jack Russells in our lives, Jonty and Buddy, so the pup in the book was a tribute to them.

Have you spent much time on a Queensland farm? Can you share your favourite farming memory?

I haven’t spent much time on a Queensland farm, but I did grow up on a farm just outside of Inverell, inland northern NSW. I have so many fond memories of the farm, most of them spending time with dad feeding stock, fixing leaky dams or hunkering down in the wool while he sheared the sheep. I did love raising poddy lambs though, so that’s probably one of my favourites, especially when they remember you once they are back in the paddock.

What is your favourite thing to do on a rainy day?

Depends on the day… When it’s a cold rainy day, there’s nothing better than curling up in a blanket with a hot chocolate. I’ll most likely be illustrating away! If it’s a summer storm, I love nothing more than watching nature’s light show! I have a particularly good spot to watch them back on the farm on the veranda.

What is your favourite spread in the book – and why is it special to you? 

Argh, they are all so wonderful. I do love the family, dripping wet and muddy, coming home after a long day of fun on the farm. There’s just something special about seeing the family together like that. Honorary mention in the dam spread. There’s so much fun and it always makes me chuckle.

What is one thing you remember from Janet Turner’s first five years?

I’ve always been creative (even at a young age) and there was this one time I may have gone just a little bit overboard. I would have been 3 or 4 and found myself some blue paint. Not only did this paint end up all over me but also our front verandah. Needless to say, my parents weren’t too impressed! I sure had fun though.

Where can we find you online?
You can check out my Instagram @justjanet_creative or visit my website janetturnerdesign.myportfolio.com

Thank-you so much for sharing, Janet – and especially for those adorable photos! It was a lot of fun working on this book with you, and I look forward to seeing what you create next! (I’ve heard that blue verandah’s are making a come back! 😹)

If readers are looking for activities to go with ‘Up and Down on a Rainy Day’, don’t forget to check out the Rainy Day Stuff on my blog, where you’ll find finger puppet templates, a colouring page of the adorable Jack Russell dog Janet mentioned, and much, much more!

Up and Down on a Rainy Day – New Book!

This week I was thrilled to celebrate the online release of my second picture book – more than eleven and a half years since my first. (How thankful I am for verse novels in between. And more picture books in progress!)

‘Up and Down on a Rainy Day’ is a simple concept book for the very young, delightfully illustrated by Janet Turner and published by State Library of Queensland in the Stories For Little Queenslanders series. The adorable illustrations capture some of my best memories of rainy day play with our boys.

Stories for Little Queenslanders is a First Five Forever initiative, bringing fun, high-quality picture books full of familiar local places and animals to Queensland kids and their families…stories inspired by people and communities around Queensland. As a teacher, I have seen first-hand how parents who read and interact with their children, set them on a positive path through their schooling. It doesn’t matter how much education parents have had, or what their careers are – if they spend time reading with their kids, it shows! I’m thrilled to have a story selected in this new project that promotes Queensland stories – and the joy (and value!) of reading together during the early years. Cue the warm and snuggly (sometimes wriggly) memories of reading with our farm boys.

The project was birthed during COVID, and was a whirlwind ride to completion. But if there was one thing we needed during COVID it was a creative purpose! I’m thankful to have had this exciting project bubbling away. And to work with such a wonderful team. State Library has created a wealth of content to support the book – and the series. There’s online readings, audio books and digital version to download. There’s even a digital flip-book. As with all my books, I’m collating links in the dropdown tab of this site. Click on Books and scroll down to ‘Up and Down on a Rainy Day‘.

Activity booklet

Click to download.

Books in the series are available in all Queensland Public Libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres – and there are very limited hardcover editions available for sale at the State Library Shop.

Today, I’m uploading ‘Play by the Book: Up and Down on a Rainy Day‘ – a booklet with 16 different activities to engage young children and enhance the reading experience of ‘Up and Down on a Rainy Day’. (Think water-play, mud and fun! Also puppets, drama and colour.) These activities have been prepared with the support of Regional Arts Development Fund, Bundaberg Regional Council and Arts Queensland. I am so thankful for their support of creatives at all times, and especially during this difficult year!

2020 has been challenging, but I am incredibly thankful for this project. And I’m so excited to finally be able to share the news! It didn’t rain on the day it arrived in my letterbox. It didn’t rain on launch day. (We had 20mm in a cracker thunderstorm the day before, though.⚡️) When we get our downpour, you can be assured that I will be UP and down, celebrating!😅

This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted by Buffy Silverman – another kidlit poet who loves getting outdoors. Thanks, Buffy!

ping-pong ping-pong
even frogs
sing in the shower

© Kathryn Apel
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