I am delighted to share the cover of my upcoming verse novel with you. Illustrated by Mandy Foot and published by UQP, What Snail Knows will be releasing March 2022 in Australia.
Some of the words that have been used to describe it thus far include; delicate, gorgeous and whimsical, pretty and fairytale. I’m utterly charmed. But don’t be fooled – because there’s toads and things inside! But mostly, there’s a sweet and sensitive little girl called Lucy. And Snail. So much Snail!💕
A moving verse novel for younger readers about a shy girl coming out of her shell with a little help from her pet snail.
Lucy and Dad move a lot, so it’s hard to make friends. Luckily, she has Snail, the perfect pet for a lonely girl. If only she had her own shell to hide in each time she started at a new school.
But this place is different. She likes her teacher, Miss Darling. She likes her classmates, especially Tahnee. She even likes Mei-hui’s van park, where she lives with Dad and Snail. This place feels like home. But can she convince her Dad to stay?
A story about making friends and finding where you belong.
Special shout-out to the lovely Linda Mitchell, who messaged me offering to be a beta-reader at a time when I was swirling in doubts. If it wasn’t for you, this manuscript might still be hiding in the snail shell that is my computer. And that’s the truth! 💕
No poem from me today – just this gorgeous cover, and the promise of many more poems inside!
Mary Lee is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-up, which promises many more poems, too. You’ll find it here; https://ayearofreading.org. Thanks, Mary Lee!
The lovely Irene will help you Live Your Poem – and share fabulous poetry inspiration from the whole Poetry Friday gang. Have a tigerific weekend. I’m excited for next week – a whole week talking books and poetry as author in residence at St John the Baptist Catholic Primary School … Swoon! Purrrrrfect!)
I’m also excited to say that I’ve had a sneak peek at the new Australian verse novel resource that a small team of us have been working on – and it is amazing! I’m so excited that it is almost ready to unveil for the world. I’ve always known Australia has a rich history in verse novels, and appreciated the support of my publisher, UQP, who are so much a part of that rich history, but who knew that we (Australia) have published so many for children!
Here is an interesting fact I learnt this week, in a blog post by Steven Herrick on the release of his new novel, ‘How to Repaint a Life’. Steven writes;
I’d like to acknowledge Leonie Tyle and UQP, who twenty-five years ago had the courage to release the first verse novel for young adults ever published in Australia. They followed this a few years later with the first verse novel for children ever published. Both were happily written by me.
Catherine at Reading to the Core has the Poetry Friday round-up for today. And I have lads home at intervals over the weekend, and a plan to enjoy our short time together again. But I will look to catching up with your posts, even if I don’t get to comment much this week. Whatever your weekend involves, I hope it is wonderful!
I’m drifting in a little early this week to share news that one of my poems has taken flight on the Dirigible Balloon, a new UK website featuring poetry for children. For something a little different, there’s also a reading of the poem, from me. You’ll find it here; https://dirigibleballoon.org/poem/Hooroo
Dirigible Balloon, created and curated by poet Jonathan Humble, is quickly soaring to success. Maybe you’ve got a poem that would enjoy the ride, too?
I’m sneaking in early with this post – but Laura will be collecting links on Friday at Laura Purdie Salas. Thanks, Laura!
I wrote this golden shovel last year on Day Five of the Poetry Pep-Up – but I’d already shared my ‘How Do You Like to go Up in a Swing’. I wasn’t sure this was finished, so I didn’t share it… and forgot about it, until I stumbled on it this week.
With distance, I can say it is finished. Sharing it today – because we can never have enough sweet words.
Denise is hosting the Poetry Friday link collection this week at Dare to Care. Thanks, Denise.
I’ve been engaged in some wonderful poetry discussion on Twitter in recent days, about the value of poetry – and the age-old conundrum of poetry being a hard market to crack. Neal Zetter pointed me to his recent blog post, outlining his plan to make poetry more visible – starting with the bookshops. Worth a read! 🙂
Last week the Poetry Friday crew were sharing What the _______ Knows poems, thanks to a Poetry Peeps challenge – but because I’ve been erratic with my Poetry Friday posts, I was behind, and missed it. I loved the prompt – and felt a double connection to it, because my next younger reader verse (releasing March 2022) is called, ‘What Snail Knows’. (Readers of ‘Too Many Friends’ might remember Lucy, a very quiet little character from that book who had a pet snail… that looks like a snail… called Snail. Well – this is Lucy’s story. And Snail’s.)
The topic of my poem is therefore pretty obvious. The outcome of my first poem (the second one here) is not! (I broke form with one line – and then the title, too – because I’m pretty sure the average snail does NOT know this! Nor do I speak from experience on the matter – since I. Could. Not.)
What a Snail Knows
What does a snail know?
Don’t be like a garden worm.
Put your foot down, then stand firm!
Snails glide – but earthworms squirm.
What does a snail know?
Wonder sets your eyes on stalks,
so take the t-i-m-e to have a gawk.
Sssslowly ssssslide. Don’t run. Or walk.
What a Snail Does NOT Know
What does a snail know?
The freshest seedlings taste sublime,
To munch a morsel is no crime –
unless they track your trail of slime!
What does a snail not know?
When simmered with a splash of lime,
or sautéed with a sprig of thyme,
it’s said that snails taste sublime!
Spoiler alert: Snail does not meet with thyme or lime in my verse novel!
In other news… I was recently interviewed for the Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) seasonal magazine, ‘Ruth’. The Spring edition with the three-page article about my writing journey – especially in relation to ‘The Bird in the Herd’, is out now! I wasn’t familiar with the magazine – but having seen it, I’m impressed. It has lovely, thick paperstock and feels (and sounds) quite edible. Such a great variety of articles, too. Very real! Not a gossip magazine.
AND in a lovely snail-mail day… ‘Bully on the Bus’ went to reprint again, and I am actually quite chuffed about this – because I was looking at the imprint page, and there’s a lot to like about that!
Heidi has the Poetry Friday link-up this week – so make like a snail and slide across tomy juicy little universe for some tasty morsels. (Or some stalky-gawks.)
Yesterday I commented to my husband that one of the poetry forms that brings me the most joy would have to be the tetractys. It’s just the right balance of challenge and choice. Form and freedom. Rhyme – or not. I often rue the fact that I don’t write enough just-for-fun-poetry these days, and I miss it. (!) The tetractys that prompted my comments wasn’t just for fun… but it was fun to write. And that’s when I realised that I was smiling – and breathing a little easier. And it’s always that way when I play with the tetractys. Those interlocking patterns unlock my jumble of things-to-do.
So – just for the joy of it, here is a tetractys that I did write just for fun, and just for friends. YOU!
Welcome! Yes – Poetry Friday is coming to you from Downunder, again. While you have come to share your Poetry Friday links I thought I would share pics and poems of my pets. We are down to five pets in this house; one cat and four snails. (It’s the first time in more than 10 years that we haven’t had guinea pigs.) Hubby keeps telling me, no more pets. But the snails slipped under his radar – and they are the easiest pets! (And besides – they’re a writing resource!😹)
Why snails? We don’t get snails at our house. In years past, the boys always rescued them in their hoards from the side of the road, during flood season. They were like living treasure. But I didn’t know you could keep a snail for a pet… until I wrote one into Too Many Friends (UQP 2017). (For sure, we’d have had pet snails before this, if I’d known!)
Last year I wrote a companion verse novel to Too Mandy Friends, (due March 2022) telling Lucy’s story. Since Snail is a big part of Lucy’s story, I had to learn more about snails – and especially, keeping snails as pets. In April I was helping my hubby extract a bogged buggy… and there were snails everywhere on the creek bank. Like, thousands! I was astounded. I very nearly brought one home with me… and later regretted that I hadn’t, because when I dived into edits on Lucy’s verse novel, I’d been asked to include more details about Snail! Two nights later we were going for a ride (🚴♀️), and I spied some smaller snails at our grid – much more suited for pet snails. I found one with similar colouration to Snail. Thing1 and Thing2 were so-named, because they were of a similar (smaller) size. And then there was Tiny. Smaller than a pea! (Clearly T1 and T2 are different types of snails, because they are no longer a similar size. T1 (and Snail) have grown heaps, and T2 (and Tiny) have not. (Tiny is still smaller than a pea.💚)
T2 is also less adventurous than the other three – which is why he missed a ride on the snail train that they got going on a recent rainy day…
And then we have SavvyCat. And another ‘moving’ poem (or two) inspired by a pic I took on a walk to the mailbox last week. If ever a picture speaks a thousand words, it’s this! Savvy was a reluctant participant in this walk – though he came, on his own accord. Every photo captured his disgruntled face and twitching tail.
When we got to the letterbox and he heard the cars whizzing past on the road, he found his quick-sticks and led the way home again for atleast 100metres. (Then lagged and nagged for the next 900m.😹)
Do you poeticise your pets? They’re wonderful inspiration. Handy photography subjects, too. And we know them, so well!
FOR THE KIDS!
If you’re at home for lockdown (and even if you’re not!) you can capture your pet in picture and poetry. You don’t need any special editing programs. This is just done in Word.
Open a blank Word document.
Insert your pet picture.
Insert a text box. (You may need to right-click and Wrap Text > In Front of Text.)
Write your poem in the text box and format it so it is easy to read.
When you’re happy with your layout, snap a screenshot.
If you can share it on Instagram, use the hashtag #petpicpoem – and feel free to tag me; @Kat.Apel.
It’s that easy! (Your #petpicpoem would also look fabulous printed on canvas, on your wall! #justsayin) If you don’t have a pet – you could poeticise a backyard/balcony bird, or a lounge lizard. Even a bug!
If you’re wanting some more poetry inspiration, join us on the Poetry Friday rounds by clicking the link below. If for some reason the linky isn’t working (It has been clashing with my WordPress blocks (Aren’t we all!🤦♀️)) then this link should get you across. InLinkz Poetry Friday Link-up
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.
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!😺
I blogged earlier in the week about ‘Celebrating Our Stories‘, a speaking tour I ran with the support of the Gladstone Region Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). A wonderful added bonus was the opportunity to speak at a number of other community and school events whilst I was on tour. And many of these included poetry!😻 I presented a professional development for early years educators in the Gladstone Region, titled, ‘Poetry Through Play’ – ran a poetry workshop for the Gladstone Region Home Schooling Network – with parents and kids, which was rather special, and ran additional workshops/author talks at a number of schools where we were ‘Celebrating Our Stories’. AND I have more school bookings as a result. That is for sure something to smile about!
In Calliope I followed up with a talk about characters with Year 2. ‘Too Many Friends’ is set in a Year Two class – and there are some very different characters in that book – who are quite recognisable as classmates in most schools I visit. The kids’ faces lit up when they heard about the push/pull toys, and saw the coconut helicopter that inspired ‘Chop Chop’ in the book. They were learning about push/pull toys in Science – and recognised force in action in an instant. (The Year Two teacher in me smiled gleefully, because there is a reason this story was set in a Year Two class!) Even more trippy… Sara, the lovely librarian at Calliope, was in my Year 2/3 class for almost two years, many, many (MANY!🤫) years ago. The Sara, in ‘Too Many Friends’? Well – she isn’t this Sara, but this Sara did inspire her name. To see her so active in her role as community librarian was super-special. (Pic here.)
To round off some busy months, I presented at the Capricorn Coast Writers Festival, in Yeppoon. Gorgeous location – on the beach! It was wonderful to be on a panel with Dr Anita Heiss and Allison Tait, both powerhouses within the Australian kidlit scene, talking about Crafting Stories for Children. I then got to do Storytime at the library – the first time I’ve shared all three of my picture books! (‘The Bird in the Herd’ had to be ordered in three times in the lead-up to the festival, because the lovely local/festival bookshop, Hannah Jones, kept selling out – in advance of the festival!💙)
My final session at the CCWF was poetry workshop for adult writers. I always love poetry workshops – but this workshop had a special feel to it, and by the end of the session, they had formed their own poetry group! Last weekend they sent me a pic from the first get-together. My heart…
By this time, my head was spinning from juggling everything, so hubby and I took time off in a rooftop tent in Central Queensland, in the middle of winter. We spent 2 nights in Byfield National Park, before heading across to Emerald, stopping at Blackdown Tablelands along the way. I took far too many pictures for my blog (far too many pictures for Instagram, even) – but do pop across to Insta, where you can sample a squidge in a five-part Rooftop Tent in Retrospect. (Or click on the links in the poem titles below.)
There were some breathtaking views, and stunning landscapes.
I should add, that the rain definitely didn’t dampen our spirits. We loved our rooftop tent – and I was ready for some laughs, after the busyness of previous months. For those vistas, I’d do it all again!
And now, I look forward to hearing about what all my Poetry Friday friends have been up to. I have missed this community! Find the link-up, and more poetry Reflections on the Teche. Thanks, Margaret!