February is Finished?

After a Month of Poetry in January, February saw me back at work on submissions and WIPs and generally discovering a whole lot of things that I still need to do! (And blogging was apparently not one of them…)

I created a little book of poetry for my Mum’s birthday, using the design Sylvia Vardell kindly shared. The book was made up of poems I’d written over the years, of experiences I’d shared with my mum – or poems I’d written about/for Mum. Most she’d already seen (some family funnies, and others serious and heartfelt) but it was just good to get them all together in one cute little space. And since Mum is short – and I am not – the ‘Little Book’ seemed appropriate.

This limerick is one of the newbies. Mum often laughs that when I went on Year 7 camp, all the other mums were leaning over, giving their kids goodbye hugs, but Mum was reaching right up to hug me. (Looking back at photos, I think she’d been doing that for a number of years, by that stage.😂)

A Short Limerick

My mum was not one to look UP to,
for reasons that she never 'up' grew.
Not a' tall!
She was small.
That's why she adopted the up-do.

(Yet still she is one to live up to.)

© Kathryn Apel - All rights reserved.

This post is me raising my hand for #PoetryFriday. As we welcome Autumn in Australia (though I’m not sure that I do – because what has happened to our Summer rain and much-needed February floods????😶), Linda is looking to Spring in her post hosting today’s round-up. (There’s a challenge there, too, if you’d like to try it.) Thanks, Linda!

Poetry at Sharjah International Book Fair 2018

I am really struggling with blog posts these days. It feels there are so many things I need to write in other places – most especially in my stories (LOVE), and the submissions to accompany them (Aaargh!) and blog posts just keep getting pushed to the bottom of the pile …

I do want to share some pics from my second visit to Sharjah – this for the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) which was even bigger than the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival. It was so good to go back again, and, with so many people in attendance, it was amazing to recognise people from my previous visit! It was especially lovely to have children and adults come up, eyes alight and smiles wide and thank me again for my sessions in April. One very busy day saw 50K kids pass through the doors, with a record 2.3million people in attendance over the 10 day event. (Sometimes just getting through the door felt like an achievement.😉)

All my sessions involved poetry – though sometimes it was more about creating than writing. We made jigsaws and tag poems and 3D poetry and poetry wall plaques. I especially loved the school groups that came through in the mornings. These were half-hour sessions, and I was astounded with how much we achieved in such a short space of time! The kids were awesome – so polite, and yet enthusiastic and instantly engaged with their ‘writing’ tasks. We talked and laughed lots – and they often delighted me with their witty way with words. I was also incredibly touched by the feedback from every teacher, who took activities away to use with other groups in their classrooms. And this beautiful comment from one lovely teacher, on finding out I no longer teach, but write fulltime and present at festivals, like SIBF; “It is better, you not working in one school. Now you can share your skills with the world.” 💞

Sharjah was beautiful! The people so wonderfully warm and welcoming. Sharing the adventure with lovely Aussie kidlit creators, Catherine Pelosi, Dee White and Claire Richards made the adventure even more enjoyable. As did the beautiful accommodation. This time I didn’t just see the beach from a passing car – I swam! And it was glorious! (I had planned to write heaps, in gorgeous settings … but talked heaps, instead! Networking … 😉 There truly were lots of discussions about a dreaded synopsis!!) I didn’t get out to the desert this time – or see a single camel… but I did get lovely views over the desert as I was flying out, so it was good to see it in this new perspective.

SIBF18 was another amazing event and adventure, and a delight to be involved! I could be tempted to go back… ☺️

This week I’m in for #PoetryFriday – and you can Live Your Poem and all things poetry at Irene Latham’s blog. Having just had a peep in preparation for linking this post, it would seem as if Irene has been busy in recent weeks, which included the news that her book, ‘Can I Touch Your Hair’, (in partnership with Charles Waters), was announced as a Charolotte Huck Honour Book. How exciting!

Edit: I had meant to include a link to the interview on Sharjah24 News. You can see me in hypo-bunny mode here;

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.

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 – primary and secondary. 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, working in a P-10 context, 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. ASA Rates for Author Visits are set to rise for 2018 – so book before December 2017 to secure your visit at current prices.

Complete the form below to to express your interest, and inspire your staff and students in the new school year. Other enquiries also welcome. 

More information: Author Talks

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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

Torquay School Visit

New books make for busy times!

Kat & Torquay poetry students

Some of the enthusiastic kids from the poetry workshop.

Last week I had a day with students at Torquay State School. There were author talks with three different class groupings, and in the middle of it all, a 2hr poetry workshop with about 30 keen and talented kids. We got through HEAPS of funtastic poetry exercises, with some very clever wordplay from the kids. Here are two that caught my eye. I just wish I’d thought to snap more pics!  Continue reading