First Public Reading of ‘The Bird in the Herd’

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: This week I took part in my first in-person, in real life, live (how many different ways can I capture the momentousness!😹) AUTHOR EVENT since my book tour in America in November 2019. Prior to Tuesday, my last in-person speaking engagement was a school presentation with Irene Latham and Laura Shovan, in Scaggsville, Maryland – and then the fabulous fun time shared with so many of you Poetry Friday friends at NCTE, in Baltimore.

But Tuesday, that all changed. And my day exceeded all expectations!!

What better place to share the first reading of this Australian grazing story than at BeefAustralia, in Rockhampton – the Beef Capital of Australia? I went to Beef to read our Aussie grazing picture book in the Kids’ Zone. (Yay!)

Then… I was asked to speak with Paul Cullin on ABC Capricornia, live from Beef (Cool!) …

And THEN (Yowzers!) I got to share our new book with the Prime Minister of Australia. And get the photos to boot! 

And from that, (Snowball!) I was interviewed by the Morning Bulletin … 

Talk about a busy day of networking! We did also get to check out some of the cattle yards and drone technology that my husband was keen to see. 

And yes, midst all that excitement, I did share ‘The Bird in the Herd’ with the kids! (Photos shared with school’s permission – thanks to my wonderful snap-happy hubby for grabbing these.) There are more pics, and a short video snippet on my Instagram page, here.

Happy, happy me! It is such a joy to be connecting with people and sharing my love of words again – but most especially, to be sharing it with kids!

A terse verse to capture the moment:

What Do You Get When You Share Your Latest Book with the Prime Minister?

Leader reader.

That’s me for today. Now flap fly and flurry over to wee words for wee ones where Bridget is collecting the Poetry Friday roundup. Apologies in advance, because I don’t know how many comments I can leave this weekend. The next 6 weeks are busy-busy-busy, and I’m just trying to keep head and body connected – and feathers, too! 

Fidget Feet Reading and Writing Prompt

Today I’m linking to a reading of my poem ‘Fit as a Fidget’, shared with some of the other happy hoppy contributors to HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING compiled by Janet Wang and Sylvia Vardell and published by Pomelo Books.

AND… I thought I’d share a writing prompt to follow it up.

Writing Prompt:

My fidget feet are fab – but there’s
some things feet cannot do.
That’s why it’s really handy to
have fiddle fingers, too!

Do you have fiddle fingers? Wouldn’t it be fun for those fiddle fingers to tap out their own poem? What would they have to say for themselves?

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge. Be sure to click back and read Robyn’s hiking poem ‘Trail Ready‘, also included in HOP TO IT! (Robyn has thought of absolutely everything!😅)

‘Too Many Friends’ Video & DIY Mother’s Day Gift Sorted!

My goodness! Life has been busy! I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve linked in for Poetry Friday. I’m just thankful that I’ve connected to lots of you through Twitter or Instagram, so I’ve not been completely out of your loop. It’s been wonderful to catch snippets of what everyone is doing with poetry and life – and so reassuring to see/hear from you! Keep keeping well … and keep sharing your joy and hope. The world is a better place for it!

I’m sharing a video for today’s post, hoping it’s helpful for educators and carers in this difficult time. I read a poem called ‘I Don’t EAT My Friends‘, from my verse novel, ‘Too Many Friends’, and I briefly chat about lollies, friends, pet-friends, then quickly share a poetry project for young listeners/writers … to connect them to their friends. You’ll find a friend template (and more crafty activities) under the Too Many Friends Stuff tab, above. Continue reading

Writing-Related Holiday Pics

There were so many reasons to take pics on holidays.

  1. Stunning vistas.
  2. I want to remember this forever.
  3. There could be a story in this …
  4. Sick hubby in isolation is missing all this! (!!!)
  5. Kids at school will love this.
  6. won’t believe this.
  7. I can’t believe I’m doing this!!!!
  8. And many more…

Here are some I took because;

….9.  Books … Words … Writing.
………(I hope I’ve found them all! Be assured I will edit and add them if I haven’t, because… #justso)  Continue reading

Collating an Anthology – with Kenn Nesbitt

oneminuteOne Minute Till Bedtime is an impressive collection of children’s poetry compiled by former American Children’s Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt. Whilst I wouldn’t encourage my students to drop off to sleep in the middle of class, we have been sneaking a few-more-than-a-few poems into our school days, and I speak from experience when I say this book is a brilliant classroom resource –  because it celebrates the FUN of poetry!

I had a few questions about the process of compiling a poetry collection, and I’m delighted to share Kenn’s insights with you…

Kenn, with One Minute Till Bedtime, you have put together an anthology that touches five countries. How did you know where to start – to draw poets from so far afield?

Kenn NesbittI’ve been writing children’s poetry for more than 20 years, and have met many, many poets during that time. Years ago I started keeping a list ofchildren’s poet I knew, and those I hadn’t met yet. When the opportunity to create this anthology came up, I was able to reach out to nearly 200 published children’s poets. I received submissions from over 160 of them.

What is the breakdown of poets/countries, as included in the book?

There are 132 poets in this collection. 100 of them are from the US, 15 are from Australia*, 13 from the UK, 3 from Canada, and 1 from Italy.

What sort of things (aside from being less than 60 seconds) were you looking for, when making your selections?

I was looking specifically for poems that would evoke an emotion. I am of the opinion that good poetry makes you feel something when you read it, so this was my key criterion in choosing the poems. Additionally, I was interested in poems that I felt were particularly well-written, regardless of style or form.

I love the diversity of the poems. There are some that could be considered almost a risk, going so far out on a limb … and that’s what makes you laugh out loud at the success of the poems. (Like April Haplin Wayland’s, ‘Rolling down the Hill’, and James Carter’s ‘What to Yell When You’re Trapped in the Belly of a Whale’. Delight!)

In addition to sharing the work of so many children’s poets from around the world, I wanted to show the diversity of poetry being written for kids today. That includes concrete poems like these, as well as poetic forms such as pantoums, haiku, abecedarian poems, free verse, humorous rhymes, and more.

How did you decide on the order of the poems, to balance length, type, themes?

With over 140 poems, I thought it would be a good idea to break the book up into sections, each with about 20-30 minutes of reading. This makes a book with seven sections, one for each day of the week, and each with a reading time of less than 30 minutes.

I also decided to begin each section with more realistic poems (e.g., poems about nature, seasons, etc.) and progress toward more imaginative and dreamlike poems, and poems about bedtime and sleeping. The idea here was to somewhat mimic the process of falling asleep.

With this in mind, I selected the actual order by printing out all of the poems and spreading them out on my kitchen table where I could easily see them and shuffle them around. I also wanted to pair poems together so that similar poems could share a common illustration on each two-page spread.

How super-talented and diverse is Christoph Niemann!? I love the quirky extra dimension his illustrations bring to each poem. Were there poems where Christoph submitted more than one possible illustration to consider? Can you give us a short insight into this collaborative process?

I agree. Christoph’s work is so clever and whimsical that you can spend as much time with the illustrations as you do with the poems. There were indeed a few poems where Christoph provided two illustrations for me and my editors to consider. For the most part, though, he worked with the publisher. I didn’t have any direct contact with him during the illustrating of the book, but I did get to see the early sketches and watch as the illustrations progressed.

You yourself have seven poems in the collection. Do you have a favourite amongst your own contributions?

If I had to select just one, it would be “Have I Told You?” I’m also fond of “Whew!,” “How to Fall Asleep,” and “What Do You Dream?”

And finally, what are some of your tips, to make bedtime reading a success?

I think the best thing a parent can do to make bedtime reading a success is to do it consistently as part of a child’s bedtime ritual, beginning at birth. Also, use it as an opportunity for discussion and learning. Children will have lots of questions as you read to them. It’s okay to stop and explain as you go along. This is a great way to expand a child’s vocabulary and their knowledge of the world.

Thank-you so much for the insights, Kenn, and congratulations on a job done exceptionally well!

…oooOOOooo…

* Links to Australian poets in One Minute Till Bedtime

My Niece Announces The Best Cat

*STOP THE PRESS*

I just received the most adorable email from my sister – so this week’s scheduled Poetry Friday post has been delayed, until next week. (And I was rather chuffed with it, so please do check back next week. 🙂 )

During my Month of Poetry this year, I wrote a (different) poetry  collection for each of my nieces. MissyK’s birthday was earlier in the year, so she had already received her collection. Recently it was LittleMissPurple’s birthday. Tonight my sister read one of the poems, a cat poem, to LMPurple. When my sister tucked LMPurple into bed, MissyK piped up, “I heard that cat poem and it made me think of this poem. Continue reading

Books Light Up Our World

I was asked to speak to a group of parents about what inspires me to write. The talk was being organised to educate pre-school parents of 0-5y0s about the value of reading to young children. Unfortunately given distance and timing, it wasn’t possible to be at the meeting, but I shared a few written thoughts about the inspiration for my books for younger readers, This is the Mud! and Bully on the Bus – and I also pondered why I, as a Mum, valued reading.  Continue reading

This is special!

It’s possible that THIS is why I wrote ‘This is the Mud!’.

I just thought I’d tell you that a Pyjama Angel working with a young boy who she has visited now for nearly 12 months loves ‘This is the Mud’. She has had a lot of problems getting him interested in reading and finding a story line he enjoys and she has now read it over and over on a number of visits – and he asks for more. It’s a great book J

Thrilled to hear it. Thank-you Cressida, for sharing.

Play School Repeat – This is the Mud!

If you missed the Muddy debut (with Hugh) on Play School, I am delighted to say that ‘This is the Mud!’ will be screening again (a Play School repeat) on Wednesday, 3rd November – in the afternoons.

That means, from 3:05 pm on ABC1 and 4:30 pm on ABC2.

You can get more information on the Play School site. And you can read about the excitement of the first Play School viewing by clicking this link.

Making a muddy splash on Play School.