This week I left town and headed for the Riverland! Whilst there I visited the Berri Community Preschool. I spent time with the children, explaining the process of how books are made as well as the role of Assistance Dogs in our community. It was extremely satisfying to see the children, mainly four year olds, show such enthusiasm about both topics! The session continued for more than thirty minutes, a wonderful effort for such little ones.
Thank you to the Katrina and the fabulous staff for inviting and welcoming me. I was also thrilled to hear that, such was the interest, the children spent time afterwards drawing what they had learned with their teachers scribing for them. They are also going to do more work during the year to extend the children’s knowledge on Assistance Dogs and writing.
A very satisfying and enjoyable morning.
Photos used with permission.
This month I visited the Starlight Room at the Women and Children’s Hospital, where I spoke to the children, parents and teachers who came along to meet me and to talk about books. I read Next Door’s Dog is a Therapy Dog to the children, which suited the occasion perfectly, being about Monty the spaniel who visits a hospital and helps people to feel better. This was streamed through the hospital so that children who weren’t able to attend could watch from their beds.
After the session each child was given a copy of the book to take home. Thank you to the Starlight Foundation for inviting me and in particular to Captain Noisy and Captain Confetti, who made me feel very welcome. The Starlight Foundation do wonderful work and it was my privilege to be a part of it.
Last year I visited numerous schools, kindergartens and children’s centres and spoke with children from age four to sixteen about writing books, being an author, the process of how books are made and my love of reading.
Recently I received a lovely photograph from a centre that I visited, along with an email from the centre director, Jenny. Jenny explained that it was a highlight to see young Ava read her book in front of the group. She is a shy girl and this was the first time she had come up to the front! Thank you to Ava’s parents, who have given permission to share this lovely photograph and to Jenny for the invitation to visit the centre.
And yes, Jenny, I’d love to come back and do it again this year! You and your staff do such wonderful work with your groups to teach them about authors and the joy of books – and it shows!
For some time now I’ve been receiving requests from schools to write a book about bullying. It’s such an important topic in our community, so after a year of research and writing I feel pleased to have produced what I hope is an uplifting, motivational yet practical book for young people to read, in schools or at home.
In the same conversational style as my previous books aimed at this age range, We Can Deal With Bullying! aims at guiding young people along the path of asking for help, maintaining self-esteem, managing their reactions, standing united with friends and classmates and making safe, healthy and active choices.
Illustrator Kate Bouman has done a fantastic job of illustrations and the New Holland Publishers design team have presented the book so well,
This title will suit the classroom, school or family library, so I hope you’ll take a look and as always your feedback is very welcome.
I’m pleased to announce that the release date of Next Door’s Dog is a Therapy Dog is January 4th, 2020. I’m also very humbled by the huge amount of interest this book has generated. Therapy Dogs are much loved and play such a valuable role in today’s society, and I’m thrilled to be able to share the story of Monty the spaniel and the wonderful work he does.
To all the kindergartens and schools who have pre-ordered, your orders will be dispatched in time for the school year.
Thanks again to illustrator Vivienne da Silva, to Francesca at New Holland Publishers and to my fabulous proof-reading team. And of course to readers who continue to purchase my books, and send such positive and encouraging feedback. Very much appreciated and always taken on board.
I’m considering a fourth book in the Next Door’s Dog series and haven’t decided on the topic as yet. If any reader has a “dog job” topic close to their heart, or that they feel children would benefit by learning about, please get in touch.
January 2020 will bring the release of two new titles.
We are keeping things under wraps for the time being, but without giving too much away, the first of these is another in the Next Door’s Dog series, bringing the series to three, and is again beautifully illustrated by Vivienne da Silva.
The other title is a hot topic in schools and we expect to be able to provide more detail towards the end of this school year. New-on-the-scene illustrator Kate Bouman was chosen as illustrator for this title.
We’ll let subscribers know as soon as more detail can be released, and order forms will be available from late 2019.
The demand for 2018 release So That’s What’s Happening! has been consistently strong, so much so that the title sold out! Publisher New Holland took the decision to reprint in a high quality paperback edition. This was released in June.
I am thrilled with the response to So That’s What’s Happening! with some schools purchasing multiple copies of the title so that there are plenty available for students to borrow or use in the classroom. It’s companion book, So That’s How I Began! which is also humorously, cleverly and tastefully illustrated by Alex Mankiewicz, was released only this year and is already proving extremely popular.
Thank you to all who have purchased and for your kind words and reviews.
In June I decided to escape the city for a few days and breathe the country air. An offer of student workshops in a rural region was met with an excellent response, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent speaking and working with primary and high school students in a range of schools.
I was made very welcome by teachers and students, and met some very enthusiastic and talented young writers in my travels.
I look forward to visiting other rural regions in 2020.
May is an exciting month as both So That’s How I Began! and Next Door’s Dog Goes to School are released on the international market.
Amazon, USA along with many international booksellers are stocking the titles, and based on the sales in to date we are optimistic both will do very well.
On May 6th, I visited Belair Primary School to have “Meet an Author” sessions with eighty students. Many students showed a keen interest in writing and in particular the process from start to finish in creating a picture book and putting in a publisher submission.
Afterwards, interested students were invited to return for an optional question session. The highlight of the morning was that so many students wanted to participate, and each showed so much enthusiasm and had interesting and well thought through questions to ask. Had it not been for the lunch bell, the session could have gone on indefinitely!
Thank you to the wonderful teachers who organised the visit and to the students who participated. Thanks also for feedback, which makes the day so worthwhile. A few feedback slips have been included below.
I look forward to visiting other schools during the course of the year to motivate young people to write.
“You really inspired me to write more. Layla.”
“I loved your presentation and I would love for you to come back again. I love writing and I can never stop. Georgia.”
“The presentation was amazing. You seem very loving of what you do and you showed that through the presentation. Thank you for coming to my school today. Charlize.”
“You did well in the sense that you talked about yourself and connected it to your writing. I learned a lot about the real publishing process. It was good you read your book to us. Thanks for coming, Gina. Matilda.”
“Great job explaining everything. Tyler.”
“I really enjoyed the part where you read the books and it was really interesting when you explained the steps of writing a book. Joel.”
“I think your books are going to change the way people think about dogs that are service dogs. I think your books are awesome. Erin.