Storytime goes live!

It’s happening! In August, my friend Jackie and I trained into Melbourne, to RMIT television studios to record the second episode of a new television series for Channel 31. As the title suggests, each episode features a story.
In our episode (Episode Two), I read my story, ‘There Was an Old Sailor’ and there are songs and activities. It’s just like a storytime at your local library…well except that Tall Ted is the link, rather than your local children’s librarian.

Each episode features an activity that can be downloaded from the website and completed at home.

And now the 12 episodes are ‘in the can’, the show will be shown around Australia via local Channel 31s. It all begins 9.30am Wednesday 8 December.

Our episode is the second one, so if you want to see my first ever television appearance, and Old Sailor, tune in 9.30am Wednesday 15 December!

Visit Tall Ted for more details about Storytime.

SCBWI November

Yesterday was a bumper SCBWI meeting attended by almost 50 members and non-members. We meet four times a year at La Notte Restaurant in Lygon St Carlton in inner Melbourne. Speakers included Wendy Orr who talked about the process from book to film for her story, Nim’s Island and Karen Tayleur shared the travelling from idea through manuscript to book for her latest YA novel, ‘6’. Karen, until recently wearing dual hats of editor and writer, was able to provide an insight into the unseen, showing us the pitch, the ideas before the idea for the cover and other secret publishing business. Okay not secret, but parts of the process that we’re not all as familiar with.

We also used the opportunity to present Glenda Millard with her Crystal Kite Award, a new peer-judged award for her novel ‘A Small Free Kiss in the Dark’.

Krista Bell and Gabi Wang talked about the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust and encouraged all to apply for Fellowships for 2012. They said that the Fellowships had been announced for 2011 but that applications for 2012 would open in March.

Pigeons Project fundraiser at Trades Hall

Thursday night Pigeons Project held a fundraiser at Trades Hall. The Pigeons Project is aimed at improving literacy and brings together authors and young writers in a collaborative story-writing project over 6 months. This year is the second year and we’re nearing the finish.

Lach and Jenna are hoping to raise enough money to put the stories and some of the letters which travel between the authors and children into a book.

Tony Wilson talks about collaborating with his young writer.


The annual YABBA ceremony was held in Williamstown this year (a lot closer for me than last year’s Frankston). YABBA is 25 this year, a great achievement for these children’s choice book awards. It’s lovely to be part of them, seeing the children and the creators of the books they love.

This year, authors and illustrators were asked to share a secret about their characters. I chose instead to identify the setting in one of my books as being Marysville. I hadn’t named the town my character travelled to, but now it’s like the old town can live on a little in my story…even if I’m the only one who recognises it!


The First Tuesday Children’s Book Group held its final meeting today for this, its first, year. Over the year we’ve looked at a wide variety of books: current and classic; commercial and literary, popular and obscure.

Without fail, the books have generated lively discussion. Some won over the majority, others polarised the group, with no fence sitters! We looked at poetry, verse novels, gritty realism and fantasy.

Next year we’ll continue much as this year except that at each meeting we’ll look at a picture book, a junior fiction and a YA fiction title. We have identified themes in choosing these books and will look at the way the same theme is tackled at different age levels.

From a personal point of view, I’ve read books I would never have looked at otherwise. Some I’ve loved, others I’ve loved less. But always it’s been fascinating to talk about what makes these books work for some and not work for others.

Highlights in 2010 books for me:

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Willie the Wimp by Anthony Brown
48 Shades of Brown by Nick Earls
Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor/Robyn Preiss Glasser
Pastures of the Blue Crane by Hesba Brinsmead