Footprints on the Moon

It’s 1969 and Sharnie has just started highschool. She feels like her world is changing too fast and in directions she doesn’t understand. Man is about to walk on the moon. War is raging in Vietnam and here in Australia opinions about local involvement in the conflict are sometimes violently polarised. The people she loves seem at war with each other and she’s not sure what to think.

A new verse novel from Lorraine Marwood is something to be savoured. Devoured and then reflected upon. Revisited. Fast and slow. This, for me, is the strength of verse novels in general, and Lorraine’s work particularly. Verse novels offer as rich a story as any novel but cut away description and allow access to readers who struggle with prose texts. They offer all readers the opportunity to experience the best of poetry, with line breaks adding extra depth of meaning. They show young poets (and prose writers) that plain language, arranged in the best way, is as powerful as fancy words. Sharnie’s uncertainties and determinations drive this novel and bring to life a tumultuous time in our history as surely as they explore a girl exploring who she is and who she wants to be. Perfect for upper-primary, early secondary readers. Out February 21.

Iceberg

Picture books do not happen overnight. No books do. But man it’s exciting when they finally do make it into the world. What begins as a word or an idea, and grows and changes endlessly before submission. This story began as a poem which was published by The School Magazine over a decade ago. This rewriting, which took the sensibility of the poem and added seasons, food webs and more, was as fraught if not more than most picture books. I knew the ‘shape’ I wanted it to have, but I wanted to add the changing light (including the Aurora Australis), the wakening of phytoplankton, the explosion of krill numbers … everything! … all the way up to the appearance of the whales, all the while playing with the wonderful language of ice and icebergs. All in a picture book length text – in this case, just over 500 words.

But a picture story book needs more than words. Enter Jess Racklyeft and the team at Allen & Unwin. Jess’s ideas grew into sketches (and other technical idea-presentation forms that this non-illustrator only partially understands) and into the wonderful art that now fills the pages. Look at that colour! Look at the light, the atmosphere. Suddenly the words had music.

This is a visual ‘song’ I’m very proud of and very happy to be able to share with the world.

There’s not much that’s more exciting than holding a finished book in your hands. Except of course being able to share it.

Did you know?

I’ve been back working on my wip today and I desperately wanted to include ‘swash’, but no matter how many times I rework the lines, it just won’t fit.

UPRUSH - Definition and synonyms of uprush in the English dictionary

The shallow wave wash that pushes up the beach after a wave breaks has a name! I knew that the pull back was called backwash, but I didn’t know that there was such a thing as ‘swash’. What a great word!

Waves

I’ve finally accepted that – wonderful word though it is – there’s no room for it in this for this story. I’m a bit disappointed but perhaps now the story can move forward.

And I’ll store ‘swash’ away for use another time.