I went to my local kinder for my fortnightly reading session this morning. I was running late and grabbed a handful of books to take with me. One of them was I Spy with Inspector Stilton by Judith Rossell.
Usually my main audience is girls with a couple of boys flitting in and out as their restless legs will take them, but today the balance was different. They LOVED Inspector Stilton, boys and girls both. I had boys fighting over the right to find the things on the page and several times had to halt the ‘finding’ to get the boys to remove their heads and bodies from the page!
After Inspector Stilton the boys stayed too, for me to read different books, ones from the kinder bookshelves. That led to a conversation about me having to go home and do some work, that work being writing stories.
I’ve been going to the kinder with this group all year, and it’s the first time most of those boys have come to join the reading with me, let alone ask questions about who I was and what I do. They were intrigued with the notion of someone actually writing stories as a job, and also with the idea that I’d brought books written by people I knew.
One other link…I’d taken Sally Murphy’s ‘Pemberthy Bear’ illustrated by Jacqui Grantford and also another story ‘Squeezy Cuddle, Dangly Legs’ Jacqui has illustrated. They were very interested to see a picture of ‘Pemberthy Bear’ book in ‘Squeezy…’ It seemed to make sense of the notion that books are created, do not merely appear.
I was in Port Melbourne today, for a reading of ‘A Nest for Kora’ in independent bookstore, ‘Readings’. Judith Rossell was there too, with sketches and original artwork from Kora.
We only sold one book.
So was it a success or a failure? How do you measure?
Readings have a great mail-out, and website, both of which featured Kora. They have signs up in the store, lovely eyecatching signs advertising the reading. Athina, children’ book buyer, and our ‘looker-afterer’ looked after us royally. And there was a para in the ‘kids & activities’ article in the A2 section of today’s Age newspaper.
We had a good turnout and children and parents seemed to enjoy the stories (asking for more, so I read my other picture book, ‘Ebi’s Boat’). It was a fun thing to do, share the story with a new audience. A couple of parents lingered and Judith and I spoke about the process of a picture book.
Because we will be there again on Tuesday, Kora stays front and centre in the children’s section of the bookshelf.
It’s all good.
I had a memorable booksigning about 12 months ago where not a single copy of the book I was there for was sold. Now there’s a challenging thing…how do you sit for two hours where your only two conversations are with a well-known non-book-buying chatterbox local and someone who tells you you’re folding your paper boats wrongly without feeling totally demoralised? (I was making the boats as a way to attract some…any…attention)
Judith Rossell and I were at Mockingbird Bookshop in Mont Albert yesterday for a booksigning for’ A Nest for Kora’. Judith illustrated ‘A Nest for Kora’. The bookshop also had copies of some of Jude’s puzzle books and my ‘Ebi’s Boat’.
Jude had brought offcuts of the paper she paints on and was drawing/painting wonderful little animals for children (and a couple of adults) on bookmarks. It’s not quite as easy for a writer to provide something to go home with, but I tried. I wrote some silly limericks based on children’s names and then made some paper boats. We sold some books and had a lovely time. Evelyn Snow, owner of Mockingbird Bookshop and her staff, looked after us royally.
It was memorable…this time in a good way.