Monash KOALA Kids Book Club

 Last Wednesday I was invited to share ‘Seadog’ and ‘There Was an Old Sailor’ with young children at the Monash KOALA Kids Book Club at Monash Medical Centre.The bookclub aims to provide a spot of normal in the middle of medical treatment.

We read ‘Seadog’ then provided individual Seadogs with personalised coats. Then we read ‘There Was an Old Sailor’ before creating a Sailor with a wide open mouth. Sea creatures great and small then disappeared into his tummy, before being ‘burped’ out again.

It was hilarious, as Sailor was fed spaghetti with his seafood, via his open head. He then released his meal at the other end. Toilet humour. It’s a winner. Every time.

There he sails, over the sea – over the sea to Canada and the US

It’s true! ‘There Was an Old Sailor’ has arrived in Canada and the US, due for official release on Monday 3 March.

Isn’t he looking swell? He has a dust jacket and a kirkus review and all …

An aptly silly narrative and offbeat illustrations make this a successful new spin on an old classic.
— Kirkus Reviews, January 2014

Graduate Union Family Day

Renee Treml and I were part of today’s Graduate Union Family Day in Melbourne 

 Warren from Embiggen Books in Little Lonsdale St (opposite Wheeler Centre) was the able bookseller.

Monty, daughter of Warren was happy to have a pic taken, as long as she could keep feeding animals into her paper sailor.

Here Monty is trying to smile-as-instructed, while maintaining the supply of food to Sailor  

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Book Week

I love Book Week. A chance to share all the things I love about books and writing. And at Firbank Grammar on Wednesday last, I was able to share with the whole school. And more. The gorgeous preps wrote me some illustrated letters complete with custom-made envelopes. And in a bonus bonus, I met up with a childhood friend – not seen for (ahem) many years. Was lovely to have a very brief catchup.

On Friday and today, I was working with Year 8s writing War Poetry. They came up with some amazing images in their poems.

This Friday I’m off to Buxton to workshops with Preps, 1s and 2s. Love a sing and dance I do! So we’ll be reading stories, singing, dancing and making gates I think.

SCBWI Kilmore

SCBWI Victoria has quarterly meetings and each year one of them is in the country. It’s a bit tricky trying to site it somewhere that’s not too far away for Melbourne members to attend, while being accessible to as many non-urban members as possible. These meetings are also open to non-member local writers, illustrators, teachers, librarians, bookshoppers, and any interested others!

This quarterly meeting was in Kilmore. We met in a circular room attached to the library and shire offices. Our first speaker was Lorraine Marwood, talking about the impact of winning the Prime Minister’s Award for her verse novel, Star Jumps.


Second speaker, Kim Rackham, has recently qualified as an early childhood teacher and how her approach to story has been altered by both looking at books in an academic and educative way, and by working so directly with young children. She is new to speaking about her work, although not to writing. She spoke as if she’d been doing it for years!

Corinne King invited all to share in my recent Crystal Kite win. It was a lovely way to celebrate, with cake and sparklers in the midst of book people. The Crystal Kite Award is a peer-voted award, and ‘There Was an Old Sailor’ wouldn’t have won without the votes of SCBWI members. Thank you to them all. Thank you to Corinne for making me cry with her lovely words!


After a luscious afternoon tea, we reassembled to listen to Carole Wilkinson. She talked about her almost accidental introduction to writing fiction and non fiction. We heard about her writing practice (disciplined) and how she moves from idea to story. She also divulged the challenge of research – knowing when to stop researching and to start writing. Her Dragonkeeper books are wonderful and her non fiction fascinating. The afternoon, as always, sped by.

A group of us stayed after the meeting to share dinner then a smaller group travelled to Monegeetta for a writer/illustrator sleepover, and to solve all the problems of the book-related world.



The SCBWI is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural 2011 Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards.

The Crystal Kite Awards are given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to recognize great books from the 70 SCBWI regions around the world. Along with the SCBWI Golden Kite Awards, the Crystal Kite Awards are chosen by other children’s book writers and illustrators, making them the only peer-given awards in publishing for young readers.

Why am I posting this?
Guess who was the winner for the Australia/New Zealand region?


Yup. There Was An Old Sailor! It’s been a good week.

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.