Great White Shark

Books, as I may have mentioned in the past, take a long time to take form. There are so many people involved, there are so many elements to consider. But it’s so fabulous when they finally get here. I have just received the rest of my author copies of Great White Shark and that means there is stock in the warehouse, ready to ship. Official release day is 14 August which is less than a month from today.

I can’t wait to share this book with readers. Cindy Lane‘s art is fabulous, beautiful and evocative. Our oceans are so magnificent and so important for we land-dwellers. Every ocean animal plays a role from the tiniest zooplankton to the enormous whales. Sharks are vitally important to the health of our oceans, and in the shark world, Great White Shark is the apex predator.

Sharks are awe-inspiring animals and endlessly fascinating. Did you know that great white sharks have roamed our oceans for many millions of years and their shape has changed very little.

Great White Shark is a new title in the Nature Storybook series from Walker Books Australia. You can see more titles in this series here

Mina and the Whole Wide World

Verse novels are having a bit of a moment and it’s lovely to see. I’ve long been a fan of this story form and of Sherryl Clark’s work. Poetry is often seen as a complex form, inaccessible to all but those who have the right decoding tools. While it is true that there traditional poetry can require some understanding of the tools to get the most from it, much of contemporary poetry is much simpler to read, much simpler to gain meaning from. It is no less skilled in the writing, but much easier to read. As with all writing, it’s the right words in the right order, and in the case of verse novels, its the right line breaks that make great stories.

‘Mina and the Whole Wide World’ introduces Mina who is super-excited about moving from the room she shares with her pesky younger brother into a room of her own. In her own room, she can keep her treasures safe from Georgie, she can dream about the world she will explore. Then Mum and Dad tell her that Azzami is coming to stay for a while – in her new room. And then they tell her that she is to watch out for him at school. Injustice upon injustice. And it’s not as if Azzami is helping at all – he hardly says a word. Slowly, Mina discovers Azzami’s story and her resentment melts away.

A wonderfully warm and empathetic story about family and refugees. ‘Mina and the Whole Wide World‘ with illustratons by Briony Stewart and published by UQP is perfect for newly independent readers.

Treasure!

About eight years ago, I wrote a picture book story based on an ‘auto-correct’ phrase. Not one I made, but one that another poet conjured when we were part of a summer poetry blog called A Poem A Day. A Poem A Day was set up by Kat Apel and ran every January for several years. (In fact it continues still, but in another form). I have a whole folder full of poems written over Januarys past.

But I digress. I don’t recall who the original poet was (feel free to remind me if you are reading this) but I did ask permission to play with the phrase that became ‘a bag of pirates’.

Imagine, I thought, if you found a bag of pirates on the grass close to your house. Imagine if you took them home, like so many stray kittens. Imagine if, instead of being grateful for your cleaning and mending and feeding, they took it for granted and then began to wreak havok.

And that’s what I did. I imagined the trouble that could fill the house if pirates roamed unchecked. Clearly, someone had to take charge.

About four years ago, Ana Vivas at Scholastic thought it would make a fun and funny picture book. Tull Suwannakit imagined my pirates and added a very curious extra character. I laughed out loud everytime I saw a sketch or a colour page. His work is so fabulous! Along the way A Bag of Pirates became Treasure!

And here, finally, on April 1, Scholastic Australia, Tull and I are more than happy to share Treasure! with you and yours. It’s bright and shiny, colourful, silly and fun and rhyming.

Ta-da!