This week the Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation announced our new Children’s Laureate for 2022-2023, Gabrielle Wang.
Gabrielle Wang is an Australian author and illustrator and our seventh Children’s Laureate. She was born in Melbourne of Chinese heritage. Her father is from Shanghai. Her maternal great grandfather came to Victoria during the Gold Rush.
Gabrielle has been an author for 21 years and has had 20 books published. She mainly writes for 8-12 year olds, but has written for older and younger children too. Her stories are a blend of Chinese and Western culture with a touch of fantasy.
I am absolutely delighted to invite Anne Goodwin back to my blog today. It is just over five years ago that her debut novel Sugar and Snails was published by Inspired Quill and I had the pleasure of her joining me to discuss the importance friendships — in person, virtual and in her novel.
At the time I had known Anne (virtually) for two years, but we’d also had the pleasure of meeting up in London (briefly) the year before when she revealed the (then still secret) book contract. I am honoured to count her as a friend.
My admiration for and enjoyment of Anne’s writing has only increased over the years. Since then, she has had another novel published and the publication of a third is imminent. I’ve lost count (she hasn’t) of the number of short stories she has published.
If you haven’t yet ventured into Anne’s writing, then now is the perfect time. During February, you can read the ebook of Sugar and Snails free. What a wonderful opportunity to get to know this amazing author.
Anne Goodwin is the author of two novels and a short story collection. Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Throughout February, subscribers to her newsletter can read Sugar and Snails for free: https://www.subscribepage.com/sugar-and-snails-free-e-book
About Sugar and Snails
At fifteen, she made a life-changing decision. Thirty years on, it’s time to make another.
When Diana escaped her misfit childhood, she thought she’d chosen the easier path. But the past lingers on, etched beneath her skin, and life won’t be worth living if her secret gets out.
As an adult, she’s kept other people at a distance… until Simon sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, the city that transformed her life. She’ll lose Simon if she doesn’t join him. She’ll lose herself if she does.
Sugar and Snails charts Diana’s unusual journey, revealing the scars from her fight to be true to herself. A triumphant mid-life coming-of-age story about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.
If you need a little more enticement, please view the trailer:
Find out more about Anne, or connect with her on social media via any of the links below:
Books make wonderful gifts at any time and Christmas is no exception. As a child, I loved nothing more than receiving a new book of my own for birthdays and Christmas. While I borrowed and read many books from the school and local library, there was something very special about having a book of my own to enjoy and treasure.
I loved breathing in the smell of a fresh, new book and feeling the smoothness of its fresh, new covers. But even more than that, I loved its promise of escape and adventure. In a book, I could escape the ordinariness of the everyday and participate in adventures at locations and with friends that I would never meet outside its pages.
If you are looking for a book to gift a special child this year, then I’d love to help you choose. In this post, I list all the lovely books I have reviewed or whose authors I have interviewed for the readilearn blog this year. These are only a small selection of wonderful books that are available.
A year of books on readilearn
In this list, I provide you with a short description of each book and a link to the post where you can find further information, including where to purchase the book.
Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to a new fun story time podcast I have just discovered. I’m sure you will love these fun, clever podcasts as much as I do. I gave this podcast a 5-star rating and recommend it for both classroom and home use.
Dorktales Storytime Podcast is great for the whole family to listen to together on family story night, on car trips or anytime. It is perfect in the classroom to promote discussion of stories, particularly when studying fairy tales and fractured fairy tales, stimulate imagination for writing story innovations and pure enjoyment.
Note: the information below was provided by Becky Flansburg as part of the Dorktales promotion, of which I’m delighted to be a part.
Anything that promotes a love of story, as this podcast does, gets my tick of approval. I have to tell you that I have listened to and thoroughly enjoyed all the episodes that are currently available and can’t wait for more.
Frequently on the blog, I bring you interviews with authors or news of new picture books. Today, I am delighted to let you know of a new anthology that is now available for pre-order. It will be available for purchase on 1 November and will make a special Christmas gift, or anytime gift, for children up to twelve years of age. I am extra-delighted about this one because one of my stories is included in it.
About the anthology
Tell ’em They’re Dreaming is an anthology of Bedtime Ballads and Tall Tales from the Australian Bush, published by Share Your Story under the leadership of Australian author Michelle Worthington. I previously introduced Michelle to you in an interview about her picture book Super Nicholas.
The 36 poems, stories and ballads were selected from submissions to a competition conducted earlier this year.
The clever prologue by David Perkins Forgetting How the Banjo Works is a fitting introduction to the stories and poems to follow. A tongue-in-cheek poetic tribute to the poetry of one of Australia’s most famous bush balladeers Banjo Paterson, it is fun, funny and perfectly captures the spirit of Australian ballads and the Australian ability to laugh at ourselves.
In addition to my ballad about a bully bullfrog, the anthology contains works by other authors I have interviewed, including Marg Gibbs and Karen Hendricks as well as Michelle Worthington,
It also has stories by other already-published authors including:
Today it is my great pleasure to introduce you to Pete Springer. Pete was a classroom teacher for over thirty years. When he retired, he decided to share his experiences and wisdom with others who may be at different stages of their teaching journey. His book is a pleasure to read. He writes from the heart and every teacher will find something within the pages of his book with which they can identify or/and learn from. It will have you nodding your head in agreement, inspire an ‘aha’ moment, make you laugh and make you cry. From when you open the book until you close it, you will know that this is the honest voice of an authentic teacher who made, and continues to make, a positive difference to the lives of others.
About Pete Springer
Hi Pete, welcome to readilearn. Before we begin the interview, please tell us a little about yourself.
I taught elementary school (grades 2-6) for thirty-one years at Pine Hill School in Eureka, California. I loved everything about being a teacher, and I want to be a role model for the next generation of teachers the way others inspired me to want to become a teacher. I was a master teacher to four student teachers. I was chosen for the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006. That is an annual award recognizing ten top teachers in the county. I belong to the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival Committee which brings in twenty-five nationally known children’s authors to speak to children in over eighty schools in the county. My future goal is to write books for middle-grades.
In less than a week, we will be celebrating the 20th National Simulateous Storytime. Are you ready?
National Simultaneous Storytime is an annual event held in Library and Information Week, the last week of May, in Australia and New Zealand. The event is organised by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) with the aim of promoting the value of reading and literacy.
Each year an Australian picture book is chosen to be read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the nations on either side of the Tasman Sea. Selected books explore age-appropriate themes and address key learning areas of the National Curriculum for Foundation to Year 6.
This year the book is Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas, written and illustrated by Lucinda Gifford.
This book is fun and exciting and will appeal to the adults reading it as much as to the little ones listening to it. While the children may not yet be aware of the original Whitney and Britney divas, their parents and teachers will be.
Arthur Rackham / Public domain
When I first began reading the book, I was reminded of the Grimm’s fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. However, the ending is different and modernised and perhaps more enjoyable for the readers as well as the characters.
Whitney and Britney are gorgeous chooks who live with the elegant Dora von Dooze. While she appreciates their eggs, she’d also enjoy their company. Alas, they sleep throughout the day, which makes Dora a little curious.
Dora determines to discover what they get up to each night while she is asleep; and discover she does. But how does she react and what happens when she finds out? You will have to read the book to find out what surprises await Dora as well as Whitney and Britney.
Today, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Yvonne Mes and her delightful new picture book Little Bilby’s Aussie Easter Egg Hunt.
About Yvonne Mes
Yvonne Mes is a children’s author and illustrator from Brisbane. Her latest picture book is Little Bilby’s Aussie Easter Egg Hunt. Other picture books by Yvonne are Oliver’s Grumbles (Yellow Brick Books) and Meet Sidney Nolan (Penguin Random House).
Yvonne coordinates Brisbane based writers’ group, Write Links, reviews children’s book for KBR (Kids’ Book Review) and runs No Nonsense Critiques. She buys more books than she can read, comes up with more ideas than she can write or illustrate and has more children than she can manage. But she does try very hard, and best of all, she is NEVER bored.
About Little Bilby’s Aussie Easter Egg Hunt
Near bush and scrub and oceanfront, they tiptoe on their Easter hunt . . .
A group of baby bilbies are on an Easter egg hunt. They find all kinds of eggs – a kookaburra’s egg, a turtle’s egg, a cassowary’s egg – before the little bilbies finally find what they’ve been looking for: Easter eggs to share with all their friends.
This colourfully illustrated picture book showcases the diversity of Australia’s egg-laying animals. Each spread reveals an egg in its natural environment and asks the question ‘Whose egg could this be?’. After turning the page, the egg is matched with the animal it belongs to.
Why I like this book
Little Bilby’s Aussie Easter Egg Hunt, gorgeously illustrated by Jody Pratt, is a fun story that is sure to delight young children as they go on an Easter egg hunt with Little Bilby, finding eggs that belong to others before they find the eggs that they can share.
If they are not already drawn in by the sparkles on the front cover, children will love the rhythm and rhyme and join in with the repetitive text as they seek and find eggs belonging to Aussie egg-laying animals, kookaburra, turtle and cassowary.
Children will love this newly released series of books by Aleesah Darlison. Teachers and parents will take just as much delight in reading the books aloud as children will in reading them independently or listening to them.
The books are fun from beginning to end with The League of Llamas (LOL) — spies out to save the world from their arch-enemy General Bottomburp.
The series will appeal to those reading their first chapter books, whatever their age. Or, as Aleesah writes,
“With high action, high adventure, and loads of side-splitting laughs, this series suits young readers aged seven and over. And anyone who likes llamas. Oh, and anyone who loves laughing!”
My review of Book 1 The Golden Llama
As if a story about spies and espionage wasn’t enough, Darlison has filled her stories with fun word plays that will amuse and entertain all readers. James Bond fans will not be disappointed in the escapades, close calls and derring-do of top spy Phillipe Llamar, otherwise known as 0011.
The names of the Llamas in the League are spelt with double ll. There’s Phillipe, Lloyd and Elloise. There’s Mama Llama who rhymes and General Bottomburp, the beaver, with his alliteration. Darlison has also dropped in many other double ll words; like llamaborghinis and prob-llama (as in ‘no prob-llama). There are place names like Chickenslovakia, Crowatia, Portugull, Leechenstein and Killamamaanjaro; characters like President Ollama; and artworks like Llama’s Mother and Venus de Llama in the Musée du Llama.
Double the fun with double l llamas — The League of Llamas by Aleesah Darlison is a fun new series about llama spies. Their antics will make you LOL