Curious Creatures in the Summer Reading Club

 

Blogging with the Sumer Reading Club has been a fabulous opportunity to connect with enthusiastic young readers and writers across Australia.

Created for children and young people pre-school age to 17, the Summer Reading Club is led by the State Library of Queensland and offers activities, competitions and online forums to inspire a love of libraries and reading.

I was honoured to be chosen as one of two guest bloggers along with Dr Cameron Stelzer to blog on the topic of Curious Creatures. This was the perfect springboard to discuss the intriguing aspects of reading and writing and the wealth of animals represented in children’s literature.

We explored the lion and bear characters in my picture books, ‘The Lion in our Living Room,’ and ‘The Bear in our Backyard,’ as well as the inspiration behind the stories. We discussed animal facts and observations, how other authors describe animals in their writing, what animals often symbolise, and we explored books that teach us how to assist animals in their natural environment. From fantastical creatures to having fun with alliteration and illustration, the topic of Curious Creatures provided a perfect springboard.

 

I was blown away by the enthusiasm of the children and their in-depth knowledge across the spectrum of children’s literature – their love of reading was palpable. One post alone received 127 responses! It was a unique opportunity to engage children over the long summer holidays, answer their questions about the writing process and how they can improve their skills.

 

Thank you to the amazing team at the State Library of Queensland, especially Natasha Ratajczec, who brilliantly masterminds the whole program. It was an honour to be involved and yet another example of the vital role that libraries play in our lives.

 

Now I have the impossible task of deciding who wins the prize pack!

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2018: A Fun-Filled Year of Lions and Bears.

 

Looking back over the year I am touched by the recognition of how many children and creatives I have had the opportunity of meeting, and sharing experiences of our love of story and books.

It is an honour to walk together with children into the world of imagination. A world where there are vast possibilities that potentially transform. Surely that helps to give us hope for our future.

The empathy created in the minds of these young readers is paramount in our society where individual needs appear to dominate.

It has also been an enormous honour to work alongside such brilliant creative minds. My editors Davina Bell and Clair Hume spring to mind immediately, but no less important are all the writing buddies, the community of Kidlit creators, our SCBWI community, WriteLinks, the tirelessly hard-working bookshop owners, teachers and child care workers, who share the passion of nurturing young minds.

My family always wish to stay private from my social media presence, but they have to be acknowledged for putting up with me suddenly shouting, ‘I’ve just thought of a fantastic idea for a new picture book! What do you think about this..!’

So to everyone out there with a heart illuminated by the glow of words on the page and the inner-life of our characters, I wish you all a joyous and peaceful new year.

 

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