School Holidays = Reading :-)

Students and teachers aren’t the only ones taking a break this week…  School holidays are a great time for authors to catch up on reading (and writing). Here are some books that I’ve been enjoying this week.

Mark Greenwood and Andrew McLean’s The Happiness Box is historical fiction at its best. The story gives deep insight into our shared history with Japan and Singapore in a way that’s accessible for young readers and despite the wartime backdrop of Changi, the tale is uplifting. With it’s interesting endnotes The Happiness Box will be a valuable reference for teachers.

The cover of Frané Lessac’s Under the Southern Cross is beautiful and I smile every time I see that cheerful dolphin popping it’s snout out to smile at Banjo the dog. Children will love searching for Banjo on each page, exploring fun facts and looking for different constellations. This book is joyful and it also has wonderful endnotes.

Cristy Burne’s Off the Track is a super-fun holiday read. Hurrah for books that celebrate ’embracing the great outdoors’ without mobile phones! This is a story for anyone, but I especially loved the WA references to Bibbulman Track markers, snottygobble and so on …

And my current ‘age-appropriate adult read’ is Laline Paull’s The Bees which was recommended by my friend Venetia because she knows I love anthropomorphic stories. The Bees is told from the point of view of a bee, which was strange at first, but once I adjusted to this unusual perspective, I’m loving it. Who knew that drones could be so badly behaved and how rigidly in-hive hierarchies are maintained. This is one of the oddest books I’ve read but it’s strangely compelling. Has anyone else come across it? I’d love to hear your thoughts and I’ll post again once I’ve dipped further into the ‘want-to-read’ pile by the bedside.

Bookweek Month – that’s a wrap.

As Bookweek Month draws to a close, children’s authors and illustrators across Australia will be slowing down before heading back into their creative caves. I’ve had a wonderful Bookmonth travelling from Albany to Broome, from Perth to Sydney, from Canberra to the NSW Central Coast. Massive thanks to the dedicated teachers, librarians and Children’s Book Council of Australia volunteers who organised my visits. You are legends! I’ve met thousands of young readers and seeing that the joy of reading is alive and well enriches my work and inspires me.

 

 

Broom

Students from Roebuck Primary

When you live in chilly Albany, being invited to celebrate Bookweek with Broome students, teachers and librarians in July is like winning a children’s author lottery.  During a week of presentations, I spoke with hundreds of students from Years 3 to 10. Broome library staff made a great welcome display and young readers from St Mary’s College, Broome Primary and Roebuck Primary came into the library to ‘Find Story Treasure’ and celebrate the Bookweek theme.

On Tuesday, librarian Alison Morris and I met James the pilot and flew north to meet students at Sacred Heart School Beagle Bay for two sessions and then on to Christ the King School at Djarindjin Lombardina where I was honoured to receive a copy of Djarindjin Gorna Jawal – stories from students. It’s a beautiful production.

My novel The Dog with Seven Names is set in the Pilbara and Kimberley. The story links to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and I loved seeing this beautiful landscape from above in a way that was similar to my own dog character’s experience.

s

My last Broome event was part of Corrugated Lines Festival of Words. I worked with a fascinating group of writers of different ages and backgrounds. Our session focused on Creating Historical fiction. Some great stories were shared, which I hope will someday be published. As Remote Regions Coordinator for SCBWI West, it was also fun catching up with local author/illustrator Kerry Anne Jordinson. Her Bobby books capture Broome-time and I also loved Kerry’s Back Room Press picture book, Storm Pearl.

After Broome it was home to Albany for a few days before flying to Sydney to speak at the CBCA NSW Kids Bookweek Event. What an honour! The event was streamed to schools across NSW while hundreds of students and their teachers joined me in the auditorium to hear students reviewers speak about books on the shortlist. And then it was time to hear the announcement of the winning titles…  Being surrounded by excited book lovers made this moment very special. Thank you CBCA organisers and Fremantle Press for sponsoring my trip.

Next stop was the Central Coast where Lyndall Coles and a team of CBCA members had arranged visits to Gosford East Public School, The Entrance Public School, Brooke Avenue Public School, Wyong Public School, Tuggerah Public School and an evening event at Erina Library. In two days I met thousands of students and their teachers. This was my first time to the Central Coast and I loved visiting this beautiful part of NSW.

Tayla

Back to WA for my last Bookmonth sessions … The girls at Santa Maria College made me feel so welcome at their school (and their view across the Swan River must be one of the best in Perth). After my presentations, Tayla Tasovac interviewed me. She did a great job and the clip can be viewed on the Santa Maria Facebook page if you scroll back to August 24th.

Last stop for Bookweek Month was Great Southern Grammar. It was Daffodil Day and Head of Year 7, Karen Bradbury kindly gave me a bunch of flowers after my sessions. What a lovely way to end this busy and exciting month!

Well, that’s a wrap. Thank you to the teachers, librarians and book lovers for hosting me and for working tirelessly to foster a love of books in Australian students. The Bookweek theme was Find your Treasure and you guys are the true unung treasures.

 

Charlie D’Antoine and his great-granddaughter Taela

Meeting readers is my favourite part of Bookweek-Month and at Broome Library I had the honour of meeting Taela Tang-wei, the great-granddaughter of a little known World War Two hero. In 1942 Taela’s great-grandfather Charlie D’Antoine showed enormous bravery, risking his life to save a Dutch woman and her child after their flying boat was strafed in Roebuck Bay.Taela of Charlie D'AntoineOn March 3rd, Charlie was helping to refuel one of the many flying boats in the bay when enemy fighters attacked. He swam through burning fuel and wreckage to help the evacuees. Charlie was awarded a medal for bravery by the Dutch government. His actions are included in The Dog with Seven Names and you can find out more about his story here .

 

Happy World Octopus Day!

shark-book-uncorrected

To honour the villainous characters in The Shark Caller I felt that a short post was needed celebrating these amazing cephalopods.

As well as having three hearts, octopus are super-intelligent. They can solve mazes and are able to contort their muscly bodies to escape through tiny crevices. Octopi are also clever camouflagers. Some are small and highly venomous, like blue-ringed Pyrena in my story, others like the Pacific Octopus are enormous. My favourite fun fact about octopus is that their blood is blue.

Here’s an extract from The Shark Caller. It’s when Izzy meets a Giant Octopus.

The massive octopus flicks a tentacle, thick as my neck. It slaps the wall beside me. I give in to the terror clutching my throat and my scream ricochets over dripping rock. the octopus slurps and a deep rasping voice fills my mind.

No others can hear. We are the only ones …

My scream turns into sobs.

Your noise will bring shadow creatures.

Dreadful images fill my mind. I steady my breath, forcing myself to face the octopus. its tentacle arms curl as I try to stop trembling.

Happy World Octopus Day 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s BookMonth 2018!

Like many children’s authors and illustrators, I’m on the move for Bookweek/Month. First stop is beautiful Broome (I know, someone has to do it…).

AKarenand Di

Karen Hasselo and Dianne at her father’s plane

Starting this weekend, I’ll be Writer-in-Residence for a week at Broome Library, speaking to schoolchildren in town as well as further out in Beagle Bay and at Djarindjin – Lombadina. I hope to hear stories as well as share the background to mine.

The Dog with Seven Names will have a special focus this week because of the book’s links to Broome’s WW2 history. As part of my research I travelled to Broome, Port Hedland and Marble Bar and Corunna Downs secret WW2 airstrip in 2015. You can click on the place names above to see photos and find out more.

On Saturday 11th, after my school visits, I’ll be presenting at Corrugated Lines: A Festival of Words. My workshop will focus on shaping family stories and local history into fiction.

Hope to see you somewhere in the Kimberley!

The Dog with Seven Names dress-up competition – entrants and our winner

It was a very difficult choice. The judges from Penguin Random House had a long shortlist, but in the end they chose Chester dressed as Flynn the Flying Doctor as their overall winner. Congratulations Chester!

Chester Flynn

Honourable Mention certificates also went to Pippa, Buddy on his plane, Tali &Hudson, as well as Pepsi the terrific all-rounder. Thank you everyone for entering. It’s been such fun seeing your beautiful dogs – I think each one is a winner!

You can see all the entrants below in individual categories. Do you have a favourite?

Elsie’s Princess category:

princess Aussie

Dave’s Dog (Dave is a cattle drover) category:

Pepsi as 'Dog'

Beth, Doc and Matron’s Flynn (the founding of the Flying Doctor Service) category:

pepsi goggles  Chester Flynn

Mavis  Pippa the pilot

Hendrik’s Engel (meaning angel in Dutch) category:

pepsi and Sandi  Bruce angel

Lee Wah’s Gengi (meaning gold) category:

Gold Pepsi   hamish

Bonnie’s Florence (after the famous nurse) category:

dogg  florencePepsi

Hank’s Pooch (Hank is a US airman at WW2 secret Corunna Downs airstrip) category:

Random cute dog photos with tenuous links to ‘The Dog with Seven Names’:

 

But thanks for sharing Felicia and Deborah 🙂 🙂 More details about these gorgeous dogs and their stories on Dianne Wolfer Author Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

End of School Holidays Competition

Win a signed copy of Dianne Wolfer’s new book, The Dog with Seven Names.

Poor Harry doesn’t love dressing up, but maybe your dog does …

During WW2, the dog in Dianne’s new story is given seven names; Princess, Dog, Flynn (after the founder of the Flying Doctor Service), Gengi (gold), Florence (after the famous nurse), Pooch and Engel (angel).

Choose one of those names as inspiration to style your own dog and send Dianne a photo. The one Harry likes best will win a signed book (posted to you). Photos will be shared on Dianne’s Blog and/or Dianne Wolfer – Author Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/DianneWolferAuthor/

Please email photos and your dog’s name to dianne@westnet.com.au before July 31st.