Category Archives: awards

WAYRBA 2017

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The West Australian Young Readers WAYRBA  have announced their three shortlists and I’m thrilled that The Shark Caller is included amongst the 16 titles in the 2016 Older Readers’ category. I’m in good company; the list features six international books, nine from Australia and one fellow West Australian title; Norm Jorgensen’s fun The Smuggler’s Curse. There are also lists for Younger Readers and Picture Books with terrific Australian titles on both.

Being shortlisted for a children’s choice award is a wonderful thing. Committed teachers and librarians make up many judging panels, but when the power to choose is handed over to kids it makes being selected such an honour. Young readers make honest critics. As part of the judging process they’re asked to read titles on the lists and evaluate  them as  ‘terrific’, ‘good’, ‘okay’ or ‘awful.’ Fingers crossed that my ‘Shark’ doesn’t receive too many of the latter!

For WA creators there are still challenges involved in bringing a book to the attention of readers – there are so many other great books from interstate and overseas. The annual WAYRBA lists help ensure that Australian settings such as ‘Abalone Cove’ (Greens Pool) and Broome, which appear in The Shark Caller, reach a wider readership. Thank you to the organising committee for their hard work behind the scenes and teachers, please help your students access the WAYRBA titles, encourage them to vote – and to be gentle with the ‘awful’ slips…

Haiku Fun

I love haiku. So do many young writers.winners & r up2

At first glance haiku poetry is simple; 5 syllables on line 1, 7 syllables on line 2 and 5 syllables again on line 3. Composing haiku is achievable and clapping syllables is fun for even young children, but for skilled poets, there is so much more…

Traditional haiku hold kigo, a word to hint at or signify seasonality. For example, with four clearly defined Japanese seasons, including the word ‘dragonfly’ or ‘persimmon’ indicate not just which season, but which part of the season the poem reflects. Haiku poets may thus refer to Saijiki (dictionaries listing kigo) when composing new works.

To celebrate the Albany launch of The Shark Caller, Year Six students from across The Great Southern were invited to enter a haiku poetry competition. Thank you to Dora Adeline and the Albany Library for their help collating entries and to esteemed poets, Barbara Temperton and Maree Dawes for their generosity and wisdom in judging the entries.

Selecting four Winning entries and four Highly Commended entries was challenging. As the judges said in their report:

… All poems showed some appreciation of the sea, and some of the images made us smile. Many showed an awareness of poetic devices, such as repetition, rhyme and sibilance…

Four Highly Commended haiku were selected (congratulations Summer, Maximus, Jasmyne and Devon), and there were four winning entries. The winning haiku by Maddy, Jake, Dannon and Becky are presented below:

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Each winner received a signed copy of The Shark Caller and met with me for a Milkshake Meeting to chat about books and writing. It was a pleasure to spend time with these budding poets. Thank you to home-schooling families, teachers from Albany’s John Calvin School and Spencer Park Primary as well as everyone else involved.

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5 sleeps until Bookweek

This year the theme is Australia! Story Country.

In addition to the amazing books that are shortlisted, here is a quick shout-out for Frane’ Lessac’s terrific new picture book, A is for Australia.

My favourite page is the Rottnest Island spread. With lots of fun facts, it’s a great Bookweek resource.

This year I’ll be at Newman College, Mel Maria Primary, Presbyterian Ladies College and Iona Presentation College for Bookweek. I’ll also be in Paraburdoo as part of Rio Tinto’s Groundbreaker Pilbara Exhibition. I’m looking forward to meeting hundreds of young readers and hearing all about their favourite Australian stories.

SCBWI Louise Schofield Award

awardThis week I was honoured to be awarded the biennial Louise Schofield Award for services to the WA writers and illustrators community. It’s a great honour for me as Louise was a dear friend and wonderful supporter of the arts in Western Australia. The award was presented by her beautiful daughter Zahra which made the event even more special. Here’s a picture of me with the award.