May your day be filled with button fun …
Heather Potter, the talented illustrator of Nanna’s Button Tin has kindly given me A3 photocopies of around twenty pages from her sketch pads to share with students during school visits. These pages are now laminated so that children will be able to examine samples of character development as well as see some of the magic behind cover design and page design.
I love seeing illustrator’s character sketches. In the published book Nanna wears the same white shirt and pink vest that she does in the top left image, however her pants changed to a slightly different floral design in the final.
The sketches on the right give some insight into how much work goes into every page, in this case, the scene where Nanna first met Pop. I love the pigeon on Pop’s head.
Heather also created a recurring page design that links to sewing and buttons. On four pages she used a thread line to split the right hand side page into two. The above sketches show some of the ideas she was exploring – the dog licking image is almost the same as a final image in the book.
Thank you Heather. Working with illustrators, watching them bring characters and ideas to life is one of the joys of being a children’s author.
This morning people of all ages had fun with buttons at Albany Public Library. It seems I’m not the only one who loves button tins.
It’s school holidays around Australia and here are a few easy ideas for button craft.
- Decorate a lost and found tag for one of your furry toys or pets (like we did today).
- Stick a button (or several) onto card/paper and make it into something – the button could be the centre of a flower or a monster’s eye …
- Thread buttons onto wool or elastic to make a necklace or bangle.
- Decorate an old photo frame with buttons of all sizes.
- Draw the outline of your favourite animal and fill it in with colourful buttons.
- Stick buttons onto an old hairclip or a bag/shoes from the Op shop
You might think of other crafty button ideas, please send me photos if you do!
This afternoon something special arrived in the mail. After publication delays beyond my control, I’m so excited to at last hold my new picture book, Nanna’s Button Tin. Heather Potter’s illustrations are beautiful and every time I read the story I find lovely details in her artwork. The release date with Walker Books is June 1st but here is a first sneak peek…
The story was inspired by memories of playing with my mum’s and grandmothers’ button tins. I loved tipping their tins upside down, sorting shapes and colours and looking for my favourite buttons. Some buttons held special memories; a favourite party dress or a bear-shaped button from a cardigan. The book is dedicated to every Nanna with a button tin.
I couldn’t have hoped for a better first review than the one published in the current issue of Books+Publishing by esteemed publisher, academic, author (and more) Margaret Hamilton AM. She writes: …The heart-warming story is sensitively told in simple and expressive language. The reader is invited to join this loving family to experience the special relationship between a small girl and her nanna and to relive treasured family memories, all through the special buttons in nanna’s jar… Stories about family togetherness are very important in the life of a child. They reinforce family experiences and loving relationships, and when they are as warmly portrayed as those in this book, they become keepsakes.
Thank you Heather, Editor Mary Verney and the rest of the team at Walker Books.
Happy New Year !
After five years working on PhD research; my two novels (The Shark Caller, The Dog with Seven Names) and the accompanying exegesis, “Crafting Animals Characters in Fiction for Young Readers”, it’s a wonderful (and somewhat fizzy) feeling to be able to at last be free to give attention to other projects which have been circling in a holding pattern. The first being Light from a Broken Lantern (working title).
Between final drafts of the exegesis I’ve been researching this manuscript; the third (and final?) book in the Lighthouse/Horse Boy series. The story steps back to explore the early WW1 years from the perspective of English nurse, Rose before she meets Jim (Light Horse Boy). This early stage of shaping an historical story is exciting in that research reveals all sorts of potential leads, some of which will be followed and woven into the plotline while others slip quietly back into history. I’ve been keeping a scrapbook journal of progress and notes, so that I can revisit some of the quieter snippets in later drafts.
In early June, another long-term project, Nanna’s Button Tin will be released by Walker Books Australia (and Candlewick for the U.S. market). Heather Potter’s beautiful illustrations hold lovely details which add multiple layers to the story. I can’t wait to share more details in a following post.
2017 also brings exciting events linking to Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy, as well as festival and school bookings. Here are some details for those:
- Feb: Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy will be included in an exhibition of Australian and New Zealand Children’s picture books called Anzac Stories Behind the Pages – held in Brisbane libraries.
- March: I’ll be filling in for Warren Flynn while he takes leave from his position as English tutor at the Albany UWA campus. I’m looking forward to working with first year students on texts including Shaun Tan’s The Arrival and Art Spiegelman’s Maus.
- Also in March: Between the Lines Writer’s Festival is on again in Busselton. I’ll be talking about The Shark Caller as well as sharing ideas for creating animal characters.
- April 21 and 22 : Time to frock up for Black Swan Theatre’s premiere of Lighthouse Girl in Albany. Playwright, Hellie Turner’s terrific adaptation also links to Light Horse Boy.
- April – May: Black Swan Theatre’s season of Lighthouse Girl continues in Perth.
- June : Nanna’s Button Tin will be released by Walker Books Australia (and Candlewick).
- August: For the first time in many years, Children’s Bookweek will be spent in Albany and the Great Southern, coinciding with the Albany exhibition of Anzac Stories Behind the Pages. As well as Albany and Denmark sessions, I’ll be travelling to smaller communities and schools across the Great Southern.
- Repeat bookings are always lovely and in 2017 I’ll be revisiting some favourite schools and places including; St Marks, The Literature Centre, Woodthorpe and Margaret River Library. More about dates and details in following posts.
Until then, thank you for your interest in my books and this blog. I enjoy receiving feedback, so please feel free to send me a message. In 2017, I hope to post more regularly, let’s see how I go …