Wombat Books Blog

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A chat with illustrator Liz McGrath

A chat with illustrator Liz McGrath

As part of the inaugral Wombat Books Illustration Challenge, we will be running a series of blogs featuring successful illustrators - to offer advice and inspiration and help budding illustrators learn from the best in the 'biz'.

Liz McGrath is the illustrator of the new Happy Pants, due for release in May 2014.


I'm Liz McGrath, the illustrator of Happy Pants, a bittersweet story of a little boy whose life is turned upside down when his new baby brother arrives. The boy is very confused by his mum's changed mood. It's a sad time for him, but the story shows the family finding support, and ends as we glimpse a brighter future for them all.

Question 1: When did you start illustrating and what was the first book you ever illustrated?

I've always loved to draw and paint, and became an art teacher. Over the years I've illustrated lots of books, but most of them don't appear in bookshops. They are the sort of books or booklets that you are given for free. For example a multicultural songbook that was given to kids when they visited their maternal and child health nurse. And a book showing non-English speaking mums ideas on how to be active with their kids. Even a kit used in schools used to encourage kids to walk or ride to school. I've also done lots of posters, postcards and magnets. In fact my own kids used to say "you may not be famous Mum, but you sure are on a lot of fridges!"

Question 2: What is the most challenging part of being an illustrator?

Understanding someone else's idea, and bringing it to life. It's a shared journey, and that can take a lot of talking and listening.

Question 3: What is your favourite part about being an illustrator?

I feel very lucky when I spend time at my desk working with paints and pencils. It's like a dream come true. And I get really excited about seeing the finished product.

Question 4: When given a story to illustrate, what is the first thing you do to get your ideas flowing?

Rough sketches, and lots of them. Look out for the bits that work, and think about what makes them work.

Question 5: If you could give one piece of advice to a budding illustrator, what would it be?

Listen carefully, read lots of great picture books, and have fun.

Find out more about Liz McGrath

Find out more about the Illustration Challenge

 

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New Release: The Bear Said Please

New Release: The Bear Said Please

The Bear Said Please has just been released and you can win a copy!

Subscribe and leave us a comment below with the name you subscribed to go into the draw!

A picture book The Bear Said Please featuring a very hungry, friendly bear is North Queensland writer and artist Jacque Duffy's latest book.

Jacque said 'It is a fun rhyming picture book aimed at 2-7 year olds. A very hungry bear discovers there's something he needs even more than honey and a full tummy – good manners!'

With the thought that her character looked as though he could use a good cuddle, Jacque has made 10 beautiful cuddly bears to give away as promotion for her new book. The Bear Said Please will be released April 1st by publisher Wombat Books and the promotion finishes on the 31st March. To be part of the 'Win a Bear' promotion visit Jacque's website www.jacquesartandbooks.com.

The Bear Said Please appears in a National Curriculum publication Playing with Grammar in the Early Years published by the Australian Literacy Educator's Association. Jacque said 'I am honoured to have my book used in such a way. The other books appearing in this publication are written by my role models, I am humbled to have my book sitting next to theirs. '

The Bear Said Please is a hard cover, fully illustrated rhyming book featuring a bear who wakes up hungry and goes in search of his favourite food. 'This bear is very huggable,' says Jacque. 'I really enjoyed drawing him getting into trouble and being a bit of a klutz. I see more adventures in his future.'

Jacque Duffy is a Mena Creek artist and writer. Her writing stretches from picture books, educational children's books, and crime writing. Several of her children's books have been purchased by the Queensland State Government and integrated into schools and libraries. Her art ranges from photorealism, to complete abstraction, through to illustration, graphic art and soft sculpture.

Her artwork has won many major awards and is in galleries and private collections around the world.

Just in time for the school holidays and Easter The Bear Said Please will make a lovely gift for the little people in your life.

The Bear Said Please is available in all good bookstores or buy online now.

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Jennifer Gress
Good manners are so important. My soon -to-be Miss Three year old granddaughter would love this book for her birthday
Tuesday, 24 June 2014 17:45
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A chat with illustrator Sandra Temple

A chat with illustrator Sandra Temple

As part of the inaugural Wombat Books Illustration Challenge, we will be running a series of blogs featuring successful illustrators - to offer advice and inspiration and help budding illustrators learn from the best in the 'biz'.

Sandra Temple has previously illustrated Puggle's Problem by Aleesah Darlison (who is the author of the Illustration Challenge book - Zoo Ball) as well as a range of other books - many of which feature zoo animals from around the world.


Sandra Temple is an international award winning wildlife artist. She is passionate about conservation and the environment. Usually she is asked to illustrate books that require a lot of animals and birds in them. Sandra is also an author, multi media tutor and a body painter for events and film.

Question 1: When did you start illustrating and what was the first book you ever illustrated?

I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil properly. In nearly all the photos of me as a child I am colouring, drawing or reading. The first book I ever illustrated was in Primary school, it was about a little fawn who was afraid of being alone. I even laminated it.

Question 2: What is the most challenging part of being an illustrator?

For me, it's trying to make my pictures are not too different from what the writer sees in their own version – usually in their head, and also keeping the publishers ideas there too.

Question 3: What is your favourite part about being an illustrator?

When the illustrations are finished and they are all approved, I get a feeling of satisfaction, but my favourite part has to be when children enjoy the story read out loud and it becomes their choice to read over and over again.

Question 4: When given a story to illustrate, what is the first thing you do to get your ideas flowing?

I always read the book aloud a few times to see how it flows. Then think of each page as a picture and sketch small thumbnail sketches of the pages very roughly. After that it's lots of scribbles until the characters develop. The pictures need to match the words so if the kangaroo is wearing a red spotted scarf I make sure that it IS wearing a red spotted scarf and things like that.

Question 5: If you could give one piece of advice to a budding illustrator, what would it be?

Draw, and draw, and keep drawing. Study human bodies and movement, and if serious, find a good teacher. It is possible to teach yourself (after all, I did) but much quicker to be guided by someone who can help you with shortcuts and tips.

Find out more about Sandra Temple

Find out more about the Illustration Challenge

 

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A chat with illustrator Henry Smith

A chat with illustrator Henry Smith

As part of the inaugural Wombat Books Illustration Challenge, we will be running a series of blogs featuring successful illustrators - to offer advice and inspiration and help budding illustrators learn from the best in the 'biz'.

Henry Smith is the illustrator of The Invisible Tree series, including Love, Joy and Patience which features unique illustrations all made from recycled materials!


When Henry isn't filling the studio with his 'refined' taste in music, he's busily working away as Taste's managing director.

Equipped with an organic aesthetic and a love of excellence, Henry oversees all of Taste's work, and ensures that he and his team are constantly immersed in creative conceptualisation, production and delivery.

He's a hands-on fellow, with plenty of artistic gusto and has won awards that testify to this. His love for cinematography and animation has won him an ACS Award (Australian Cinematographers Society) and an
 AEAF Award (Australian Effects & Animation Awards), along with a few other accolades in the illustration, editing and storytelling fields – but he's not one to go on and on.

As you can tell, Henry's got a lot of neat skills. Some others worthy of note are magic tricks and designing tree-houses.

Question 1: When did you start illustrating and what was the first book you ever illustrated?

I was approached by an author to illustrate her upcoming series in 2010, when her husband saw some of my drawings for an animated cartoon. But I have been using my hands to draw since I was old enough to hold on to a pencil!

Question 2: What is the most challenging part of being an illustrator?

The most challenging part is just to start; the curse of the blank canvas. We can often be too scared to make a mistake that we don't know where to start. I love to just jump in and start making.

Question 3: What is your favourite part about being an illustrator?

I like to create a visual artwork that inspires young minds to create & make things. I was fortunate enough to have a high school art teacher for a Mum. So when we were at home, we were always making things from stuff we could find around the house; coloured paper, cardboard rolls & my favourite toy; a hot glue gun! I get so much satisfaction when I hear about kids seeing my collage-style pictures and being inspired to create their own.

Question 4: When given a story to illustrate, what is the first thing you do to get your ideas flowing?

Write. Illustrations aren't just pictures; they tell stories. I hope that my work shares a story that can be shared without even reading the words. I like to write my ideas for a books' illustrations down on paper and see how the pictures flow.

Question 5: If you could give one piece of advice to a budding illustrator, what would it be?

Stay curious. Curiosity is squeezed out of us when we are told to grow up. The world tells us that to fit in we need to talk a certain way, dress a certain way, drive a certain car. But when we are kids, we are curious & explore just because we can. If you can tap back in to that, you will create wonderful stories.

Find out more about Henry Smith

Find out more about the Illustration Challenge

 

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Help an author: write a review

Are you a book lover? Is reading one of your favourite past-times? Are there authors whose work you adore?

You can help them by writing a review.

Writing a review aids both authors and publishers. This can be the case even if you didn't like the book, especially if you include reasons that let them know what pleased you or what disappointed you. It is helpful to hear that kind of feedback as it gives authors and publishers an idea of what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.

While everyone's experience with a book is subjective, it can still assist us to know what it is about a book that made you like it so much, or why the book you found so difficult to read was such a struggle for you.

There are a number of sites now where you can publish reviews, such as Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari and BookLikes. Leaving reviews at any or all of them, especially for your favourite books, is a great help, as then others can see your review and might try that book themselves, which means more people will have the opportunity to read it.

When writing a review, you can start with a quick overview of the story, but it's best to keep this brief. After all, people can find out what the book is about by reading the blurb on the back. Certainly, don't make your review more overview than comment. Your comment section doesn't have to be long. Put down what you liked most about the book and anything you didn't like. Let other readers know why they should try this book.

This is one of the most effective ways you can get the word out about your favourite books.

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A chat with illustrator Shannon Melville

A chat with illustrator Shannon Melville

As part of the inaugural Wombat Books Illustration Challenge, we will be running a series of blogs featuring successful illustrators - to offer advice and inspiration and help budding illustrators learn from the best in the 'biz'.

First up - Shannon Melville, she has previously illustrated a number of books by Aleesah Darlison (who is the author of the Illustration Challenge book - Zoo Ball) including the new Little Meerkat and Little Good Wolf. She has also illustrated a number of author picture books.


 

Shannon Melville - I live near the Canning River in Perth. I have illustrated eight books. I love animals and enjoy illustrating them. I love all the colours of the rainbow. I enjoy walking my caramel and chocolate coloured kelpie Hugo down at the park, he loves chasing balls but doesn't always bring them back, a bit annoying when he drops them in the river or ocean! I have a new baby daughter who is keeping me busy and a kind, supportive husband. When I am not illustrating I also work as a graphic designer and Disability Arts Worker.

Question 1: When did you start illustrating and what was the first book you ever illustrated?

I received my first illustration job in 2006, in the final year of my TAFE course but the first book I illustrated in 2009 was called ‘My Arms Your Legs’ written by Kim Rackham, I only had 5 weeks to illustrate 70+ illustrations!

Question 2: What is the most challenging part of being an illustrator?

Promoting my books and encouraging people to buy them. Drawing things out of my head that do not exist in real life can also be a bit tricky such as a meerkat swimming; you can’t just ask a meerkat at the local zoo to jump in a pool for you and start swimming!

Question 3: What is your favourite part about being an illustrator?

Researching new subject matter on the internet, at the zoo, a park, around the neighbourhood and learning interesting facts that assist with my illustrations. I also really enjoy getting to work with various types of media, in particular pastels and coloured pencils.

Question 4: When given a story to illustrate, what is the first thing you do to get your ideas flowing?

I draw a few small thumbnail sketches on the author’s manuscript. I also write a list of all the references I am going to need to illustrate my story. I usually find most of my photo references on the internet but will also use books too if I need to. I visited a zoo to try and draw platypuses once but they swam too fast to draw them!

Question 5: If you could give one piece of advice to a budding illustrator, what would it be?

Draw as much as you can, sketch objects from life (right in front of you) as well as from photos. Try to work on your unique style and don’t compare yourself to others too much, we all have different ways of seeing and different ways of expressing ourselves which makes it interesting. Publishers don’t want to see everyone illustrating the same way, they like variety. Be prepared to change your work, none of us draw a masterpiece every time we draw. You need to realize a children’s book is created by numerous people: an author, illustrator, publisher, art director, editor, graphic designer, printer and so on, so there will be other people’s opinions to consider.

Find out more about Shannon Melville

Find out more about the Illustration Challenge

 

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Little Meerkat: Big Ambitions

Little Meerkat: Big Ambitions

Little Meerkat has just been released and you can win a copy!

Subscribe to our blog and leave us a comment with the name you subscribed with below to go into the draw!

Little Meerkat, a picture book by best-selling, award-winning author Aleesah Darlison.

From dedicated documentary series to insurance advertisements, meerkats are familiar and popular animals. Aleesah has used this internationally recognised animal as the main character for her latest picture book, to ensure children from all backgrounds, cultures and countries can connect with and learn from Little Meerkat's story.

Little Meerkat is a humorous, lively and adventurous picture book aimed at 3-7 year olds. The main character, Little Meerkat, craves independence and adventure in his life. His extended family, of Mum, Dad, brother, sister, Aunty and Uncle, are there to guide and protect him.

"This is a story that will resonate with young children who sense within themselves a desire to explore and grow, but who still need family support and a cuddle from Mum (or Dad) at the end of the day to reassure them," Aleesah says.

Because Little Meerkat is such a brave and inscrutable character, his behaviour, dialogue and mis-adventures bring humour to the story, offering fabulous opportunities for the illustrator, Shannon Melville, to interpret the text and create truly inspiring and unique visual images.

Aleesah Darlison is a multi-published children's book author. Aleesah's picture books include Puggle's Problem (NSW Premier's Reading Challenge), Bearly There (NSW PRC) and Warambi (2012 CBCA Notable Book Eve Pownall Award, 2012 Wilderness Society Award for Children's Literature – Shortlist, NSW PRC). Her chapter books include Fangs and Little Good Wolf. Her novels and popular series are I Dare You, Unicorn Riders, Totally Twins and Ash Rover. Aleesah has won numerous awards for her writing including an Australian Society of Authors (ASA) mentorship. Aleesah's short stories have appeared in the Random House Stories for Boys Anthology, the black dog books Short and Scary Anthology, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Hopscotch: Packed Lunch Anthology, Fight or Flight Anthology, The School Magazine and Little Ears Magazine. Aleesah is currently the Director of the NSW Writers' Centre Kids & YA Festival.

Shannon Melville is a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and community art teacher from Perth. She has illustrated the following books: My Arms Your Legs (Blake Education) by Kim Rackham, Matilda's Morning Adventures and Choose Active Transport: A Teacher's Resource (Physical Activity Taskforce, 2010) by Kim Chute, Little Good Wolf (Wombat Books, 2011) by Aleesah Darlison, Coming Home, by Sharon McGuinness and Boondaburra, by Natalie Londsale.

Available from all good bookstores or buy online now.

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How do you tell someone you love them when they don't even know you are there?

How do you tell someone you love them when they don't even know you are there?

When I See Grandma has just been released and you can win a copy!

Subscribe and leave us a comment below with the name you subscribed to go into the draw!

How can you show them you care? When I See Grandma captures the dilemma many children face when those they love are withdrawn, like the Grandmother in this book, and offers them a way to connect. It transports children from being passive onlookers in an overwhelming setting to active agents for transformation.

What readers have said:
"Debra and Leigh have done a lovely job of conveying grandma's integrity and humanity although she can no longer interact with her grand daughter. The whole feel is so gentle and uplifting." Belinda Garbutt-Young, primary school teacher.

"This is a joyful and poignant celebration of life and love, and I am delighted that Debra Tidball has decided to donate all her royalties to the Hazel Hawke Alzheimer's Research and Care fund." Sue Pieters-Hawke.

Two children visit their unresponsive grandmother in an aged care home and 'brighten her dreams' as the reader gains an insight into Grandma's past, linking her past to the present. The bleakness of the setting is transformed by the children's vitality that brightens the lives of the residents. And the children make memories they will treasure forever whilst helping Grandma remember.

"This beautiful book delicately points to the foundations of healthy grieving by showing practical demonstrations of love and focussing on creating and sharing memories. When I see Grandma is not only delightful to read, but a valuable resource for every home." Liz Mann, Bereavement Counsellor.

Debra Tidball says, "My daughter was born in a small private hospital that was later reassigned as a nursing home, where my mother died. When I See Grandma is about past and present, beginnings and endings, set in an aged care home and reflecting this cycle of life."

Debra Tidball has worked with children and families as a Social Worker for many years. Whilst raising her two children she obtained a Master of Arts in Children's Literature from Macquarie University. When I see Grandma is her first published book and is dedicated to her mother who lived a vibrant life and died with dementia.

When I See Grandma is beautifully and lyrically written, delightfully illustrated and a joy to read to your child. It will open a window into the past, help you make memories in the present and give you hope in the future. And even more – it will provide much needed funds for Alzheimer's research and care via Hazel Hawke's fund.

The book will be launched as part of Senior's Week at the Penrith City Library on Wednesday, 19 March at 11:30am.

When I See Grandma is available in all good bookstores or buy online now.

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Jennifer Gress
Dropping by as part of the Mar(mite) challenge. Hope you are enjoying the pressures. You are doing a great job and books such as t... Read More
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 10:00
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Rhiza Press: Launch of new imprint for YA and Adult readers

Rhiza Press: Launch of new imprint for YA and Adult readers

Rhiza Press – Down-to-earth stories that connect

After 5 successful years publishing quality children's books, Wombat Books has expanded to include a new brand for young adult and adult readers.

Rhiza Press aims to publish exceptional stories and deliver fresh, family friendly titles in a wide variety of genres for all people who love books.

So why Rhiza Press? Rhiza is a greek word resembling or connected with a root.

"Our goal with this new brand is to grow from a strong foundation, both in our successes with Wombat Books and our passion for good stories. We want to reach the parents and young adults that have grown up reading our family-friendly stories," said Rochelle Manners, Director of Wombat Books and Rhiza Press.

"We are focused on our conversation with readers and our desire to publish what the readers really want. From talking with the parents who read our books to their children, we've seen a demand for adult books that are clean, family-friendly and don't contain overtly explicit content. But they still want the stories to be exceptional, relatable and inspirational."

Rhiza Press is focused on publishing books for predominantly ages 14 and above, including young adult fiction, adult fiction, biographies and non-fiction.

The starting line up of new releases include best-selling and award winning authors such as Rosanne Hawke, Dr Nick Hawkes, Andrea Grigg and Adele Jones.

Rhiza Press is currently calling for submissions for young adult and adult fiction and biographies. For more information visit www.rhizapress.com.au 

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Guest — Robert Vescio
Wishing you every success with your next venture. Robert Vescio
Monday, 10 February 2014 11:53
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Voting now open for the Name the Wombat competition!

Voting now open for the Name the Wombat competition!

We have received lots of awesome names for our new Wombat! A big thank you to everyone who entered.

The new Wombat was overwhelmed with the response and is looking forward to having a new name!

The shortlist has been narrowed down to 5 names. Each name is posted in a seperate blog. The entry with the most shares/likes on the Wombat Books blog will be deemed the winner. So start sharing/liking now!

Vote now:

Click here to vote for "Wen"

Click here to vote for "Digby"

Click here to vote for "Capa"

Click here to vote for "Wombook"

Click here to vote for "Mr Wordly Wombat"

 

Guidelines:

  • Public voting is open from 31 January to 7 February 2014. 
  • The winner will be announced on 10 February 2014.
  • The winner will receive a $200 Wombat Books voucher.

 

BONUS: Order while you're here & receive a $10 voucher!

While you're here, why not try out a few of our great books for all ages. For each order made on our website before the 7 February, we will send a $10 voucher for your next order.

 

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Guest — guest
I'd like to vote for Wombook but the link is not currently working
Friday, 31 January 2014 17:34
Guest — sue
Mr worldly wombat
Thursday, 06 February 2014 21:45
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"Wen" - Wombat Naming Competition

Wombat Name: Wen

Entered by: Sam

"Wen" is of Chinese origin. It means culture, writing and literary.

 

RATE, SHARE OR LIKE BELOW TO VOTE FOR THE NAME "WEN"

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"Digby" - Wombat Naming Competition

Wombat Name: Digby

Entered by: Wendy

"Digby, because Wombats like to dig"

RATE, SHARE OR LIKE BELOW TO VOTE FOR THE NAME "DIGBY"

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"Capa" - Wombat Naming Competition

Wombat Name: Capa

Entered by: Robert

"An abbreviation of the city in which (the Wombat) resides in (Capalaba)."

RATE, SHARE OR LIKE BELOW TO VOTE FOR THE NAME "CAPA"

*please note: Robert is a Wombat Books author and therefore, the prize will be donated to his local school

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Guest — Theresa
I'd like to vote for "CAPA"
Monday, 03 February 2014 20:07
Guest — Nat
I'd like to vote for "CAPA"
Monday, 03 February 2014 20:08
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"Mr Wordly Wombat" - Wombat Naming Competition

Wombat Name: Mr Wordly Wombat

Entered by: Chloe

RATE, SHARE OR LIKE BELOW TO VOTE FOR THE NAME "MR WORDLY WOMBAT"

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Guest — Joy weigert
Excellent name
Thursday, 06 February 2014 17:56
Guest — Joy weigert
Excellent choice
Thursday, 06 February 2014 17:58
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"Wombook" - Wombat Naming Competition

Wombat Name: Wombook

Entered by: Elise

RATE, SHARE OR LIKE BELOW TO VOTE FOR THE NAME "WOMBOOK"

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Guest Reviewer: Dimity Powell reviews Patience

Guest Reviewer: Dimity Powell reviews Patience

PATIENCE Kirrily Lowe and Henry Smith Wombat Books The Invisible Tree Series 2013

When Patience landed on my desk late last year, I was immediately drawn to the collage-look cover sporting a young boy in a billowing cape, gazing expectantly toward the horizon through his telescope. What treasure was he searching for? What other wonders lay beyond the end pages? Ignoring the title, I too set sail into this nautically themed story in search of that often evasive virtue, patience.

Patience by Kirrily Lowe and Henry Smith is the fourth book in the Invisible Tree Series by this endearing team. The series is a character driven collection of picture books which focus on different 'fruits of the spirit' arising from Galatians 5:22-23 such as joy, love, peace and self-control.

While not overtly spiritual, each book gently bestows moral dilemmas upon likeable child characters. Then, after a little soul-searching and revelation, their inner invisible tree fruits with sturdy life values; love, joy and peace amongst those already produced.

Sam, the young protagonist in Patience, is taunted by a letter from his Nanna promising him a parcel full of surprises. All Sam has to do is wait for its arrival. So begins the small battle between himself and his 'not so strong (impatient) heart'.

Eventually determination prevails. Sam's parcel arrives full of everything a young adventurer could hope for but happily, Sam uncovers an even more precious gift, 'down deep inside...a fruit called patience...that makes you strong!'

I enjoyed the premise of sharing important values and virtues in a picture book for the very young and Lowe's sometimes off beat, but always impassioned, rhyming narrative helps keep the didactic overtones at bay and is suitable for new readers to handle themselves or for those still sharing their picture books with adults.

It's Henry Smith's illustrations however that steal the show and help convey these metaphoric messages with exquisite subtly and finesse. All of the artwork is created from found, re-cycled and hand-crafted papers, resulting in pages of complex, textural depth and eye-popping detail.

Patience is a visual and morally satisfying joy to read. Recommended for 4 + year olds and all those who need a little extra help tending their own inner invisible trees.

For this and more reviews by Dimity Powell visit: http://dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au/

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Guest — Dimity Powell
Thanks for having me! Looking forward to uncovering more insightful reads with Wombat.
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 10:26
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Our authors & illustrators look back on 2013

We've looked back on some of the exciting things that happened in 2013, and now it's our authors' and illustrators' turn to celebrate their greatest achievements for the year that was.

“My greatest achievement for 2013 was the publication of my two picture books, No Matter Who We’re With and Marlo Can Fly. Also, being an author has been, without a doubt, my greatest achievement, pride and inspiration. I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of my children.” – Robert Vescio, author of Marlo Can Fly.

"I think my greatest achievement this year was seeing two books published, marketing them, and managing to stay sane!" - Lynne Stringer, author of the Verindon Series including The Heir and The Crown.

"Publishing my first novel with Australia's greatest publisher: Wombat books in april this year. Even tops finding out my article "Inquiry teaching in elementary science: teacher's perspectives" will be published with the International journal of science education in 2014! Business just grows stronger and stronger. I'm really looking forward to doing some more school presentations, using magic and motivation to teach about bullying and finding your place in the world, all important issues from "the Tae'anaryn". Very excited, and so is my magical pet rabbit!" - Dr Joe Ireland, author of The Tae'anaryn.

"The publication of my first-ever children's book, Amy and the Wilpena Flood, was an amazing achievement in 2013." - Claudia Bouma, author of Amy and the Wilpena Flood.

"My greatest achievement is having a healthy baby girl on the way - due NYE!" - Shannon Melville, illustrator of Boondaburra, Coming Home, Little Good Wolf and Little Meerkat.

"For me it's the collection of small moments that form the most spectacular moments in my life. However in 2013 there was the exception of a rather memorable event! My husband and I were invited to London to speak at Soul Survivor, one of the largest youth conferences in the world. 30 000 gumboot wearing young people gathered, living in a city of tents for a few weeks. It was breathtaking!" - Renee Bennett, author of Imagine We Were.

"I married my best friend, the most wonderful man in the world :)" - Lisa Cox, author of Does my bum look big in this ad? and Media Muscle.

"There were so many fun and rewarding things that happened in 2013, I hardly know where to start. Probably my greatest achievements were releasing three new books: a picture book called Bearly There and two more books in my Unicorn Riders series. I also toured quite a few places including the mid-north coast of NSW, the south coast of NSW, Dubbo, Melbourne and Adelaide. Term 3 was a massive highlight because I was able to visit so many schools, libraries and preschools during ‘Book Month’, sharing my love of books and writing and getting kids excited about reading. As an author, I guess that’s what it’s all about. I wish everyone lots of luck in their endeavours for 2014." - Aleesah Darlison, author of Puggle's Problem, Little Good Wolf and Little Meerkat.

“What I would consider my greatest achievement of 2013 is, in reality, more of a collaboration. To work with an amazingly thoughtful and talented illustrator and be party to the process of breathing life into my manuscript with pictures, was nothing short of miraculous for me.” - Debra Tidball, author of When I See Grandma.

We congratulate ALL our authors and illustrators on their successes in 2013 and pray for many more in 2014!

 

 

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A new year, a new Wombat!

A new year, a new Wombat!

Wombat Books has employed a new mascot! This adorable little guy (or girl) loves to read and share stories with his friends.

The only problem is – he doesn't have a name yet!

So we're asking our readers to help give him a name. Send your ideas to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before 26 January 2014 to go into the draw to win a $200 Wombat Books voucher! 

Competition guidelines

  • Entries close 26 January 2014. Entries accepted via email only.
  • Entries will be shortlisted and then listed on our blog for public voting.
  • Public voting is open from 31 January to 7 February 2014. The entry with the most shares/likes on the Wombat Books blog will be deemed the winner.
  • The winner will be announced on 10 February 2014.
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Looking back on 2013

2013 was another big year for Wombat Books, so at this festive time, we look back on some of the great achievements and successes of the year.

1. Coming Home translated into German
Coming Home, by Sharon McGuinness and illustrated by Shannon Melville was translated and published in Germany this year, by publisher Carl-Auer Verlag GmbH. Fröhliche Weihnachten!

2. Marty's Nut Free Party shortlisted
Marty's Nut Free Party, by Katrina Roe and illustrated by Leigh Hedstrom was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology of Australia Book of the Year Awards as well as the CALEB Award for Children's Books.

3. Puggle's Problem reprinted
Due to the success of the hardback version, Puggle's Problem by Aleesah Darlison and illustrated by Sandra Temple was reprinted this year in paperback and also released on Kindle.

4. Rochelle Manners invited to present at the CBCA Conference 2014
Director of Wombat Books, Rochelle Manners was invited to be part of a panel at the Children's Book Council of Australia National Conference! A great acknowledgment of all of the hard work she has put in over the years.

5. 11 more stories you'll want to share
With new authors and some old favs, we released a range of great books for all ages including:

  • 5 new picture books
  • 2 new junior fiction titles
  • 2 new middle fiction titles
  • 2 young adult novels

A big thank you to all of our readers, authors and illustrators who helped make this year a great success!

Merry Christmas and we look forward to another great year of publishing great books by Aussies

XOXO

The Wombat Books team

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Guest — Robert Vescio
Congratulations to everyone involved. Looking forward to 2014! Robert
Thursday, 19 December 2013 09:57
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An interview with Claudia Bouma

An interview with Claudia Bouma

My name is Claudia Bouma and I grew up in the Netherlands with my twin brother and older sister. I came to Australia 15 years ago to do youth work with Youth With A Mission in Townsville, QLD, and met my husband Chris. I now live in country Victoria with my husband and four children.

Question 1: What was your first book published?

I had my first children’s book published in August 2013. Part of the Australian Girl series, Amy and the Wilpena Flood, is the second book in this exciting series aimed at girls aged 8-10. It was my dream to combine my love for travelling (I’m a travel writer) with Australian history and decent moral values. From the feedback I’ve received so far it seems I succeeded. I’ve already been asked when I’ll write the next one which is a wonderful encouragement.

Question 2: What is your favourite part about being an author?

Originally I’m a travel writer so writing a book for children was a challenge. This is one of the things I love about writing; there are always new avenues to discover and explore. Moreover, learning never stops and there’s so much to learn from others in the industry who have been around longer. 

Question 3: What is the hardest part about being an author?

The hardest part about being an author is self-doubt. Confidence is everything when you’re writing a story. To believe in yourself is crucial because if you don’t, the words simply don’t come – at least not for me.  And it’s okay to make mistakes; the most important thing is to learn from them.

Question 4: What do you consider your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement is starting and finishing my first-ever fiction novel, Free At Last, which will hopefully be published in the not so distant future. It is a very personal book, so it will be quite scary to have it read by others. 

Question 5: What book are you reading right now?

Right now I’m reading Dee Henderson’s latest fiction book, Unspoken, as she is one of my favourite authors. I love the combination of suspense, romance and Christian content. Last year I started reading Australian Christian fiction and I’ve enjoyed books by Paula Vince, Rose Dee, Amanda Deed and Skye Wieland. 

 

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