Wombat Books Blog

Wombat Books blog is the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Aussie kid's books.

A Book That Keeps Giving: Mustara

A Book That Keeps Giving: Mustara

Thanks to Wombat Books, an award-winning classic has returned to our shelves, in a new paperback edition. Shortlisted for the Patricia Wrightson Prize back in the 2007 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and a CBCA Notable Book, Mustara tells an explorer story of the Australian desert.

“I wanted to write a story that portrayed the history and culture of the Afghan camel drivers, camels, and explorers in 1875,” said the author, Rosanne Hawke. “I was inspired by explorer stories when I was young, as well as my life in Pakistan and the United Emirates, my Afghan friends, and the Marree Camel Cup!”

Every day Mustara and Taj look out onto a sea of yellow-red dust and stones. The sand rolls and shifts. Taj’s father says it is like the waves of the ocean and the spinifex bushes are little boats blown about by the wind.

Taj longs to take his young camel into the desert to explore, but like a storm in the ocean, the desert can turn wild. Taj and Mustara must prove their strength and courage.

Here’s what a few people have said about this much-loved book:

“A work of art, claimed James Joyce, must have unity, harmony and radiance. This book has all three.” — Maurice Saxby

“Mustara shows that friendship, trust, and a good camel can overcome even the pitiless outback. Highly recommended.”— Adelaide’s Child

“Ingpen’s illustrations create a sense of the vast desert beyond Hawke’s words: the book is both alien and very Australian.” – The Age

ROSANNE HAWKE was an aid worker in the Middle East for ten years, and has been kissed by a camel. Her books include Taj and the Great Camel Trek, winner of the 2012 Adelaide Festival Children’s Award; Soraya the Storyteller, shortlisted for the 2005 CBCA Awards; and Zenna Dare.

ROBERT INGPEN has been a leading Australian illustrator for over forty years, and was the first Australian to win the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration, in 1968.

Mustara is available in all good bookstores or online at www.wombatbooks.com.au

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Have a very alliterated Christmas with Wombat Books!

Have a very alliterated Christmas with Wombat Books!

The traditional Christmas story has been told and re-told for nearly two thousand years – but never quite like this. Poet Cameron Semmens’s quirky and alliterated re-telling of it in Star! Stable! Savior! brings a totally fresh perspective on the ancient Christmas story.

Originally published in 2007 under the title The Story of The Star, The Stable and The Saviour, the book sold out after only a few years. Now it’s back with a fresh, punchy new title.

Here’s what a few people have said about this much-loved book:
“This book became a regular Christmas tree tradition with our family… hubby's favourite and the kids love it.” – Dee Kaylock

“This unique take on the Christmas Story is a family favourite in our household. Sensational Semmens!” – Gabrielle Sinclair-Youth.

“Forget the kids! It was me who loved this in our house. OK the kids did too!” – Sally Smith

Cameron, the author, says of Star! Stable! Saviour!: “I’ve performed this story around Australia, at many carols and Christmas events, and it never ceases to raise a smile and provoke a comment. It’s my hope that everyone can see, in some way, the awe and wonder from the traditional Christmas story – it’s a strange, thought-provoking story that I thought deserved a strange, thought-provoking re-telling – hence the mega-alliteration!”

This book surely is a great gift this Christmas – for all the kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. So buy a small stack and you’ll be set for the whole family this year!

Cameron Semmens is a poet, entertainer and poetry educator. He’s published 16 books across a number of genres, all poetry-based. He’s passionate about engaging readers and listeners with fresh words and fresh perspectives.

For more information or to purchase the book click here. 

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Wombat Books talks to Debra Tidball about Mental Illness

Wombat Books talks to Debra Tidball about Mental Illness

Q: Could you tell me first about how you became a writer and in particular a children’s author?

A: As a social worker I discovered that I found a special pleasure in the writing aspects of my work – thinking through issues and crafting my thoughts as words into reports, letters etc. Then when having my own children I developed a deepened appreciation for the special beauty and power of picture books, so I started dabbling with this form of writing and undertook a Masters degree in Children’s Literature, and haven’t looked back since.

Q: Could you tell me about how your particular book works through young kids and their experiences with dementia in their relatives/older friends?

A: “When I See Grandma” gives different scenarios that show both with words and pictures (including a subtext) how children can connect with an aging (and in this case, unresponsive- apparently ‘sleeping’) grandparent through everyday experiences that children enjoy.

Q: Why do you think it’s important to teach children about dementia and the effects it can have on those who are close to the person affected?

A: Watching the decline of someone you love, or being towed around to unfamiliar places to visit people who seem unresponsive can be confusing and overwhelming for young children. Sensing that their parents are also overwhelmed themselves and grieving can heighten feelings of being out of control. It’s important for children to have a framework for understanding what is happening in their family and be given tools to feel that they have some mastery over events.

Q: What do you hope children learn from the book?

A: That despite how things might seem at one point in time, older people have a rich history and they have a lot to share.

That they can connect with others across generational differences and despite barriers of age and incapacity.

Q: Have you been affected by the presence of dementia in your life i.e. a relative or a friend close to you? What about this experience changed or affected you?

A: My mother had early onset dementia and ended up moving into a low care, then high care aged facility. My children and I continued to visit her and it is these experiences that have formed the basis of the book.

Q:  Do you think that from this experience you realised the importance of learning about dementia from an early age? If not, what was the inspiration behind writing the book?

A: My inspiration was to encourage all people who are affected by having someone with dementia in their life to see beyond the illness to the person, and to think laterally about how to connect despite apparent barriers. It is especially for young children and their parents who visit aged care facilities, but I hope that it will also speak to all who have contact with the ageing in our society.

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Heather Gallagher talks about Happy Pants and Mental Health

Heather Gallagher talks about Happy Pants and Mental Health
1. Could you tell me about how your particular book works through young kids and their experiences with mental illness in their relatives/older friends?
 
Happy Pants – Why is Mummy so sad? was conceived to give children an insight into post-natal depression. The idea was to provide an ‘everyboy’ character who kids can relate to and show how he grapples to understand his Mum’s depression. My experience with other mothers suffering Post Natal Depression was that they tried to hide it from their kids – not cry in front of them, etc – but kids instinctively know something is not right. The idea with Happy Pants was to provide reassurance that the child is not the only one in this situation and that things will improve with time.
 
2. Why do you think it’s important to teach children about mental illness and the effects it can have on those who are close to the person affected?
 
Mental illness is a huge issue in our society and yet there remains stigma. The only way to break down the stigma is to keep talking about it – it’s also really helpful when high profile celebrities like Buddy Franklin come out about their experiences. The chances of a child being effected by someone with a mental illness or going on to suffer one themselves are great. To my mind, it’s better to be forewarned. If we educate our children about mental illness, they will be more likely to seek help early and hopefully more empathetic to others who might be suffering.
 
3. What do you hope children learn from your book?
 
I like to think my book works on a couple of levels. Obviously, it is specifically aimed at children whose mothers are suffering from PND and I hope in this respect it will provide a sense of recognition and comfort. But I’ve been told by other readers that the book can also work to explain to a child about a mother suffering from another kind of illness or even to just let kids know that even Mums have their bad patches.
 
4. Have you been affected by the presence of mental illness in your life i.e. a relative or a friend close to you? What about this experience changed or affected you?
 
I suffered post-natal depression after the births of both my children and have suffered from more general depression on and off throughout my life. My PND actually connected me with some wonderful women (also suffering) who have become enduring friends. I think one of the elements of depression is that you are in a state of perpetual existential angst – what am I here for, what’s it all about, etc? For me, and many of my friends, the depression actually acted to firm up a resolve to take a different life path. It crystalized my passion for writing and I actually wrote Happy Pants while recovering from a bout of depression. 
 
5. Do you think that from this experience you realised the importance of learning about mental illness from an early age? If not, what was the inspiration behind writing the book?
 
I grew up in an age where people talked about ‘loony bins’. Mental illness was not talked about. Looking back, I think I was probably depressed when I was doing my HSC but it would never have occurred to me to call it that or to think to ask for help. I think kids are much more aware these days and most schools have wellbeing counsellors, anti-bullying initiatives and other programs in place to support mental health.   
 
I think talking about mental illness with kids can be compared to talking about sex. The sooner you can feasibly introduce it so it’s just a normal part of life, the better. Kids are really young (usually) when their Mum is suffering from post-natal depression so I guess this was part of my motivation. To create a tool for parents and teachers to discuss this subject which has probably been bothering the child but they haven’t got the language to talk about it. 
 
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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Sarah

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Sarah

First name: Sarah
Age: 17
School: Open Training and Education Network (OTEN)

What are your interests? I like drawing, watching movies, cooking, dancing, playing the piano, and bike riding.

Tell us a bit about your illustration? At the time of the Zooball challenge I was experimenting with drawing on the computer so I decided to attempt creating a drawing with it for the challenge. Although it was not quite the quality I wanted I felt it conveyed the essence of that scene in the story. I felt it adequately showed how Ned was feeling as he watched his ball sailing into the lion’s cage, and I also thought it created a sense of anticipation.

Why did you enter? The reason I entered the Zooball challenge was because I was curious to see how well I would do, and the thought of getting a drawing published was exciting.

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Isabelle

Meet Isabelle 

Isabelle

Age: 11
 
School: Maria Regina Catholic Primary School
 
What are your interests? I love to draw or paint whatever comes to mind on any given day; using chalk, charcoal pencils, watercolour pencils and acrylic paints. Listening to pop music and singing are a very big part of my day. I also enjoy playing soccer and tennis. Being part of a team keeps me fit and I get to spend more time with my friends.
 
Tell us a bit about your illustration? I researched each animal included in the page spread and on the back cover to make sure I captured their true expression and personality. Secondly, I figured out where the ball needed to be placed on the page and designed the characters around it. Finally, I carefully drew the animals in the foreground and left the background till last, placing them in their zoo environment and making the ball look as though it was bouncing from animal to animal each in their separate enclosures. I really loved designing the pelican on the back cover because the ball was scooped up in its bill throughout the story. I thought this would be super challenging to illustrate, but I was really happy with the outcome. 
 
Why did you enter? I entered the “Zoo Ball” challenge following Aleesah Darlison’s visit to our primary school at the beginning of 2014. She wasisabellewise really passionate about her writing and I am really passionate about my drawing. I thought immediately that this was the challenge for me! I entered 5 illustrations which took me three months to complete, and then kept my fingers crossed. I wished and thought how cool it would be to see one of my drawings in print for my family and I to enjoy forever.
 
Any wise words? I would like to say that if you find something that you really love, go ahead and do it. You never know when opportunities like this might come your way. Take them with both hands, be brave, and do your best!
 
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2015 Australian Family Therapists’ Awards for Children’s Literature

2015 Australian Family Therapists’ Awards for Children’s Literature

We are delighted to hear that Emily Eases her Wheezes by Katrina Roe and Happy Pants by Heather Gallagher have been recognised as "Recommended titles" by the Family Therapist Award Judges.

Well done to the authors and illustrators of these beautiful books. To celebrate we are offering a special therapist book pack of Wombat titles:

Same. (Released June 2015).

Happy Pants (Family Therapist Recommended title 2015)

Emily Eases her Wheezes (Family Therapist Recommended title 2015)

Coming Home (Family Therapist Recommended title 2012)

RRP: $88.75

Book pack: $70 including free postage.

 

Read about the award winners here.

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Meredith

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Meredith

Meet Meredith

Age: 14

School: William Carey Christian School

What do you like best about your illustration? I drew, first, the outline of the major shapes in my picture, and then used water colour pencils to fill in the picture. I liked the lighter colours where the glass fence appears.

Why did you enter the Zoo Ball Challenge? Because I enjoy drawing and something different to draw.

Tell us a bit about yourself? I really love drawing and painting and anything crafty! I play piano and love it.

Meredith

 

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Brendan

Meet Brendan

brendanAge: 11

School: Camberwell Grammar School

Tell us a little bit about your illustration? At the start, I read the whole story a few times. While I was reading, the animal that particularly interested me was the penguins. So I decided to work on the two pages with penguins. I went on the internet to look at many different penguins photos and cartoon penguins which gave me inspiration to draw my penguins in a more funny and vivid way. I did many drafts to create each of my penguins with different actions and facial expressions in order to make them all unique. My illustration depicts the penguins trying really hard to catch the ball, so much that they do not notice that the pelican has scooped it up and flown away. I tried to make my drawing more interesting to match closely in line with the text.

 Why did you enter? Thank you very much to my school for letting me know about this illustration competition. I wanted to enter because it was in the holidays and it would give me something fun to do. Moreover, it meant that I might have a chance to have my illustration published. I felt so excited about it and I like drawing which made me want to brendanparticipate even more.

What are your interests? I enjoy drawing and playing Minecraft in my spare time. I also like footy and soccer. My favourite thing to do during holidays is going away. Reading, writing stories and sleeping are also my favourite activities.

Any final words? Finally, I want to say a big thank you for choosing my illustration and I can't wait for the book Zoo Ball to come out.

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Join Our Spider Iggy Colouring In Competition

Join Our Spider Iggy Colouring In Competition
From dusk til dawn, Spider Iggy spun his thread in the most intricate, amazing and unusual patterns.
Spider Iggy is the latest picture book from award-winning author, Aleesah Darlison, and UK illustrator, Sarah Jane Hinder.
 
For your chance to win a great Spider Iggy book prize pack, including several of Aleesah’s other titles for you and your school, complete our colouring in sheet, scan and email it to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
Get the colouring in sheet here!
 
 
The competition closes 30 November 2015, so get your entries in before then!
Please note that winning entries may be used on Wombat websites and social media.
Good luck!
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Book Week with popular children's author, Aleesah Darlison

Book Week with popular children's author, Aleesah Darlison
Celebrate Book Week 2015 with award-winning children’s author, Aleesah Darlison, at Mosman Library!
 
Aleesah will talk about the inspiration behind her brand new picture book, Spider Iggy, and will discuss some of her other popular books. She will talk about the amazing animal characters in her stories and use puppets, soft toys and crowd involvement as she reads Spider Iggy and other stories. Colouring-in pages and giveaways will be included.
When: Monday 24 August, 4 – 5pm. 
Where: Mosman Library, 605 Military Rd, Mosman NSW 2088
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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Sophie

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Sophie

Meet Sophie

 Age: 16

School: Tooleybuc Central School

Tell us a little bit about your illustration? The process of creating my illustration was quite long as I experimented a lot with how I wanted the main character to look before I began the drafts for the final drawing. I think I did two or three drafts before drawing the final illustration, experimenting with composition and colours. My favourite part of creating my entry was discovering how to illustrate the motion of the ball bouncing.

 Why did you enter? When I saw the Zoo Ball challenge advertised I was very excited about the possibility of having one of my illustrations published. I’ve always thought being an illustrator would be a really fun and rewarding job and I though this challenge might give me a taste of what being an illustrator is like - as well as being a lot of fun!

 What are your interests? I have had a massive passion for horses ever since I was really little and am very lucky to own two horses as well as two very naughty ponies. I particularly love working with and training young horses. I also have a love for graphic design, writing and drawing. I’ve kind of tied all of my passions together by making a horse magazine for friends and family twice a year - which is just a lot of fun!

Any final words? I really love the opportunity this challenge is giving budding illustrators around Australia and I want to say congrats to all the talented artists whose entries were chosen. To all of the talented artists whose illustrations unfortunately didn’t get chosen - great effort, don’t be scared to keep practising and make sure you try all the different ways you can draw and make art, it’s so worth it and definitely a lot of fun!

 

 

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Interview with award-winning Aleesah Darlison

Interview with award-winning Aleesah Darlison

Aleesah Darlison is a multi-published, award-winning Australian author. She has written over twenty picture books and novels for boys and girls of all ages. Her story themes promote the concepts of courage, understanding, anti-bullying, love, self-belief, friendship and teamwork. Her books include Spider Iggy, Little Meerkat, Puggle’s Problem, Warambi, Little Good Wolf, Ash Rover and the Unicorn Riders Series. Most recently, Aleesah won the 2015 Environment Award for Children’s Literature in the nonfiction category for her book, Our Class Tiger and the inaugural Puggle Award (Children's Choice Award). When Aleesah isn’t creating entertaining and enchanting stories for children, she’s usually looking after her four energetic children or taking her frisky dog, Floyd, for long walks on the beach. Her website is www.aleesahdarlison.com

1. What was the first story you ever wrote and has it been published?

I’ve been writing since I was a child and many of those stories will never be published. At least I hope they never are! Since taking writing seriously as an adult and starting my journey to publication, I’ve also written many stories that won’t ever get published. It takes a while to ‘perfect the craft’ of writing so those failed attempts should be expected from everyone.

2. What is your favourite part about being an author?

Being able to escape into other worlds, dream up characters and adventures, put it all down onto paper and share that with people – and then wait for their reactions.

3. What was your favourite children’s book when you were a kid?

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

4. What is your favourite children’s book now?

That’s a very good question. Besides my books, of course(!), I love the Diary of A Wimpy Kid series. They always make me laugh. But, then, I love lots of children’s books. Too many to list here!

5. Have you ever travelled overseas as an author?

I’ve been a guest author presenter at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival and I’ve toured schools in Hong Kong at other times. At the end of September, I’m about to head off to the WORD Vancouver Literary Festival in Canada where I’ll be presenting and to the Young Child Expo and Conference in Spokane, Washington State in the US. It’s going to be an exciting trip not only because I’ll be a guest presenter at both events, but because I’ll be able to use my travels as inspiration for new stories.

6. Have you met anyone even more famous than you that was exciting?

I’ve met lots of famous authors like Wendy Orr, Isobel Carmody, Kate Forsyth, Leigh Hobbs and others, many of whom I’ve become good friends with. The children’s book industry is very friendly and supportive. I’ve also met John Howard and Clive Palmer.

7. What do you like writing about the most?

Stories that are highly imaginative and magical are the best. I love to write fantasy adventure stories and fractured fairytales. I also love writing animal stories and comedies. Making kids laugh sure is better than making them cry…

8. What do you consider your biggest achievement?

Gaining and maintaining publication in a highly competitive industry. Raising four beautiful, respectful children (a work in progress) and trying my best at all times to create stories that kids will love.

9. Where do you see the future of children’s books (ebooks/apps/print)?

There’s no fighting the march towards digital platforms, but hopefully paper books will still survive – especially picture books for bedtime reading and group enjoyment in the classroom or library. There’s something about the atmosphere of turning the page that no digital platform will ever be able to beat.

10. What is your favourite way/time to read?

Anywhere. Any time. Books are completely portable and so is your imagination. Just bring both along for a fun time.

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Hari

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Hari

Meet Hari

Age: 9

School: Camberwell Grammar School

What are your interests? I have been interested in drawing from a very young age. I like to draw cartoons, landscapes and characters from books I enjoyed reading.  Drawing the scene from Zoo ball interested me because of this. Apart from drawing, I also like reading and playing the Violin. I love travelling and enjoy learning about different cultures.

Tell us a little bit about your illustration? I chose to draw the illustration on page 10 which shows the Kangaroo kicking the ball over the fence. I tried to make the ball look distinctive and bright as the ball is an important part of the story book. I enjoyed entering this competition and drawing the picture, as I like drawing animals and cartoons. I wanted the picture to grab the attention of young readers.

Why did you enter? I found out about the competition through my school and received encouragement to participate. I was excited by the chance to illustrate a part of this book and share my love of drawing for small children.  

Any other comments? I am grateful to wombat books for the opportunity to be involved in this book.

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Charlotte

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Charlotte

Meet Charlotte

Age: 9

School: Kalbar State School, Kalbar Queensland

Tell us a bit about your illustration? I practised it first, on scrap paper.  When I was happy with it I put it on the right page.  I thought it was quite good because I had used bright colours.  I liked how the tree was on the edge of the page.

Why did you enter the Zoo Ball Challenge? I belong to a Book Lab at my school and the parent who runs it encouraged all of us to enter.  It seemed like a fun idea.

What are your interests? I love drawing, playing bass guitar and reading.

Any other words? I was very excited to be chosen to be included in the book.

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Macy

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Macy

Meet Macy

Age: 13

School: Adelaide High School

Macy hoto on 05 07 2015 at 202

Tell us a little bit about your illustration? The page I drew was page 4-5 of Zoo Ball. I was given a line which my illustration was to be paired with. Page 4-5 was about an amazing animal, native to Australia… The kangaroo! The way I went about it was to capture the liveliness of the kangaroo and the joy that it brings to children. My cartoon had to be filled with joy and colour so that children reading the book would want to look at it again and again. I used water colours and pen to create this effect. It turned out as vivid and eye-catching. I particularly liked how your eye is drawn to the pops of colour that don’t clash and work well together. 

Why did you enter? As a small child I used to spend long amounts of time in a space our family called “up top.” Every month my parents would supply me with big sheets of drawing paper, and even as a toddler I knew that I loved art. I loved the feel of a pen in my hand and paper under my fingers. As I grew, I read more children’s books and I saw the pages filled with colour and it gave me new ideas for my drawing. Sometimes the only thing I had to occupy myself was my drawing. When I heard there was a chance of being featured as an illustrator I knew that this was a chance I could not miss. A chance to be published in a book that would potentially reach lots of children and inspire them to draw was why this competition was a could-not-miss chance!

What are your interests? As a small child I grew up with art by my side, (obviously), the other thing I enjoyed and found pleasure in was participating in sports, such as running, track, field, badminton, netball, touch rugby and football. I have represented my state three times. I enjoy doing short runs around my neighbourhood, (next to a beautiful river near my house) as it keeps me fit and healthy. My other hobbies include: cycling, reading, dancing, singing, walking and shopping!  All of these things play a big part in my life keeping me happy and that is why I keep them in my life.

What inspires you?My inspiration came from an artist called “Hannakin.” (A local Australian artist.) Whilst searching round a market in Adelaide I saw this amazing little store entitled “Hannakin.”  It was filled with perfect little tokens and hand-drawn cards. The drawings were such a new idea to me. I realized in my little artist brain that I could potentially turn this style into one of my own. As soon as I got home I jumped straight to my desk, my little drawing space, my pen felt so naturally free as I traced a new kind of drawing style. The characters seemed so perfect and my small sketches grew from tiny ideas to a big thought out piece of art and became unique in a quirky way until they were my own designs. And this inspiration came from a little stall in the centre of Adelaide.

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Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Tayla

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Tayla

Meet Tayla

Age: 12

School: All Saints Anglican School

What are your interests? My hobbies include art, running, playing guitar, singing and hanging with my friends.

Tell us a bit about your illustration? I drew this picture with watercolour pencils while looking through lots and lots of photos of cartoon animals where I got my inspiration. I started off with a rough sketch and spent many hours perfecting it. The thing that I liked about this competition was the interesting subject that we had to draw. The book uses lots of different animals and I loved using different variations of colour to brighten the picture.

Why did you enter? I entered this competition because I love art and especially drawing animals. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get a picture that I created printed into a fun and exciting book for children.

Any last words? I really look forward to seeing my picture in this amazing book. I feel privileged to be involved, so thank you.

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Meet Zoo Ball Cover Winner: Alyssa

Meet Zoo Ball Cover Winner: Alyssa
Meet Alyssa

Age: 14

School: Presbyterian Ladies' College

What are your interests? My hobbies include sketching animals, painting flowers and nature, drawing anime characters, playing the piano and oboe, playing tennis and baking desserts. I love going on holidays, hanging out with my family and friends, Japanese culture, Alaskan malamutes and huskies, home decor and funny stories.

Tell us a bit about your illustration? First I sketched out my idea which would complement the text. I wanted the upset zoo keeper to be in the centre of the page, with a few observers surrounding him and the monkeys in the background. I felt that a simple illustration would be more effective. After refining my sketch, I traced the outline using a black fine liner and coloured using watercolour paint.

Why did you enter? I chose to enter this competition because I thought that it would be very exciting and special to have my own illustration in a published book. The opportunity to contribute to a picture storybook does not come around often.

Alyssa has received the cover illustration award and will be offered the opportunity to complete the cover illustrator. Well done Alyssa.

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'But he's different!'

same small

 

by Katrina Roe

Illustrated by Jemima Trappel

How do we see past differences when they’re scary?

Katrina Roe’s first two picture books, Marty’s Nut-free Party and Emily Eases her Wheezes, both tackled the subject of children overcoming problems that made them seem different from other kids.

Her latest book, ‘Same’, continues with this theme, although this time it’s little Ivy who’s scared of her Uncle Charlie because he’s different.

‘Same’ deals with the theme of using common ground to overcome fear and see past differences. It’s based on the true story of how a little girl responded to her uncle, who has cerebral palsy. While her initial reaction was one of fear, the simple act of drawing a picture led to her accepting him as a person and realising he wasn’t so different after all.

In this book Katrina has teamed up with illustrator Jemima Trappel. A Sydney-based artist, ‘Same’ is the first book that Jemima has illustrated for Wombat Books.

‘I think Katrina's text has captured the essence of the situation well and it has been a delight to illustrate it,’ she said.

‘Before I started work on the illustrations for ‘Same’, Katrina invited me over and introduced me to Charlie. I took some photos and developed sketches from them. I kept the illustrated character pretty close to the original, so much so that when Katrina saw the preliminary page layouts she said, “There's a lot of Charlie in there!” I hope the pictures bring a smile to Charlie's face when he sees them.’

 

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Author Interview: Katrina Roe

Author Interview: Katrina Roe

Katrina Roe is the author of Marty's Nut Free Party, shortlisted for the 2013 Speech Pathology Award and Emily Eases her Wheezes a Notable book in the 2015 CBCA awards.


She’s also a radio announcer at Hope 103.2 in Sydney, a mum of 3 girls and wife of 1!!!
Her next book, Same, is a true story about her beloved brother, Charlie, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.

 

1) What was your favourite children’s book when you were a kid?

The book I read the most when I was a kid was I Want to Go Home by Gordon Korman. It was about a super brainy, talented nonchalant kid called Rudy Miller, who found it hard to fit in on a summer holiday camp. He was kinda cool, but also distant and somehow alienated from the other kids. I sometimes wonder what I related to in the character – perhaps the fact that he didn’t quite fit in, or that he was far away from home, missing his parents (I knew I would be going off to boarding school soon). Either way, it made me laugh and I read it 7 or 8 times in Year 5 and 6

2) What’s your favourite book as an adult?

I don’t have a favourite, but recently I enjoyed The Rosie Project… like everyone else. It has everything: an awkward, unlikely romance, (is there any other kind?) fascinating characters and lots of laughs. From the classics, I love Pride and Prejudice, but I’m also a bit obsessed with Jane Eyre. I love her passionate speeches and her fiery nature. (“Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! - I have as much soul as you, - and full as much heart!” Sigh. I even named my newborn baby, Bronte, because I love it so much.

3) What are you reading now?

Right now I am reading Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper. It’s about a very bright young girl with cerebral palsy and her frustration at not being able to express herself. I’m sure I’m partly enjoying this book because it’s helping me understand what life has been like for my older brother, who also has cerebral palsy, but it’s also just a great read. It’s a serious book, but humorous too and deeply touching. I’d recommend it for adults and children over ten.

4) What inspires you to write for children?

A few months ago I walked into the living room to see my 8 year old daughter engrossed in the last pages of a book, tears streaming down her face. She was reading The Kensington Reptilarium by N.J.Gemmell. In the last pages of the book, the children’s father, who has been Missing in Action returns from a prisoner-of-war camp, so thin and exhausted they can barely recognize him. Suddenly my daughter glimpsed what it must have been like for my own Dad when his father finally returned home after almost five years in a POW camp. I love that a good story can create that kind of deep empathy and understanding in children, while they’re learning and being entertained.

5) What do you consider your biggest achievement?

I think this new book, Same, is about to become my biggest achievement. I’m really proud of it, although I can’t take any credit for it, as the story was a gift from my brother. I love it because it’s true and it was such a lovely moment in my life. I hope it will help people confront their feelings and fears about people with disabilities and that it will empower more people to be brave in their interactions. If I never write another book for as long as I live, I will be glad that I wrote this one. And Jemima’s illustrations are stunning.

Same is now for sale here

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