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.

The YA reading revolution

Reading seems to be an ‘in’ thing for young adults at the moment. It’s easy to see even when I look in a department store. YA books are usually clearly displayed. Many of them are being made into movies. That’s another thing that tells you how big reading is at the moment. Movie moguls don’t waste money on products that don’t sell.

We should rejoice that young adults are enjoying the reading experience so much. It’s great to see that it’s ‘cool’ and I hope it continues.

However, I have noticed a tone of concern with some parents who have approached me about the YA books that we publish. A couple of times lately parents have said, ‘What’s in this book? Is there bad language? Is there any sex?’

I have heard this concern expressed by a number of people in the industry as well. When it comes to YA books, restraint in these areas seems to have gone out the window. There doesn’t seem to be any hesitation in loading these books with all kinds of explicit content and putting them into the eager hands of teenagers.

Some may say that teens already familiar with all these things, so we shouldn’t hesitate to put it in to keep it ‘real’, but does that mean it should be this way? Were teens so educated in these things before we provided them in books? I don’t know, but my conversations with parents have made it clear that some of them, at least, want some restraint shown.

For the record, the books we publish keep a firm moral compass when it comes to these things. Any content that is included in our books will not be explicit. If you would like more information on the content of any of our titles, especially those for young adults, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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Did you ever want to run away from home?

Did you ever want to run away from home?

Without Me?, by Kayleen West 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!

Without Me?, is a light-hearted story about a runaway child, who wants to leave home, but before he can, he worries about those he will leave behind. As he reflects on the impact of his departure, he realises ultimately where he belongs. This new picture book written and illustrated by Kayleen West, has an entertaining approach as it journeys the reader through a common reaction–fight and flight.

"A fun and engaging story that helps children explore how emotions can influence decisions.  Kayleen's playful illustrations bring the story to life...and even add another story of their own!  This is a great resource for both parents and teachers to help prepare children for life's tricky moments," Natasha LeBrocq, Primary Student Welfare Officer.

Children often struggle to navigate their relationships, emotions and reasoning––Without Me is a picture book for ages 5-9 that introduces escapism in a simple story that will make children (and adults) smile. Over the course of 10 minutes, the child reflects and highlights the simplest pleasures of relationship. The lovable but comical plot ends with a sense of belonging and safety that will gratify the reader.

“Arguably, we’ve all thought of running from difficult situations.  Without Me was created for our kids, who live in today’s fast-paced, rash mouse-click decreed internet world. More and more, children struggle with social acceptance and are somewhat virtually socially taught. I created a fun unassuming story that journeys a child through inner dialogue, emphasising healthy reflection with a message of value in reciprocal relationships,” said Kayleen.

“I suggest teachers and councillors use Without Me in conjunction with Edward de Bono’s six thinking hats, to build on effective evaluation skills.”

This is Kayleen’s second published picture book in 2013. She is working on 2 more tiles for 2014 release. Motivated by stories that encourage and equip children, Kayleen writes and illustrates with a child’s future in mind.

Without Me? is available in all good book stores or buy online now.

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An interview with Dr Joe

I am Dr Joe, scientist, author, edutainer. This means I go about trying to get children (and teachers) to understand how to create knowledge through science. I have a lifelong passion for philosophy (particularly epistemology) science (as a social phenomenon) and fantasy, having written award winning fantasy for the Living Greyhawk campaign setting. I enjoy spending time with my wife and family, attending church, and in challenging people in what they think and in what they think about what they think. I also play flute. 

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

The X-or story, based off a dream I had when I was 8, and it's taken over 30 years to write down. One day, we will publish, but not yet.

Question 2: What was your first book published?

The Tae'anaryn. My sci fi story Arrendrallendriania came out first, as a self published book, but I don't really count that since I learnt everything I learnt about writing by working with the talented staff and authors at Wombat Books, who published The Tae'anaryn.

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

Disappearing into a fantasy world of my own creation.

Question 4: What is the hardest part about being an author?

Being avid enough to love it, but not established enough to give up my day job.

Question 5: What do you do for fun?

I write.

Question 6: How do you test out your stories? Or who do you test them on?

I read them to my children, and sometimes to select fans.

Question 7: What was your favourite children's book when you were a kid?

The stories my Dad made up at bedtime. Trumps all.

Question 8: What is your favourite children's book now?

The Tae'anaryn. I would have loved that book as a child!

Question 9: Have you ever travelled overseas as an author?

No. The internet is as far as I'd like to travel outside Australia, at least at this point in my life.

Question 10: Have you met anyone even more famous than you that was exciting?

Yes. Small children are often more enthusiastic to see me than they are to see themselves. Hang on, is that what you meant? Did I misunderstand that question? (adjusts microphone nervously).

Question 11: What writing genre do you like to do the most?

I know it may not show, but science fantasy. That's science fiction that's too unbelievable to be merely enhanced reality, yet given such plausible theory as to be almost? scientific.

Question 12: What do you consider your biggest achievement?

Marrying Samantha

Question 13: Where do you see the future of children's books (ebooks/apps/print)?

Books. We love paper, and turning pages. That'll never go completely out of style!

Question 14: What is your favourite way/time to read?

On a computer

Question 15: What book are you reading right now?

Motive Games, a good read!

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Corruption, secret identities and a world overtaken by magic

Corruption, secret identities and a world overtaken by magic

The first book in the Bethloria fantasy series, Firelight of Heaven 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!

Firelight of Heaven is the first book in a series of fantasy adventure novels. Two brothers are forced to make a perilous journey over the forbidden mountain. They soon discover that things are eerily different on the other side. It is a gripping story of loss, elusive destinies and painful discoveries. It explores the resilience of the human spirit under intense pressures and how faith underpins their ultimate success.

Firelight of Heaven is a thoroughly mystifying, sinister glimpse into a world overtaken by magic. Nothing is free from its stranglehold. Two brothers share secret identities where the painful truth is buried in their past. This debut novel by Lizbeth Klein explores the terrible consequences of magic.

“There are always some mysterious leads to keep us enthralled,” said author Paula Vince. “One of the mysteries is revealed at the end of this book while others are left dangling, to tantalise us to read the sequels. It begins and ends with exciting events, and the middle sections are fast paced enough to keep us turning the pages too. It’s all really good.”

Check out the Book Trailer:

Firelight of Heaven is available in all good book stores or buy online now.


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Recent Comments
Guest — J.R.Poulter
Congratulations Lizbeth and Rochelle on bringing young readers a great addition to the fantasy genre. Marvellous trailer!
Friday, 11 October 2013 11:11
Jennifer Gress
Stacey Gladman
Sunday, 13 October 2013 14:01
Jennifer Gress
The world of Bethloria is definitely a place my avid nine year old reader would love to explore.Deirdre Blackmore.
Sunday, 27 October 2013 22:50
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An interview with Robert Vescio

An interview with Robert Vescio

There’s something you should know about me and that is I like to talk about my books, but I don’t enjoy talking about myself.

I started writing children’s stories about five years ago but I’ve always enjoyed writing, even way back in high school.

It wasn’t until I left fulltime work in 2007, to become a stay-at-home dad, that I began to take writing more seriously. I had a great excuse to spend hours in the children’s section of bookstores. The love of reading books made it all the more easier for me to delve into the world of picture book writing. Also, having my own children helped as well. All I had to do was to observe them and the ideas started rolling in.

I enjoy writing stories and sharing my passion with children of all ages. All I want is for my stories to be read, like all aspiring and emerging writers, and to inspire and educate children. If I can change one child through my writing, then I’ve fulfilled my calling.

I love to read and I’m a self-confessed hoarder of books, especially children’s books.

Question 1: What is your favourite part about being an author?

I consider myself a storyteller because I love to spin a good yarn! All I want to do is to share my stories with children. As an author, I want to inspire, encourage and challenge children to dream big and to believe in themselves.

Question 2: What is the hardest part about being an author?

Finding a publisher who wants to publish my stories.

Question 3: What do you do for fun?

I love spending time with my children, who are an endless source of humour and inspiration. Together, we enjoy watching movies and eating popcorn.

Question 4: What was your favourite children’s book when you were a kid?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar. And now it’s one of my children’s favourite, along with their daddy’s books, of course! Also, I grew up reading The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is my favourite. And the Harry Potter series.

Question 5: What is your favourite children’s book now?

Lost and Found. I love all of Oliver Jeffers picture books. He is, in my mind, the master of picture books.

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

Bryan Adams – singer turned photographer. It was when I was working as a Photo Editor for a magazine publishing company. Bryan Adams submitted to me a photo shoot of Kate Moss for our consideration for publication. I loved the photo shoot and accepted Bryan’s work for publication. When Bryan Adams was on tour here in Australia, he called me and asked if I would like to have lunch with him at Circular Quay in Sydney as a thank you for publishing his work. I didn’t need too much convincing. I asked my editor to join us. It was an amazing experience and NO he doesn’t have a husky voice. Bryan Adams was so down to earth and easy to talk to. Overall, Bryan Adams was a really nice guy!

Question 7: What writing genre do you like to do the most?

Picture Books. I love picture books and the way they express emotions and ideas in simple ways.

Question 8: What book are you reading right now?

The Twilight series. I always love a good book I can sink my teeth into. Yes, I’ve seen all the movies but I’ve never read the books. 


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Recent Comments
Jennifer Gress
Awesome interviews!! Great stories! Love them all!!
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 14:51
Guest — Robert Vescio
Thanks for visiting Brenda! Robert Vescio
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 17:27
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Welcome to the Wombat Books blog!

Welcome to the Wombat Books blog!

Welcome to the Wombat Books blog! This will now be the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Aussie kid's books.

You'll stay up to date with all of our latest releases, events and news and gain further insight into the authors and illustrators behind the books you love. 

We also hope to provide a forum for discussion about the future of the children's book industry. We'll have contributing experts to help us delivery to you a fun, informative and interesting blog.

I have a passion to see Aussie books provide quality, entertainment and a lasting impression for today’s kids and into the future.


Subscribe and stay up to date!  (And watch out for all our competitions this will be the place to find out more!)

Rochelle Manners

Director, Wombat Books

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Guest — Robert Vescio
Looking forward to it! Robert Vescio
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 20:02
Jennifer Gress
I will be keeping my eyes and ears on this exciting blog. :-)
Thursday, 10 October 2013 20:26
Jennifer Gress
I will be keeping my eyes and ears on this site for exciting news in Children's book world. :-)
Thursday, 10 October 2013 20:30
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