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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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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Emily Wins More Than Children’s Hearts

Emily Wins More Than Children’s Hearts

One of Wombat Books’ beloved childhood characters, Emily the elephant, has recently received a place on The Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Books 2015 list.

If Emily tries to play basketball, she ends up puffing. What can you do when asthma stops you from playing with your friends? Join Emily and her friends as they find a way she can join in on the fun.

Author, Katrina Roe and illustrator, Leigh Hedstrom have continued their success with Emily Eases her Wheezes, by featuring some of our favourite characters from their popular first title Marty’s Nut-Free Party. The authors have already seen Marty with his nut allergy shortlisted in the Speech Pathology Awards and read in schools and families around the country. Wombat Books is overjoyed to celebrate another success with their authors, as Emily the elephant not only wins over the hearts of children.

You can join Emily, Marty and their friends in this new adventure to help them understand asthma in a fun and entertaining way.

Wombat Books is committed to creating quality children's books that respect, value and uplift. Emily Eases her Wheezes is available in all good bookstores or online at www.wombatbooks.com.au.

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Multiple Award Winners at the US 2014 Literary Classics Awards.

Multiple Award Winners at the US 2014 Literary Classics Awards.

Four of our fantastic authors won awards at the 2014 Children's Literary Classics Awards. The international competition, run out of the US, was created to ‘honour excellence in children's and young adult literature, thereby encouraging a passion for reading while promoting education, imagination and character in young readers.’

Congratulations to all of the authors who have been acknowledged for their fantastic work, including:

Without Me by Kayleen West (Picture Book/Preschooler - Silver)

Firelight of Heaven, by Lizbeth Klein (Fantasy Fiction/YA - Silver)

The Heir, by Lynne Stringer (Science Fiction/YA - Silver)

Motive Games, by L.D. Taylor (Faith Based/YA - Silver)


All of these titles are available in bookstores, libraries or click on the links above to buy online now.

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When I See Grandma wins CALEB Award (Children's) 2014!

When I See Grandma wins CALEB Award (Children's) 2014!

When I See Grandma, by Debra Tidball has just won the CALEB Award 2014 in the Children's Category. This is the second time this book has been acknowledged as outstanding as it was also shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Awards 2014.

The book is a delightful insight into the transforming power of children and love to enjoy with your kids, grandkids or great-grandkids.

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,” said Liz Mann, Bereavement Counsellor.

Congratulations also to winners under our Even Before Publishing imprint:

Nick Hawkes - The Celtic Stone (Fiction)
David Malcolm Bennett - From Ashes to Glory (Non Fiction)
Carol Preston - Suzannah's Gold (Bookseller's Choice Award)

When I See Grandma is available from all good bookstores, your local library or buy online now.


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