Thursday 29 May 2014

Forthcoming Conferences and Events

If you attend any of the festivals and events listed below, feel free to contact me with an article for this Writing for Children blog.
16-18th May, 2014 CBCA National Conference, Rex Hotel, 250 Northbourne Ave, Braddon, ACT 2612 Theme: Discovering National Treasures. See for further details.

21st May, 2014 National Simultaneous Storytime 11.00 AEDT. Too Many Elephants in This House by Ursula Dubosarsky, illustrated by Andrew Joyner. See for further details.

30th May – 4th June, 2014 Asian Festival of Children’s Content, Singapore. See for further details.

6-8th June, 2014 Sydney International Storytelling Conference. See for further details.

9th June, 2014. The Fairy Tale in Australia. Paddington Uniting Church, 395 Oxford St, Paddington, NSW. See for further details.

27th – 30th July, 2014. Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale, Gladstone, Queensland. See for further details.

23rd August, 2014 Satellite Meeting of the IFLA Conference, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France. Theme: 15 to 20 year olds reading across the world: Why? Where? How?

10-13th September, 2014 34th IBBY International Congress, Mexico City, Mexico. Reading as an Inclusive Experience. See for further information.

28th – 30th September, 2014 Inaugural International Library Symposium at The Southport School,

Winchester Street, Southport, Queensland 4215. Theme: Embracing New Landscapes See for further information.

15th-17th October, 2014 South Island Children’s and Young Adults’ Librarians Conference, Balclutha, New Zealand. See for further details.

31st October-1st November, 2014 Celebrate Reading National Conference, The Literature Centre, Old Prison Hospital, cnr Knutsford St and Hampton Rd, Fremantle, WA. See for further information.

2015 IBBY Asian-Oceania Congress in Kuala Lumpur.

25-28th August, 2016 35th IBBY Congress, Auckland, New Zealand.

2018 36th IBBY Congress, Istanbul, Turkey.


Monday 26 May 2014

Knowing Joey Field

Knowing Joey Field by Pauline Luke (Brolga Publishing, April 2014)

Moving is never easy, and Matt and Stephie soon learn that life in Moody Bay is something else again.   Matt is befriended by outsider Joey Field, who is believed to have “the gift” of seeing things, and Stephie’s new best friend is the sister of the school bully.

Is there any truth in the tales of sunken treasure? And who is behind the spate of increasingly violent robberies and break-ins?

Told by both Matt and Stephie, Knowing Joey Field is a story of mystery and intrigue, of friendship and acceptance that is sure to appeal to the older reader.

Knowing Joey Field is distributed through Pan MacMillan and available in books stores or mail-order through Pan Macmillan site. (RRP $16.99)

Why I wrote Knowing Joey Field

When writing for  adolescents, or “the older reader”,  you have the opportunity to  raise  important issues for  young people to  think   about at a time when they are beginning to develop their own ideas and attitudes.   The challenge is to present different viewpoints not in a didactic manner but through a  read they will enjoy.   In Knowing Joey Field  the main  issues are accepting  the difference of others, bullying and  employing  our  intellect, intuition and  skills of  observation to the world around us.  

By  using alternate narrators,  brother and sister Matt and Stephie,  not only do I hope to appeal to both the male and female reader, but present a wider range of issues within the story. 

Importantly, at the end of the book  there  is a list of  organisations  where young people who may be  the victim of  bullying or facing other problems  can turn to for help.

Pauline Luke


Good Reads:



Thursday 8 May 2014

The Importance of Setting

An interview with Australian children’s author, Melissa Wray whose latest book is Destiny Road (Morris Publishing Australia)

How important is setting? Does every detail need to be explained? How can setting work in the author's favour?

These three questions are important to my writing because I am a little light on when it comes to details. I know where the scene will be set. I'm just not sure of the details to be included until later. This usually happens after the chapter is written and I'm sure of the added sensory information needed. My writing style is generally to get it written then come back and fatten it up later.

One reviewer accurately wrote of Destiny Road;

"Wray’s descriptions lay out the scene perfectly. They are in-depth enough to give you all of the details necessary to picture the scene or scenery, but do not go so far that you get lost in the description, losing out on the story as a whole."

When I first wrote Destiny Road I was not clear on where the story was actually set. However, I knew exactly where certain scenes were to take place. These were the easiest to write as I had them conjured up in my mind already. I could smell the bonfire, feel the sandy beach and hear the motorbikes in the bush.

For my next story, Summer Change, which is a work in progress, the setting was very clear for me. For the most part this made it easier to write about. I could use it to my advantage. It allowed me to write with more certainty as the location was mapped out in my mind. I just needed to pull the scenes together.

Setting is not just descriptive writing though. Sure you want to paint a picture with words. But it's important for the reader to imagine the setting from their own experiences. From these they can imagine sounds, smells, perhaps even tastes that the writer has made no mention of.

Too many details can sometimes take away from the writing while some people enjoy the poetic nature of writing. Personal preference for a reader varies. This is the problem writers are up against when deciding what to include and what to omit. Sometimes it is not the amount of words used to describe the setting, but the quality of the words.

For example;

The cold wind whipped against her cheeks making them sting. The trees along the trail did little to protect her from the elements.

Let's try tweaking the words as follows;

The bitter wind whipped against her cheeks making them sting. The gum trees along the trail offered no protection from the elements

The second is tighter, succinct and offers a better visual idea of the setting than the first. That's why editing is so much fun! You can play around with the words to get the most out of your words.

Wherever the story is set writers have a duty to transport their readers to that exact location. After all, isn't that why we read -- to get swept away in a great book and become transported to that world, if only for a while.

Melissa Wray’s debut novel Destiny Road, is about choices, consequence, heartbreak and acceptance
You can connect with Melissa Wray.
 To read the first chapter for free go to Morris Publishing Australia





Friday 2 May 2014

When I See Grandma

When I See Grandma is a picture book by Australian duo Debra Tidball (author) and Leigh Hedstrom (illustrator), for pre /early school children. It is about two young children who visit their Grandmother in an aged care home, and was inspired by Debra’s experiences of taking her children to visit their Grandmother during her decline with dementia.

The two children in the story are sometimes sad to see their Grandma because she seems to be always asleep, but they are glad that they can ‘brighten her dreams.’ As they do this, the reader gains an insight into Grandma’s past, linking her past to the present and the children’s vitality transforms the setting to the benefit of the other residents. The children make memories they will treasure forever whilst helping Grandma remember.

When I see Grandma is a love story that connects generations in a powerful way despite barriers posed by age and illness. Author royalties are donated to the Hazel Hawke Dementia Research and Care Fund.

What reviewers have said:

Author Debra Tidball and illustrator Leigh Hedstrom have combined to produce a colourful and delightful children's hardcover book: When I See Grandma.

This little gem is designed to teach little ones to treasure and appreciate life in all its many stages – and that being old, frail and infirm is just as much a part of living as being young and vibrant. It also teaches children that they can have a positive influence on the lives of those they love and who love them.

This would make an excellent gift from Grandma to her young grandchildren. It is designed for pre-school and early grade school children.
DS via Goodreads.
To see other reviews on Goodreads, visit

To find other reviews, including a radio interview with SBS, go to Debra’s blog on her website

Released February 2014 and published by Wombat Books, When I See Grandma can be purchased at or from good bookstores including Berkelouw Books, Lindfield Bookshop, The Children’s Bookshop Beecroft and Koorong stores.