I’m super excited to announce that my debut children’s picture book will be published in early 2021 by the amazing team at Windy Hollow Books and brought to life by the talented award-winning Australian illustrator Tania McCartney. Stay tuned for more snippets about this lovely book as we get closer to the date.
I passionately believe that books play a vitally important role in children’s social, emotional and intellectual development. And it’s my great privilege to inspire their developing hearts and minds with my writing. My current works-in-progress include several picture book texts and middle-grade fiction novels – all of which are at various stages of development.
As an active member of Australia’s kidlit community I enjoy developing my craft by attending meetings with my Melbourne branch of SCBWI; kidlit conferences (especially the annual KidLitVic Meet the Publishers, where I was a guest blogger this year); and entering writing competitions. I was very honoured to have made the Shortlist of the ‘Scribbles Creative Writing Awards’ in both 2018 (picture book + middle grade) and 2019 (middle grade) which was judged by Australian kidlit luminaries Jen Storer, Judith Rossell, Gabriel Wang, Lucinda Gifford, Gus Gordon, publisher Michelle Madden (Penguin Kids Australia) and sponsored by HarperCollins Childrens Books Australia.
I enjoy spending a lot of time in the classroom each year with Yr 2 – Yr 4 children in my Writer in Residence Workshops and find the children to be some of the most authentic, engaging and interesting humans on the planet. I’m committed to writing stories with humour, candour and positive themes, which will appeal to reluctant and enthusiastic readers alike.
Q: Why do you choose to write your picture books in rhyme?
My love of rhyme stems from the early childhood influences of my mother. She is a great story teller who also loved to recite to my sister and I the poetry of Australian bush poet, AB Banjo Patterson. So I grew up surrounded by good old-fashioned storytelling told in rhyme. I was also a child of the ‘70’s and raised on Dr Seuss and Madeline books, so it was only natural that I’d be drawn to writing a children’s picture book in rhyme. It’s also no coincidence that I enjoyed reading Julia Donaldson and Lynley Dodd’s books to my own children. I also adore the rhyming picture books Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau and Ada Twist Scientist by author Andrea Beatty.
I have tried writing in standard prose, but always find myself coming back to rhyme. I really like the way the words sing on the page and I think parents, carers, grandparents, and teachers like reading rhyme to young children, too. Having said that, I do adore reading many non-rhyming picture books too – my favourite author for tone and beauty of message being Bob Graham.
So…if I had to describe my picture book writing style, I would say that I write feel-good rhyming adventures with the energy of Julia Donaldson and the heart of Bob Graham.
Q: What books have you written in your Writer in Residence workshops?
I’ve been writing and independently publishing illustrated junior fiction and middle grade fiction stories with primary school children in Melbourne via classroom workshops since 2006, with fun titles like ‘Have You Ever Seen a Blue Banana?’, ‘Treasure Island’, ‘The Parrot and the Scarecrow’, ‘Pencil Pandemonium’ (2016), ‘Freddie the Famous Ferret’ (2017), ‘Super Astro Chicken and the Giant Red Tomato’ (2018) and ‘Mrs Balil’s Brilliant Boots’ (2019). The latter four titles were part of my annual ‘Writer In Residence’ workshops for the education charity Ardoch which run for one whole term each year, and involve work-shopping stories which are grounded in their current curriculum learning areas and are illustrated by the children. I’ve written a blog about the enormous fun I had writing Pencil Pandemonium with the students at Sunshine Primary School and always look forward to Term 3 now each year, to see where Ardoch would like me to go for the next Writer in Residence!
Author Emma Bowd reading NSS2017 at Brighton Library, Bayside Library Service; and conducting a Writer in Residence at Arnolds Creek Primary, 2017.