I adore children, and find them to be some of the most authentic, engaging and interesting humans on the planet! And I’m passionate about writing stories for them with strong positive themes and the inclusion of children with disabilities. My current works-in-progress include several picture book texts and an upper middle-grade fiction novel – all of which are at various stages of development. Please do watch this space for news on publications.
I’ve been writing and independently publishing illustrated storybooks 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’ and ‘Freddie the Famous Ferret’. The latter two titles were part of my yearly ‘Writer In Residence’ workshops for the Ardoch Youth Foundation 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!
Here’s a little bit of background on my picture book writing:
Q: Why do you like to write picture books?
I loved reading picture books as a child; and I equally loved reading them to my own two children. I passionately believe that picture books play a vitally important role in children’s social, emotional and intellectual development. It’s my great privilege to be the Ambassador for Ardoch Youth Foundation’s Annual School Readiness Book Drive – where each year, thousands of picture books are collected and donated to preschool children in areas of need throughout Victoria.
I will write a picture book if I feel that I have a new story to tell and an original character to share. The two most important things when it comes to taking on a new writing project, in my opinion.
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 us 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 book in rhyme. It’s also no coincidence that I enjoyed reading Julia Donaldson and Lynley Dodd’s books to my own children.
I have tried writing in standard prose, but always found 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.