Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pond Magic's Release into the World

I am very proud to announce the release date of my first publication, Pond Magic (an Aussie Chomp).

It has just been posted on the Penguin Website as the 30th August 2010.

Now I can start organising some launches.

Champagne anyone?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Important Things

It's Mother's Day today and time to consider the important things in your life. Family comes to mind first. My children and my husband are my most cherished blessings. I also cherish the other women in my family - my mother-in-law, my sister, my sister-in-laws, my close girl friends and I wish them a very Happy Mother's Day. Some of my friends have no children ,but they have 'mothered' and mentored so many young lives over the years that in my mind Mother's Day is for them also. The children of this world are a shared responsibility and everyone in society has a role to play.

But have you ever stopped to think about the other 'important things' in your life? Not people - things. You probably have an object in your home which you cherish because of the memory it brings or the person who owned it previously. I know I have many: my children's baby clothes, the toy my mother knitted for me when I was little, my wedding dress... A particularly important object of mine is my mother's first driver's licence from 1955. She was only 19 years old and no one in her family even owned a car, so it was quite an achievement.

You may never have stopped to wonder whether children also have 'things' they consider to be very important. I know my husband did. Tucked in the back of his bedside cupboard is a childhood tin of 'important things' from his childhood. Things like his scout badge and ribbons from athletics and swimming. There's even a small box with nothing in it but some old cotton wool, and I'm wondering whether this might have been the tooth fairy box.

There's a picture book in this, you're thinking.

Sorry, it's already been done by the author/illustrator who is a master of finding a story with heart and then telling it on more than one level. That person is Peter Carnavas and his latest picture book is called 'The Important Things', New Frontier Publishing.

The story tells the emotional journey of a boy and his mother as they come to terms with an absent father/husband and their individual ways of coping with this loss. Adults reading the story will enjoy the heartfelt emotions displayed so gently by Peter's words and pictures, and children reading the story will have fun discovering the 'important things' as they re-appear one by one. It just goes to prove, what is important to one person may not be to another. I highly recommend this lovely book with its reassuring warm colours and vibrant images.

So of course, when Peter Carnavas came to the Marks and Gardner Gallery yesterday for the book launch of 'The Important Things', I was there.

 Here are some pics taken on my phone. I hope you enjoy them.

Peter's publisher at New Frontier, Sophia Whitfield, talking about the book's journey to publication.

Peter Carnavas reading from 'The Important Things'

and showing us his sketch book where he played around with the characters

and his portfolio of roughs and finished artwork which is on display in the Marks and Gardner Gallery

Finally Peter does three sketches which he gives to children in the audience. This one is of the mother in the story, a wonderful mother who "did everything".

If you'd like to meet Peter Carnavas and see his work, Peter will be launching The Important Things at The Avid Reader bookshop in Westend, Brisbane at 10.30am on Sunday the 16th May (next weekend).

And the day before (Sat 15th May) he and Dr Virginia Lowe of Create a Kids' Book will be conducting a workshop in Brisbane for children's picture book writers and illustrators.

Guess where I'll be? 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Giggle Worthy

I'm a picture book lover. I read them. I buy them. I borrow them. I love them. So whenever there's a chance to attend a picture book launch, I'm there. Living on the Gold Coast I'm lucky in that I am no more than an hour's drive away from Brisbane, Byron Bay and Mt Tamborine. Even Ipswich is do-able.

And, on Mt Tamborine there is a secret garden hidden behind an art gallery cafe where magical book launches are held. The Marks and Gardner Gallery on Main Western Rd, North Tamborine is a popular weekend destination for me. Not only do they have delicious lunches and coffee, but also a permanent selection of children's book illustrations for sale.

The gallery also holds exhibitions of artworks by some of Australia's award winning illustrators of children's books. And for this reason alone it is worth the drive up the mountain past breathtaking scenery and local wineries. Whenever I need inspiration I go to Marks and Gardner and pour over their collection.

But that is not all.

They also have a well-stocked children's bookshop with many personally signed copies. Last month I went up for the launch of A Giraffe in the Bath by Mem Fox and Olivia Rawson and illustrated by Kerry Argent. Like gold to a picture book devotee, all three talented creators were present for the launch.
A Giraffe in the Bath is a giggle worthy collection of animals in nonsensical situations. As Mem Fox and Olivia Rawson read the story aloud to the crowd of more than three hundred on the lawn one little girl and her brother were squealing with laughter at each and every page. Well, "A giraffe in the bath - now does that make you laugh?"

Kerry Argent talking to the crowd

Mem and Olivia worked on the text together for more than a year and can now no longer remember who wrote what. The words are pared back to the simplest of sentences, which Kerry Argent has taken and interpreted with hilarious watercolour illustrations such as a walrus on the red carpet, "A walrus with a wiggle" and a croc on a skateboard, "A crocodile with style." I am in awe of Kerry's talent and her mastery of the watercolour medium.

Kerry Argent's illustrations from The Giraffe in the Bath are also on exhibition in the gallery for all of May. I could stand and study each one for hours. And the many children at the launch were also entranced by the original artworks and the beautiful use of colour.
So, if you're wondering what to do next weekend, take a drive to the Marks and Gardner Gallery on Mt Tamborine and be entranced by The Giraffe in the Bath exhibition of Kerry Argent's original artworks for sale. You can take them all home if you buy the book. And maybe they still have some signed copies left.