Monday, November 18, 2013

Bailey Beats the Blah Blog Tour

A must have for every classroom library, Bailey Beats the Blah is an empowering mental health picture book for children 4-8 years, spring-boarding emotional awareness and action plans to help lift a child’s mood.
Aligned with the Kids Matter program on the National Education Curriculum and supported by counselling service, Kids Helpline, Bailey Beats the Blah features self-esteem and resilience skills for children, families, teachers, parents and counsellors.

What's more, 5% of book proceeds will be donated to Kids Helpline - 24/7 support and counselling for young people - now that's a win/win!

WIN a copy! - details below.

ISBN: 9780987274045 - Digital Future Press
Bailey Beats the Blah is available from Amazon.
by author Karen Tyrrell - illustrated by Aaron Pocock

Bailey hates his new school. His tummy aches. He has no friends.
His dog Fuzzy slobbers all over him. BLAH!
How can Bailey change his BLAH to HA-HA-HA?

This is the final stop in the Bailey Beats the Blah blog tour and after a whirlwind schedule, author Karen Tyrrell has popped in to Under the Apple Tree to answer four quick questions on the process she undertook for commissioning talented illustrator, Aaron Pocock, for her first children's picture book, Bailey Beats the Blah

Hi Karen and welcome, 
As this was your first experience working with an illustrator, how did you and Aaron first initiate the illustrative process for Bailey Beats the Blah?

Hi Angela, I sent Aaron the manuscript for Bailey Beats the Blah with detailed suggestions for his drawings, plus the characters' emotions and details that weren’t in the text.

This must have been an interesting and exciting creative process for you as a writer. Can you describe the development of each picture?

Aaron created a sketch for each page. I later checked these, making suggestions of what extra details I wanted added, concentrating on the emotional and body language.  Aaron added these more details until I was satisfied with the black inks. Then Aaron added vibrant colours. Aaron sent these back for final tweaking and approval.

I love the samples you've shared with us below. Aaron's characters are full of emotion and movement. I can just imagine the dog Fuzzy's confusion and Bailey's annoyance at all his slobber. Wonderful!
At what stage did you know the pictures were ready for publishing? It must be difficult to determine this.

When the illustrations could not be improved any more, Aaron added his own unique personality and humour to the illustrations: the mouse marching with a school bag on his back; a crow clutching onto the bus stop sign.

Yes, great illustrators like Aaron are so adept at adding a sub-plot through these little additions. It all adds more for the readers to enjoy.

Finally, Karen, how did you and Anthony Puttee, the cover designer, develop the cover for Bailey Beats the Blah?

I requested Aaron illustrate a specific cover picture of a miserable Bailey with doting, loveable Fuzzy the dog. Anthony of Book Cover Café transformed this pic into a cover design, adding eye-catching colourful fonts, a purple background and ground shadows.
Anthony finally added the words BLAH in a unique red font.

Fabulous! The cover is definitely eye-catching. Thanks for stopping in, Karen, and congratulations on the release of Bailey Beats the Blah.

WIN:  Copies of BaileyBeats the Blah, a signed Bailey artwork by illustrator Aaron Pocock and a picture book assessment with chief editor at Book Cover Café.
Simply leave a comment on any of the 16 hops on the Bailey Beats the Blah tour  (see below) Nov 3rd -18th. The more comments you leave the MORE chances to WIN.
WINNERS announced on Nov 20th at www.

Karen Tyrrell is a Brisbane award-winning author of three mental health books for adults and children, an experienced senior teacher, accredited speaker and dynamic creative writing and Resilience Training workshop presenter.

Download FREE children's activities and FREE teacher notes from

Bailey Blog Tour & Book Giveaway

Monday, November 4, 2013

Inside Story Success!

Everything you might hope for when organising a big event was realised at the inaugural celebration of SCBWI's Inside Story in Brisbane on Saturday, 2nd November. 

An initiative of The Society for Children's Book Writers and IllustratorsInside Story - where children's author and illustrators share the 'inside story' of their books - took place on the one weekend in 12 cities internationally.
Convenor and MC for the day, Angela Sunde (me) at Black Cat Books
Held within the tumbling, tropical gardens of Black Cat Books in leafy Paddington, Brisbane, the springtime sunshine dappled us with welcoming warmth, surpassed only by the charm and grace of our host, owner of Black Cat Books, Stephanie Hogan and her staff.

Audience arriving
BlackCat Books is a ‘home away from home’ for many Queensland children’s authors, who often pop in to pick up a latest release, launch their own books or support a fellow author. It’s here that you find writers and readers sitting at tables in the café and chatting over a second or third cuppa.
Dimity Powell, Katherine Battersby and (myself) Angela Sunde with the Inside Story Books Table
Photo courtesy of Dimity Powell

Following repeated radio coverage of the event (including a live interview), writers, readers, parents and children collected together to celebrate. A comfortable crowd of about 50 gathered on the terraces, enthusiastic to hear the ‘behind the scenes’ secrets of our 14 featured SCBWI author/illustrators’ most recently published books.
Authors Dimity Powell, Michelle Worthington, Samantha Wheeler and (myself)
Photo courtesy of Dimity Powell
As convenor and MC of the Brisbane Inside Story event I welcomed everyone on behalf of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (including a note of welcome from Queensland ARA, Sheryl Gwyther, who is presently in the USA).
A full house
Setting a quick pace with my own 'inside story', I then introduced each of the other author/illustrators with a short recount of their awards and achievements followed by a personal anecdote. The professionalism and creativity of each author/illustrator’s three minute talk made for an entertaining session, which zipped past.
A SCBWI welcome
Photo courtesy of Chris Bongers
There were ‘inside stories’ of silly snakes, koalas in danger, surprise endings, missing letterboxes, tumbling chairs, hospital merry-go-rounds and scary chickens. It was a feast for the imagination.
Stephen Axelsen shares his 'inside story'
Photo courtesy of Dimity Powell

Candice Lemon-Scott shares her 'inside story'
Photo courtesy of Dimity Powell
Pamela Rushby shares her 'inside story'
Photo courtesy of Dimity Powell
Keeping efficient time management in mind, a program was available on each table, together with a colour flyer (with information on each of the 14 participating SCBWI author/illustrators) placed on each seat. Many attendees took notes during the talks and children eagerly asked and answered questions.

The Raffle Prizes Table
Photo courtesy of Dimity Powell
By now everyone had received a ticket for the Queensland Inside Story draw. The winner was a Brisbane woman interested in illustrating, who had come along having just heard about the event that morning on the radio. Her name now goes in to the international draw for the Grand Prize.
Happy Inside Story cake

L-R Back Row - Judy Paulson, Dimity Powell, Angela Sunde, Stephen Axelsen, Pamela Rushby, Chris Bongers, Peter Taylor, Christina Bollenbach, Samantha Wheeler.
L-R Front Row - Michelle Worthington, Candice Lemon-Scott, Julie Nickerson, Katherine Battersby, Jennifer Poulter.
Photo courtesy of Dimity Powell
After a ceremonious cake cutting, more prizes and a loud rendition of ‘Happy Inside Story’, there was little more to do than lick the cream off our fingers, sign autographs and have photos taken by The Sunday Mail’s photographer for the next day’s issue. What a wonderful morning!
The Sunday Mail 3/11/2013
Sincere thanks go to SCBWI QLD support team member, Pamela Rushby, for all her help and advice, and to Stephanie Hogan and the staff of Black Cat Books for their continued support of children’s books and the authors and illustrators who create them.
The Brisbane Inside Story Team
Pamela Rushby and (myself) Angela Sunde