Wednesday, 11 September 2013

What every author needs







Look at this. Isn’t it fantastic?

It’s a wall hanging of my picture book, Wooden Arms. A friend made it for me to use at school visits and festivals.

It’s made of fabric, with clever little pieces (cars and people and steeples and houses) that come on and off. As I read the story my audience helpers add the right bits to the backdrop.

I’ve been pleased to have it with me this month, as it’s been quite a busy one. A few weeks ago, I was at the Storylines Festival at the Aotea Centre, as one of the writers on the Kiwi Write4Kidz stall. That was fun (Storylines always is), especially as I got to catch up with some of my writing friends. And I discovered a new publisher: Book Island.

Book Island is the brain child of publisher Greet Pauwelijn who has set out to produce outstanding children’s books in English and Dutch. Judging by the books she had on display at the festival, she is going to achieve it. They were stunningly gorgeous, and interestingly had quite a different design feel than most New Zealand books.

I bought Sir Mouse to the Rescue for my son: a charming tale about a feisty female knight mouse and her dragon friend. I also put my name down to get a copy of Maia and What Matters when it is released in November, which deals with the thorny subjects of stroke and the debilitating effects of aging in a picture book. I like that: kids’ books that present the world as it is. Check out Book Island’s other books and philosophy at: www.bookisland.co.nz.

Then last week I was talking to a Raglan Area School Year 5 and 6 class about the importance of editing. I got to use my Wooden Arms hanging again, although we all got a little confused about what was supposed to come on and off when: especially as my two year old son insisted on helping. Still it was good to have it along – another way of putting a story out into the world.