My life as a children's author while juggling being a mum, a wife and professional volunteer. (Sometimes it gets complicated)

Friday, 24 July 2015

My Bottom Humour Picture Book Collection

I love bottom humour that's suitable for children of all ages.
 
I love reading it.
I love hearing it.
I love sharing it.
I love collecting it.
 
So I've decided it's time to share my personal bottom humour picture book collection that tackles farts, underpants, poo and pee in a very special way. I've read all these books with my children and they've made us laugh for hours. I know it's not for everyone and that's ok.
 
Feel free to let me know of other amazing children's 
picture books I can add to my collection.
 
(Note: blurbs and cover images from fishpond.com.au) 
 
 
1) Queen Victoria's Underpants
 
 
 A very funny story about the most famous underwear in the British Empire. Meet Lizzy, whose family are in the clothing industry. Very few people probably know that Queen Victoria made the wearing of underpants popular. At the beginning of her reign very few women wore them. But Queen Victoria made tartans, perambulators and chloroform fashionable. By the time she died just about every woman in Britain wore underpants like hers.
 

 
2) Who Flung Dung?
 
 
 Someone flings dung at Furley! Nobody is around to confess, so Furley goes on an investigation. 'Who flung dung?', Furley demands of everyone. They deny everything. As Furley becomes more and more frustrated, readers will giggle more and more loudly. But even though he's frustrated, Furley's not going to give up.
 
 
3) The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of his Business
 
 
This picture book tells the tale of a little mole who wakes up one morning only to have one of the other animals "do its business" on his head. The mole then sets out to track down the culprit to exact his revenge in his own little way.
 
 
4) There's A Monster Under My Bed Who Farts
 
 
 Everyone says, 'It wasn't me!' But what if it REALLY wasn't you? What if it was the monster who lives under your bed? How much trouble can one little monster cause...From two amazing new talents comes a hilarious picture book that's guaranteed to be a runaway hit with both young and old.
 
 
5) The Pirate Who Had To Pee
 
 
 From the bestselling authors of There Is a Monster Under My Bed Who Farts, Pirate Jack had to pee as he sailed across the ocean...the toilet's broken onboard Captain Bones' ship and Pirate Jack needs to pee! It's a race back to town across a vast amount of water. With the constant splashing, dripping and swirling, will Jack be able to hold on? Ages: 2-5
 
 
6) The Terrible Underpants
 
 
What would you do if everyone in the whole wide world saw your Terrible Underpants? That's the problem Wanda-Linda has to solve, one windy day. Kaz Cooke brings us a warm, funny story about sprinklers, a helicopter, Mrs Kafoops, a hairy-nosed wombat called Glenda - and some worn-out elastic.
 
 
7) Dinosaur Dump
 
 
 The new Christmas bestseller from the creators of the Fart Monster Straight from the prehistoric era comes an ex-STINK-tion story like no other! Life's hard when there's only one toilet and all the dinos need to go! There's a dumping pterodactyl, a plopping stegosaurus and a T Rex who can't reach to wipe ...But when it's finally Mike's turn, could one tiny bowel movement end in disaster? Ages: 3+
 
 
8) Harvey, the Boy Who Couldn't Fart
 
 
 Everyone can fart. Everyone except Harvey. No matter how hard Harvey tries, he can't manage even a squeak. A humorous story that will have readers of all ages giggling.
 
 
9) Walter the Farting Dog
 
 
Warning: this book may cause flatulence! Walter is a wonderful dog, except for one small problem. Gas. He can't help it. It's just the way he is. Fortunately, Billy and Betty love him in spite of his gas problems. But Father says he's got to go. He's smelling up the house. Poor Walter. He's going back to the dog pound tomorrow. How will he escape this terrible fate? The answer will have you rolling on the floor with laughter.
 
 
 
10) Baa Baa Smart Sheep
 
 
Little Baa Baa is bored. When Quirky Turkey comes along the opportunity to make some mischief proves to hard to resist.
 
 
I hope you enjoyed browsing my bottom humour picture book collection. We actually read a very wide range of picture books in our house but we keep coming back to some of these. I'm not afraid to have a good old laugh with my kids over a fart joke. Farts are funny!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

10 Tips On How To Start Learning About The Children's Book Industry In Australia

Four years ago I started to write for children with the dream of getting published. I knew nothing about the children’s book industry and I needed to start learning quickly so I could make a realistic publication plan that worked for me. I felt like I was in a little rowboat without oars in an ocean full of information. It was confusing!

Over the next few years I listened, I took notes, I asked many questions, and met lots of wonderful people (including my inspiration, Andy Griffiths). I also went on a subscription rampage – you’ll see what I mean below. So here are my top 10 tips on where to start learning about the children’s book industry.


But always put improving your craft ahead of this list.

This is how I started learning about the industry – everyone's journey will be different. If you have more ideas to share, please add them in the comments below.


Andy Griffiths and I at the
Sydney Writers Festival 2015

1) BECOME A MEMBER OF RELEVANT ORGANISATIONS:

There are so many organisations willing to help new authors and illustrators. Lots offer courses and workshops, often with a discount for members.


ASA - Australian Society of Authors
https://www.asauthors.org/

CBCA - Children’s Book Council of Australia http://cbca.org.au/

This is a national organisation. You become a member of your state branch and then you can attend a local sub-branch if there is one in your area. Each state branch has its own website.


SCBWI - Society if Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
https://www.scbwi.org/

This is an international organisation. It's broken into regions. Check the website to see what region you belong to. Each region has its own website.


If you are still thinking about whether you would like to become a member, at least subscribe to their online newsletters and Facebook pages. Most have one or both. After reading a few issues and posts, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about membership.


2) JOIN YOUR LOCAL WRITERS’ CENTRE

Join your local writers’ centre if you can access one. Find out if they run writing groups. Most provide courses and workshops at a discounted price for members. Get involved in your local creative scene. Meet other local creatives. This will set you up with lots of local support.


3) JOIN YOUR STATE’S WRITERS’ CENTRE

This is another great option depending on where you live. Going to courses presented by writers’ centres helps you meet well-established people in the industry and other authors and illustrators on their journeys beyond your local area.
If you can’t attend your state branch, subscribe to their online newsletters. Keep yourself informed about what creative people are learning around you.


Australian WC (Sydney, Melbourne and Perth) - https://sawriters.org.au/

4) FOLLOW INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Use social media to follow people in the industry. Learn who the children’s book publishers are and follow them. Also follow book review sites, bookshops, organisations and writers’ centres. Watch who others follow and take their lead.


You don’t need to be active on all social media platforms at once. I must admit I’m not active on twitter. Learning how to use twitter is on my to-do list.


5) SUBSCRIBE TO INDUSTRY ONLINE MAGAZINES

The two most common on line magazines in the children’s book industry are Pass It On and Buzz Words. They both involve a subscription fee to receive them but they are worth it. Both these publications are like an industry noticeboard. You will find courses, book launches, submission information, interviews and much more. Both have a Facebook page.


Pass It On arrives in your inbox every Monday and is managed by Jackie Hosking.
https://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com/

Buzz Words arrives twice monthly and is managed by Di Bates. http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.com/

6) MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLER

Go and find your local independent bookseller. Hopefully one isn’t too far away. Visit them regularly. Watch for the new releases. Read them. Buy them. Talk to the staff. Love them. Some of these businesses hold events in-store if a visiting artist is in town. Visit! Buy! Love them! Subscribe to their newsletter and Facebook page. You just may have your book in their front window one day!


MacLean’s Booksellers’ pop up bookshop
inside Newcastle Region Library
 at the Newcastle Writers Festival 2015

7) MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY

Go find your local public library. Visit them regularly. Watch for the new releases. Read them. Borrow them. Talk to the staff. Love them. Some libraries hold events if a visiting artist is in town. Go! Visit! Borrow! Love them! Subscribe to their newsletter and Facebook page (you may need to do this via your local council’s website or Facebook page). Your local librarian just may recommend your book for others to borrow one day! Get the idea?


8) ATTEND LOCAL EVENTS RELATED TO BOOKS – ANY TYPE OF BOOK

Support your local artists. Go to book launches, go to public readings, go to local reading and writing festivals, go to author visits. Immerse yourself! It doesn’t matter what the genre is. You will meet new people and become a participant in your local cultural scene. If you have subscribed to your local writers’ centre, local public library, and local bookshop newsletters you’ll find out what is happening so you can schedule these events into your life.


Book launch

9) ATTEND FESTIVALS and CONFERENCES

This is my favourite pastime. This is where I get my inspiration.
Festivals and conferences come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more for professional development while others are for discussing bookish topics and finding out what is happening in the world of publishing. Try as many as you can. Go find one! Most have a website, online newsletter and a Facebook page. Most capital cities host one.


Jackie French speaking at the
CBCA National Conference 2014 - Canberra
 10) READ, READ, READ!

Read everything you can in the genre and age group you are writing/illustrating in. Read inside your genre and out of it. Read new stories and old. Read good stories and bad. Read undiscovered and popular stories. Go hunting. Start to get to know the market.


LASTLY:

I feel like I have the oars to my rowboat now. It has taken years but I can now control the direction I row in – and there are so many directions.


Take your time! Find out what works best for you and make your creating time precious. Good luck!


If you want to learn a little about some of my writing journey, you might like to read: http://katrinamckelvey.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/from-idea-to-publishing-contract.html

If you want to read more about my SWF 2015 adventure, you might like to read: http://katrinamckelvey.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/sydney-writers-festival-family-fun-day.html

www.katrinamckelvey@bigpond.com

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Lara’s ‘Don’t Think About Purple Elephants’ 7th Birthday Book Party

We had agreed as a family our children would have very quiet but special birthday celebrations this year. Big birthday parties can be frightfully expensive and it’s hard to shorten the guest list without disappointing little friends.

However, plans changed once we learned Wallsend Library was hosting Susan Whelan and Gwynneth Jones, author and illustrator of the wonderful new picture book ‘Don’t Think About Purple Elephants’ as part of their school holidays program on her birthday.



We decided we could invite all of the girls from her class and a few close family friends, and have a good time at the library. Yes – I had my daughter’s birthday party at the library. And yes, we were allowed to eat cake, make noise and have fun while there.

Susan had fun entertaining the children while sharing her story with them.
        
       
Gwynne demonstrated her clever illustration skills while drawing dogs, dinosaurs and crocodiles.



 
Songs and games followed. And the final activity – perfect for a party – icing biscuits and making edible purple elephants.




 
After all the planned activities were over, we blew out candles, ate cake and shared lolly bags.


I matched the lolly bags to the purple and yellow theme of the book and the girls were invited to wear something purple. They looked fantastic!


I may have had a minor – actually major – breakdown over a failed batch of cupcakes the night before, but once that crisis was over, the birthday and party went to plan thanks to Wallsend Library, Julie Swane, and book creators Susan and Gwynne.




Thanks to all her friends for joining us to help celebrate our special family event.

Happy Birthday Lara! Let's do it all again next year!


Love mum x


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Jess Black’s Book Launch – Book 1: ‘Eve and the Runaway Unicorn’ in her new series titled, ‘Keeper of the Crystals’


Friends, family, princesses, ninjas and unicorns came to celebrate the launch of Jess Black’s new book, ‘Eve and the Runaway Unicorn’, which is the first book in her new series ‘Keeper of the Crystals’ at Newcastle Library this morning. The Lovett Gallery was full and the buzz in the room was infectious.



Jess’s new series, Keeper of the Crystals, published by New Frontier, is an adventure fantasy series full of secrets and mystery. Eve and Oscar, two unlikely friends, accidentally tap into the power of crystals. They are thrust into different and dangerous worlds where unicorns, tigers, dragons and panthers communicate with people and where native communities and their way of life are under threat.


It was an honour to be asked to introduce Jess. I was nervous about my important role and I didn’t want to make any mistakes. It was a busy time for our little family leading up to the launch and I felt a little underprepared. But the teacher in me rescued me at just the right moment and I found myself at home once I started speaking.


Jess spoke beautifully of her life as a writer and shared with us some of Eve and Oscars’ adventures during a live reading. Jess looked stunning dressed up as an emerald princess.


 
Afterwards, guests were treated to home bakes goodies, unicorn biscuits, signings, face painting and craft activities. I walked in with a princess and walked out with a unicorn crossed with a zebra!


 
 
 
I was fortunate to read a copy of ‘Eve and the Runaway Unicorn’ before it was released on 1st July and I fell in love with the two main characters and Jess’ writing style. I highly recommend this book for children who are ready to explore chapter books or independent readers 7-9yrs. I’m about to pounce into book 2, ‘Eve and the Fiery Phoenix’ due out 1st August. Launch participants were lucky enough to get their hands on an early copy.



Congratulations Jess! What a wonderful new series. I look forward to going on more amazing adventures with Eve and Oscar.