Friday, 29 June 2018

Findind Granny

Welcome to the last stop on the Finding Granny Blog Tour




 by Kate Simpson

 Kate is children's author and podcaster based in Sydney, Australia. Her debut picture book, Finding Granny, will be in bookshops in July 2018.


About The Book

Every two seconds, someone in the world suffers a stroke.

In Finding Granny, that someone is Edie’s beloved grandmother. When Edie comes to the hospital, she is confronted by the physical changes in her grandmother: muddled words, a crooked face, a woman confined to bed. This isn’t the ‘playtime, bedtime, story-time pantomime Granny’ that Edie knows. But when her mother takes Edie to watch one of Granny’s art therapy sessions, Edie starts to understand that the Granny she loves is still there. 

Our Review
 Edie's Granny is loads of fun. She's never one to shy away from the odd bucket of slime and when there's ice cream on offer, Granny is the first to share.



So when something happens to Granny, and she has to go to the hospital, Edie is convinced the lady who can't talk like Granny, or walk like Granny, can't possibly be Granny. 


 
Edie is even a little scared of Granny, until Mama shows her all the wonderful ways Granny is learning to do things again.

In this heartfelt picture book, Kate Simpson touches on a topic which so many young children face. When an illness like a stroke, causes changes in a much loved family member.

With the beautiful water colours by Gwynneth Jones, we watch as Edie and Granny come to find the common ground again.

A place where they understand the world will never quite be the same, but they can navigate the changes with love and compassion.

This book reminded me of when my own Grandpa had a stroke, and the changes I witnessed as a child.
A book like this would have given me such insight into his daily struggle, but also the wonderful blessing of still having Grandpa with us, no matter how different life had become.

I highly recommend this book for any little folks who have family enduring the life changing effects of stroke....

Bravo to Kate and Gwynneth for tackling this difficult subject.

And don't forget to drop by Kate's website, 



And jump back to the other stops on the tour.

Sunday July 1 - Saturday July 7
Monday July 2
Tuesday July 3
Wednesday July 4
Thursday July 5
Friday July 6

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Trouble In Toon Town by Maura Pierlot





About the Book
Title: ​ The Trouble in Tune Town
Author: ​Maura Pierlot Illustrator: ​Sophie Norsa Target:​ 6+
ISBN:  ​9781925545333  ​
Hardback RRP: $​24.95

Description:
Joint Winner, Best Children's Illustrated E-Book in the IPPY Book Awards 2018
 Meg is Tune Town’s best music performer, but she’s having trouble rehearsing. So much trouble, in fact, that the notes have run right off the sheet! Can Meg find the notes in time for her big concert? Or are they closer to home than she thought? A colourful book for music-loving-and-learning kids of all ages.


Our Review

Right off the bat, or should I say baton, the sketch and water colour images in this delightful picture book really give it a melodious feel. Illustrator Sophie Norsa has created a color filled feast of musicality as we learn of Meg's dilemma. Her notes have gone missing, they've stepped of the page causing musical machinations in tune town.



As every child learns, when first starting out, music and making it doesn't come easy. It takes hours even years to get it right. Meg feels her song is all wrong, so she gives up. The notes take it personally and try to find a new home, but they just don't fit in anywhere.
Eventually the conductor suggests Meg hum. The notes hear her tune, like they're being called home. On with the show, Meg takes a big step and makes melodies, regardless of them being prefect and the trouble in Toon Town is finally relieved.

Maura Pierlot's words are peppered with musical jargon and along with giving the reader a fantastic visual of how notes work on the page.
I read this to my six year old, who thought it was interesting and entertaining, having very little musical knowledge, I'm ashamed to say, since her mother can sing and spent years learning piano.

Ms Pierlot has also provided a grand glossary of all the musical terms, which was extremely helpful when discussing with my little one.

I highly recommend this beautifully created book to any young budding maestro, or perhaps those who've never been exposed to the wonderful world of music. 

About the Author: 

Maura loves words and has been writing ever since she can remember. Her children started music lessons at an early age, but never really enjoyed practising their instruments, often becoming frustrated when they couldn’t play the right notes. Maura thought learning a song should focus less on playing the notes correctly and more on experiencing and enjoying the music. This was the inspiration for The Trouble in Tune Town, Maura’s first picture book, and its heartfelt message: If you’re having fun, then you're playing all right. Maura also writes for the stage and for young adults. Over the years, she has crafted news and information as a medical journalist, magazine editor, small business owner, marketing consultant and ethicist. She has a PhD in philosophy and enjoys talking about big ideas. Maura lives in Canberra with her husband and their three children, now teenagers. She loves the touch and feel of books, old typewriters, thunderstorms and cheesecake. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, and travelling to new places. She tries to learn something new every day, but to make it fun.

About the Illustrator 

Sophie’s artistic talents were soon discovered by New Frontier Publishing, as a work experience student there. She has written and illustrated her own book, Lisa Absolutely Loves Art, and her illustrated work for Yellow Dress Day put her on the shortlist for the 2013 CBCA Crichton Award. Her other illustrated works include Matilda Saves Santa Claus, Emilia Mouse, Elephant Kitten and Where Do Teachers Go at Night? Sophie enjoys playing across styles and mediums of illustration.




Don't forget to jump on and check out the tour...


Sun Apr 22 - Sat May 5
Mon Apr 23
Wed Apr 25
Thu Apr 26
Fri Apr 27
educateempower.blog
Sun Apr 29
Mon Apr 30
Mon Apr 30 Facebook Event Party
Facebook.com/groups/thetroubleintunetownevent
Tue May 1
Wed May 2
Thu May 3
Fri May 4
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Thursday, 7 December 2017

Blog Tour: Brave and Strong All Day Long





Hi folks, welcome back.

Today we are happy to be a part of the Just Write For Kids blog tour, for Elizabeth Cummings delightful new picture book.


Description:
Meet Fiona, a lifeguard. She keeps everyone safe on her beach. Discover her resilience and strength and how she came to be brave and strong all day long. This is the fourth title in this series.


Our Review

As a little girl, Fiona loved to surf on her pink surfboard. The boys sometimes teased her, but Fiona didn't care.  One day, she saw a little boy struggling to swim. She didn't hesitate, she helped him back to shore on her pink surfboard.
As Fiona grew, she often helped the lifeguards, until she joined the surf club.
Her love of the waves and her joy in helping people only grew,  until she became a life guard herself.
Rescuing people became part of her everyday, because Fiona is brave and strong all day long.


A lovely message, about a true hero on the shore. I was delighted to share this story with my little girl, showing her that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it, and no matter what others say, stay true to yourself and follow your dreams.

That's what Elizabeth Cummings book imparts. Bravo!

We recommend for children ages 3-8.



About the Series


  Have you wondered about what other people do? The ordinary, everyday people - the people that make our lives the way they are, those who help us, care for us, look after our town and do the little things that make a difference to our lives. Have you ever caught a little glimpse of their little routines or the daily habits? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be them? In "Verityville" there are many amazing folk, all going about their daily business, making the town what it is. Their work and their efforts make "Verityville" a marvellous place to be, full of wonder, friendship and adventure! Come take a trip to "Verityville" and meet some of the wonderful people who live and work there! 



 About the Author


 "Formally a primary school teacher from UK, I now live in Sydney writing for children and adults alike. My works often take a child's perspective to explain the world and to reflect on important life experiences. My poetry is aimed at general audiences and as well as working on some collaborative ventures and YA projects. My work with 'Elephant in the Room' has lead to presenting at an international storytelling conference at Mansfield College in Oxford UK and a distribution contract with Dennis Jones & Associates. I have published four books to date and won last year's SCWC Writer's prize for a poem about gender and identity." - Elizabeth Cummings



For more of Elizabeth's books head to


"For more information on blog tours at Books On Tour please visit


Monday December 4 - Friday December 8


PLUS!

Wednesday December 6

Vanessa Ryan - www.educateempower.blog

Thursday December 7

Brydie Wright - www.brydiewright.com

Friday December 8

 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

So Wrong 2 by Michael Wagner and Wayne Bryant: Review


Hi folks,
I have another great book review to share with you.

So Wrong 2 


Michael Wagner and Wayne Bryant are back with So Wrong 2 and it appears they’ve learned NOTHING from their previous mistakes. With a fresh cast of inappropriate characters, including:
Nan the Forgetful Nudist,
Warren the One-Legged Wonder Dog,
Steve McSpleen (a real human spleen),
BIG Red Riding Hood
and Tomas the Tank,
there was never really any hope that this book would turn out sensible ... or reasonable ... or even tolerable. And it’s lived up to all expectations.


We loved So Wrong to bits...

If you are interested you can read my Goodreads Review

So Wrong 2 
Did not disappoint.

My six year old had her nose buried in it for quite a few nights, which is a clear sign of a hit. 

Once again we have the ever phonetically verbose Mitey Mikey with his life wisdom. My daughter did announce that she was smarter than Mikey, because he can't spell... he he, how humble they are with their youthly wisdom. 

Our favourite character is Warren the One-Legged Wonder Dog. I won't spoil it for you, but the little guy has guts and, well, only one leg, but his tail makes up for what he lacks in traditional appendages.

Once again Michael has poked fun at some rather illustrious classics with wit and humour that keeps getting better. Our favourite add break was Body Parts R Us, and I am keen to put some So Inappropriate tips into action, so look out at the next wedding, or perhaps hospital visit for some wildly inappropriate behaviour...

Wayne Bryant is a master at hilarious depictions of Michael's words. What a humourforce (I made that word up, if Mitey Mikey can, so can I...) they've become.

The verdict is in! This is going to be another book that reluctant and confident readers will gobble up. 
We can hardly wait for a third installment...
  
About Michael

Michael Wagner is the Melbourne-based author of more than 70 books for children which include the much-loved Maxx Rumble series, six funny and heart-warming stories about a family called The Undys, the best-selling picture book Why I Love Footy, and many more.
Before becoming a children’s author, Michael worked for ten years as radio broadcaster with the ABC, wrote and produced award-winning television animations, and penned everything from advertising copy to songs and comedy. He’s also the founder of Billy Goat Books.
You can find out more about Michael from his fun and revealing website.

Billy Goat Books 

Monday, 30 October 2017

Lizzy's Dragon Blog Tour


 Hi folks and welcome to the Lizzy's Dragon blog tour.  This book is by my dear friend
 Melissa Gijsbers.
 I am so utterly proud of her achievement.

I'm joining in as the last stop on the tour, so be sure to scroll down to visit all the other stops. You won't regret it. There are some great author interviews, teaching notes and general awesomeness about the book. 


Book Description:

When she finds an odd looking egg in the forest behind her house she decides to hide it in her bedroom in the hope that it will hatch into a lizard. What she gets is 'Bubbles', the oddest, fastest growing lizard she has ever seen. It doesn't take long for her annoying little brother to discover her secret pet. It also doesn't take long for Bubbles to grow out of her room. Lizzy begins to wonder whether Bubbles is a lizard at all, or something even more amazing. But how will Lizzy keep Bubbles a secret? And what will happen to Bubbles if anyone finds out about him?

Published 25 June by Morning Star Publishing.

My Review:

Lizzie finds an odd shaped stone in the forest behind her house. She takes it home, hiding it from her pesky little brother Joey, who gets in to everything. It doesn't take long for Lizzie to realise, that it isn't just any old stone. Its growing, and growing fast, into an egg...

When a cute little lizard hatches, Lizzie thinks all her dreams have come true. She's always wanted a pet, but her parents wouldn't let her have one.
When the little lizard starts sneezing water, everywhere, and growing exponentially, Lizzie can't hide it in her room anymore. She finds a cave in the forest and deposits, Bubbles, the names she has decided to call her lizard.
Lizzie grows to love Bubbles, and her lizard grows to become  ... well, a water dragon actually.

A water dragon that can fly!

Bubbles and Lizzie have the best fun, flying over the town, and nobody knows what they are up to.

Tragedy strikes when a bush fire begins spreading throughout the town. Lizzie is desperate to help, and Bubbles begins to shine.  His water wielding ways save the town and he and Lizzie become quite the hero's. They even manage to win over pesky little Joey, who was being a bit naughty earlier on in the story when he threatened to out Lizzie pet to her parents.


This was a beautiful little story, which I started reading without the six year old, but once she saw the cover, she wanted to read it herself.

Racing to catch up to my bookmark, she read it so voraciously. I had to chuckle when I would find her in her room reading while she was supposed to be getting ready for school.
We soon caught up and read the ending aloud.

She announced it was a great book, and was keen for a second.

We highly recommend this delightful read to for kids aged 6-8 who are branching into chapter books, and love a sweet dragon story.




And don't forget to swing by the other stops below.  

Monday October 23rd

Romi Sharp - Review + Book Trailer



Tuesday October 24th

Character Q and A



Wednesday October 25th

Author Article 

 
Brook Tayla: Tell Tales to Me – Review



Thursday October 26th

Activities


Megan Higginson: ‘In Conversation With…’ Interview



Friday October 27th

Giveaway / Chat Details



Vanessa Ryan: Educate Empower – Review


Monday October 30th

#InterviewByBook / Excerpt


Tuesday October 31st

Lizzy’s Dragon Profile Page


Julie Anne Grasso – Review

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Scared Book by Debra Tidball


Hi folks welcome back to my little corner of the world.

Today I have a delightful new release for you.

The Scared Book by my dear friend Debra Tidball 

Illustrated by Kim Siew

Published by Hachette in 2017



We open with some scary monsters...

But oh, the book is too scared to continue...

With tingling spines that you might have to help scratch...

Goosebumps you must help rub away... 

And one of my favourites, butterflies tickling insides, that must be blown away...





Kids will be clambering for this one....

Now I can't tell you how the books ends, but I will add, there are some tender moments too. It's not all just madness and mayhem.

This page is my little G's favourite. She traced the entire spiral and reported how calm she felt.




There is no doubt, this is one awesome read aloud for ages 3-7. 

To find out more about Debra's books head on over to

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Quick Review: Rusty Buster and Patch Versus The Opera by Adam Wallace, Illustrated by Serena Geddes


Our Review:

Rusty, Buster, and Patch are up to their usual antics like surfing a silver tray in their underwear, and stomping their fathers flower patch.
Mum Marnie has had it, she is going to give them some class.

With the donning of pants and little boy suits and top hats, the boys are off to the OPERA.

Yes, you read that correct, the opera.  Three little boys at the OPERA. Nothing could possibly go wrong!

Complete with a tub of Monkey Business, a jar of cultured yoghurt, not to mention a Tv with Oprah programmed in, even a cake nestled in their jackets, they set of with Mum to make their mark.
And make their mark they certainly do. I better not give away the ending, but there will be hot dog selling and a certain young lad singing the final stanza.

Told in Marx brothers style, this three act catastrophe will have your young-uns giggling in the aisles, and perhaps even singing the odd final note.

My six year old laughed her way through this entire book and had to take it as her book week book. 

Illustrations by Serena Geddes, make this such a fun book.

Another great installment from Adam Wallace, who has firmly planted his feet in our hearts. We suggest for ages 6-9.

About Adam:
Adam Wallace
New York Times Bestselling author. Golfer. Napper. Singer. Collingwoooooood supporter. Right-handed. Right-footed. Left-parted. He also writes, daringly different and super awesome books. Plus, he loves Zombie's. Nuff said


Thursday, 14 September 2017

Quick Review: Family Hugs by Michael Wagner



Family Hugs 
by Michael Wagner
and Adam Carruthers

 Description: In this playful, but thoughtful picture book, illustrator Adam Carruthers perfectly captures the sentiments of four Michael Wagner poems about families and how they support and nurture their members. Suitable for pre-schoolers and early primary aged children, Family Hugs both warms the heart and tickles the funnybone, while providing much to reflect upon about how loving families function.

We got this for our boy wizard, aged 2, to add to our rapidly expanding library.
I was delighted Michael Wagner has published a book with Hugs as the theme.  I love the idea of a book about hugs, as my kids can't seem to get enough of them.  There must be something in them. Fuel for the soul I suspect.

 Our Review:
A big family cuddle, a spag bol dinner, a stern family meeting, even an arty family party, Family Hugs has it all. Or if perhaps your having a bad day, this book will chip away at at your despair. With such a motley family tree, Family Hugs will leave you with one monstrous family hug. Written in rhyme so delightful it will have you chortling from beginning to end, and illustrations I wish I could cut out and stick on my walls, we highly recommend this wonderful edition to your little people library. Great for ages 3-6

A little about Michael:

Michael Wagner is the Melbourne-based author of more than 70 books for children which include the much-loved Maxx Rumble series, six funny and heart-warming stories about a family called The Undys, the best-selling picture book Why I Love Footy, and many more.
Before becoming a children’s author, Michael worked for ten years as radio broadcaster with the ABC, wrote and produced award-winning television animations, and penned everything from advertising copy to songs and comedy. He’s also the founder of Billy Goat Books.
You can find out more about Michael from his fun and revealing website.



   

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Ruby Lane by R J Simon





Well it's been a little while since I've written a review, and I am delighted to bring to you

Ruby Lane 

by RJ Simon

Description:
Ruby is overexcited again, and her brain is spinning creative ideas so fast it feels like her head could explode! Luckily, it’s school holidays, so she’s allowed to stay up late, reading adventure stories and playing dress-ups with her cat. But when things get out of control, Ruby decides that helping a crazy pirate cat return a malfunctioning book to its rightful owner is the only logical solution…

* Humorous and mysterious, this book is a fantastical adventure for middle-grade readers worldwide!


Our Review:

Ruby is super excited to be visiting her Grandmother for a week.  However on her journey there, she encounters a peculiar little cat, dressed like a pirate, carrying a book. When the cat begins to talk like a pirate, Ruby is suitably astounded.  The pirate cat is on a quest to return the book to the Great Poet Gerry.
Ruby is drawn into the quest, rather unwillingly to start. All Ruby has to do is help the little pirate cat get back to his ship. No worries, easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Oops, I better not give some of the story away, he he.  Everything does not at all go to plan and what follows is a rollicking adventure, full of cat scans, which are not at all what you think.  Picture a cat purring in your ear and claiming to fix all manner of ailments, as well as fairies powered by beans and a dread pirate rotter who is one dastardly villain. 
Ruby has to overcome many fears, face many dangers and put up with one very piratey pirate cat, in order to find his ship and return to the magic book to the Great Poet Gerry.  What could possibly go wrong.

This was a fun read, and my six year old absolutely loved it.  She was gripped from the first page and was adamant that we must read a chapter every night, until it was done.
RJ Simon has woven an entertaining tale, full of quirky characters and action packed adventure. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself talking like a pirate long after the book is through.

The little one gave it 5 stars. Great for ages 7-9.


For more information about the book, head on over to

 Note:
We received a copy in exchange for an honest review.


 

 








Monday, 20 March 2017

How Do I Write With A Toddler In The House




via GIPHY

I've been asked a lot lately, how do I write with a toddler in the house? To be more specific, with a toddler and a five-year-old kid in prep school, in the house.

I decided to put some thoughts on paper, because actually, until I really thought about it, I didn't realise I actually have strategies to make it happen.

I know there are millions of writer mum's out there, navigating the baby years, which inevitably move forward into the school years.
I've seen a few lot of posts about the school years, none about with a toddler in the house, which is quite a deal different. When it comes down to it, what do I actually do to achieve my writing goals.

If I am going to be even more philosophical, why do we even have writing goals?
Here are my reasons.

1. I value myself. 2. I value my writing. 3. I believe I can make a contribution to society in doing so. 4. I truly enjoy writing.
I have managed to write and independently publish and market seven books to date, not including the unpublished manuscripts that I am submitting for traditional publication as well.

Sure my family comes first, but being a mum does not exclude me from being a writer. Sometimes we need to pan back from the microscope and look at the big picture.

via GIPHY



 I can do both, and in fact, I believe there is no better time in life to write than when you have a young family.




via GIPHY



I have chosen to stay home with my kids, leaving the world of nursing behind me, and I can truly say I do not regret it for a moment. So how do I do it?

 I set myself realistic goals. I know a lot of authors profess that they write every day. I have a young family. I continually struggle with energy levels and I have a toddler at my side, 14 hours of the day, not to mention the demands of my five year old who has just started prep.
She is gone for 6 hours of the day. My toddler sleeps for approximately 2 hours during the day. I want to write every day, but it doesn't happen.

Once my girl is at school and my toddler's head hits the pillow, I have a snack, so that I'm not distracted. I sit at my computer, call up my latest manuscript, put on my dictation headset, enable DragonDictate, and I write. Usually an hour maximum.

I do not dictate punctuation, it interrupts the flow. I manually add punctuation as I go, which gives me time to think about what I will dictate next. I write until I cannot write any more. When my energy runs out, I stop. I rarely push myself.  I do not write well when I am fatigued.  So I write what I can, then I save it.

I save my documents by date. This gives me an idea of how many days in the week I have written.

I also keep track of my word count. I don't have a great attention span, being perpetually tired. I do not beat myself up at a low word count. Even 50 words are still words. To me, 1200 words in a day is a minor miracle. But as we know, every word counts.

Some days, the toddler doesn't sleep, or I have an appointment, or something fun to attend. Those days I know will be unproductive when it comes to writing. I have found my most efficient time for writing is during the day, so when that toddler goes to bed, I do not plan any housework, or even consider it. This is my sacred writing time.

When my first child stopped sleeping through the day, I lost my daytime writing time. I struggle to write at night. I can edit at night, without any trouble as the words are already there, but I can't be creative. If I was going to have any writing time, I had to get up early, and hour before everyone else.  5 am became my sacred writing time.

When my second child came along, sleep deprivation once again destroyed that plan. I needed to snatch sleep when I could. I didn't stop writing, but I did negotiate writing time with my husband.

Every weekend, when I felt like I had enough energy, I would sneak upstairs with my computer and headset.  I would shut the door and block out the world of family and obligations.
It was my sacred writing time, even if it was only an hour on a weekend, sometimes two.
Regardless, I managed to write an entirely new manuscript of 46 thousand words, by doing this.

 My office is a Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs. It's in our living area, so I can snatch moments on email and facebook etc during the day when the toddler is in the high chair, or I don't know, making his own lunch.  Just kidding!  Sure, there is no privacy, or quiet moments when your office is in the living room, but I gets it done.


In essence, the long and the short of it is, writing is in my blood. It is my career, and so I pour into as much as I possibly can, without it effecting the everyday workings of having a young family.

I often set myself deadlines, but I make them really generous.  I am to have this manuscript finished by this month and then I calculate out the days until that deadline. Then I calculate the words needed to write to make my goal. This gives me a great incentive to get it done.

I also book in editing with my editor well in advance. As I use a freelance editor, I have to be spot on in my delivery, so I also make that part of my motivation.

So there you have it.  How I write with a young family.
The house may not always look like a vogue catalogue, but my family is fed and have clean clothes and I get to live my dream at the touch of my fingertips.



via GIPHY

That is how I write with a toddler in the house.....

Until next time.....