Tag Archives: Australian authors

How to Take Book Week Easy Without Resorting to Cartoon Character Costumes.

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Full disclosure, I am a writer, an avid reader, a former English teacher, and worked in a library whilst doing my degrees. In short, I love books. I think that Book Week is fantastic and an important time to celebrate reading and writing. We celebrate sport and movie stars all the time, so it’s great to have a time to celebrate books.

And for me, that’s what Book Week is all about, celebrating books. It’s a chance to bring the spirit of fandom to books. My children’s school asked for children to dress up as characters from Australian books, which I thought was a lovely way to demonstrate support for the Australian book industry. It also helped really focus on celebrating books and not simply rehashing disney costumes that the kids already wear on weekends or football jerseys. Kids already celebrate their love of these things all the time so it was lovely to see books truly get given the focus they deserve.

But finding costumes for Australian books is hard and I already have superhero costumes at home and my kid loves heroes and although they know of the heroes through TV they are originally from comicBOOKS, I hear some fellow parents say. Don’t I have enough stress without adding book week? And I understand that, I really do. But I’ve got good news on both fronts. There are some really easy to costume Australian books, and it’ll open up discussions with your children about Australian literature. Talking about books can be exciting not stressful. Think of it as a fun thing where you get to learn about new books rather a drain on your time and sanity. So how about I give you some examples of easy to costume Australian books to take some stress out of the idea?

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For little kids still into picture books, Andrew Daddo is an awesome source of costuming. To be the little girl from I Do It all you need is a green dress, some red and white striped tights, and a toy monkey. You’ve possibly got something similar left over from the festive season. So the costume is easy and you get to talk about and read this fantastic book. I also love Andrew Daddo’s Cheeky Monkey. A stripey shirt and red tracksuit pants or a blue shirt and yellow tracksuit pants has you costumed and reading a great story.

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Do your kids love the word bum? Mine do. Tim Winton’s Bugalugs Bum Thief is super easy to costume. Hawaiian shirt, board shorts, bucket hat and a rope around the waist. Heck, Tim Winton also wrote Lockie Leonard, that’s another source of beachwear for any of your mini surfers and kids love those stories.

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Sorry, my children only like pirates. GREAT. Introduce your kids to Andy Griffiths’ Tree House series. They can go as Captain Wooden Head.

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My kid only dresses like princesses. Fabulous. Pamela Freeman has you covered with Princess Betony.

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Actually I meant swashbuckling hero types not pirates or Princesses. Fine, Allison Tait’s Map Maker series is for you.

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Are there any casual costumes out there? Glad you asked. Deborah Abela’s Max Remy Super Spy books were a huge hit with my nieces. Cargo pants, orange top, and you’re ready become a spy.

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My kid loves skateboarding. Anita Heiss has you covered with Harry’s Secret. A skateboard, and an Indigenous flag sticker for it.

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My daughter loves pretty dresses and pigs. Check and checkmate. Here’s Jacqueline Harvey with Clementine Rose. Blue dress, red bow, red shoes, and a toy pig. You’re done.

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I want to dress my kid as an animal. Great. Koalas, possums, and wombats are in a huge amount of picture books. You can’t swing a dingo in an Australian picture book festival without hitting an animal book.

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This is crazy, but I just happen to have a giant unicycle lying about my place, is there anyway I could incorporate that into Book Week. Why yes, yes you can. A.B. Paterson’s Mulga Bill’s Bicycle is an oldie but a goldie.

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I want my kid to wear my old nightie and a shower cap. Ooookay… that’s oddly specific but I can help you out there too. Try Seven Little Australians.

There are so many Australian authors out there with great books and easy costumes to make. Book week is a fabulous opportunity to google them, read them, and fall in love with them. So in 2017 I challenge you to catch the Book Week fever. Next year you can choose a book week costume that is just as quick and easy as a store bought dress up costume but has the added bonus of talking about Australian books and bringing the spirit of fandom to reading. Let’s really love books! Get excited about new books and let your kids catch your enthusiasm. Show them that there are more things to be excited about than those costumes that they already own and love.

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Robinpedia: #Robinpedia

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What is Robinpedia?
Robinpedia is a collection of blog entries about Australian authors who as yet do not have Wikipedia entries, have sadly lacking Wikipedia entries, or are friends of the Australian book industry.

Why not just add them to Wikipedia?
Unfortunately I am not skilled in the ways of Wikiepedia to create new entries or insert proper referencing. I certainly do plan to learn that and get the information onto Wikipedia eventually. I do most of my blogging and internet related activities on my phone so sometimes things that are easy on a PC are slightly beyond me. I will get there eventually, just enjoy Robinpedia in the meantime.

How often can we expect updates?Well, now that the passion of my life The Book Club ABC hosted by Jennifer Byrne is over for the year I am hoping to make this my regular weekly update.

How accurate is the information in Robinpedia?
Hopefully very. I go off what I can see on author websites, interviews they’ve done, public appearances, and their social media accounts.

Why isn’t my buddy the totes mega good author on Robinpedia?
Probably because I haven’t gotten to them yet. Please leave a comment giving me their name and I’ll look them up if I don’t already have them on my list of people to add. I include traditionally and self-published authors. As far as I’m concerned the Australian book industry is far too small for us to turn on each other. I also do entries on book advocates who actively promote and talk about their love of Australian stories and authors. If you want to make sure I don’t miss someone either leave a comment or email me on robin.elizabee@gmail.com

Is there a hashtag?
Yeah, I’ll try to use #Robinpedia when I put up entries on twitter. You’ll mainly find me lurking on twitter but I am on FB as well. Feel free to spread the love of Australian literature by following my twitter account and retweeting anything with my hashtags #robinpedia or #auslitlove. I use them for most of my loving of Austrlian literature type tweets.

My friend is on Wikipedia but Robinpedia is just so totes awesome that they want to be on Robinpedia too, is this perchance possible?
Of course. Just get “your friend” to let me know and I’ll add them.

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Let Me Love You!

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Recently Lisa Fleetwood, author of Destination Dachshund, wrote a blog entry about letting authors know you love them. In the entry she says that little old me inspired her to write it because I have been posting tweets about loving people in our industry.

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I have to say that I was delighted to be the inspiration behind a blog post. It seriously gave me the tingles. So I felt that it was only fair to let people know who inspired me to write countless tweets shouting out Australian authors. It was none other than the ever charismatic Walter Mason.

Walter Mason is an institution in the Sydney writer scene. He not only wrote Destination Saigon and Destination Cambodia but also runs the Universal Heart Book Club and provides inspirational workshops and talks regularly all across Sydney. I was fortunate to meet Walter through another writing mentoring legend, Jan Cornall.

I undertook my first ever writing course with Jan Cornall. It was called Write Your Novel on the Weekends and it was run through WEA. It was fantastic. I learned so much about writing a book as opposed to writing a story for creative writing that I still refer back to my notes regularly. In that two day workshop Jan said to me that she felt that Walter Mason would be a good person for me to chat with. It seemed like an odd choice on the surface as I was writing children’s sci-fi and he had published a travel memoir but I endeavored to follow her guidance because she had been so spot on with everything else.

So a few months later when I saw Walter speaking on a panel at a Emerging Writers Festival Roadshow I timidly went up to introduce myself. I have social anxiety that I generally mask pretty well but introducing myself to an author I had never met was so intimidating that I must confess that I was literally shaking. He immediately made me feel at ease and has been so generous with his time and advice ever since this first meeting that I have become one of his biggest fans, not just of his writing, which is wonderful, and not just of his workshops, which I would recommend to anyone because they never fail to inspire, but of him the person.

It was at another Emerging Writers Festival Roadshow that Walter gave me the inspiration to give Australian authors a shout out, loudly and often. He said to the audience, “bring the spirit of fandom to Australian literature.” This resonated with me powerful. I’m a massive geek, I even run a page on Facebook called GEEK so I know fandom and fandomania. This was something that I knew I could do and it fit in with my personality well.

You see, I’m the kind of person who loves to rave about things that I love. If I love a show, or a movie, or a book I want to tell people about it. I even do this with my reviewing style. I only do reviews of 3 stars and over. If I didn’t like a book I don’t really feel like talking about it. If I like a book I want to tell EVERYONE about it. So bringing the spirit of fandom to Australian literature was something I could do. So I’ve written blog entries, I regularly give shout outs on twitter and I’ve even made pictures all because Walter Mason inspired me.

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So I’d like to pass on the challenge to everyone else reading this, bring the spirit of fandom to Australian literature. Write a review, recommend an author to a friend, buy a book, follow an author on twitter, make some fan art. Just do something.

What will you do today to bring the spirit of fandom to Australian literature today?

Edit: I’ve started using #auslitlove on my tweets that are about loving Australian authors so that I can keep track of who I’m loving and make sure I spread the love around far and wide.

Happy Mothers Day, Here’s Your Damn Book Now Leave Me Alone

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Few occasions say buy a book like Mothers Day. Ladies love reading, amirightoramiright? So I’m here to help you chose a book that she’ll actually like rather than one she’ll pretend to like but secretly wonder why the hell you bought her something about pirates and heaving bossoms.

My number 1 recommendation is Kerri Sackville’s Little Book of Anxiety. Don’t pretend like you don’t know why I’d recommend this book, us mothers are anxious, nagging, beasties, and this is a humorous look at anxiety that the anxious mumma in your life will enjoy.

My 2nd recommendation is Primary School Confidential by Mrs Woog. A truly hilarious look at all things Primary School. It’ll make your mum laugh and cringe at all those memories.

My 3rd recommendation is Lisa Fleetwood’s Destination Dachshund. It’s a beautiful family travel memoir about three generations traveling the world together. You could get this one for mum or grandma… it might even inspire them to take you to Europe for a family vacation. Free trip! Woot!

My 4th recommendation is a bit of a change of pace from the first three. Emily Maguire’s An Isolated Incident. An Isolated Incident is a haunting thriller that explores everyday violence. It has real depth and covers some unsettling themes. This is something that your mum can sit down with and really engage with. A novel that will stay with her and really make her think. Perfect for the mum who loves to explore social issues.

Coming in at number 5 is The War Bride by Pamela Hart. A beautiful tale set in 1920s Australia. It is the story of
Margaret Dalton who comes to Australia from England and has to create a new life and form new friendships. There’s a touch of romance for the mums out there who like a bit of a love story.

Number 6 is Lisa Heidke’s Callahan Split. Love, sibling rivalry and tennis. What’s not to like. Get it for the mum who loves tennis or has a sister.

Number 7 is The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth. It’s Beauty and the Beast meets WWII. It’s evocative, it’s romantic, it’s beautiful. Your mother will love it.

At number 8 I have Fiona McArthur’s Aussie Midwives. A heartwarming look at those wonderful people who work around the birthing process. Your mum is sure to be touched by this gift, after all, she probably gave birth to you.

9 is Incredible Bakes That Just Happen to be Refined Sugar Free by Caroline Griffiths. The name says it all. Delicious recipes that everyone can enjoy. If your mum loves to cook then this is the gift for her… and you because she can make you delicious treats from it. Bonus.

And coming in at lucky number 10 is Rhonda RobertsGladiatrix. Perfect for the mum that loves Speculative Fiction. Despite Spec Fic having a rep for being a “boy’s” genre the majority of the readers are actually females. And we love to read about kick ass female leads. So grab your mum a copy and she’ll give you a big thanks. This is Science Fiction with an Australian character heading things up.

So, what are you waiting for? Go get that mother of yours the perfect book.

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