Tag Archives: Children’s books

Aleesah Darlison: #Robinpedia

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Aleesah Darlison is a former marketing executive, the creator of Greenleaf Press, and a Queensland writer of over 30 books. Somehow she also finds time to go to the toilet, shower, and smile. Obviously she is either the product of some nefarious scientific experimenting into how far authors can be pushed, or a robot. Either way she’s an amazing asset to the Australian book industry and we’re lucky to have her. Oh, and she also once had a pet eel…. Don’t worry Aleesah, I grew up in country NSW too, I get it.

In her capacity as an author, Aleesah has written several popular children’s book series including, Unicorn Riders and Totally Twins, as well as several stand alone books and picture books. She is published not only in Australia but also the US, UK, Hong Kong, New Zealand, France and South Korea.

Greenleaf Press is Aleesah’s newest venture. It provides critical support to authors and illustrators, offering services in editing (my buddy Georgina Ballentine works there, pick her pick her), manuscript assessment, mentoring and so much more. With the rise of self publishing it has become increasingly important for authors to be able to find quality support for their ventures, Greenleaf Press does provides this.

One of the major events that Aleesah and Greenleaf Press has planned for writers is the Sunshine Writers’ Retreat which runs in November. It’s where writers get to go relax, have food provided for them, interact with all things writerly, and just kick back and create. Aleesah being an advocate of children’s literature isn’t stopping at providing events just for us old farts, she’s also has KinderFest, a roving literary festival; and Sunny Kids Camp, a full day camp that allows children to learn from experienced children’s authors.

Aleesah is a fan of the 80’s. She has an extensive collection of leg-warmers and fluro muscle tanks. But mostly, she is a fan of Top Gun. I cannot confirm or deny the fact that she prefers to be called Maverick than Aleesah. But I think if you search your heart you’ll know the truth.

FYI, You’ve Got the Love by Florence and the Machine, Daft Punk’s Lucky and several other cool songs were playing at Salt Meat Cheese as I was typing this entry up. I guess another fun fact about Aleesah, AKA Maverick, is that she inspires absolutely incredible song choices. Those of you who like to write whilst listening to music, or in cafes might I suggest that you pop a pic of ‘Maverick’ up so that she can bring you the luck of hit songs. Hopefully hit songs means hit novels. It’s too dangerous not to try!

I recommend this one I turned up on google image search-

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Find Aleesah’s website here: http://www.aleesahdarlison.com/

Find Aleesah on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/AleesahDarlisonFanPage

Find Aleesah on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/aleesah

Find Greenleaf Press here: http://www.greenleafpress.net/

If you have information that you feel would enhance this entry please leave it in the comment section…. Unless it is simply to point out that I am in fact dyslexic, because I already know that. It’s actually in the about section.

 

Learn more about Robinpedia here: https://riedstrap.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/robinpedia-robinpedia/

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#CBCA2015 Celebrating Children’s Book Council of Australia Book Week 2015 – Chloe Prime : Alien Space Vet, Chapter Two #BookWeek

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This week was Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book Week. In celebration of this wonderful event, that helps bring the spirit of fandom to children’s reading, I am going to pop up chapter 2 of Chloe Prime: Alien Space Vet. Chapter 1 is HERE for people that have missed it. Enjoy, and I hope you enjoyed all the celebrations around Book Week that took place.

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Chapter Two: Greedy Goldfish

The next morning Chloe lay in her backyard pulling faces at her reflection in her fishpond. Meanwhile her mother rushed about inside the house getting Chloe’s things ready for school. Chloe enjoyed listening to the gentle trickle of water running through her backyard and the feel of the soft blue-green grass on her stomach. She reached out her hand and gently ran it through the cool water, carefully not to scare the fish. Chloe laughed at her funny faces as she waited for the fish to surface for their feed. One fish nearly leapt out of the water in fright as it came up for air to the sight of Chloe flaring her nostrils and pulling her lips back over her gums. Chloe giggled excitedly at the response and kicked her legs up behind her; her metallic leg braces glinted in the sunlight.

Leg braces might have slowed some children down but not Chloe Prime. She had been born with hip dysphasia which meant that her hip sockets were out of phase with her legs and had not formed properly. Despite the braces, Chloe was an utter tear about. She could often be seen leaping about her backyard playing ‘Super Ninja Rabbeets’ with her best friend, the amazing Hippopotati, Joshua Suza.

Chloe stood up and moved around the fishpond that she loved scouting for fish. She followed the small stream that sprang from the pond winding its way around the lush green yard. Chloe stopped and flopped down on one of the two small bridges that crossed the stream. She reached out her hand and softly parted the ferns that grew around the water, peeking in carefully to check for fish. She was hoping to be able to hand feed a few of her favourite fish friends before heading off to school.

“Chloe…” A voice drifted out to the yard disrupting Chloe’s face pulling. “Have you fed the fish yet?”

“In a minute Mum.” The little girl called back, quickly rushing back to the pond.

“You’ll be late for school. You better get a wriggle on.”

Chloe wriggled cheekily on the spot and then grabbed a tiny cube of bread from a basket beside her. She hovered the cube over the water and waited. Pretty soon a large bright orange fish broke the surface, mouth eagerly open. Chloe gently popped a piece of bread in the gapping gob and watched the fish duck back under the surface. She repeated this process for a few minutes with fish of a variety of bright oranges and pearl white, and any splotchy combination of the two colours.

“Chloe.” Mum’s voice cut through the quiet garden again. “Hurry up Sweetie. I’ve packed your bag, and the school shuttle will be here soon.”

“Two more minutes Mum.” Chloe called back.

Chloe kept emptying her bread basket into the pond. SPLASH! All of a sudden a big greedy fish leapt from the surface and tried to snatch a piece of bread from another fish. Chloe gasped in shock.

‘No, no, no! Naughty Glen,’ Chloe scolded the silly, snatching fish. ‘You know you can’t have bread. It makes your tummy sad. You don’t want to have a sad tummy do you?’

Glen’s guilty gills could be seen skulking below the surface, and he looked pleadingly at Chloe with his big, sad, googly eyes.

‘Don’t pout Greedy Glen,’ Chloe said. ‘I’ve brought rice crackers for you.’

This cheered glum Glen up no end, and he did a little fishy dance flicking his tail in excitement. He positively leapt for the rice crackers and gobbled them all up. Poor Glen could not have gluten without getting a big, bloated belly. It was very unfortunate for a bread loving goldfish. Luckily for Glen he was owned by Chloe Prime who had always been very good with animals. She just seemed to understand them. Glen had been her first patient and possibly most difficult patient. You see Glen was a bit of a glutton and he loved gluten so he was not exactly forthcoming with telling Chloe his issues. So Chloe was forced to use scientific methods in order to help gluttonous Glen. As she fed her fish each morning Chloe had noticed that Glen always got sick shortly thereafter. As he always got sick after food she believed that it must be the food. So Chloe scientifically tested out different fish foods until she discovered that Glen would swell up with any foods containing gluten but was fine when given rice or oats. As a result of Chloe’s careful testing Glen remained a happy and healthy fish some seven years later.

Fortunately future patients were a little more forth coming with information. Dogs would walk past complaining that they itched. Cats would wonder by wanting more water. Frogs would hippedy hop along saying they wanted a friend. Chloe would dutifully pass on this message to their owners. But despite Chloe’s expertise with animals there was one little hiccough. Try as she might she could never quite seem to understand insects. Each morning when she finished feeding her fish she would sit, cross legged with her eyes closed, trying to hear what the insects had to say to her. Sometimes she thought she could almost hear their words but she never could quite work out exactly what was being said. And so Chloe Prime sat, crossed legged listening for a message, on that very morning.

‘Chloe Prime,’ Mum’s voice cut through Chloe’s concentration. It was clear from Mum’s tone that she meant business. ‘I can hear the shuttle, you better come now.’

Somehow Mum could always hear the shuttle a good five minutes before it came. She seemed to have supersonic hearing. Mum could hear all manner of things, there was no keeping secrets of any kind with Mum around. Chloe scrunched up her little nose and twisted her lips, annoyed to be interrupted before she could hear anything. She quickly tossed another handful of bread into the goldfish pond and rushed inside calling goodbye to her fish friends. She really did not want to be late for her first day at school and miss out on any potential exploits.

Chloe Prime was an adventurer to the core. She was only ten but exploration was in her blood and adventure was in her bones. Chloe was related to the late and great Sir Giovanni Colompedia. One of the greatest explorers that the galaxy had ever known, he had travelled the universe in the twenty third century. Colompedia had discovered many new sights; including the very planet that Chloe lived on now. The adventurous Miss Prime was ready for New Earth Beta Campus but was it ready for her?

The inside of Chloe’s home was quite different from the outside. The outside was all lush green trees and ferns mixed with the gentle sound of trickling water. There was a constant gentle hum of insects and the popping noises of air bubbles reaching the surface of the water. The air was cool and crisp and tasted of fresh moisture. Chloe dearly loved her backyard but she also loved the inside of her house. It was white and clean yet still homey and always smelt of something being freshly baked. Chloe ran into her huge kitchen where she found Mum waiting for her, school bag in hand.

‘Can I smell double jam space biscuits?’

‘Already in your lunchbox,’ Mum replied, helping Chloe put on her school bag.

‘Have you packed enough for Joshua?’

‘Of course,’ Mum smiled.

‘What’s for lunch?’ Food was very important to Chloe.

‘You’ll have to wait and see,’ Her mum gently replied, taking Chloe by the hand to walk outside.

Chloe was serious about food and she was serious about flavour. She always loved to try the different things her mum made. Some kids always bought food from the school lunchroom but not Chloe. She always brought something fresh from home. The rich mineral soil of Giovanus meant that all of Earth’s food could be grown along with new delicious alien foods. Chloe felt her mother was aiming to become an expert in it all. Chloe did not know what kind of food she liked best. She enjoyed tucking into an Earthly lasagne as much as snacking on Neptunian urchin fruit. All Chloe really knew was that she was assured of a good lunch today. And to be perfectly honest, does anything else really matter?

Book Review by Miss 3: Daddy’s Cheeky Monkey – Andrew Daddo and Emma Quay

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My daughter has noticed me writing book reviews and so has decided that she too would like to do some reviewing.  So I am dutifully typing up what she has to say on the matter. The first book she has chosen is Daddy’s Cheeky Monkey by Andrew Daddo and Emma Quay,  published by ABC Books.

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I like this book. It is about me and Daddy. Daddy calls me a monkey, actually I’m a cheeky monkey. Daddy has three cheeky monkeys. I like this picture Mummy, it looks like the baby has a tail and monkeys have tails. It’s not a tail, it is a strap for the chair but it looks like a tail. Look Mummy, Mummy look, it looks like a tail. Look at the tail right now! And it has poo in it. POO! Mucky Moo!

… Disolves into giggles so I assume the review is over…

Kids and YA Literature Festival: #NSWWC

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Firstly a big thank you to Aleesah Darlison who was the Kids and YA Literature Festival director at the event I attended yesterday at the New South Wales Writers’ Centre. As always I took away many new ideas and lessons.

1) Children and YA authors all together in one place looks awfully similar to an episode of “Primary Teachers Gone Wild.”

2) I’m pretty sure if they had a cut and paste session we would have all been in. Just the vibe I got from my fellow writers from our reactions to the Keynote Speaker. Boori Monty Pryor deals with primary aged children all the time so has an animated and interactive style. He was having us hug ourselves,  raise our hands and roll around on the ground with laughter (ROFLing as the hip cats call it). It was brilliant and everybody was involved. Hence if he’d decided to do the painting activities he does with his kids with us I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been the only one cleaning glitter out of every nook and cranny for the next month.

3) Famous writers are really, really,  really, super nice. Pamela Freeman even greeted me with a hug. (Not to name drop shameless name drop ahead I have now received hugs from not only  Pamela Freeman, but also Kate Forsyth, Jan Cornall and Walter Mason. Emily Maguire I’m coming for you next!)

4) Editors are really nice too! No really,  they are. I know that sounds weird because we’re all fairly convinced that they’re all angry, old, hermits that live in caves, away from the light, snacking on bitter pills and drinking the blood of wannabe writers just so they can wee it into their chamber pots and toss it on the dying embers of our failed manuscripts… over share? But they are nice. Zoe Walton is always so kind and so organised at every festival I have seen her at and Nicola Robinson was nice enough to shake my hand and give me a warm smile. Not one editor asked us aspiring writers to line up and bend over so that they could kick us in the pants. I kid you not.

5) Once you’re a teacher you’re always a teacher. Jacqueline Harvey uses her whiteboard to plan stories. You have done us proud Ms Harvey and we salute you. Whiteboard Marker Pride!!!

6) I want to be Catherine Jinks’ BFF. Should she ever be in the market for one I’m ready. She was so funny and so enthusiastic and so real that I think everybody hung on every word she said.

7) Burritos are a bad idea when you’re wearing pale colours. I got sauced. Bring back the rice paper rolls I say. At least when I spilled them all over myself there was very little evidence. Sure I should learn to eat with some dignity but I’m 34 and still haven’t acquired that skill.

8) I’m weird! When my name didn’t get pulled out of the “hat” for the pitch contestant I was a tad despondent not relieved. Although thoroughly pleased that my brother’s best friend from year 8 the extraordinarily talented and beautiful Ms Alison Whipp, won the contest. Novacastrian pride. I admired her so much as a kid (she’s seven years older than me so seemed so sophisticated and full of grace) so it was lovely to get the chance to do so again.

Now I shall leave you with a few memorable quotes from the festival:

“I wanted to read about heroes and heroines that looked like me.” Wai Chim

“I didn’t want to feel ashamed of who I was.” Sarah Ayoub

“Eat the story, drink the story, paint the story, dance the story, write the story.” Boori Monty Pryor

“Film is very tightly structured, for me, novels are a much more philosophical pursuit.” Isobelle Carmody

“If you were good at selling yourself you wouldn’t be a God damn writer. You’d be an actor or something.” Catherine Jinks

“Writing in Hollywood is like writing with a committee.” Wendy Orr

“I believe in loyalty.” Jacqueline Harvey

“Write a cover letter that shows you believe in your story so that the publisher will too.” Rochelle Manners

“Write a ripper of a story.” Felicity Pullman

And now I’m spent.

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