I attended the 'Write a Picture Book for Charity' workshop with Library for All and Michelle Worthington in March 2019. Participants were given fantastic writing advice and prompts, and by the end of the day I had written a story I was happy to donate. It was an idea that had already been percolating, but I just hadn't taken the time to write it yet. I'm looking forward to seeing my words brought to life by an illustrator and seeing my name in print. Helping such a worthwhile cause is the cherry on top!
Annaleise Byrd is an aspiring children's author who talks all things bookish at The Byrd and the Bookworms.
Jocelyn Hawes - My recent writing Journey
This particular journey began with a visit to our WriteLinks group by Lara Cain Gray from Library for All as our guest speaker. She presented our group with a new challenge to write picture books for children living in Third World nations- in this case Papua New Guinea. This challenge sparked some historical memories for me. My father-in-law Pat Hawes was one of the pioneers of PNG aviation. I had also visited in Port Moresby in 1960s. So I remembered a country of sunshine, blue seas, tropical jungles and little children diving into fast flowing rivers.
My manuscript Kate’s Kite had been sitting in my computer for some time. I gave it a polishing edit and sent it off one Monday morning to Library for All. That afternoon it was accepted. An amazing boost to my ego after many rejections from other publishers.
Kate’s Kite has now been published and sent to PNG schools in printed and ebook form. Copies can be downloaded through their free digital library for Android devices from Google Play store.
My second picture book is Look! Can you see? It was created from my love of trees and birds. The illustrations by Romulo Reyes lll capture the colourful nature of the environment.
I would like to encourage other writers to support Library for All by donating the copyright of their story to this not for profit organization. Their web site libraryforall.org.au Lara’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org
My chapter book The Happy Letter has also been accepted and will be published soon. For me it’s been an exciting new journey and one I am pleased to contribute to.
Jocelyn Hawes lives near a forest where possums pound over her roof at night and kookaburras wake her with their laughter each day. She writes for children and for adults in varying genres. She is a member of Booklinks Qld, Australian Society of Authors and Queensland Writers Centre.
She is currently writing her life story. Looking back she wonders how she ever fitted it all in as well as mothering four daughters and a bevy of grandchildren while her husband worked 24/7.
Photograph by Special Memories Photography.
I was first introduced to Library For All when Lara came to present at a WriteLinks meeting in October 2018. She offered us the chance to donate stories to be published to help the Papua New Guinea teachers and students with learning reading skills.
I went home that night and wrote three stories especially for the charity, slept on them and then edited before sending them to Lara. With major excitement, I received notice in the week of my birthday that the three stories would be accepted!! From there the writing bug grew. I continue writing for Library For All with new ideas that just keep coming.
Lara and the team are very helpful and supportive. My writing addiction has increased with each new contract. I am excited to now be signed for 19 stories!! I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Library For All as I get to use my hobby of writing combined with my teaching background to produce quality materials to assist a charity deliver literacy resources to other countries in both printed and digital formats.
Since working with Library For All I have championed their cause wherever I go by spreading the word for the Library For All digital e-library app. As it is free for anyone in the world to download, I have let as many teachers and parents know; as who doesn't love free stuff especially when it's educational!? The app can be used for in class learning through guided and silent reading and it can be used at home for home learning, partner reading with siblings or simply on holidays when you can't carry library books with you, you'll have over 200 at your fingertips.
I am extremely excited and proud to be a published author, especially for a great cause. I have read my books to kids and have first hand feedback through their smiles and laughter that they really enjoy them. I can highly recommend for any authors or illustrators to get in contact with the Library For All team to donate their work, as you know it will make a positive difference in the lives of children around the world.
Books below by KR Clarry.
I’ve been writing for Library for All since October 2018, and love being one of their authors. Every time I see one of their posts on Instagram, showing the books they’re sending out to PNG, I get a happy little feeling - some of my books might be in there. I’m helping someone to read, be literate. And the more they expand, the happier I am to be part of something so big!
Plus, Greg and the Egg was my first children’s book, with many more on the way now, including my first board book and a pair of non-fiction pieces for a Disaster series focussing on education on fire, earthquakes, floods and volcanoes.
Seeing my words in print illustrated by a local artist from PNG gave me the confidence to launch into my writing.
You can read more about Jo Seysener at Four Quills
Read Maria Parenti-Baldey's post for hints on what Library For All are looking for
Mirror stories reflected, enabling children to see themselves in the story. And windows allowed kids to learn and see through to other parts of the world, both being relatable".
Big Sister Blog
Blog coordinator: Lucy McGinley
Library For All is an Australian not for profit. We’ve developed and launched a globally available free digital library to provide books to communities where history, poverty or remoteness are everyday barriers to accessing knowledge. Our library serves a unique, curated collection of engaging content created by an international publishing team. We work tirelessly to publish children’s books that are high quality, age appropriate and culturally relevant for the communities that we serve.
The majority of the books in our library are written for communities, by communities. We source stories through writers’ workshops we run in countries like PNG and Laos, ensuring people get a chance to share the special stories from their own regions with kids who are learning to read. But to grow a large and varied library, we also thrive on donated stories from authors around the world. Many generous and talented Write Links members have supported our mission!
Authors tell us they enjoy being able to make a concrete contribution to a charity - as opposed to donating money with no guarantee of how it will be used, for example. They like the fact that the stories we publish are going straight into the hands of eager and grateful readers. Having recently visited schools in PNG myself, I can assure our authors that these kids are blown away by our books!
We are not driven by the ‘marketability’ of books, which means we can accept stories that might not make it out of the slush pile in a commercial publisher. But every story still undergoes structural editing and, importantly, ‘cultural editing’ to ensure it is suitable for our collection. Authors can be confident that publishing with LFA is a credible opportunity and a worthy addition to their writing portfolio.
When we’ve accepted and edited a manuscript, we match it with an illustrator and it progresses quite quickly to publication in our app; usually within 3 months. For the author, there won’t be a lot of collaboration with the illustrator, but we will share ‘sneak peeks’ of draft illustrations. Every author receives a complimentary hard copy of their book.
Right now, we’ve reached our limit for new manuscripts for this financial year, but there will be more publishing opportunities in future. As a general rule, we look for fiction and factual books, picture book manuscripts and early reader chapter books for children 4-10 years old. All our stories must be culturally acceptable to our predominantly Asia-Pacific reader base, but editors can help with this.
Authors and illustrators who might be interested can subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on social media or join our new Library For All Bookclub closed Facebook group for updates.
Happy to answer questions at any time!
Dr Lara Cain Gray
Specialist Librarian (Content Strategy and Publishing)
Library For All
How does the interaction between pictures and words work to create something special in a picture book? Carolyn generously shared the process that she used as an author/illustrator when creating her latest book Maya and Cat.
Caroline loves individuality in a picture book and while it can be seen as a weakness by some editors, Caroline assured us that if your quirky story is something that you desperately want to do then it is important to keep on with it.
Caroline described writing a picture book as being like a two legged sack race between writing and illustrating. Each has their own mode of telling. Behind every image is an idea and emotion. Behind every word is an idea and emotion, a successful picture book the marriage of the two.
Painting of Caroline by Inda Ahmad Zabri
It was exciting to hear the story that was the genesis of Maya and Cat and to be shown examples of the multitude of rough charcoal sketches that Caroline used to help her coalesce and refine the story in her head into something that would work as a picture book. She demonstrated the flexibility and possibilities of a charcoal sketch when working out how to fit the theatre of your story into the standard 32 page format.
Once Caroline has the book mapped out visually then she often finds that the words just come by themselves. For her the visual literacy comes before the verbal story. Caroline urged us to read our stories out loud, to talk them through with trusted others so that we are aware of where the reader will pause and where they will build the theatre of the story.
Caroline loves to work with watercolour. She has an affinity for it and demonstrated to us how to use the two techniques wet on wet and wet on dry. She talked about the importance of colour theory and how to create a palette. Then it was time for us to play with watercolour while we experimented with the techniques that she had demonstrated. I found this part of the workshop relaxing and challenging as I attempted to paint something recognisable while using the techniques we had learnt. It was fun and Caroline kindly came around to everyone of us to share her feedback and ideas.
As a struggling picture book author I felt enormously encouraged when Caroline concluded the workshop with her assurances “You can teach yourself anything. Don’t doubt yourself. I got here from a standing start. Anyone can make their creative dreams come true through hard work and effort.”
Thank you Caroline for conducting an inspiring and informative workshop. I have learnt so much from you today.
Kate Shapcott is an Early Childhood Teacher who plays around with words and ideas and hopes one day to publish a picture book herself.
Photography: Maria Parenti-Baldey
Photography: Ian Morrison
Blog coordinator: Lucy McGinley
What inspires an author to write and how do they translate this passion into a story that interests others? Who better to share some insight than Karen Tyrrell who weaves her passion for the environment through her Song Bird series.
Blog coordinator: Lucy McGinley
WHY Great Barrier Reef Rescue?
I created my eco adventure mystery, Great Barrier Reef Rescue from my life experiences as an amateur snorkeller, environmentalist, biology major at teacher’s college, teacher and science co-ordinator at my primary school.
As author of the Song Bird eco series, I pondered which environment should feature in Song Bird 4 after its prequel Rainforest Rescue.
I settled on the ocean and the reef as my family and I had spent many tropical holidays swimming with giant green turtles, giant Maori wrasse and stingrays off the Great Barrier Reef. At school, I loved teaching about the ocean as a science subject to my Year 2 students. I took my class to King Island for a science excursion.
I’m an avid fan of Blue Planet, Sir David Attenborough’s TV series. When David proclaimed …
‘The Great Barrier Reef is in grave danger. It’s time to step up.’
— Sir David Attenborough
I was compelled to write Great Barrier Reef Rescue.
What’s Great Barrier Reef Rescue about?
Song Bird Superhero and her friends arrive on Green Turtle Island, discovering the reef and marine animals are dying. Before long, her friends disappear. Rosie (Song Bird) travels through a time portal to rescue her friends and solve a mystery.
Can Song Bird rescue the Great Barrier Reef before it’s too late?
How did you connect the story to children?
I wanted Great Barrier Reef Rescue to engage children with a thrilling action-packed adventure, superhero characters, marine animals and mysteries to solve. At the same time, I planted an eco-subplot to educate children on climate change and sustainability, encouraging children to take action. My mission was to educate, engage and empower children on how to care for the reef.
How did you write with co-author Steve Tyrrell?
Steve and I share a love of superheroes, fantasy, adventure and the environment. Steve wrote the Destructo chapters and dialogue (the evil environmental villain), the dream chapters and some of the action scenes. I wrote chapters from Song Birds point of view. We both critiqued and beta read each other’s chapters, so the story and dialogue flowed.
How did you get Brisbane City Libraries and a sponsor to support you?
I contacted Brisbane City Libraries and a sponsor, sharing my eco vision and goals with them. Brisbane City Libraries offered me a launch venue and Australian Marine Conservation Society offered resources to share at my events.
Great Barrier Reef Rescue evolved as the story I was compelled to write. As if all my prior life experiences had led me to this point.
5 Tips on Writing your WHY Book
1. Write what you’re passionate about, write what you care about.
2. Ask yourself: what are you most qualified to write?
3. What have you experienced first-hand?
4. If interviewed, how could you explain why you created that particular book to adults as well as to children?
5. Write THAT book.
FREE Great Barrier Reef Rescue Resources here
Find out more about Karen Tyrrell and Great Barrier Reef Rescue …
On April 14th I took my daughter Belinda (nine years old) along to Dave Lowe’s workshop for children, ‘How to be a writer.’ He knows how to entertain and inspire a group of 9 to 12 year old writers (and some older ones too!) Within the first minute there were chuckles throughout the room. We were immediately engaged when he told us some of the funniest questions he’s ever been asked by children, including ‘Why do you look nothing like your photograph?’
Dave Lowe then shared where his story ideas come from. He likes to ask himself the question, ‘What if?’ ‘What if a genius hamster could do your maths homework?’ From that question, came one of Belinda’s favourite books from Dave, My Hamster is a genius.
He then described the first three things writers need to think about before writing a story:
Know every detail about your character, right down to what do they like for breakfast.
3. Where to start. The first paragraph could:
· Introduce the character
· Introduce the setting
· Start with a conversation
· Have a chat with the reader
· Plunge into action
When writing the story, he advised to show and not tell. For example, ‘Jack was surprised’ could be changed to ‘Jack’s mouth dropped open and his eyes widened’. Also, text is less boring if the sentence length is varied throughout a paragraph.
Dave Lowe then talked about using wow words to add interest to the text. For example, ‘devoured’ rather than ‘eat’.
The children loved it when Dave shared some of his humour secrets. One of them is using the ‘rule of three’. For example, My Dad loves toast…Beans on toast, eggs on toast, toast on toast. Hee hee!
Belinda thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and thinks it was ‘the best writing workshop I’ve ever been to.’ At the end of the afternoon, we both came away with some writing gems, in addition to one of his new books The Incredible Dadventure. Belinda thinks it’s hilarious and highly recommends it!
Wenda grew up in the beautiful county of Norfolk in England and now resides in Brisbane, with her supportive husband, cheeky daughter and two rescue dogs. Wenda loves to write children’s stories with heart; whether it involves diversity, science or the magical world of the imagination.
Eva’s Imagination https://www.newfrontier.com.au/books/evas-imagination
Sheepy-Bear (Share Your Story anthology - It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas) https://www.lillypillypublishing.com/product-page/it-s-beginning-to-look-a-lot-like-christmas-an-anthology-share-your-story )
The Tail of Sizzle the Sausage (CKT anthology –Wings, Superheroes and Determination) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/760744
Blog coordinator: Lucy McGinley