What a month it has been for Write Links members! We had a fantastic presentation by Sheryl Gwyther at our last Write Links meeting on the finer art of writing short stories for children. It was fabulous to hear several of our members had articles and short stories accepted by The School Magazine after attending the Story Arts Festival. Congratulations to Cherri Ryan and Betty Collarson!
October also saw THREE launches by Write Links members:
Samantha Wheeler launched
Mister Cassowary her latest junior fiction novel by UQP at Riverbend Books.
Big bird. Big mystery. Can Flynn solve it?
New from the author of bestselling Smooch & Rose and Spud & Charli, Mister Cassowary is a thrilling adventure about these unique and dangerous birds.
City boy Flynn is taken to Mission Beach by his dad to ready his Grandad Barney’s banana farm for sale. Flynn has never been north before, even when his grandad was alive, and the last thing he wants to do is to be stuck in the middle of woop-woop with his dad who thinks he is too young to be trusted with anything!
But when Flynn meets local girl Abby and two lost baby cassowaries things become interesting. What does Abby know about Grandad’s mysterious death? And why does Dad refuse to talk about it and seem so scared of the cassowaries? Did this dinosaur-like bird kill Grandad?
Time is running out and Flynn and Abby need a plan. Can Flynn solve the mystery before it is too late for the cassowaries?
A thrilling and heart-pounding adventure for animal lovers everywhere. (From the UQP website)
Karen Tyrrell launched her latest junior fiction novel, Jo-Kin Battles the IT at Logan North Library.
Goof ball Josh Atkins aka Jo-Kin wins the Super Space Kid contest alongside nerdy Sam Jones aka Sam-Wich.
Their first Super Space Kid mission is to save the galaxy from deadly alien, called the It. When the It kidnaps Captain Astra, it's a race against time. Can Josh save Astra, the galaxy and us all ... before it's too late?
Blast off with Jo-Kin in this hilarious space adventure to empower kids with resilience, team building and brain power skills, illustrated by Trevor Salter.
Yvonne Mes launched her picture book Meet Sidney Nolan, illustrated by Sandra Eterovic, published by Random House Australia at the Mad Hatters Bookshop.
Sidney Nolan is one of Australia's most admired and recognised visual artists. This is the story of how he developed his iconic Ned Kelly series of paintings, brought modernist art to Australia and took Australian art to an admiring international audience.
Part of a picture book series about the extraordinary men and women who have shaped Australia's history, including iconic painter Sidney Nolan.
From Ned Kelly to Saint Mary MacKillop; Captain Cook to Banjo Paterson, the Meet ... series of picture books tells the exciting stories of the men and women who have shaped Australia's history.
This panel session on STEM in Children's Literature was held on the 17th of October at Queensland Writers Centre and hosted by Book Links QLD as part of their AGM.
The Australian Government is investing money in schools to increase student engagement in STEM subjects.
We need to get kids enthused about these subjects again... but what has this to do with fiction?
Book Links (Qld) hosted a panel discussion on STEM in literature, and it was such an inspiration!
Dr Andrew King, author of the Engibear books explained the need to encourage more kids, and especially more girls, into the area of engineering. Through his books he challenges kids to think about the planning and processes behind building grand structures such as bridges. Andrew's books are big hit with primary school kids!
How can engineering fit into children's fiction?
STEM - TECHNOLOGY
Megan Daley, teacher librarian and book reviewer at Children's Books Daily, explained the intention and benefits to 'make-a-space' projects in schools. Even in early years of primary school, children are learning to code, to create working circuits and to design their own apps. Stories focused on ICT (Information and Communication Technology) are not just appealing to teachers and schools, but include a topic children are comfortable and familiar with. You can go a bit further than just including an iPone in your story, you could provide QR codes for them to scan, or secret coding instructions for them to follow.
STEM - SCIENCE
Facts in fiction. Kids love to know how and why things happen. Sheryl Gwyther is passionate about science and this shows in much of her children's fiction. Sheryl talked about the way you can see kids' brains switch on when you engage them with a story filled with scientific facts. Her Pearson publication, Ali Berber and the Forty Grains of Salt explains this compound to children within an entertaining tale. With sciences being a key focus in STEM for schools, it's a good idea to look at ways you could include this in your children's fiction.Hot Topics for Science in Fiction:
STEM - MATHS
Wait a minute. How could you possibly include mathematics in fiction and still make it fun? Associate Professor at QUT, Michael Milford, doesn't just think it can be done, he's produced a great example! Over at MathNovel.com, Michael introduces us to his exciting new series of thrillers that include maths puzzles in each chapter. I've already started reading, and I LOVE this. In chapter two, I actually pulled out a calculator to check the calculations. This sort of fiction will have kids so involved in the story and learning and practicing maths at the same time!
These thrillers are aimed at the older high school kids, but there's no reason books aimed at middle grade or even picture books couldn't include puzzles within the story.
Are you inspired to include STEM elements in your fiction now? Not only will you be turning kids onto important technologies for their future, but you'll also open up your market to possibly include schools. What types of STEM topics appeal to you? I'd love to hear, how about some ideas in the comments?
This story was written by Write Links member and children's author Charmaine Clancy and first featured on her website www.charmaineclancy.com