Sunday, 30 June 2013

Society of Women Writers Weekend


Society of Women Writers weekend

"Women Making History" at Wilton, NSW.

Be inspired by outstanding writers who will join you over the weekend (18 to 20 October 2013) at Wilton. Skill-up and learn about new genres, workshop, network and further your writing in a glorious setting for writers and writing. 



Highlights include: Guided  walk in the garden or meditation to begin the day and "Shibashi" -  a gentle exercise to relax you before lunch, including an opportunity to pitch your book to a publisher and a critiquing session on your "First Page".






For more details visit: http://www.womenwritersnsw.org






Goosebumps Most Wanted: Planet of the Lawn Gnomes

Goosebumps Most Wanted: Planet of the Lawn Gnomes by R.L. Stine (Scholastic Inc)
PB RRP $9.99
ISBN 978-0-545-41798-3
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

When Jay moves with his family to a new town he intends to make good use of the fresh start he’s been offered. He is determined to stay out of trouble.

It’s just that the neighbour Mr McClatchy is such a grump, someone seems to be moving the annoying lawn gnomes around, and Jay has no idea why there is a curfew imposed after dark. Elliot, his new best friend, seems reluctant to explain any of this to him so Jay really has to look into it himself if he wants to find any answers.

Before long, Jay is starting to get a little creeped out by the creatures in the Quagmire and the Buzzard Hawks, which smell fear, eat flesh, and carry off his dog. Then the lawn gnomes come to life and the horror really sets in.

Goosebump books are great for middle grade readers who love to scare themselves. They are a slim book and readers can enter the horror zone, speed through it with a burst of adrenalin, and then come out the other end fully satisfied with a racing heart!

The note from the author in the prologue is very amusing and sets the tone for the story to follow. A little like gathering around a campfire in anticipation of the scary stories about to be told.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Deucalion


Deucalion by Brian Caswell (University of Queensland Press)
PB RRP $22.95
ISBN 978 0 7022 2865 0
Reviewed by Jo Antareau


One for the science fiction fans! Set beneath the twin moons of the planet Deucalion, this is a story about colonization, exploitation, and revolution. The frontier-like existence on the planet means that large Earth-based companies have done very well exploiting the mineral wealth on the planet. But this has had terrible consequences for the indigenous Elokoi, a peaceful race of telepathic beings.

Brilliant young scientist Jane arrives on Deucalion to start work on a genetic project. But she has no memory of her former life on Earth and, by digging for clues about her previous work, she discovers highly secret and questionable research practices.

Darryl and 8 year-old Elena are the only survivors of a transporter crash that appears to have been engineered to kill the only viable political rival the planet’s first president has. And the president appears to have a cosy relationship with the large companies.

As the narrative unfolds, the details of a vast cover up emerges involving Elokoi and the mysterious Children of Icarus. This story weaves elements of medical ethics, of indigenous rights, and of the uneasy relationship between a colony and the ‘mother’ planet.

This is the first of a trilogy set on Deucalion. First published in 1995, it was rereleased to coincide with the release of the third in the series, Dreams of the Chosen. The story is told in multiple viewpoints and this makes it difficult for the reader to relate to any one individual, for ultimately it is a tale of the anatomy of a revolution.

For older readers.

Friday, 28 June 2013

The Mystery of Nida Valley

The Mystery of Nida Valley by EJ Ouston (Morris Publishing Australia)
PB RRP $19.99
Reviewed by Dianne Bates

As a child my imagination was so fired by reading Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree that I spent many hours wandering the bush looking for the enchanted tree that promised to lead me into a magical world. It is likely that today’s young reader, engaging with Elaine Ouston’s fast-paced adventure set in the mysterious and mystical Nida Valley, might very well also go looking for a land filled with extraordinary fauna and flora.

The first of a series set in Queensland, The Mystery of Nida Valley starts with 15 year old Meg Sealy in search of her missing best friend. Accompanied by her older cousin Jaiden, Meg enters a cavern in the grounds of Millson Manor where they find Amanda. There they discover a natural pool from which all three children drink, an act which is later to give them mystical powers. Facing off a savage dog, they proceed to a homestead where they are made welcome and where they learn that the valley in which they find themselves is the home of Meg’s Aunt Charlotte, the Grand Leader of the Guardians of Nida. All Guardians have amazing powers, such as the ability to heal or read minds. And Meg is to assume her aunt’s role when she comes of age.

This story is the stuff of action and fantasy with children on a learning curve as they traverse a hidden land where dangerous creatures abound and where they must undertake perilous challenges that test their ingenuity, resourcefulness, and physical prowess.

At the heart of the valley is amazing megafauna -- creatures such as archaepteryx, muttaburrasaurus, ichthyosaurs and zygopmaturas that are ‘extinct’. Some are threatening, but the two-metre high winged featherless pterosauradon allow the children to move about the valley freely and joyfully. It is up to Meg and her friends to protect the existence of the Valley’s creatures. In doing this, they search for a special moss to keep alive the last of an animal species and try to determine who are the ‘moles’ trying to undermine the efforts of the Guardians. 

There is so much in this book – romance, political intrigue, stun guns, magical potions, mind control, not to mention non-stop action. In undertaking a series of quests, the teenagers display teamwork, co-operation, inventiveness, bravery, and loyalty. Nida Valley and all it contains has what many children want from a book – thrills, action, adventure, friendship, mythical and mystical animals, fantastical sights, and praise from adults who appreciate the teenagers’ roles in maintaining the status quo.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Chook Chook: Little and Lo in the City

Chook Chook: Little and Lo in the City by Wai Chim (University of Queensland Press)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 9780 7022 4975 4
Reviewed by Jo Antareau

Mei’s life has just changed, big time.  Her mother has remarried, she’s just gained one pesky brother and lost another much loved one to University, and her step-father has taken-over the farm. Feeling she’s no longer important to her mother, Mei simply packs her up her beloved chickens, Little and Lo, and sneaks off to the city.

Most kids would simply give-up on such a venture when the ticket-seller refuses to sell an unaccompanied child a ticket to the city, but Mei and her new-found friend, a lovable street-urchin named Cap, are made of tougher stuff.

On the way they have lots of adventures. The chooks help to catch a thief in the big city. But their luck runs out when they are discovered in brother Guo’s dormitory and the chooks appear destined for the chopping-block. However, the children apply a bit of quick thinking and tell a brilliant tall story that even Tom Sawyer would have envied, to save the day.

This book is about loyalty and friendship and an issue that affects many children – questioning their place in the world following their parent’s re-partnering. Although the story is upbeat, it is also interspersed with the darker underlying theme of unwanted children in a country as large as China. As this is aimed at younger readers, Cap’s future appears rosy at the end as he gains a mentor. Sadly many children are not so fortunate.

A lively adventure for children aged 7-8 and above. This book follows characters first introduced in Chook Chook – Mei’s Secret Pets, although it is not needed to enjoy this novel, as it certainly stands alone on its merits.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Review: Larrikin Lane

Mates: Larrikin Lane by Kate Darling, illustrated by Ben Wood (Omnibus Books)
PB RRP $11.99
ISBN 978-1-86291-989-1
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Can you keep a sheep, a goat and plenty of chooks in a suburban back yard? Arkie and her family think so but their neighbour Mr Meyer does not agree, even though it was a farm long before houses were built on the surrounding grazing land. He wants the council to come and do something about the problem. But young Arkie comes up with a plan which may save their animals.

From the title of the book and its fabulous front cover I knew this was going to be a fun read. Larrikin Lane is entertaining with a realistic, engrossing storyline. Delilah the crazy-eyed goat and Lola the sheep – ‘every family needs a black sheep’ Dad says – are great characters. The family, too, are well drawn.

The writing is great and feels very fresh. The old man next door ‘combs his last few hairs across and sticks them down flat on his cranky old head’. Children will love these sorts of descriptions. The font changes occasionally to wobbly, bold, italic, big or small to help emphasise the story. The illustrations also embody this fresh feel, the fun of the story and the rounded characters. They are full colour, amusing and there is much to be seen within them. The borders are great too and it took a few reads before I noticed the gradual change in them from beginning to end.

Larrikin Lane feels very Australian without any of the clichéd elements that can often accompany Aussie stories. It is ultimately about making friends and finding new ways around a problem. This is a great addition to Scholastics’ Mates books and, with five fun-filled chapters, it will have newly independent readers gaining confidence in their reading and searching out more from this fantastic series.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

TO GET TO ME

TO GET TO ME by Eleanor Kerr, illustrated by Judith Rossell (Random House Australia Children’s)
HB RRP $19.95
ISBN 9781742758831
Also available as an ebook
ISBN 9781742758855
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

Peter and Ahmed are best friends. Peter wants Ahmed to join him at Taronga Zoo, but there’s one problem. Ahmed lives far, far away, in Africa.

This beautifully crafted picture book for toddlers and early readers is a joyous journey. It’s a child’s version of planes, trains and automobiles (plus a camel, a ferry and a chairlift), as Peter works out all the different forms of transport Ahmed must use to meet him.

As Ahmed leaves his home in what appears to be Morocco, Kerr juxtaposes the various transports with clever word play, using onomatopoeia, alliteration, repetition and rhythm that new readers will be able to enjoy and repeat.

TO GET TO ME a tale of long distance friendship, adventure and culture.

There are landscapes for Ahmed to manoeuvre, such as deserts, sand dunes and mountains, and cityscapes to discover, with airports, train stations and ferry terminals until finally he rises, up … up … up … in the chairlift at the zoo to be reunited with Peter who is surrounded by a colourful array of animals.

Rossell’s illustrations are in the brightest of colours and reflect the two vivid settings of the Moroccan desertscape and Sydney’s urban landscape. There are iconic pictures of each other’s countries on the boys’ walls and young children will have fun identifying all the exotic animals. The two boys have so much in common but are kind of mirror images of each other. One has gum trees out his window; the other has palm trees. Rossell is a veteran illustrator, having more than 80 books to her name. As well as being informative, her illustrations are a lot of fun. Readers and listeners will delight in examining all the forms of transport.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Blog tour dates: Dianne Bates and The Girl in the Basement

Buzz Words is thrilled to be part of Dianne Bates' blog tour for her new YA spine-chilling thriller The Girl in the Basement. Follow the posts to find out how Di conquered a writers' ultimate characterisation challenge: how to be an innocent teenage girl one moment, a terrified teenage boy the next, then a psychological killer. 


As well as reviews you will discover the reason Di wrote the story, the research she had to do and much more. 


Plus comment on any of the blogs and go in the draw to win a free copy of the book. 
Monday July 1st. www.creativekidstales.com.au Review
Tuesday July 2nd  www.alisonreynolds.com.au  Interview
Wed July 3rd  www.buzzwordsmagazine.com Interview
Thurs July 4th  www.christinemareebell.wordpress.com Interview
Fri July 5th  www.buzzwordsmagazine.com Review
Sat July 6th www.elaineoustonauthor.com Interview
Sun July 7th www.kids-bookreview.com Review
Monday July 8th  sherylgwyther.wordpress.com Interview
Tuesday July 9th  deescribewriting.wordpress.com Interview
Tuesday July 9th clancytucker.blogspot.com.au Interview
Wed July 10th  www.morrispublishingaustralia.com Interview
Wed July 11th www.jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com Interview         
Here's a sneak peek into The Girl in the Basement:
Enter the minds of a psychopath and a defenceless teenager in this mesmerising and timely page-turner, with its unforeseeable twists and edge-of-the-seat suspense.


A man lurks in the shadows, spying on a girl in a red party dress.

The girl, Libby, is trying to shrug off a bad date. Not for a moment does she suspect that this night is the end of life as she knows it. The man pounces; Libby is grabbed and driven away. Held prisoner in a basement, she grapples with constant fear, all the while sustaining herself with thoughts of escape. Meanwhile, her captor is engaged on another mission, that of abducting a young boy to complete his 'family'.

Will Libby ever escape? Or will the man kill her? And what of the boy who refuses to submit to the man's demands? Can he possibly survive his merciless anger? 

Books are available from any bookstore in Australia, many online stores as a paperback (including Amazon) and eBook, and from www.morrispublishingaustralia.com.  

Tom Gates is Absolutely Fantastic (at some things)

Tom Gates is Absolutely Fantastic (at some things) by L. Pichon (Scholastic UK)
PB RRP $15.99
ISBN 978-1-407134-51-2
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Tom Gates is back. This time he has an exciting school excursion coming up. That is, if he can find his form, remember to take it home to be signed, and then remember to bring it back to school again.

In the meantime, who is the girl who keeps appearing next door pulling faces at him? Why is he the one who always get caught when he pulls one back? And why is his sister Delia acting so secretive? Tom Gates is Absolutely Fantastic (at some things) answers these questions and many more.

This is an amusing story about the relatively normal life of Tom and his friends. He has embarrassing parents, an annoying sister, boring teachers and loyal friends. The stories which make up Tom’s life roll from one event to the next with dry wit, loads of funny pictures and an early teen sense of humour. The school excursion (a three day camp) provides many chances for Tom and his friends to get caught in unintentional escapades.

This is a great read for the middle school age. Boys will enjoy the humour of the Tom Gates books. They should also relate to aspects of the characters and the situations Tom and his gang find themselves in.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Review: EJ12 Girl Hero: Big Brother

EJ12 Girl Hero: Big Brother by Susannah McFarlane (Scholastic Australia)
PB RRP $12.99
ISBN 978-1-92193-116-1
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Emma Jacks has an irritating problem - her big brother Bob. Emma and her friends discover that he’s has been spying on them during a sleepover. If he has learnt about their involvement in the secret spy organisation SHINE there could be trouble. But when SHINE needs her help once again, Emma forgets about home life and, as agent EJ12, springs into action.

The evil agency SHADOW has somehow managed to plant spies into the CAT (SHINE’s Centre for Animal Training) and these spies are discovering way too much about SHINE’s operations, secrets and C.H.A.R.M.S.

This mission may prove to be very difficult for EJ12. She is great at code cracking, following clues and even dealing with double agents, but when it comes to horses EJ12 is not so confident. Has Bob’s annoying spying incident given EJ12 the ideas she needs to crack SHADOW’s infiltration wide open? Maybe Emma’s brother is not so bad after all.

Big Brother is book 15 in the popular EJ12 Girl Hero series. Emma Jacks is a strong character with fierce loyalty to her friends. She is a fast and independent thinker, with a good sense of right and wrong.

This series is suitable for readers eight years and up. Girls especially will enjoy this spy fantasy where twelve year olds go on secret missions, use futuristic gadgets and save the world. Animals are also a strong element throughout all the books, another winner for girls of this age.

Readers can also explore the updated website at ej12girlhero.com.au where SHINE challenges such as code breakers can be attempted, the EJ12 quiz can be taken and the gadgets can be examined in the C.H.A.R.M. Lab.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Lulu Bell

Lulu Bell - series by Belinda Murrell and Serena Geddes (Random House Australia Children’s)
PB RRP $9.95
Lulu Bell and the Birthday Unicorn
ISBN 9781742758756
Also available as an ebook
ISBN 9781742758763
Lulu Bell and the Fairy Penguin
ISBN 9781742758770
Also available as an ebook
ISBN 9781742758787
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

What a delightful new series by the creative team of Belinda Murrell and Serena Geddes. Each book has eleven short and snappy chapters filled with illustrations that won’t fail to delight six to eight-year-old girls.

Readers will step straight into these stories. If they’ve ever wished for a pony or a penguin, this is the next best thing, as Lulu’s father (Mr Bell) is a vet. Lulu’s family - artist mother, younger sister Rosie and toddler brother, Gus and their umpteen dogs and cats, live behind the vet hospital. It’s a fabulous setting to create stories from, and a loving and quirky family to have adventures with.

Lulu Bell and the Birthday Unicorn – It’s Rosie’s sixth birthday and Lulu and her best friend, Molly, are decorating Rosie’s mermaid birthday cake. There’s an emergency - a pony is running wild and Lulu and Molly head off with Mr Bell to catch it. As they collect their gear from the surgery there’s the ‘smell of disinfectant and animal fur’ and ‘lots of beautiful animals to talk to,’ like sick fish and orphaned possums in boxes. The imagery Murrell creates uses all the senses as she draws on her own childhood growing up in a vet hospital.

The white pony, with its ‘dainty black hooves, liquid brown eyes and breath like the warm scent of hay’ is captured and taken back to Lulu’s place. After a catastrophe with Rosie’s birthday cake, Lulu comes to the rescue and the mermaid-themed party turns into a unicorn party with the white pony decorated with a golden horn and purple ribbons.

Now, what young girl would not want to be at that party! Such is the magic created by Murrell along with the many wonderful illustrations by Geddes.

Lulu Bell and the Fairy Penguin – Here’s another uplifting story where Lulu and Molly enjoy an after school swim at the nearby beach. They eat ‘sticky, crunchy fruit’ as they dabble their feet in the water. They collect ‘shells, feathers, driftwood, twigs and sea glass’ to decorate their ‘huge fairy house in the sand.’

It’s late afternoon and the time when the fairy penguins return to their rookery under the jetty. But a dog on the loose wants to play and ‘tossed the penguin in the air with its snout.’

Grazed and dazed, the little penguin is rescued by Lulu who calls her father. He gives it antibiotics and the girls release the penguin where it was found. Meanwhile at home, Pickles the cat disappears to have her kittens and is found in the washing machine piled on the dirty clothes. As Dad says, ‘what an action-packed week it’s been … penguin rescue, kittens in the washing machine and a beautiful new mural.’ Oh, that’s another lovely plot line – Lulu’s class has to paint a mural on the town’s newest development site. You guessed it! It had quite a beach theme. Serena Geddes’ drawings throughout  are pure delight.

What’s Lulu up to next? Two more books will be out in August.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Vietnam Diary

Vietnam Diary by Mark Wilson (Lothian/Hachette)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 9780734412744
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie

Mark Wilson is a noted Victorian author/illustrator of picture books for older children. I have also reviewed Wilson's My Mother's Eyes: The Story of a Boy Soldier (2009) and Angel of Kokoda (2010). The Last Tree (2006) won a Whitley Award in 2007.
Vietnam Diary poses the question many ask when Australian soldiers are sent to fight a war in a foreign country: Why should they go? The answer lies in individual beliefs, such as in the case of the story's two brothers, Leigh and Jason.
Both the boys' grandfather and father fought overseas, the former in the First World War, and the latter in Kokoda, PNG. When the Vietnam war came about, Leigh is dead certain he and his mates should not go, because it is not "our war". Jason, on the other hand, isn't so sure. What if everyone ran away from fighting overseas in the common cause for freedom? Would Australia be a different place if we hadn't fought at Gallipoli or Kokoda or Tobruk?
Many of Wilson's illustrations are nostalgic, depicting a boyhood of shared cricketing dreams. There is high excitement when Leigh and Jason attend their first MCG test match. Jason regards his match ticket as lucky and when he is conscripted, makes sure he tucks it into his wallet before he leaves for the Puckapunyal training camp.
Jason decides, after his training period is over, to join his mates and go to Vietnam even though, as a conscript, he could have refused. Leigh who had hoped to dissuade him from the start, has to accept that their opinions on war will remain divided.
Through Jason's diary, the reader learns that Jason does not hold anything against Leigh for his pacifist stance even though he has yet to receive a letter from him. When a letter finally arrives he keeps it aside until after his patrol duty that night, trying to overcome the Vietcong.
The battle of Long Tan in August 1966 is now a part of history. Jason never got to read his brother's letter, but if Leigh read his younger brother's diary, he might have also been surprised. The Afterword is heartwarming, if sad.
Vietnam Diary is a sensitive picture book whose words and images give moving insights into the conflicting emotions and challenges faced by young soldiers at war.


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Review: Bernard’s Plane Trip

Bernard’s Plane Trip written and illustrated by Adele Jaunn (Working Title Press)
 PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 9781921504563
Reviewed by Vicki Thornton

Bernard is going on his first plane trip. He is so excited he has butterflies in his stomach. But there are so many things to do before the plane lands and he sees his best friend.

This is an ideal book for the introduction of young children to all that air travel involves. The cute character of Bernard, a large dog, makes for very appealing illustrations. From going through security to patiently waiting for his flight to be called. Once on the plane poor Bernard finds it hard to fit into his seat, and going to the toilet is a very tight squeeze…he is after all not a poodle.

The book is full of useful information, told in a very calming and reassuring manner. The sweet illustrations, softly created in watercolour and water colour pencils, adds another sense of reassurance. There is nothing sharp or harsh, unsympathetic to the overall feeling of calm that this book generates.  And the final page when Bernard meets his best friend and they hug is just delightful.

The little bee that also comes along on the journey is an added bonus. I especially loved the image of him sleeping on the moon. It creates another level of the story for the children reading.

A great book for parents planning a plane trip with young children. It shows step by step each process, in a relaxed and entertaining manner.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Review: Jeremy

Jeremy by Chris Faille, illustrated by Danny Snell (Working Title Press)
RRP HB $24.95
ISBN 9781921504402
Reviewed by Vicki Thornton

Based on a true event, this is the charming story of rescuing and raising a baby kookaburra after it falls out of its nest.

Rescued by the family cat, the baby bird is ugly with no feathers and large bulgy eyes that are closed. He is placed in a box with a hot water bottle and a teddy bear, and named Jeremy. He squawks for food and seems to be hungry all the time but he grows and grows. Soon it is time for Jeremy to learn to fly, to be outside with the other birds. He says goodbye and returns to his family.

This is a very sweet story, with lots of information given gradually but also more detailed information for the discerning reader provided on the endpapers. A trend for a lot of picture books that combine fact with fiction.

But what made the story come alive for me were the illustrations. I loved Snell’s use of vibrant colour, the detailed depiction of the kookaburra but also the artist’s sense of humour. The double page spread of Jeremy watching television late at night, with his teddy bear made me laugh out loud.  A lovely book and even lovelier illustrations.



Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Children Who Loved Books

The Children Who Loved Books written and illustrated by Peter Carnavas (New Frontier Publishing)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN – 9781921928161
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

Angus, Lucy and their family don’t have much in the way of a grand home. They live in a caravan with no TV and don’t own a car. They do, however, own oodles of books. These are stacked and piled everywhere. There is even a tower of them propping up their outdoor table. No room in the caravan for a table! Filled to breaking point, the caravan is unable to hold anything more and one day spills hundreds and hundreds of books all over the place.

Dad’s solution is to ferry them all away. All that lovely space sees the family no longer snuggled together sharing stories. They grow further and further apart. They learn that a life without books, the closeness they bring to the family and the worlds stories take them to, is no life at all. When a book tumbles from Lucy’s school bag one day, Mum asks where it’s from. Lucy says “The library.”

Before long the family gathers around it as Dad reads. Even as darkness falls their caravan shines bright, long into the night. The next morning, closer than ever, they head into town. Though nobody says where they are going, Angus and Lucy know their destination. Turning the page confirms that a library visit means they have all the books they need, and further ensures readers will easily embrace the celebration of books that this story brings.

Watercolour and ink illustrations show so many things that are never spoken of in the text. The warmth and togetherness of shared interests in reading are felt in each scene, as are the sadder moments when the family grows apart, no longer held close by the power of books. The community around the library expands on the value that books hold for all of society and the story told in pictures, alongside simple yet charming text, will see the book become a favourite.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Gamers’ Rebellion

Gamers’ Rebellion by George Ivanoff (Ford Street Publishing)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 978-1921665974
Reviewed by Francine Sculli

Gamers’ Rebellion is the last book in ‘the Gamers’ trilogy. The trilogy, written perfectly for the young teenager market, is a speedy nosedive into the gamers’ world – full of adventure, bold characters, striking sci-fi worlds and a racy plot that leaves readers hanging on every word. Gamers’ Rebellion is all of these things and more.

The previous book, Gamers’ Challenge, saw Zyra and Tark – our feisty protagonists – share a kiss inside the game that changed their whole lives. The kiss pushed them into the realm of asking questions, seeking their identities and trying to find a way out of the game. Gamers’ Rebellion starts at the juncture where Tark and Zyra’s desire to exit has become a reality, but out of the game they have found that not everything is as they expected.

Their first taste of reality is in the hands of the designers. Both Zyra and Tark wake up in the cold, futuristic research facility of the Designers, but not long after they both wake up in separate rooms, Tark is kidnapped by a group of young rebels who take him to their hidden, low-fi laboratory. Their plan to take Zyra, too, is thwarted by a security alert that forces them to leave Zyra behind. The heart racing adventures kicks off immediately. At the Designers’ Research Facility, Zyra meets Designer Prime, Robert, her creator. Robert tells Zyra many things she has been dying to know – about her consciousness, her creation and about how the game is really played but there is also so much more that he doesn’t tell her. At the young rebel’s laboratory, Tark finds out that the Designers have been stealing children for the games and have hidden agendas and malicious plans for the game – seeking power and fortune. What Tark and Zyra don’t realise is that the reality they sought outside of the game, will be the very one that drives them back into it as they join the young rebels to fight against the Designers – both inside and outside of the game.

Gamers’ Rebellion, is just as fast-paced and as meaning driven as its predecessors. Filled with strong insights into the human mind and touching on the essence of humanity and the values of trust, friendship, truth and identity that drove through the trilogy, this book is a gripping and touching futuristic look at what it means to be human. And it is not shy of Ivanoff’s brilliant writing either – dynamic dialogue, interesting vocabulary, constructed ‘gamer’ speak and the painting of vivacious characters and worlds are just a few of the techniques Ivanoff uses to make this the perfect ending to the Gamers’ Trilogy. 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

His Day


His Day by Heather Potter (Walker Books Australia)
BB RRP $9.95
ISBN – 978-1-921720-35-2
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

One in a pair of gender specific baby board books, this title uses simple text alongside delightful softly coloured sketches of a very young boy going about what comprises every baby’s day. All  pictures will be easily identified with by any child and the book begins by showing how each day starts with waking before having a nappy change.

Breakfast is followed by getting dressed and playtime takes baby till lunch time. Baby’s nap is followed by a walk before visiting with an older child. The day draws to a close with dinner, bathing, a story and a cuddle before bed.

Not only do the whimsical and very appealing pastels show much emotion and wonder as baby makes his way through his day, they also provide plenty of well thought out detail that ensures the illustrations will be happily marvelled over again and again.

While the publisher states that one of the books is for boys and one is for girls, parents and preschools may consider reading them as a pair, one after the other, to help reinforce that while genders may be a point of difference, boys and girls are very much the same on the whole.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Call of the Wild and Dino Champions

Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter - series by Jack Wells, illustrated by Lachlan Creagh (Random House Australia)
PB RRP $9.95 each
Book 5 – Call of the Wild
ISBN 9781742750934 – pbk.
ISBN 9781742749594 - ebook
Book 6 – Dino Champions
ISBN 9781742750941 – pbk.
ISBN 9781742749600 - ebook

Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

After many adventures in his previous books, Robert Irwin is back with his best friend Riley. With the aid of his lucky claw, Robert and Riley continue their adventures as they time travel back to the era of the dinosaurs. This series of single-plot storylines continues to excite new readers and is a winner for six to nine year old boys who dream of dinosaurs, adventure and time travel. Along with lots of action, there’s a handy dinosaur fact file at the end of each book (where I learnt that dinosaurs probably didn’t roar, except in the movies!) as well as plenty of illustrations to further enliven the boys’ adventures.

Book 5 – Call of the Wild – Robert and Riley are camping with their families in outback Queensland. They’re in Muttaburrasaurus country, where the first fossils of this dinosaur were found.

It’s night and raining and the boys need to go to the loo. In the dark they get disorientated. Robert’s magic dino claw whisks them back 100 million years where a storm is also raging. Reptiles fly overhead and in a lightning flash the boys see an abandoned baby dinosaur, with ‘it’s legs stuck in a deep pool of mud.’ They nickname him Barry and try to push him out of the swamp. Pterosaurs flap their skinned wings overhead and chase Riley, intending to make a meal of him.

Finally the boys free Barry. They try to find his mother by ‘honking’ through the bushes. In a spike of lightning the boys see ‘the figure of the adult Muttaburrasaurus.’ It ‘rose up on its back legs, stretched out its neck, maybe seven metres high, and gave an enormous honk.’ Robert and Riley watch as ‘the two ancient Australians walk away to rejoin their pack.’

Book 6 – Dino Champions – Robert is training for his athletics carnival. He’s trying to run fast enough to catch up to the school champion, Lauren Johnson. Robert wonders which dinosaur would have run the fastest.

As Robert and Riley chase each other around Australia Zoo, Robert’s magic dinosaur claw jiggles around in his backpack. Before they know it, the boys are in Canada, 74 million years ago. They’re being chased by a dinosaur with ‘three claws on each foot to grip into the ground like running spikes.’ It’s a dromiceiomimus, meaning, ‘emu mimic.’ Robert makes notes of its running style to use in his athletics race.

The boys fall asleep and are transported to North Africa, where two spinosaurus are fighting; they’re even bigger than the T-rex, with spines as tall as an adult and a skull like a crocodile.

Robert’s magic claw transports them again to the lush forests of Argentina where ‘titanic sauropods’ with bodies like bridges and legs like supports, graze on the treetops.

But the boys need to head back to Australia and the present. They wade into the freezing water where the magic claw swirls them home. When it’s time for the athletics carnival, Robert races against Lauren. He imagines being chased by a terrifying spinosaurus. He comes second but looks forward to his next adventure with dinosaurs and wonders what else he is going to discover.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Mortified: Lost in the Sands of Time

Mortified: Lost in the Sands of Time by Martin Chatterton (Random House Australia Children’s)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 9781742758886
Also available as an ebook
ISBN 9781742758893
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

Imagine being a ‘frever’ where every 1000 years equals one human year. Mort and his sister Agnetha are ‘frevers’. Mort might look 10, but he’s actually 10 000 years old and his sister is only a little bit younger.

Sound great? Not if every time you touch down somewhere in history in your Retro 2.0 time machine, you have to go to school!

Mortified is the third book in the Mort chapter-book series and Mort and Agnetha think they have seen it all. They’ve already encountered Mongolian warlords, sabre-toothed tigers, rampaging Vikings and bloodthirsty dinosaurs. So, when the dastardly Trish Molyneux, Assistant Chief Education Inspector, is after them to go to school in our century, Mort and Agnetha escape in their time machine, aided by an odd assortment of historical characters.

They zap back to 1889, to Swaffham, an idyllic, but dull-looking English town. Who should they bump into but Arthur Conan Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes fame) who is running around with a chicken jammed on his head. They also bump into a boy, Howard Carter (later discoverer of Tutankhamun’s tomb), and Queen Victoria, who is travelling on a steam train that’s on a collision course with the Retro 2.0.

After a calamitous meeting, they all end up inside the Retro 2.0 and take off time-travelling. The Retro 2.0’s switchboard jams and the mishmashed group is ‘bounced from one famous historical disaster to another.’

From sailing on the Titanic to sparking off the Great Fire of London, they lurch through history finally landing in ancient Egypt where they’re imprisoned. They’re deemed to make tasty morsels for the Nile River crocodiles, especially One Gulp Gus.

They escape through a poo-filled sewer where they’re chased by zombie-mummies.

Is Trish Molyneux, Assistant Chief Education Inspector successful in reining the time-travelling siblings back to school? I can’t give too much away.

Numerously awarded author, Martin Chatterton, lets his wild imagination loose as he takes readers on a rollicking, hysterical ride through history. His clever and playfully-creepy drawings will further entice 8 – 10 year old boys to read more. And if you’ve missed the first two books in the series, there’s a tantalising entrée to Chatterton’s first instalment at the back of the book.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Stick Man

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson, illustration by Axel Scheffler (Scholastic UK)
PB RRP $7.99
ISBN 978-1-407132– 32-7
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Stick Man lives happily at home with his family in his family tree. One day he strays too far on his morning jog and is reluctantly taken on a long journey. He is retrieved by a dog, used as a Pooh-stick by a child, taken as a hook for a bag, and all the while Stick Man gets further and further away from his family tree and his Stick Lady Love. How is he ever going to get home again? Will someone rescue him?

I have to confess to being a huge fan of Julia Donaldson’s rhyming stories. They are just so quirky, amusing, and lovely to read aloud. This one is no exception.

They do tend, however, to have many more words than are traditionally present in picture books. This makes them perfect for the early reader form, of which this edition of Stick Man is. And even as an early reader the illustrations are a huge part of the story. Scheffler’s style is instantly recognisable with his bold bright colours, detailed scenes and wonderfully expressive characters – people, animals and stick men. There is always something peeping around a corner or hiding behind a tree.

This is a very entertaining story with wonderful rhythm and will suit six and seven year-olds learning to read. It will also be enjoyed by much younger children as a fabulous read aloud.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Her Day

Her Day by Heather Potter (Walker Books Australia)
BB RRP $9.95
ISBN – 978-1-921720-36-9
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

One in a pair of gender specific baby board books, this title uses simple text alongside softly coloured sketches of a very young girl going about those activities that make up every baby’s day. All  pictures will be easily identified with by any child and the book begins by showing how each day starts with waking before having a nappy change.

Breakfast is followed by getting dressed and playtime takes baby till lunch time. Baby’s nap is followed by walking before a visit. The illustration for the word visit shows readers the baby girl stepping through a doorway. Her day draws to a close with dinner, bathing, a story and cuddle before bed.

Not only do the whimsical and very appealing pastels show much emotion and wonder as baby makes her way through her day, they also provide plenty of well thought out detail that ensures the illustrations will be happily marvelled over again and again by the very young reader.

While the publisher states that one of the books is for boys and one is for girls, parents and preschools may consider reading them as a pair, one after the other, to help reinforce that while humans differ in gender, males and females share a great deal in common.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Once Upon A Slime: 45 Fun Ways to get Writing Fast

Once Upon A Slime: 45 Fun Ways to get Writing Fast by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton (Pan Macmillan)
PB RRP $12.99
ISBN: 978 1 742 61209 6
Reviewed by Wendy McLean

Suffering from a serious case of writer’s block? Need inspiration? Lack the courage to write? Well Andy Griffith’s and Terry Denton’s latest offering will inspire, entertain, and encourage both young and adult writers alike to write, write, write!
In Once Upon a Slime the lively duo take us on a journey to remind us that writing is fun. As Andy points out early in the book, ‘You don’t have to be a great artist—a great speller—to be able to have a great time with words and pictures.’
Andy has generously shared his own writing journey beginning with a get well (?) card to his father, “I hear you are sick. So turn over the pages and see what you are if you don’t get better.” .This masterpiece was followed by an independent school magazine called Popcorn, which Andy produced using a 40 cent rusty old type writer. Popcorn was full of jokes and funny news articles – the stepping stone to Andy’s adult career as a writer.
The book is divided into 45 chapters as the title suggests, but each chapter contains numerous activities and techniques that will get even the most reluctant of writers to pick up a pen. The book contains jokes, story starters and hilarious examples from Andy’s and Terry’s own books. Readers are encouraged to create stories, lists, poems, fairy tales, comics, and to just enjoy playing with words and pictures—the way Terry and Andy do.
Andy and Terry encourage readers to write their own ‘slimy’ version of fairytale (e.g. Little Green Snotting Hood and Cindersmeller and to write a script for a bum and a head having an argument about who is the most important body part. There are so many ridiculous and wonderful activities for aspiring writers to try.
But this book is not just about words; Terry has included has included plenty of drawing exercises throughout the book to encourage children to create with words and pictures. And just when you think the book is complete, Andy shares the ‘random idea generator’ as a final resource. You will never suffer from writer’s block again!

Although the book comes across as light-hearted and fun, there is a wealth of information on the process of writing and illustrating. It is an excellent resource for any writer (young or old) who needs a little kickstart to get the creative juices flowing.

The Trouble With Bear Hugs – A Story About Asthma


The Trouble With Bear Hugs – A Story About Asthma by Kym Latter and Cassie Stroud
HB RRP $16.75
ISBN – 978-0-9873747-0-7
Reviewed by Emma Cameron


Though written to help explain what asthma can be like and how easily it can be dealt with, this story is well told and never comes across as a lesson. From the sweet, quirky title to the gorgeous and whimsical illustrations it’s sure to help very young readers see asthma simply is a condition that doesn’t make someone who has it feel good when an attack occurs, and that taking uncomplicated and appropriate action will have them feeling better quickly.

The narrative is straightforward, introducing readers to Lulu by telling them what sorts of things she likes; liquorice, running in the garden, her chickens and wearing strange things on her head (including one of her chickens). Rather than viewing her as an asthma sufferer, they see her as a child not unlike themselves.

When they witness her suffering from a giant bear hug they learn that asthma hurts her chest, stops her breathing in and makes her feel like she has no more puff left. She tells Poppa how she feels and that the giant bear just won’t let go. Poppa recognises what’s happening and runs to the shed, quickly returning with what Lulu recognises as “My puffer!” Poppa gets her to inhale and exhale, counting as she does so. Before long the bear becomes smaller and Lulu feels fine again, ready to run and play as normal.

Bright, colourful and well thought out illustrations tone down the distressing elements of a giant bear hug, ensuring young readers are likely to feel wonder rather than discomfort, thereby allowing them to maintain an inquisitive open mind to help the message enter. The analogy of the bear hug works perfectly.


In addition to explaining what an asthma attack feels like to those who don’t suffer it, the story also provides sufferers with helpful reminders of what to look out for and how to communicate an attack to those who can help them. The book’s simple directions and reassuring message are endorsed by Asthma Australia and may be purchased by visiting www.asthmapeeps.com .

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Where's My Potty?


Where's My Potty? illustrated by Felicity Gardner (Lothian/Hachette)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN: 9780734413864
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie
This simply-worded picture book about a baby gorilla looking for his potty is an in-house offering and debut book for illustrator Felicity Gardner. Max isn't the only one in potty training but he discovers that all potties are not the same size or easy to access. The baby hippo's potty is in far too wet a spot for a gorilla to use. And how could Max possibly reach the baby giraffe's commode or sit on the potty of a baby bird? Max's bottom was far too big.
Max searches on, his toilet roll getting more and more entangled in branches and tree trunks and several other things. He really needs to go! He likes the one the flamingos are crowding around, but how could anyone do a number two in front of a large audience?
Fortunately, Max finds his potty and his anxious expression is replaced with one of relief.
The cute jungle animals and humorous storyline will particularly entertain toddlers in the process of potty training. The rows of colourful underpants on the inside cover pages are topical and fun.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Could your book be a book app? How-to Webinar


If you’ve wondered whether your book could be a book app but have no idea how to get started or are technophobic, check out this jargon-free, 1-hour training webinar from book app expert, Karen Robertson.

She’s helped dozens of authors publish their books as apps and she’s about as “non-techy” as you can get.

To see what’s possible for your book and be inspired by examples of all kinds of book apps including illustrated children’s books, poetry and long text, watch the webinar now.

To watch it immediately, go to Karen's free training webinar and choose “view yesterday’s webinar” under DATE and “now” under TIME.

What's Wrong with the Wobbegong?


What's Wrong with the Wobbegong? by Phillip Gwynne and Gregory Rogers (Little Hare)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9781921714962
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

The wobbegong lies on the beach and says nothing. Watching him are a crab, a stingray, a clam, a humpback whale, a sea bird and an octopus who talk and talk about what might be wrong. What makes the wobbegong so quiet and still? Suddenly he gets moving and impresses them all with his swimming skills. The animals chatter that there is nothing wrong with the wobbegong. Finally this is proven without a doubt, without the wobbegong needing to say anything at all.

This is a simple story about the dangers of gossiping or perhaps making incorrect assumptions about others. The text uses repetition and gradually builds up with each character adding its own observation until the moment the wobbegong moves. Following this, the text is reduced by each character, winding down to the final hilarious twist. This is the highlight of the book. 

The illustrations are effective, with deceptively simple line drawings conveying the expression (or in the wobbegong's case, the lack of expression) on each character's face beautifully. Colour is used quite sparingly, mostly for the character's bathers, umbrellas and hats. There are often pages with large patches of white and the sky is shown as orange. Most importantly, the illustrations are funny.

What's Wrong with the Wobbegong? is an Australian picture book suitable for children or parents with a slightly black sense of humour.  

Friday, 7 June 2013

Fabulous Fishes


Fabulous Fishes written and illustrated by Susan Stockdale (Working Title Press)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9781921504556
Reviewed by Vicki Thornton

This is a bright and colourful book with simple rhyming text that takes the reader on a journey to see some ‘fabulous fishes’.

Fish, as Stockdale tells and illustrates, are amazing. They can leap and glide, can crawl on land, some even have flashing lights. Fish come in all shapes, sizes and colours and Stockdale has captured them with her vivid illustrations.

This book is a great introduction for younger children into the fascinating world of fish. The language is simple yet the rhymes lead the reader on to turn the page, and the wonderfully colourful illustrations give the book a happy upbeat feel.

There is also thumbnail sketches and detailed information in the back of the book on the fish featured. Making this also a good first reference book for the budding fish fancier. 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Andy G, Terry D, the Brave Tea-Lady and the Evil Bee

Andy G, Terry D, the Brave Tea-Lady and the Evil Bee by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton (Pan Macmillan Australia, 2013)
PB RRP $6.99
Reviewed by Di Bates

Teachers trying to get young children to learn how to read love books like this latest contribution by the Griffiths and Denton team. In the style of Dr Seuss, the book is written in verse with strong rhythm and regular rhyme. The focus is on the sound that ‘ee’ makes, with words like ‘lady,’ ‘tree’, ‘free,’ ‘enemy’ and ‘me’ showing the young reader how many words with this sound can rhyme.

The story is one with which young children are familiar – the chase scenario. A bee sees a child and begins a pursuit. A second person – Terry D – gets involved in the race to flee the bee and thereafter follows a lady selling tea. Up a tree they go followed by the bee; luckily the lady manages to trap the bee in her tea pot so all ends well.

The illustrations are typical of Denton’s cartoon style with lots of movement from one page to the next as the pursuit continues. There is lots of white space which children love in the book and the cover, despite its very long title, is attractive and zany.

At the front of the book is a photograph of Denton with his mop of blonde, curly hair grabbing a resigned Griffith in a bear hug: it’s zany and sets the tone for this book which should appeal to readers from five years and up. A special feature of the book is the back page of coloured covers showing all of Griffith’s books which are so popular with children, including The Cat on the Mat is Flat and The Big Fat Cow that Goes Kapow, two more books which seem designed to help the new or struggling reader. Doubtless the publisher is on a winner with this book series.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

K-Zone Prankster’s Handbook

K-Zone Prankster’s Handbook by K-Zone Editors (Scholastic Australia)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 978-1-74283-024-7
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

K-Zone Prankster’s Handbook has been created by the editors of top-selling kid’s magazine K-Zone. It is a bold, bright and in-your-face book about good-humoured pranks of all shapes and sizes. There are celebrity pranks, animal pranks (did you know the horned lizard can squirt blood from its own eyes?!), contributors’ embarrassing moments and a guide to pulling pranks on your friends.

There are punishment ratings on all pranks such as – Wash the Dishes, Gaming Cancelled and Xtreme Grounding Guaranteed – which gives a guide to how each prank may be received by the intended ‘victim’. But none of the pranks are too extreme.

Toy Traveller: Grab your bro’s most treasured toy and take a photo of it somewhere weird, such as in the park or at school. Now use that picture as the background of the family computer. Do the same thing a week later but with the toy in a new location. Your little bro will freak thinking his toy is having adventures without him!  

Wash the Dishes!

Or:

Ball Swap: This is a classic if you’ve got a golf player in the family. The night before the golfer heads off to a game, switch the golf balls in their bags for ping-pong balls. This’ll get you seriously grounded so play it safe by stashing the real balls somewhere else in the bag! 

Xtreme Grounding Guaranteed!

There is also a section on the 20 best ever pranks. These are pranks pulled on a larger scale, such as when in 1995 a “hilarious hacker announced that every computer connected to the internet must be turned off for Internet Cleaning Day...”

Visually this has a fun layout and is great to flick through, reading bits here and there rather than reading cover to cover. The jacket is reversible so the reader is able to change its appearance to an English work book.

Primary aged kids will get many laughs from this prank guidebook

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Interview: Karen Robertson and Book App Academy







Karen Robertson is the author of two award-winning book apps in her “Treasure Kai” series. She’s also an international speaker and is the author of five eBooks about creating and marketing book apps. Buzz Words talks to Karen about her book app journey and how she has come to develop Book App Academy, a program to help others develop their own apps.

Hi Karen and welcome to Buzz Words. Can you tell us a little about your own book app journey?

No one is more surprised than I am that I’ve published my books as book apps because I’m about as technophobic as you can get! But two things happened in June 2010 that changed my career.

1.      I was about to re-print my interactive treasure hunt adventure book with toys, “Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island,” and publish the second book in the Treasure Kai series. I was frustrated because even though the book had proven international appeal, I felt limited to the Australian market due to the cost of distributing the book internationally.

2.      My dyslexic son picked up an iPad for the first time and chose storybook apps over game apps. “Treasure Kai” books are all about interactivity, so I could see the opportunity to take interactive reading to a whole new level and deliver a multi-sensory reading experience if I published the books as book apps.

I worked with a friend of mine to source a developer, plan the book app and produce it. We published “Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island” in 2011 and “Treasure Kai and the Seven Cities of Gold” in 2012. Both are award winning book apps and the best thing about them is our ability to reach a global audience. We’ve sold “Treasure Kai” book apps in nearly 100 countries and we’ve sold apps every day for over two years.

What is a book app? How does it differ from an ebook?

I’ll describe the user experience here rather than the technical differences.

eBooks and book apps are forms of digital publishing. eBooks tend to be simpler versions of digital books and can be as simple as a book with illustrations and text, or can have some basic functionality like narration or light sound effects and animation. They are designed for e-readers (like the Kindle, Nook, etc.). There are also enhanced eBooks which are eBooks that include multimedia content like audio or video.

Book apps are eBooks on steroids. They have more functionality like interactivity that brings the reader into the narrative, more animation, sound effects, music, text highlighting and even games or video.

I’ve created a video that about book apps you can see at www.digitalkidsauthor.com/bookappcurious

Who can create an app?

Anyone who owns their digital rights can publish their book as a book app. This includes unpublished work, self-published work and published work where the author owns the rights.

Can any book be made into a book app?

Not every book is suited to be an app. Some are more suited to be eBooks. The best candidates for apps are illustrated children’s books or books with images and bonus content like video, audio.  Novels and middle grade are better suited to be eBooks.

Why should authors consider creating a book app?

I’ve created a video about this that you can find here: 
www.digitalkidsauthor.com/bookappcurious

Here are a few of my favourite reasons:
1.It’s a legitimate publishing option
2.Book apps give authors access to a global market
3.Distribution is guaranteed once the app is approved
4.Creative freedom
5. No inventory to manage or ship

Do authors considering creating an app have to be techie geniuses?

No, and I’m living proof!

The key to getting passed the intimidation of technology is to learn about the process - not the coding process (yuck!) - but the planning and creation process. It’s actually a lot of fun to think about your story in a multi-sensory way.

Creating a book app is a step-by-step process and if you follow the process, it’s a very achievable goal. Even finding a developer (the part many writers find the most intimidating) is a step-by-step process.

I’ve written a blog post about the issue of not needing to be a techie here (www.digitalkidsauthor.com/bookappcurious).

Why did you develop Book App Academy?

I started writing, speaking and coaching about book app creation and marketing quite by accident.  Just three short weeks after publishing my first book app in February 2011, the iPad 2 was released. We found that our app would occasionally break on the iPad 2 (a bug) so asked our developer to fix it. That’s when I learned about a big mistake we’d made. Our developer had moved on to another job, and we hadn’t negotiated his responsibilities for fixing any problems. So when he couldn’t fix it quickly, he dropped the job! We were out of market for 10 weeks. To save my sanity, I wrote “Author’s Guide to Book Apps,” an eBook about how we created “Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island,” the things we did right, and the things we did wrong.

Six months  after I published “Author’s Guide,” I started getting emails from writers who had used my guide to create their own books apps. It was so exciting to find out that my information had helped other people make their publishing dreams come true.

That ignited the fire under me to keep sharing, writing, speaking and coaching.  Because I’ve created three book apps myself, done some things really right and messed some things up royally, worked with dozens of other writers, interviewed dozens of suppliers and paid attention to what works and what doesn’t, I’m in a unique position to save people a lot of time and money by sharing what I’ve learned.

What I found during coaching sessions was that the same questions kept coming up over and over again. I decided to create Book App Academy, an online, home-study course using over 40 video tutorials, to step people through the process of planning and creating their apps.  I first launched it in June 2012, insanely in the middle of my move from Sydney, Australia to Austin, TX (another story), and it met with rave reviews from the inaugural students. 

I’ve now updated the course and added a number of tutorials, Q and A calls and a private Facebook group, and will be launching it in June 2013.    

Where can interested authors learn more about book apps and Book App Academy?

Visit www.digitalkidsauthor.com/bookappcurious and read answers to the three most frequently answered questions about creating book apps. Then, if you want to make sure you hear about Book App Academy, you can opt in by entering your name and email address. I’m creating a free webinar about book apps that I’ll be sharing in early June so if you’re even a little bit curious about book apps, be sure to opt in!