Best Teacher Gifts

It’s that crazy time of year again, searching for a Christmas gift or thank you present for your child’s teacher.


Will it be chocolate or wine or hand lotion?
A Christmas decoration or coffee vouchers or movie tickets?
A coffee mug or tea cup or coasters?
Or home-cooking delicately wrapped in clear cellophane and delicately adorned with coloured wrapping ribbon?
What about a plant or a plate or a divinely scented bouquet of the prettiest flowers or even an original artwork … or was it that ‘A+ teacher’ emblazoned red shiny porcelain apple?

Any of those gifts are treasured for always! And that specially spoken ‘thank you!’ from a student just melts a teacher’s heart.


I have another gift to consider … it’s a book for teachers, created by a teacher. A 32 page hardcover time capsule book for teachers to use with their class over the school year.

Here’s why ‘Us. A Time Capsule’ is so good:

• There’s humour on the front cover. Teachers will have a quiet giggle at the collective nouns – a sloth (the slow moving student); a gang (those kids who hang around in large groups everywhere); an army (an entire class of students); a grumble (students who complain about work); a chatter (that forever chatty student who talks to every child they sit next to. No matter what); a swarm (when the teacher is accosted by a group of students ready to be the first to tell some news); a crew (pirates with swords come to mind, ready to sabotage a lesson …)
• There’s a page for information about the teacher that students will love to read. Teachers are people too.
Us. 2• For the rest of the book, it’s all about the students, at the beginning of the school year, at the end of the school year, stuff that happens in between, and their predictions for the future. Here are just 3 sample pages from 32.

• There’s a teacher guide at the back and a photocopiable page of squares for kids to do their self-portraits, cut out and glue into the book.

I know that kids in the class will adore the teacher’s copy of Us. A Time Capsule. After 25 years of teaching I can imagine them snickering at “No aliens allowed! Or Dinosaurs! Or Magic Goggles!” Yet, throughout the book the occasional alien or dinosaur or magic goggle appears. And they can read about themselves and their classmates and what they got up to in the year.

You can purchase a copy of ‘Us. A Time Capsule’:
Us. 6.11.18

From Lilly Pilly Publishing:

Us. A Class Time Capsule

From Amazon:

‘Us: A Class Time Capsule’

And for teachers in the US – the same hardcover book with a different cover and US spelling.

Us. USA 6.11.18

From Lilly Pilly Publishing:

Us. A Class Time Capsule (for US teachers)

From Amazon:

‘Us. A Class Time Capsule’ – for teachers in the US.

I know I would have loved to have a book like this for every year of my teaching career so I could look back at every class I had taught and remember all of those precious times I spent with students in my class. Being a teacher is indeed a privilege and an honour.

Us. A Time Capsule. It’s a yearbook with a difference. It’s likely to be the best and favourite teacher gift for Christmas, the end of the school year, or simply as a thank you!

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Julieann is a published author and illustrator who is continually inspired by the gift of imagination and the power of words. When she is not disappearing into her imaginary worlds as Julieann Wallace – children’s author, or as Amelia Grace – fiction novelist, she is working as an editor, book designer, and book magician for other authors. Julieann is a self-confessed tea ninja and Cadbury Chocoholic, has a passion for music and art, and tries not to scare off her cat, Claude Monet, with her terrible cello playing.


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The Colour of Broken is available at Amazon and online bookstores as a print book and ebook.

Julieann is a member of:


Book Week – a Grand, Contagious Celebration


Something beyond spectacular happens in schools around Australia in Book Week: schools burst at the seams with colour and energy as they celebrate all things books.


CBCA Book Week. It’s joyous. It’s adventurous. It’s contagious.
But it can’t happen without authors and illustrators. And it most definitely can’t happen without readers.

I have spent more than half of my life reading books to children, literally reading thousands and thousands of picture books and chapter books, and this is what I have noticed over the years: there is change – books for children have grown; not only in the amount of books, but they are richer in content, and in quality of illustrations.

And here’s the thing … picture books, chapter books and novels have only continued to get better. When you think you have read the best book ever for children, along comes another one that tops it.

It still amazes me after all these years, and even in our age of technology, that one physical children’s book can get the attention of an entire class like a rock star. Eyes are focussed, and ears are listening, hanging off every word. Children listen in eagerness together, laugh together, cry together, and ask for one more page, or to read it again, or please can we read one more chapter

It’s about the connection of hearts and minds. Being on the same page. That’s what books do.

Every experienced teacher in the world has books in their teacher toolkit. Here’s why –
• If you want to settle a class after an energetic play time – read them a book.
• If you want to introduce a lesson, or a new concept with pizazz – start by reading them a book with content that will be in the lesson.
• If you want to bring the class together at the end of the day – read them a book.
• If you want a class to think deeply about a concept – take them inside a book so they can feel the emotion of a character and see the world through that character’s eyes, ears and heart.
• If you want to inspire children – read them a book.


And here’s the thing … reading books creates empathy, kindness and understanding in the reader. Stories are a powerful. They engage, entertain, empower, explain, encourage and inspire. Research shows that book readers are smarter and kinder.

Imagine a classroom without books. A library without books. A home without books. A world without books – it would be akin to missing a heart.

Imagine a world without writers – wait, that means no books, no movies, no gaming, no lyrics to songs – after all, they are all built from the foundation of stories … what would the world become?

Parents, authors thank you for your amazing support with book week.

Teachers, authors salute you, and thank you for the part you play in spreading the love for reading, for sharing books created by authors, and for gifting students with the ability to read.

Children, you are the reason children’s authors write, and will continue to write, as you are more important than all the treasure in the world.

54722901_s children reading book on roof

To finish, I’d like to share one precious memory of Book Week that stays with me – it’s a child who made his own costume from cardboard and alfoil. He had made it – not his mum, or his dad. His costume didn’t cost a lot, but it was filled with his imagination and with joy, created from the imagery of the words of his only book. It was simple, and yet, it was simply the best!

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Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Multi-published Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

eady for book week - travelling suitcase (3)

Writing novels as Amelia Grace:

tcob front cover  bk fr  embodiment front cover

Julieann is a member of:

Little Witch Book 1 – Secrets & Spells, a book review


Title: Little Witch – Secrets & Spells
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Black cats, a strange presence in the house, and family secrets …

Secrets & Spells (Little Witch Book 1), by author Aleesah Darlison, is a fun, yet daring chapter book, with an intriguing storyline in a fast-paced tale. From the onset, young independent readers will become invested in the story, as the main character, Courtney, discovers secrets in the attic of the house of her late grandmother, at a sleepy coastal town.

When Courtney finally sneaks some hidden time in the attic, she discovers a spell book left to her by her late grandmother, whom she has never met. And this is where the story becomes interesting.

Adding to the mix of intrigue is a black cat named Inky, and a surf boy, Justice, who seems to know more about her grandmother than she does, and lets slip that her grandmother was a white witch. As the story progresses, Courtney decides to try out one of her grandmother’s spells: How To Make Your Cat Talk, with disastrous results.

Aleesah Darlison has penned a well-written, fast-paced chapter book with likeable characters, including an adorable cat that knows more about everything than anyone else.

Purchase a copy: Little Witch – Secrets & Spells

Title: Little Witch – Secrets & Spells
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520101
Subject: Magic, Spells, witchcraft
Category: 8+
Pages: 176

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review

Reviewed by Julieann Wallace 
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Julieann is a member of:


The Colour of Broken – when hearts collide – an excerpt

tcob front cover

Title: The Colour of Broken
Author: Amelia Grace
Publisher: Lilly Pilly Publishing

The streets of Tarrin woke to a beautiful morn. Flowers for Fleur opened, gifting the township with its colourful blooms and magical flower fragrances that convinced people the world was indeed a beautiful place, filled with love and light.

Except, it was a lie.

There was darkness within. A darkness that sought to rise and consume the light of two souls. Two women. Two tragic tales. Broken lives. Broken dreams.
The loved and the unlovable, bound by blood.


The Colour of Broken … an excerpt …


Dear Flowers for Fleur,

How much is the bicycle?
I would like to acquire it.


Dear ?

The bicycle is not for sale.



‘FLOWERS, TEA, COFFEE … OR BOOKS?’ I said, according to Gram’s script, still looking at my list of jobs and trying to decipher Gram’s shaky writing. It was so unlike her meticulous decorative cursive script …

‘None. I’m delivering this letter in person instead of putting it in the flowers of the bicycle.’

I froze, unable to move my sight from the list. Xander was standing before me? His voice sounded so unlike a rotund, balding, middle-aged business man. I looked up at him and my thoughts scattered. His blue eyes were decadent, his dark hair inviting me to run my fingers through it. I blinked to find my senses. This tall, slender, fit looking, god-like person standing before me was the persistent, annoying, pigheaded stranger becoming an unstranger, the one wanting to acquire Gram’s Schwinn Phantom Cruiser bicycle? He was the color of azure blue, like a male morpho butterfly—determination and ambition—with a splash of … light red passion and sensitivity. What? Two colors? That was indeed a rarity. I raised an eyebrow at him, impressed by his presence of being. ‘So, you don’t want flowers today?’

‘No. Never in fact.’ His voice was fruity; deep and strong in a pleasant way.

I breathed out the luring potion he offered. ‘You know what flowers do—don’t you?’

‘Of course … they die!’ His lips curled up on one side.

I smiled. He was being obscure and intentionally annoying. I cocked my head and narrowed my eyes at him, then burst out laughing.

He frowned at me and smirked.

‘Flowers are happiness, bundled into a bouquet—they are regret, an apology, a bridge to amends, friendship, thinking of you, you make my heart sing, they are the color at a funeral, get well soon, thank you, a surprise, a grand celebration … I miss you—’ Was this really the man I had been writing notes to? He was stunning. ‘I love you.’ I stopped speaking and swallowed. He was hard to convince. If he was a flower, he would be a Nigella damascena, otherwise known as Love-In-A-Mist, or Jack-In-Prison. The petals would definitely be in shades of blue, it’s flowers hidden in the misty foliage. In the language of flowers, Nigella damascena was equal to perplexity.

‘Have you finished your rambling sales campaign?’ He lifted an eyebrow at me.

I sighed. I needed to dig deeper. Who was this beautiful man who stood before me who wasn’t responding to my sales tactics? They always worked. ‘Flowers for a girlfriend?’ I continued. Surely he had an elegant woman who graced the social pages.

No response.


He took a deep breath.

‘Mother, or Grandmother?’

No response.

The phone rang. I held up my finger. ‘Wait … one moment, and I’m yours again.’ I picked up the phone and put it to my ear, and wrote down the flowers ordered for delivery. I finished the phone call and looked up at the beautiful Xander.

He let out an audible breath. ‘Just take the letter. I need an answer.’

What’s his problem? He seemed so arrogant. I took the letter from his hand, placed it on the desk and tapped it. Twice. ‘I’ll read it after the rush hour and get back to you.’

He nodded, removed a pink Peruvian lily from a container on a table to the right of the sales desk, and held it out to me. ‘For persuasion.’ He raised an eyebrow at me.

I half-smiled, conscious of the warmth that flowed through me. ‘Flowers don’t work their magic on me. I live and breathe them five days a week. You’re going to have find something else. I hope your day gets better …’

He looked down at the flower and ran his hand through his dark hair, gazed into my eyes and pulled his eyebrows together. ‘I don’t think anything can beat the education about flowers you just gave me—but you forgot one description of them—they’re beautiful, like you.’

I laughed more loudly than I intended. Conversations stopped around the store and people turned to look at me, then him.

He looked around and gave a nervous smile.

‘Well played, Xander. The power of flattery. For a moment there, I almost believed you. Kindness and intelligence rank more highly on my list as a compliment. Beauty fades with age and fake beauty deceives and is all too abundant.’ I stilled for a moment, looking into his blue eyes, and sighed. ‘I’ll give you an answer, later today.’

He put his hands into his pocket. ‘I can’t ask for anything more. Thanks.’

He gazed into my eyes for a little too long. My lips parted in response to his unexpected, intimate, eye connection. He narrowed his eyes at me, took a deep breath, turned and left.

I watched as he threw his backpack over his broad shoulders, then took long strides out the door. I frowned. He was dressed in a black, sleeveless hoodie and black jogger pants, but he had the walk of a man raised with wealth and privilege. What’s his story?

A muffled scream sounded in the store. Gram.
I looked around for her, but she was nowhere to be seen. I rushed to her office and hesitated at the door, my heart thudding. When I opened it, Gram was sprawled on the floor, and blood was pooling near her head.
She was staring at the wall, her head held still.

I grabbed five sheets of paper towel and swooped down to her, and pressed them to her forehead to try to stop the bleeding, ignoring the poison of anxiety that tried to control me. I watched her eyes. They were moving rapidly from side to side. What’s going on?

‘Enough of this. I’m calling the paramedics.’ My voice was more forceful than I intended.

‘No. I’ll be fine, after a few hours—’

‘Gram, you’re bleeding! You won’t be fine!’ I tried to keep my panic from her.

Gram reached up to her head. The only part of her body that moved was her arm and hand. It was like she was a robot, the rest of her body fused into place.
Slowly, she moved her hand in front of her eyes, then vomited. Spectacularly. I squeezed my eyes shut while her body went into a spasmodic movement each time she expelled the contents of her stomach, numerous times.

‘I can’t do this anymore … please help me … please help me … I can’t do this anymore …’

Tears streamed down my face. There was something seriously wrong with Gram. I didn’t want it to be sinister … what would I do without my Gram? She meant everything to me.
I pulled my phone from my pocket with my free hand, and pressed some numbers. ‘I need an ambulance … please.’

*  *  *  *  *

A portion of sales from this novel will be donated to Meniere’s disease research at Meniere’s Disease Research Fund Inc.



Formats and Editions
Trade paperback (print book)

the colour of broken 3d


March 28, 2018
Lilly Pilly Publishing

The Color of Broken 3d copy

March 28, 2018
Lilly Pilly Publishing


tcob front cover

March 28, 2018
Lilly Pilly Publishing
The Color of Broken

The Color of Broken cover

March 28, 2018
Lilly Pilly Publishing

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Amelia Grace is the pen name of Julieann Wallace, who is a published author of multiple, sort after stories. She writes novels (under her pseudonym) and is an author and illustrator of numerous children’s picture books, written under her own name. Prior to her career as a writer, Julieann was an educator with Education Queensland (Australia) for 25 years, and was nominated twice for the National Excellence in Teaching Awards.
Julieann is continually inspired by the gift of imagination and the power of words that can create change to reach out to others. She is a self-confessed tea ninja, has a quirky cat named Claude Monet, and has a passion for music, art and sport. She lives in
Queensland, Australia, and is a paper cut survivor…

Julieann is a member of