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.

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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.

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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.

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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)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallace.author
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

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Writing novels as Amelia Grace:

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The Dream Bird, a book review

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Title: The Dream Bird
by: Aleesah Darlison
illustrated by: Emma Middleton
Publisher: Wombat Books

Once upon a time in a faraway land there lived the rarest of rare birds. The Dream Bird. George is a day child. He rollicks and romps in the light. But at night, George just can’t seem to get to sleep. That is, until Gran tells him a bedtime story about a magical bird who sings children to sleep. Will the Dream Bird’s magic work on George?

A stunning bedtime book that will enchant readers young and old.

Some children have a difficult time trying to go to sleep. I think I have found the sleep potion. It’s a book called The Dream Bird, written by multi-published author, Aleesah Darlison.

In the story we meet a young boy, George—a day child who can’t sleep at night, not even after counting one hundred sheep walking backwards, and drinking warm milk to lull him to sleep.

His wonderful Gran comes to the rescue with a beautiful story about the most beautiful bird in the world—The Dream Bird.

Artist (and author), Emma Middleton,  has created exceptional dreamlike illustrations with colours that flow with a divine harmony, expressing calmness, contentment, peacefulness, relaxation, and tranquility, that are sure to sprinkle the magic of sleep dust.

The Dream Bird could be a life-saver for parents with kids who have a troublesome time trying to sleep. Aleesah’s use of descriptive words will paint a calming vision in a child’s imagination, helping them to change from their unsettled mind to one where they are encouraged to concentrate on their own favourite things, lulling them to sleep.

Purchase a copy: The Dream Bird

Title: The Dream Bird
by: Aleesah Darlison
illustrated by: Emma Middleton
Publisher: Wombat Books
ISBN: 9781925563337
Category: children
Pages: 32

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

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Pugs Don’t Wear Pyjamas, a book review

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Title: Pugs Don’t Wear Pyjamas
by: Michelle Worthington
illustrated by: Cecilia Johansson
Publisher: New Frontier

When Tom visits his aunt he meets her pug Ellie.
Ellie is no ordinary pug. Wherever Tom’s aunt goes, her pug must go too. His aunt dresses Ellie up for every outing.
Tom finds Ellie strange but she makes friends wherever she goes. Tom makes no friends. He realises something has to change.

Pugs in books are popular, and Ellie the pug is no exception in Pugs Don’t’ Wear Pyjamas. Young readers will giggle at Ellie’s human antics as she wears pyjamas to bed, drinks out of a straw and rides a skateboard, amongst other crazy activities.

Ellie the pug isn’t the only star of the story. There’s another character who is very likeable—a boy named Tom who meets Ellie at his Aunt Roz’s house when he goes to stay there. Tom marvels at Ellie the pug – the wondrous dog. But jealousy surfaces while Tom watches as Ellie makes a million friends with ease, but Tom doesn’t. And then one day, disaster strikes. Supposedly under Tom’s watchful eye, Ellie goes missing, and Tom is devastated, filled with guilt.

Illustrator, Cecilia Johansson has captured the differing moods of the story with beautiful, colourful, eye-catching pictures that will have eyes looking with excitement as children listen to the story unfold. And while they listen, multi-published author, Michelle Worthington, has cleverly lured her readers into the story with the adorable pug, Ellie, and then in a whisper, Ellie disappears, making hearts beat a little faster with worry. Thankfully, Michelle adds an extra surprise at the end of the story that will have readers buzzing with excitement. Perhaps there could be an Ellie the pug picture book number two?

Purchase a copy: www.newfrontier.com.au/books/pugs-dont-wear-pyjamas

Title: Pugs Don’t Wear Pyjamas
by: Michelle Worthington
Illustrated by: Cecilia Johansson
Publisher: New Frontier
ISBN: 978-1-925594-03-4
Age: 3-6 years
Pages: 24

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

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Nevermoor – the Trials of Morrigan Crow, a book review

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Title: Nevermoor – The Trials of Morrigan Crow
by: Jessica Townsend
Publisher: A Lothian Children’s Book by Hatchette Australia

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Born on an unlucky day, she is blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks – and worst of all, the curse mean that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on Eventide. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away to a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to pass four difficult and dangerous trials – or she’ll have to leave the city and confront her deadly fate.

Nevermoor has me celebrating for children, everywhere!
Firstly because of two words:

Step Boldly . . .

These two words speak loudly, and are a call to courage. They are two words that will stay with you for all the right reasons.

And secondly, because author, Jessica Townsend, has a “knack” with words and characters and world building.

Jessica took me on a visual and literary journey of delight with magic, wonder, fantasy and suspense. She had me turning the pages of Nevermoor, the Trials of Morrigan Crow with impatience, as she led me deeper into the town of Jackalfax, and then the magical city of Nevermoor.

Nevermoor begins with the prologue titled ‘Spring of One’, and we learn of the death of Morrigan Crow. When we turn to Chapter One – ‘Winter of Eleven’, we are taken back in time – three days earlier in fact. There, we meet the most feared child in Jackalfax, Morrigan Crow, destined to die on the night of Eventide. And this is where we make our strong emotional connection to her.

There is a lot at stake for Morrigan Crow. In fact, everything is at stake – her life.

As the brilliant story continues, we meet a unique character named Jupiter North. He takes Morrigan away from Jackalfax and into the safety of Nevermoor. But she can’t stay there, unless, she enters the Wundrous Society, but this can only be achieved by passing the four trials:

The Book Trial
The Chase Trial
The Fright Trial 
The Show Trial.

Meanwhile, a dark presence is watching, and waiting, for an opportunity. And  Morrigan Crow is in his sights…

Nevermoor – the Trials of Morrigan Crow, is filled with many A-HA! moments while you read, as pieces of the puzzle connect, leaving you feeling a sense of awe and wunder. It’s a magnificently clever, incredibly magical and beautifully heartwarming story that you will want “more” of.

Thankfully to Jessica Townsend, Morrigan’s next Wundrous Adventure is coming in 2018.

Purchase a copy: https://www.hachette.com.au/jessica-townsend/nevermoor-the-trials-of-morrigan-crow

Title: Nevermoor – The Trials of Morrigan Crow
by: Jessica Townsend
Publisher: A Lothian Children’s Book by Hatchette Australia
ISBN: 9780734418074 (paperback)
Category: primary school age
Pages: 448

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Published Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

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