Month: July 2019

Reading is my Secret Power

August is here and in a few weeks children will gather together for Book Week  parades and the celebration of Children’s Book Week. This year’s theme is Reading is my Secret Power. It’s a hectic time for librarians, teachers, book stores and authors as they prepare to boost their sales, deliver wonderful displays to promote literacy and read. READ!

Do you have a secret power? Can you time travel? Perhaps you are invisible ( when it suits) or like Wolverine, you boast of night vision. I wonder if like Spiderman, you have mind control. Maybe this is the year for you breathing underwater or in space. Would you like to be Captain America? or Peter Pan who can fly? Or a lie detector like Pinocchio? A communication Master like Mowgli or a mermaid that can live on water and land.

Secret powers are just that – secret. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone. But from 17-23 August, everyone wants to know what books win in the categories from Picture Books, Younger grades to Older Readers. Announcements will be 16 August. Have you picked your winners?

Secret powers involve Harriet the Spy, Matilda, Zac Power and Captain Underpants.

Once I dressed as Wonder Woman. Now a days I am Super grandma! with my ability to read 10 stories in one sitting. Use voices. Play roles and perform in front of live audiences.

Some fun things to do during Book week for your family.

Lay a secret trap and watch dad tumble.

Make a bad guy cubbie and read the villain scene from a book.

Try a new karate skill or learn to box.

Time travel with Shaun Tan – Visit another world.

Use puppets to hypnotise your audience. Chant a spell.

Make a super hero costume from magazines and newspapers.

Design a secret power poster – use fluro colours!

Have you read a Ninja book?

Read The Feather by Margaret Wild.

Explore the pages of His Name is Walter by Emily Rodda – mystery, adventure and a thrilling story for children ages 7+ It’s a haunting story about 5 people who will remember an old house for a long time. ” He cried out as the lid of the window seat was flung back. A jeering, wrinkled face looked down on him. Amber eyes glared through a tangle of brindled grey hair. A gold locket hanging from a thin black ribbon gleamed on a scrawny neck.” (p57)

Whether you are a child or animal, find a book that suits you and start reading! Celebrate the love of story, words and pictures in Book week. Can you switch bodies like the Matrix? or act like a Super dad who masters the Universe?

Challenge yourself! Don’t under estimate your secret powers! Try reading 5 new books in different genres that you would never normally read. Go on.You can do it!


Here are some other titles to read – Cicada by Shaun Tan, Tricky’s Bad Day by Alison Lester, Leave Taking by Lorraine Marwood, Dingo ( Tannya Harricks – new illustrator award), The Act of Taxidermy – Sharon Kernot ( Older Readers) The Happiness Box : A Wartime Book of Hope by Mark Greenwood, ( Eve Pownall Award)  Girl on a Wire by Elise Hurst ( Picture Book), Rainbow Bear by Stephen Michael- King ( Early Childhood) Do check out the Shortlist for 2019 and enjoy CBCA Book Week coming up.

Snapshot at Voices on the Coast


Author Karen Foxlee meets a student who wins  a book prize – she asks the audience the question – What’s the best thing about life? His answer – Waking up each day and learning a whole lot about life and myself. Her shortlisted book Lenny’s Book of Everything tells a marvellous story about feeling different and a set of encyclopaedias. Karen started with the idea of what if?

Stories are everywhere, They tickle your mind and heart when you least expect them. At Voices on the Coast, Sippy Downs University, hundreds of eager children and adults meet for unexpected surprises. Workshops, talks, catch up time, reading – what more could you ask for on a perfect winter’s day. Books to buy, authors to meet and tips from the experts.



Illustrator Frane Lessac from Fremantle explored picture books about history. Simpson and his Donkey and Midnight, a fabulous horse story. Frane took us inside the double page spreads and drafts of editing that her husband Mark Greenwood writes. As a team, they travel, research, explore and work on many drafts before the book comes to life.

Frane showed the children how she dips into a feather to make the quills of an echidna come to life. Her Australian animals series are favourites. Gouache paints are used in her studio to bring to life soldiers during war or animal heroes like Midnight.

Other excellent titles are seen on the book tables. Challenging fiction that engages the readers, pushes boundaries and allows the imagination to grow.


When things get too hyped up with the crowds, there’s always times to sit alone and read.




At break time, there’s a rush to the QBD stand to purchase a book.



IMG_4815Whether you meet author Oliver Phommavanh ( How to write funny stuff) or bump into Peter Carnavas ( Quiet Stories in a Noisy World), perhaps you might listen to Emily Larkin, Kellie Byrnes , Allison Paterson, or Thalia Kalkipsakis ( Get it Right from the Start). Voices is a literary festival that is a winner. Today’s snapshot is for the first day – Thursday. It’s an annual event presented by Immanuel Lutheran College on the Sunshine Hinterland Coast – 24 years running and still going strong.

If you get a chance read Megan Daley’s book called Raising Readers. Use it daily as a meditation, a resource at home, in the schools and to buy as a gift. It has years of passionate research, understanding and knowledge.

This year I used the Voices app. to provide a simple download about the sessions and map. Most of the sessions are 45 minutes long and workshops an hour with smaller groups.

Watch out tomorrow. Here I come!


Magic Early Reader Series

Oh! to be a child of 4-8 years again, when life is simple and reading is fun. New readers want to read. Many labels are attached to this enthusiastic group of children, like beginner readers, emerging, easy and younger readers. There are countless titles in the book stores and Big W, where I happened to be shopping last week for mundane household items, like a toilet brush and new pillow cases.

Series books are everywhere, Kids want them like lollies. Except books and stories do not contain sugar. They are healthier and better for them in every sense. Dull stories won’t fulfil the very vital fundamentals of an emergent reader. They want action, simple words, repetition and funny characters.

The Billie B Brown series by Sally Rippin has been very successful. Box sets sell at $13.95 approx. up to $50. The Birthday Mix up and other titles capture the interests of young girls and boys. Billie’s party is going to be the best ever. She has lots of fun things planned. Now she just has to wait for her friends to show up. With titles like The Midnight Feast, Stolen Stash and The Soccer Star, author Sally Rippin knows what kids like.


Must have series include Clementine, the cheeky sparky heroine of author Jacqueline Harvey. Horse Crazy by Alison Lester, The Cleo Stories by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood, Old Tom by Leigh Hobbs, I Spy Fly Guy where words are repeated, there’s hide and seek and lots of laughs. Kensy and Max too shine through.

The Ella and Olivia series have won many hearts too. A whole rainbow collection with quirky characters, fast plots and witty dialogue to engage readers. I am presently reading Hula Hoopla where Ella and Olivia’s school is having a hula-hooping challenge! But Olivia can’t do the hole hoop. How will she join in? Scholastic have branded these books in bright greens and purples covers with large text, simple illustrations and enlarged key words to attract and teach the children vocabulary.


Hey Jack series by Sally Rippin look sensational in their gift box sets. Look at the above titles. Once a child starts to read these, they are hooked. Roald Dahl sets are popular too, perhaps for the mid primary age group. Always a winner for their amazing story lines and contrast in characters, the plots thicken and each book can also stand alone.


While I encourage parents to buy a boxed set for Christmas or  birthday, children also need to read above their age level and find deeper meaning in stand alone books. I encourage reading practice, discussion and after reflection. Most children simply want entertainment at this age but parents who know their children’s interest can enhance their understanding by keeping abreast of what’s out there.


Early readers are books that sharpen skills, develop fluency and progress the child’s journey into a rewarding and stimulating experience of reading.

Picture book author and illustrator Zanni Louise has written Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush has about 6 titles. Adorable Felix, Poh and Tiggy have their first sleepover. But when Tiggy realises that she has forgotten her special toy, she starts to feel nervous. Can Siggy’s magic paintbrush help her to get to sleep? The cover of this book is vivid with metallic letters for the title. Every page is filled with sketches, large lettering and bite sized story line.


Finally, Lemonade Jones has 2 stories in this delightful book, by Davina Bell and Karen Blair. As a hard cover, it shows a fiesta girl with a lot of fizz. Allen and Unwin have published this clever book with gorgeous illustrations in bright colours. I think it’s an imaginative book with contemporary, every day ideas.

Whether it’s read aloud Dr Seuss books or Nate the Great, about a boy detective George Brown, Class Clown, even some Lego Star Wars series, be sure to connect your children to engaging, fun filled stories that sparkle.