THE CALL OF THE HERMIT CRAB – Part One in a profile of Children’s author, Lee Fox

Australian children’s author, Lee Fox was raised in a home where there were no books, but she has always loved reading and writing. She says that in 2000, after many years of asking herself what she was going to be when she grew up, she finally decided to have a go at writing.

Over the next two posts she’s going to be sharing with us how she became a published author, and how she creates her books for children.

You were often the sole parent of five children, was it a difficult decision choosing to become a writer?

After I decided that writing was my purpose in life, I summoned the courage to go for it. I set about learning my craft and trying to gain a profile as a writer.

Did you do any formal studies?

I did a correspondence course and a number of short writing courses, and I enrolled in Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT.

I read stacks of books on writing, but most importantly, I wrote.

Congratulations on your book Ten Little Hermit Crabs being awarded a 2010 CBCA Notable Award. Can you tell us where the inspiration for this story came from?

A family holiday in Fiji a few years back. My daughter and I used to play with the hundreds of hermit crabs scuttling on the beach at sunset. When I relived the memories at home, a refrain started going through my head – Hush says the seashore, shh says the sea. I knew there was a new story about to emerge. I love that kind of inspiration.

What’s Ten Little Hermit Crabs about?

It’s a simple story for children aged 1-6 about ten quirky hermit crabs and their exciting day on the beach.

It’s a counting backwards story so on each spread one crab has an adventure and disappears (but not forever). There’s a happy reunion at the end of the book.

Why will kids like Ten Little Hermit Crabs ?

Kids like rhythm and repetition, and there are some great words like skedaddle, scuttle sprint and frolic for them to enjoy; as well as the lilting refrain that sparked the idea for the book. Then of course there are the great illustrations.

What do you love most about the illustrations?

It’s not that easy to give a hermit crab personality but Shane McG has done a fantastic job. He has captured their adventurous spirit and cuteness.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book.

I enjoyed finding a place for the refrain Hush says the seashore, shh says the sea. It was also a joy to write on a sea theme as it brought back many happy beach memories from my childhood, particularly when Shane started sending his beautiful illustrations through.

Ten Little Hermit Crabs is Lee Fox’s fourth out of six published books.

On Wednesday, Lee is coming back to Kid’s Book Capers to talk about Ginger McFlea Will Not Clean Her Teeth, and why Ginger McFlea is her favourite character, out of all the characters she has created.

Hope you can join us then.

Dee

ANOTHER AWARD WINNER

In a week of awards, I wanted to pay tribute to a major achievement for an Australian published book that has largely gone unnoticed.

The Enemy, a powerful anti-war picture book has been honoured by the United States Board on Books For Young People (USBBY)

Davide Cali and Serge Bloch’s book, The Enemy, was first published in English in Australia by Wilkins Fargo, and subsequently published by Random House in the US in 2009.

It’s a modern day fable about two soldiers who face each other across a barren desert battlefield. Are they the only soldiers left? How can they end the war?  Just who is the enemy?

The book has had great reviews in Australia:

Challenging the traditional notion of what a picture book is and who it is for is this stark, poignant book … [which] boldly explores the futility of war.The Sunday Age

‘Impressive … the award-winning team of Cali and Bloch seems set for further recognition … Highly recommended.’ Magpies

The book was published in association with Amnesty International Australia, part of the global movement defending human rights and dignity. Wilkins Fargo is a small, privately-owned publishing company in Melbourne, established in 1998.

Wilkins Fargo director, Andrew Wilkins said,

“We’re delighted to see a book we found before any other English language publisher doing so well in the US. It demonstrates yet again, that Australian publishing can lead the world.” “It also vindicates our policy of unearthing great books from other languages and bringing them to Australian readers.”

Congratulations to Wilkins Farago, Davide Cali and Serge Bloch for The Enemy being included in the USBBY’s 2010 list of Outstanding International Books.

As well as having exposure to wonderful books created in Australia, I believe that our children’s literary experience can only be enhanced by the opportunity to experience the writings of international authors, and cultures from all over the world.

MEET THE AUTHORS

Here’s where you can catch some of your favourite Australian authors talking about their new books

Chrissie Michaels interviewed by Tania McCartney, talking about In Lonnie’s Shadow:

http://kids-book-review.blogspot.com/2010/03/author-interview-chrissie-michaels.html

Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy on F2M on Life Matters F2M:

http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2010/02/lms_20100217_0935.mp3

Toby Chrysler reviewed at The Book Chook The Slightly Skewed Life of Toby Chrysler:

http://www.thebookchook.com/2010/03/book-review-slightly-skewed-life-of.html

Foz Meadows interviewed about Solace and Grief:

http://kids-book-review.blogspot.com/2010/03/author-interview-foz-meadows.html

Foz Meadows blog: http://shusky20.blogspot.com/2010/03/writing-on-tuesday-four-lessons-by-foz.html

George Ivanoff and Hazel Edwards interviewed at 3CR about Gamer’s Quest: http://podcast.3cr.org.au/pod/3CRCast-2010-03-25-83893.mp3


THIS WEEK ON KIDS’ BOOK CAPERS

Don’t miss our double feature on Australian author Leigh Fox whose book, 10 Little Hermit Crabs is one of this year’s CBCA Notables.

Lee is the author of six books for children and will talk about her books, why she writes, and how she does it.

Hope you can join us.

Dee

There Was an Old Sailor Who came to Kids’ Book Capers

Today, the old sailor from Claire Saxby and Cassandra Allen’s lively new picture book, There Was An Old Sailor is visiting Kid’s Book Capers.

This man will eat just about anything – and he’s here to tell us how and why:

Old Sailor, in this book you swallowed a krill. Eww! What made you do that?

It leapt into my hand. What are the chances? It caught in my fingers. What else could I do? I ate it.

Sounds a bit fishy to me. Did swallowing the krill make you ill?

Not exactly, just left me with an unfinished feeling, that sort of ‘mmm that was tasty, but what else is there’ sort of feeling?

I know what you mean. I’m like that with chocolate.

Where/how did you first meet author Claire Saxby?

On a pier, planning my next voyage. She was planning her next book. There was an immediate connection.

Why did Claire decide to tell your story?

I guess girls are attracted to a man of mystery like me. Off the record, I think she might be clairvoyant. She seemed to always know what would happen next.

Do you really look like your picture in Claire and Cassandra’s book or has Cassandra deliberately made you younger and handsomer to disguise your identity?

Oh, no. I really am that gorgeous. Don’t you love my forearms? Strong as a whale I am. Cassandra captured my eyes exactly.  I look just like this. Don’t you want to hug me?

Umm…moving right along…what does it feel like to swallow a shark?

Rough-skinned critters, but worth it in the end. Cleaned off a few barnacles as it went down.

Gulp! Would you recommend swallowing sharks to others?

Don’t often get the chance to talk to anyone else – except the birds. Had a pet penguin once, but he didn’t talk much. Sorry, I digress. Would I recommend eating a shark? Heck yes!

How does it feel to have a book made about you?

Great! Posing for the pictures for Cassandra Allen wore me out, though. The jelly kept wriggling. The seal wanted a kiss. And the shark? Well, we’ve talked enough about the shark. I look for the book in every port. Briny barnacles, I’m proud of my story.

So you should be. It’s a great story. You’ve really got me hooked. Thanks for visiting us today old sailor. Bon Voyage.

To find out all about the other weird and wonderful things the old sailor swallowed you’ll have to read his book, There Was An Old Sailor

Please note that no creatures were harmed in conducting this interview.

Dee:-)

Welcome to Kids’ Book Capers

I’m so excited to be one of the new bloggers for Boomerang Books. My new blog, Kids’ Book Capers is going to be full of fun things to do with books, and the people who write and illustrate them.

Today is a special day for Australian Children’s Books with the announcement of the CBCA Shortlistings and Notable books for 2010 http://www.cbca.org.au

Congratulations to all the authors, illustrators and publishers whose books have been recognised in this year’s awards.

So many great books by so many wonderful authors and illustrators. And many of these talented people will be visiting Kids’ Book Capers to talk about how they write and draw, and create the characters and stories we love.

Pearl Verses the World by Sally Murphy is just one of this years worthy CBCA winners.

Pearl needs poetry to help her get through the hard things that are happening in her life – the illness of her granny, being accused of stealing someone’s boyfriend, and clashing with her teacher over poetry that doesn’t rhyme.

When you read Pearl Verses the World, you feel as if Pearl sat on author Sally Murphy’s knee and spoke to her – asking for her story to be told.

Sally says,

I had wanted to write a verse novel for some time – it was on my list of vague ‘to-dos’.  I loved the form and thought that one day I would sit down, really study the form in detail, look for books or articles on writing the verse novel and then eventually sit down and have a go at one myself. In reality, this isn’t what happened. Instead, the story came to me in verse from, and so that is how I wrote it. When the verses first started coming, I didn’t realise I was going to sit down and write a verse novel.

Over coming posts, we’ll be talking to other authors and finding out  about books to make you giggle, books to scare your pants off, and books that have just been released.

If you want to find out why some kid’s authors have never grown up, stay tuned to Kid’s Book Capers every Monday and Wednesday, and sometimes on Fridays.

Dee:-)