Which genre of children’s books do you like most and why?
I love all the genres! No, I guess that’s not answering the questions. I love picture books because they are the starting point for new readers. They are designed for sharing and they give the opportunity for so much discovery in and beyond language. I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle because it is ageless, and combines fiction and non fiction in such a beautiful way. Another favourite are the Hairy MacClary books by Lynley Dodd. I love the language and the illustrations. Perhaps that’s why I don’t mind that Hairy MacClary is one of my nicknames … hmm … not sure I should own that in public!
Which books did you love to read as a young child?
Oh, that’s always a hard question. I read so many. Outstanding favourites though? A large and very heavy collection of fairy tales that I returned and returned to. I loved Heidi. I also loved adventure books. I remember a series where a boy and a girl were the main characters in a series of adventures: in jungles and a range of other settings. I wish I could remember the name of them.
Which three attributes make for a great children’s book?
Twists and turns, page-turning action.
A current YA contender is The Hunger Games series. Not for really young readers, but a fast paced action story with plenty of issues for discussion. I think it would be a great series to discuss in an English class. So many themes, wrapped in a commercial fiction package.
What is your number one tip for encouraging children to read?
Let them choose what they want to read.
Name three books you wish you’d written.
Nup, that’s too hard. There are plenty of books both recent and less so that I’ve loved for different reasons, but I don’t wish I’d written them. I’m just glad someone did. Recent loves? Crow Country by Kate Constable, Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, Sally Murphy’s verse novels Pearl Verses the World and Toppling. Anything by Glenda Millard.
Claire Saxby has been writing for children for about 15 years. She has been inspired by her own children, memories of childhood and by the children around her. She became an author because she loves playing with words. She will happily talk about books and writing with anyone who asks. Claire lives in Melbourne and loves it, despite what people say about the weather. Her latest books are The Carrum Sailing Club (Windy Hollow Books), and There Was an Old Sailor (Walker Books).