1. Which genre of children’s books do you like most and why? Can you name a book or two in this genre that you particularly love?
Recently I’ve written quite a few picture book texts and have become very interested in this form. The interplay between text and image, the impactof rhythm, the importance of succinctness – there might not be many words but there’s a lot going on!
2. Which books did you love to read as a young child?
Any I could get my hands on! I grew up in a house that didn’t have many books so was always desperate to find something to read.
But looking back one of the books that had a profound affect on me was The Catcher in the Rye. In fact I think I saw the fictional Holden Caulfield as almost a friend. I think that shows you just how powerful literature can be.
3. Which three attributes make for a great children’s book?
I actually don’t read much of it at all. Instead of reading books to my kids (3 yo and 5 yo girls) at night, I make them up stories instead. Some of these stories have actually gone on – or are in the process of going on – to become picture books.
No matter what the genre, I like books that are funny and that pack a punch, by that I mean books that have something insightful to say about the world. As far as picture books go, I’ve always loved the work of Bob Graham – A Bus Called Heaven, How to Heal a Broken Wing, Spirit of Hope.
4. What is your number one tip for encouraging children to read?
I’ve always thought that if kids see adults reading all the time then they are more likely to read themselves.
5. Name three books you wish you’d written.
Phillip Gwynne has written books for kids, young readers, teenagers and adults as well as the screenplay for the feature film Australian Rules, which was based on his highly awarded first novel Deadly Unna? Currently based in Bali, Phillip is writing The Debt, a six-part high-octane thriller series for young adult readers which will be released by Allen and Unwin in 2013. He has also found the time – and the inspiration! – to write eight picture books, the first of which – The Queen With The Wobbly Bottom – has this year been published by Little Hare.