It’s hard to say as an adult, but as a child I loved time travel stories the best. The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge was one I really loved, and The Ghosts by Antonia Barber. The first children’s book I wrote was a time travel adventure for this reason – Zizzy Zing.
Which book did you love to read as a young child?
As a young child I really loved Gone is Gone by Wanda Gag. It’s a retelling of a Bohemian folk story with beautiful black and white illustrations. I seem to have preferred black and white or minimally coloured illustrations for some reason!
Which three attributes make for a great children’s book?
I like rich, natural child-centred language. I like books that look at life and the world through a child’s eye, rather than at childhood through an adult’s eye. I want a book to make the child reading it feel loved.
What is your number one tip for encouraging children to read?
I think these days it’s probably important to have times where there is nothing to do but read, ie: the only entertainment around is books. If there’s an electronic device around, it’s pretty hard to get children (um, or adults) to pick up a book, but if there’s nothing else I think they can be surprised and delighted by the pleasures of reading.
What do you say, dear? by Sesyle Joslin, illustrated by Maurice Sendak
The Mousewife by Rumer Godden
The Muddleheaded Wombat by Ruth Park
Ursula was born in Sydney and always wanted to be a writer. Now she has written over 30 books and won several national literary awards. Her latest books are the picture book The Carousel illustrated by Walter di Qual, the young adult novel The Golden Day and just out, the non-fiction The Word Spy’s Activity Book.