Lyli Meets the Stone-Muncher

Lyli Meets the Stone-Muncher is Swiss-born artist and illustrator, Céline Eimann’s first authored and illustrated book.

Céline says, When I was a child my father used to tell me many little stories. I grew up in Switzerland and there we have a saying that If you dig a hole through the planet and throw a stone in it will arrive in China! My father added that the Stone will actually never get to the other side as there is a  green beast called the Stone-Muncher who lives in the centre of the earth that will eat it first.

Lyli is a child with a big imagination and major curiosity, living in the distant planet of Motika, in a city surrounded by great crystal mountains. One day her mother tells her about a great Green Stone-Muncher who ate a path through the mountains.

Lyli knows she should be afraid, but she decides to set out in search of the Stone-Muncher. She takes her cat Tyki with her and finds the secret tunnel and the monster. But what is over the other side of the mountains?

Lyli’s emotions on her journey are clearly expressed and there is humour shown through the antics of Tyki. The big eyes on the monster make it more friendly than scary so young readers will want to go on the journey with Lyli and the Stone-Muncher.

This is an adventure story that also reads a bit like a fable. Lyli Meets the Stone-Muncher is imaginatively illustrated by Celine Eimann in a unique style involving various mediums including pencil, collage and other media.

The pictures are full of interesting detail for the reader to explore and enjoy.

There are a number of themes in the book to discuss with young readers including friendship, bravery, the environment and finding your own path.

Lyli Meets the Stone-Muncher is for children aged 6-10 and is published by IP Kidz.

It is for parents who wish to give their kids great places to seek out, or encourage them to use their imaginations, looking for ‘monsters’ of their own.

 

 

Céline Eimann – Author and Illustrator

Today we’re talking to author and illustrator, Céline Eimann about her two new books with IP Kidz and her first foray into writing.

How did you become a writer?

I’ve always considered myself as a visual artist, so it almost came as a surpise to become an author. I just had this story in mind and added text to the illustrations. Since I completed this first one many more came to my mind.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

I have a lot of fun creating characters and the world they live in.

What is the hardest thing about being a writer?

I think the hardest part is the rejection of your manuscript as it’s always such a personnal project.

What were you in a past life (if anything) before you became a writer?

I’ve been many things (waitress,receptionist,nanny), but mostly a graphic designer.

What is your greatest writing achievement?

So far ‘Lyli meets the Stone-Muncher’ is my greatest achievement. It first started by winning the first prize at the CYA conference in 2009 to now having it published by IP Kidz. It’s a dream coming true.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on two other picture books. The first one is about a little fairy, the other one about a little girl in trouble. The text part is done, but I’m still working on the illustrations. I’m exploring different visual effects to express the emotions throughout the books.

Do you have any tips for new writers?

I think the best tip in any creative endeavor would always be to believe in yourself and your work. Creating a book might be an overwhelming task but with perseverance, once step at a time you can make it happen.

Do your books have any consistent themes/symbols/locations. If so, what are they?

One strong theme in all my stories is friendship even though they all have very different universes.

How many books have you had published?

‘Lyli meets the Stone-Muncher’ is my first book published as an author.
I also had the honor to illustrate the ‘The Sky Dreamer’ written by Anne Morgan both published by IP Kidz and coming out in February 2011. In Switzerland I’m working as an Illustrator for ‘les Editions Notari” which is publishing two books for adults that I illustrated this year as well.

Anything else of interest you might like to tell our blog readers?

We are working on a bilingual version of ‘Lyli meets the Stone-Muncher’ in French and English. I’m very excited about this part of the project as I learned English by reading books myself. I think they’ll become great learning tools.

LYLI MEETS THE STONE-MONSTER

What inspired you to write this book?

When I was a child my father used to tell me many little stories.

I grew up in Switzerland and there we have a saying that If you dig a hole through the planet and throw a stone in it will arrive in China!

My father added that the Stone will actually never get to the other side as there is a  green beast called the Stone-Muncher who lives in the centre of the earth that will eat it first.

When I moved down under, this became a running joke between us. Anytime we’d message each other we would add a post scriptum saying I hope the message gets to you before the Stone-Muncher eats it. At first I wrote and illustrated the story just for him.

What’s it about?

It’s a story about friendship, adventure and extending your horizons.

What age groups is it for?

6 to 10 years old

Why will kids like it?

I think they’d like that Lyli is so adventurous and a little stubborn.

Can you tell me about the main character and what you like/dislike about him/her?

I like that she’s curious of the world she lives in and ready to go further than anyone before her.

Are there any teacher’s notes, associated activities with the book?

Not at the moment.

Is there something that sets this book apart from others?

The characters evolve in a universe that is very unique visually. I also like to think that the story is quit lively and inspiring.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Creating the characters, their personality and relationships was the best part. This was the first time I wrote a story. I loved the whole process of adding words to the images in my head even though it was challenging at times.

What was the hardest thing about writing this book?

As this is my first experience as a writer, the whole process was challenging and completely out of my comfort zone. On top of the lack of experience, another difficulty was the fact that English isn’t my first language. I felt a little bit uneasy with getting the right words sometimes. The process of writing is simpler now, I must be learning with practice.

Tomorrow at Kids’ Book Capers, we’re reviewing Lyli Meets the Stone-Muncher.

 

Anne Morgan’s Brave Picture Book

Anne Morgan is visiting Kids’ Book Capers today to talk about being an author and the difficult journey she took writing her picture book, The Sky Dreamer, published this year by IP Kidz. Anne is the author of seven children’s books and a book of poetry.

As a teenager I used to read bedtime stories to my young brothers. This suited me well, for I was a studying drama teaching at the time, and reading children’s stories aloud provided the perfect opportunity for me to practise my character voices in front of an appreciative audience. Later, when I had children of my own, I spent countless more hours reading aloud to them. One thing led to another and I was soon writing children’s stories for my children and sending them off to publishers. In 1999, seven years after my first tentative submission to a publisher, I had my first book, The Glow Worm Cave, published by Aboriginal Studies Press.

Anne has worked as a pharmacy assistant; speech and drama tutor; kitchen hand; library assistant; English, Social Science, Mathematics teacher; university tutor in educational philosophy; (all in Tasmania); English as a Second Language teacher (NT and China); professional actor (Queensland and Tasmania); waitress and youth hostel receptionist (Ireland); grape picker (France); community development volunteer (England and Belgium); shop manager (NT, for a week ); public administration officer;  journalist; education officer; staff trainer (all in Tasmania) and academic researcher (Tasmania and WA).

She says her greatest achievement has been winning a university medal in 2009 for her PhD in Writing. At the moment she is working on a musical theatre adaptation of her junior novel, Warts ‘n’ All.

ANNE’S TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS

Publishing books is a substantial financial investment. When you ask a publisher to publish your work, you are asking other people to put up thousands of dollars of their money on what is ultimately a gamble in risky financial environment – so try to imagine yourself behind the publisher’s desk before complaining about them not accepting your brilliant manuscripts.

Because publishers have to be ultra-cautious about the manuscripts they accept in order to avoid bankruptcy, it is much harder for an unknown writer to gain a publishing contract than it is for a bestselling author. A new writer, therefore, should aim to produce a manuscript that will, figuratively speaking, leap out of the slush pile and turn summersaults under publishers’ noses, crying,  ‘publish me! I’m going to be the goose that lays golden egg for you! ’

I advise my writing students not to invest too much hope in any one manuscript. Keep writing new manuscripts and polishing old ones until you win that elusive contract. Call it a chook raffle if you like, but having many different manuscripts out there definitely increases your chances of publication.

Do your books have any consistent themes/symbols/locations. If so, what are they?

Boats and the sea are a frequent source of inspiration to me. I can’t explain why – perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my surname, Morgan, means seafarer, and Welsh-Irish ancestors reputedly sailed a vessel named the Morgan Rattler.

You can find out more about Anne and her books at  www.annemorgan.com.au.

THE SKY DREAMER

Anne’s poignant new picture book, The Sky Dreamer is based on personal heartbreak and today Anne is sharing this very special journey.

What inspired you to write this book?

The Sky Dreamer is the book I wish I never had to write, for the story was born out of my own journey of grief after my beautiful 18 year old daughter, Miranda, died in a car accident four years ago. During the harrowing times that followed her loss, I sought comfort in poetry, and discovered ‘Beannacht’ (Blessing) by Irish poet, John O’Donohue. O’Donoghue’s verse, and another poem by Seamus Heaney about a group of meditating monks who see a ship appearing in the air above them (Lightenings: VIII), provided the creative sparks for The Sky Dreamer.

As I was writing The Sky Dreamer, I remembered, too, the dreadful impact the death of our family puppy had on me at the age of seven, and I decided that this would be a story for all children who have suffered grief, regardless of whether they have lost a pet, a friend, a sibling, parent, grandparent, or an acquaintance.

What’s it about?

After Liam’s sister Cassie dies, he spends hours watching the wintry sky, hoping that Cassie is out there somewhere. Just before his birthday, Cassie sails a The Sky Dreamer through the night sky and invites him to climb on board and take the wheel.  Liam sails through thunderstorms and a meteorite shower, and begs Cassie to help him sail the boat – but she is too busy sewing. Liam eventually learns that Cassie will not come to his aid and he must conquer his fears and sail solo. Once he has learned to hold the wheel firmly, his world begins to brighten. When he finds himself at home in his bed again, he feels Cassie’s birthday present around him, and sees the world through different eyes.

What age groups is it for?

4-104.

Why will kids like it?

The Sky Dreamer is a heartbreakingly beautiful and ultimately comforting fantasy about a grieving child who learns how to take control of his life. The book is brilliantly illustrated by the gifted young Swiss illustrator, Céline Eimann.

Can you tell me about the main character and what you like/dislike about him/her?

Liam’s grief is so much like mine. I was paralysed with grief after the death of my daughter, Miranda. About a year after she died, I realised I had to choose whether or not I was going to become permanently disabled by misery. In the end I decided that the only way I could cope with her loss was to make a conscious effort to see, hear and experience my daughter in every beautiful moment this life has to offer me.

Are there any teacher’s notes, associated activities with the book?

Check my website www.annemorgan.com.au for teacher’s notes from March 2011.

Is there something that sets this book apart from others?

There are mythical, philosophical and poetic elements to The Sky Dreamer, for this is a story about a child grappling with the ultimate mysteries of life, death, time and space, and how to live one’s life after the loss of a loved one.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Dealing with my own grief, while trying to provide comfort to children who are also grieving.

What was the hardest thing about writing this book?

Dealing with my own grief, while trying to provide comfort to children who are also grieving.

Thanks Anne for so bravely sharing your experiences with us.

THE SKY DREAMER – REVIEW

The Sky Dreamer is a touching picture book for readers aged 8 to 12 and I can see this story being a wonderful tool in helping them cope with grief in their life, particularly the sudden loss of a loved one.

When Liam’s sister, Cassie dies, he has to find some way to cope with his grief, and sailing the Sky Dreamer helps him find comfort and take back control of his life.

Colour is an important feature of this book with Liam’s grief shown in the greyness of earlier illustrations that contrast with the bright colours of the rainbow and the world of The Sky Dreamer.

It tackles a difficult subject with sensitivity and imagination. Jack has to weather all sorts of elements while sailing The Sky Dreamer, in much the same way as kids have to navigate the difficulties of life and death. There’s also an astronomical element to the book that will appeal to young readers.

It encourages kids to explore their feelings and find ways to cope.

The Sky Dreamer is published by IP Kidz and the illustrations that effectively complement the text are the work of Céline Eimann.

Readers can meet  Céline tomorrow at Kids’ Book Capers and on Wednesday we’ll be reviewing Lyli Meest the Stone-Muncher which she wrote and illustrated. Hope you can join us then.