CHARLIE AND THE RED HOT CHILLI PEPPER

Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper is a hilarious chapter book from Australian children’s author, Sheryl Gwyther.

It’s the story of a very determined girl, Charlie who  loves growing and eating chillies and this year she has a very good chance of winning the Flaming Hot Chilli Competition.

Nobody else in Charlie’s family even likes chillies so this book is a great illustration to young readers that it’s okay to branch out and follow your own dreams.

Charlie is determined to take first prize in the competition but there’s a lot going against her. First she inadvertently almost poisons Dad’s boss with the Chilli. Then she somebody steals her chillies.

All that was left was a tiny chilli bud about the size of my fingernail.

When playing Mozart to her plant doesn’t work, Charlie is just about out of ideas to make her chilli grow.

Her sister, Suzie has a suggestion, but will it be enough to get Charlie’s chilli over the line? Because she now has only one chilli left, Charlie can’t even give it the all important taste test.

Everything seems to be going against her but Charlie refuses to give up.

I loved the humour in this book and Charlie is a great character and role model.  Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper has important themes for young readers including following your dreams and never giving up.

It’s also a great story about family and that it’s okay to be different.

Richard Hoit is a New Zealand based illustrator and his wonderful illustrations capture the humour and themes of the book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Australian children’s author, Sheryl Gwyther spends a lot of time researching for her books and clearly, Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper is no exception.

For her dinosaur adventure, Secrets of Eromanga, Sheryl even went on a real fossil dig. Sheryl says she enjoys both the research and the writing process.

I’d been crazy about reading books and writing bits and pieces since I was little, but other things got in the way – school, jobs, travel, university, art school. Then one day I knew what I should be doing with my life … writing books for young people.

Sheryl is the author of a number of books and short stories for children. You can find out more about her at http://sherylgwyther.wordpress.com

DIGGING UP DINOSAURS with Sheryl Gwyther

As part of our Dinosaur Week, we’re talking today to author Sheryl Gwyther about how she became a writer, and how she went to an actual dinosaur dig to research her book, Secrets of Eromanga.

Let’s start with your author’s journey, Sheryl.

I’d been crazy about reading books and writing bits and pieces since I was little, but other things got in the way – school, jobs, travel, university, art school. Then one day I knew what I should be doing with my life … writing books for young people.

You’re obviously dedicated to getting the research part right. Where was the dinosaur dig you went on?

It was on a sheep station near Winton, in western Queensland.

Sheryl on the fossil dig

Not only did I have fun digging up pieces of a huge sauropod dinosaur named Elliot, I uncovered the story lurking in my head. That story, with its two inter-weaving narratives, went on to become my first novel, Secrets of Eromanga, an adventure story for 9-12 year olds.

What’s Secrets of Eromanga about?

Twelve-year-old Ellie knows more about Australian dinosaur fossils than how to get friends. But she discovers more than friendship on an outback fossil dig site when she becomes entangled in a web of illegal fossil smuggling. She must find the courage and determination needed to save her friends.

fossilised dinosaur footprints

95 million years separate Ellie and a small ornithopod dinosaur that once lived beside the ancient inland waters of the Eromanga Sea. Both Ellie and the dinosaur face fears and uncertainty of their separate worlds. Time and fate binds them together. Neither can escape that fate.

Can you tell us something you learned about Australian dinosaurs when you were researching this book?

Everyone knows about T-Rex, Brontosaurus and Velociraptor.

Millions of years ago in the Cretaceous period, we had the Aussie versions of Rex, Bronto and Raptor here in Australia.  But they were species unique to this land. They appear in my book.

Teachers’ Notes are available:

View an extract from Secrets of Eromanga at:

What did you enjoy most about writing Secrets of Eromanga?

I enjoy writing stories that are set in modern times but also linking back in the past somehow – like in Secrets of Eromanga. It’s exciting finding out things that weave the past and the present together.

What have you been working on since you finished digging up dinosaurs?

Even though I’m still thrilled at the thought of finding more dinosaur bones, I haven’t written any more about those magnificent creatures.

This year I have more books and a short story coming out. The short story, Corn dolly Dead is in black dog books, Short and Scary anthology.

My chapter book, Princess Clown is out in early May, with Blake Publishing. It’s a funny chapter book about a very determined princess who would much rather make people laugh.

The second book is out in August with Pearson Australia. I had lots of fun writing Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper. Check out this link for more on these stories:

Sheryl also has a new blog just for kids at

http://sherylgwyther4kids.wordpress.com

Thanks for dropping in for a chat later, Sheryl. Perhaps you might like to come back one day to talk more about how you did your research for Secrets of Eromanga.

Dee