OUR AUSTRALIAN GIRL – ROSE

MEET ROSE’S CREATOR, SHERRYL CLARK

Sherryl Clark was born in New Zealand and learnt a lot about European history at school but nothing about Australia. She had no idea how the government worked, or that the states were independent until Federation. Now she lives in Australia and in writing the story of Our Australian Girl Rose knows more about Federation than most Aussies!

Sherryl is visiting Kids’ Book Capers today to share the journey that she and Rose have taken together.

What did you enjoy most/find hardest about the research process?

Initially, I thought that Federation would be really hard to write a fictional story around, until I discovered this was also the time when the suffragettes were really active in their battle for the vote for women.

The more I researched about this, the more my story started to come alive. Then I came up with the idea that Rose would play cricket, and be really good at it, but of course at that time it would be frowned upon.

The best part of Federation research was discovering that this was very likely the time when the big Melbourne-Sydney rivalry started! The hardest was, as always, verifying facts – dates, who said what and when. I liked finding out things such as the bubonic plague in Sydney.

What did it feel like to walk in Rose’s shoes?

I searched on the internet until I found an old photo that looked like how I imagined Rose, my character. That, along with the suffragette information and the cricket/bowling talent helped to bring Rose to life for me.

I like to work from images, so I found a photo of a house I thought might have been her family home, and old photos of Bourke Street where her father’s Emporium might have been. All of the photos I found helped in one way or another – I could then imagine Rose in the middle of all of that, and what she would have been most interested in.

What is the most inspiring thing you discovered about Rose?

Although I loved turning Rose into the “real” Shane Warne with her spin bowling talents, what I think really brings her to life is her growing realisation of how life is for the poor in her city. Her family is wealthy, but simply from observing and listening, Rose comes to see that her life is privileged and that she is lucky – it makes her compassionate and someone who wants to help in real terms.

How do you think you would have survived living in Rose’s  era?

I think I would have hated living in that era! The clothing was ugly, the corsets were damaging to women’s bodies and the food wasn’t very nice either.

I would have been a troublemaker like Aunt Alice, throwing off the corset and staging sitdown protests. Women were treated like pieces of furniture, and I get mad enough about inequality now, let alone back then.

What significant historical events are covered in your books?

Federation, of course – the lead-up, the proclamation and the first sitting of Parliament, and also the death of Queen Victoria. Melbourne at that time had very few houses with electricity or telephones, there were few cars (although some enterprising Australians were building their own), and we still had hansom cabs, cable and horse-drawn trams and trains.

One of my favourite things to write about was Coles Arcade – there was a lot more I could have included but space restrictions meant it had to be taken out.

A REVIEW OF ROSE’S STORIES

Rose is the only one of the Our Australian Girls who comes from a privileged background where there is plenty of money and food but Rose has hardships of her own.

Rose is a feisty adventurous girl struggling to be ‘herself’ in a world of corsets, oversized hats and hairpins that made your head ache. She wants the freedom that boys have – to climb trees and ride bikes.

She wants to be like her beloved Aunt Alice who refuses to wear a corset and is campaigning for women’s right to vote.

In book one, MEET ROSE, readers meet Rose at her large house in Melbourne where she would rather play cricket and have adventures than be a ‘lady’ – where she is constantly in trouble for going out without her hat and parasol.

When Aunt Alice comes to stay, Rose’s life changes for the better, but unfortunately her mother and her aunt don’t see eye to eye. Rose has a loving older sister, Martha and a brother Edward whom she idolises, but seems to have problems of his own.

In book two, ROSE ON WHEELS, things get even worse. Mother seems intent on hiring a dreadful new governess, Miss Higgingbottom. Rose doesn’t want a governess, she wants to go to school like her brother, Edward.

Then it looks as if Aunt Alice is going to move to Adelaide to accept a teaching position and Rose will have nobody who truly understands her.

Rose borrows a bike and rides to Melbourne to her father’s work. Her intention is to get him to persuade his sister Aunt Alice to stay.

But things don’t go according to plan and what happens to her while she is riding Aunt Alice’s bike is going to incur the wrath of both parents and her aunt. Will she be able to persuade Aunt Alice to stay? Will she get her wish and be sent to school and avoid the awful Miss Higgingbottom?

Rose lived in an era when it was a lot harder to get around than today. There were few cars and most forms of transport were pulled by horses. Bicycles like the one Rose rides became very popular.

Rose’s story is full of historical detail, and young readers will be fascinated with Rose’s world and the things that young girls weren’t allowed to do back in the early 1900s. I loved her feisty character and think readers will do. Rose is not afraid to flout convention and stand up for what she believes in.

OUR AUSTRALIAN GIRL COMPETITION HAPPENING NOW!

LAST CHANCE TO WIN!

 

OUR AUSTRALIAN GIRL SERIES – FROM THE BEGINNING

Today is the start of a fabulous Our Australian Girl week at Kids’ Book Capers. We have some great interviews and reviews planned and there are opportunities to win a copy of one of the fabulous Our Australian Girl books from Penguin Australia.

The series took two years and two months to develop and Publisher, Jane Godwin has taken time out from her busy schedule to talk to us about these hugely popular new books and why their 8-11 year old readers are loving them.

Jane, where did the inspiration/idea for the Our Australian Girl series come from?

I had been thinking that a lot of series material available for 8 – 11 year old girls is similar in content and style – tween-orientated, with the story itself often being secondary to the overall package (website, merchandise, sparkles and glitter).This is all fine and good and there is a perfectly legitimate market and desire for this material, but I suppose I kept thinking is this all we can offer our girls?

At the same time, I observed in the young girls around me a sort of lessening in their expectations of what a book could provide.  I’m generalising here, but it appeared that many of them didn’t really expect to have a memorable, rich or meaningful experience with a book. Or perhaps with a contemporary book.  Many have resorted to books from previous eras if they want to read a ‘real’ story.

Meanwhile, parents everywhere appear to be increasingly concerned re young girls having to ‘grow up too fast’ – from department stores selling ‘sexy’ clothing for pre-pubescent girls, to celebrity, fashion and make-up magazines aimed at eight year olds, right through to the fear of the effect on a whole generation of having been exposed too young and too soon to the now ubiquitous nature of pornography.

Therefore I perceived a gap in the market and a need for a different type of book for today’s 8 – 11 year old girls. I also felt a personal responsibility to offer young female readers a rewarding and engaging reading experience. I wanted to make something that would appeal to all types of readers – to cut across social groups and classes, and across reading levels.

There is a series in America (called American Girl) which we were aware of, so some of the inspiration came from learning about that series, although Our Australian Girl has emerged organically as a very different type of series to American Girl.

Your own personal passion for “reading and kids and stories shines through in this series”. Was it hard to find a team that shared these goals?

Well, I was tremendously fortunate and grateful to work with the team that we gathered for OAG.  The four authors (Sofie Laguna, Alison Lloyd, Gabrielle Wang and Sherryl Clark) were fantastic to work with and were also very committed to making their stories the best they could be.  The talented illustrator, Lucia Masciullo, helped to bring the stories and the eras to life with her delicate and beautiful watercolours throughout the books. Davina Bell (series editor), Katie Evans (editor of the Poppy books) Rita Hart (series consultant) and Evi Oetomo (series designer) and I all shared the same creative vision for the series.

It was a small team for so many books and everyone worked incredibly hard to manage every aspect of the series.  Sometimes I think the stars align with groups of people working creatively and I think they aligned for us!

Why do you think the Our Australian Girl series is proving to be so popular?

From the feedback we have had it does seem to have struck a chord with readers themselves, but also with their parents and teachers and other adults in their lives.  I think the kids are loving them because of the quality of the stories and the strength of the characters.  They really are great stories!

Girls are also responding positively to the look of the series, which is very rewarding because so much thought went into the design.  We wanted the books to look pretty but not saccharine pretty, and not like anything else out there in the market place.  Parents are welcoming the fact that these books encourage girls to feel that they can be valued for qualities other than their clothes or their mobile phone – qualities such as strength, resourcefulness, independence, kindness. And teachers can see that the kids are learning about aspects of our history almost without realising it as they read these stories.

How does the Our Australian Girl series complement the school curriculum. Are teacher’s notes available? If so, can you provide a link.

Our Australian Girl taps into so many aspects of the curriculum and can be used widely in Literature Circles, wider reading, history, English, literacy, SOSE, geography, and even in subjects like philosophy as it can be used as a springboard for self reflection and enquiry into one’s own personal history.

And then as the national curriculum kicks in, educators are having a chance to review history teaching in our schools. All this obviously taps into questions of belonging, of identity, of national self esteem, of what it means to be Australian.

We are a culture characterised by diversity and we want our children to grow up celebrating this rather than experiencing cultural and social discord. It feels as if it’s time to provide a fresh angle in interpreting our past for a new generation, and I believe Our Australian Girl is part of this.  And yes, teachers’ notes are available at

Why do you think contemporary readers can relate to Letty, Poppy, Rose and Grace even though the girls lived in a different era?

In many ways the lives of the Our Australian Girls are very different to lives of Australian girls today, but we really wanted young readers to be able to identify with the characters and almost end up seeing them as friends (and remember them in the way that we as adults remember favourite characters from books of our childhood).  The tagline of the series is ‘a girl like me in a time gone by’ and to achieve this we made sure that there were aspects of each character that young readers today could relate to.  Grace loves horses, Letty has a friend who manipulates her, Poppy meets a dog whom she adores, and Rose feels that sometimes the world is unfair and people are not treated equally.

Young readers today are relating to all these aspects of the stories.  And in a broader sense, all the characters are searching for a place where they fit in, they are exploring notions of independence and finding their way in the world, and really those aspects of life haven’t really changed.

I was at the launch of the Our Australian Girl series and it was clear that it had absorbed the lives of everyone involved. Why do you think this series is so important to the creators?

Well, as I mentioned before I do feel a responsibility not only as a publisher but as a mother and as a female and maybe even as a human being (!) to provide young readers with a rich and memorable experience.

I wanted to give them credit rather than patronise them.  I am very concerned about the broader challenges for young girls growing up today, and here was an opportunity to maybe make a small difference to the way girls see themselves and the way they make choices.  And I am working with people who share these concerns and are passionate about making a difference.  We each believe in the goals and ideas behind the project so fervently that I suppose we probably appear a bit evangelical!  But I do feel this in some ways is the most important thing I have contributed (so far!) in my career as a provider of books for children.

Is there an Our Australian Boy series planned?

Yes!  We have had so many people ask us this question and we are in the early stages of developing something for boys.  I won’t say any more about it here except that it will be quite different from Our Australian Girl but still feature great stories and vivid, memorable characters.  And it will link in with Our Australian Girl so that teachers will be able to use the series alongside each other in the classroom.

What are you enjoying most about working on the series?

At the moment I am enjoying seeing the third lot of books (out in July) land on my desk from the printer.  As each lot arrives, we put them all together and just gaze at them lovingly because the design of the books makes them look so appealing all sitting together, either face out or spine out.  We are also just finishing the editing on the last lot of books (book 4, out in October) and we are starting on two new ones for next year,so we’re reading those manuscripts and working on the new covers.

I think at the moment I’m allowing myself just a few minutes (maybe seconds) to feel a sense of satisfaction in what we have achieved – but it’s bittersweet because we are saying goodbye to Grace, Letty, Poppy and Rose (and to the intense and rewarding relationship we have shared with their four authors over the last two years).  It’s also really enjoyable to read the book 4 manuscripts and see how our little girls have grown and changed through their adventures across the four books.

About the Illustrator

Lucia Masciullo, the talent behind the pictures in the Our Australian Girl Books

Each of the Our Australian Girl Books has beautiful illustrations by Lucia Masciullo.

Lucia was born in Italy, but moved to Australia looking for new opportunities. She thinks all Australians keep in their blood a bit of their pioneer heritage, regardless of their own birthplace.

Lucia is visiting us today to talk about her journey and her work.

I work full time as a children’s book illustrator. And I love it.

I was born and bred in Livorno, Italy and I moved to Australia in 2007 with my partner.

In Australia I have seen my first books published. I was lucky enough to meet and collaborate with fantastic people in the children’s book industry. Among them Hardie Grant Egmont (HGE) publishing director Hilary Rogers and Penguin (Australia) publisher Jane Godwin. I am sincerely grateful to them for betting on me and my artistic vision.

I really liked to work on the illustrations for the Our Australian Girl series.

The most challenging thing for me has been to find images that I could use as references.

All the four stories are well set in a specific epoch of Australian history and I needed exactly the objects in use in those years.

And some of the objects are very rare to find nowadays: I spent weeks studying peculiar things like what kind of tools were in use during the gold rush for example or what kind of saddle people used in the first Australian settlement or the look of a car in 1900 (I didn’t even know they had cars in 1900).

I think has been also a nice way for me to approach Australian history: I have to confess Italian schools don’t teach very much about the topic and I have been eager to learn more about the country I’m going to be living in. But I was fortunate enough to have the authors and Davina to my side who helped me and gave me feedback.

This was the first time I worked with black and white illustrations: I am quite confident using colours  but this time I had to focus more on the different tones of gray and strokes instead of using colors as a means of expression. I really enjoyed the process and I am happy with the results.

For the 64 final illustrations I used watercolor and I added details with a black pencil. I painted the images slightly bigger than the size they are printed on the book. This allows the final images to have  plenty of details while not completely losing my eyesight.

So interesting to hear how you work, Lucia. Sometimes people don’t realise how much time and research is involved in illustrating a book.

Over the next four days, the authors who created the Our Australian Girl characters will be dropping into Kids’ Book Capers to share their journeys and talk about their books.

In the meantime, don’t forget to enter the competition happening this week at Kids’ Book Capers. There are four great Our Australian Girl books to be won.

Enter the OUR AUSTRALIAN GIRL COMPETITION here…



 

 

 

 

BLOGGER OUT AND ABOUT

There was plenty happening on the kid’s book scene in Melbourne this weekend.

Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators

On Saturday, I went to a Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) seminar in Melbourne where popular kids and YA authors, Pauline Luke, Edel Wignell and George Ivanoff (Boomerang Books blogger at http://content.boomerangbooks.com.au/literary-clutter-blog/) talked about how they spread the word about their latest books.

Our Australian Girl Launch

On Sunday I was at the wonderful Readings bookshop in Hawthorn. It was overflowing with kids and adults there for the launch of Penguin’s Our Australian Girl series.

Creator, Jane Godwin is the Children’s Publisher at Penguin Australia and she spoke about how much hard work has gone into putting the books together and how much they mean to her.

Our Australian Girl is a new 16 part series of novels for readers aged 8-11. It features four inspiring young Australian girls with different cultural heritage and traditional backgrounds, each of whom live in a particular decade of Australia’s early colonial history.


The series is written by four talented Australian authors and beautifully illustrated by Lucia Masciullo.

At the launch, each of the authors had something special to say about their books.

Sherryl Clark – author of Rose’s story

Author, Sherryl Clark

Rose for me has become very real and it has been a pleasure to write her story.

Gabrielle Wang – author of Poppy’s story

What makes history interesting is people’s individual stories like the ones in the Our Australian Girl series.

Sophie Laguna

I got to go to some interesting places. It was a fantastic thing to be able to go back in time.

Alison Lloyd

It was great to write a book for girls where I could work dresses into the story.

The Our Australian Girl series fits with the new National Curriculum and will encourage a new generation to discover our history and cultural diversity.

Other Australian authors out and about at the Our Australia Girl launch

L-R Meredith Costain, Claire Saxby and Bren MacDibble

Author Signings at the Our Australian Girl launch

NOW I AM BIGGER – FRIDAY BOOK FEATURE

Sherryl Clark is the versatile author of over 40 books across a range of age groups and genres. She’s had three new releases this year and today we talk to her about her new picture book, Now I Am Bigger.

Sherryl’s inspiration for Now I Am Bigger started with one poem about birth, inspired by a photo of a baby’s eyes, which then became more poems about being a baby (but with a totally different voice) and then she started to think about where she could go with a series of poems.

Now I Am Bigger is a book for aged three to seven. It’s about a small child’s life, from birth to about age three. The last poem is about moving from his cot into his first big bed. The other poems are about learning to walk, talk, eat by himself, the dog, dressing himself, etc. All those little stepping stones that are really huge in a child’s early life.

It may also strike a chord with older children who love to remember what it was like to be little, and those with younger siblings.

About the main character

Initially, Sherryl says she  thought the child could be a boy or a girl

I had no gender in mind) but it’s ended up that Nina has illustrated this with a boy – although for probably 2/3 of the book, it could be either still! I love how she has showed him in all the various growing stages, and some favourites are the ones with the teddy bear, and where he tries to dress himself.

Now I Am Bigger breaks new ground in that it is a verse novel in a picture book!  Sherryl hopes that parents will enjoy reading the poems aloud because they work so much on imagery and repetition. She intends to put some poems on her poetry website http://www.poetry4kids.net and some writing prompts to help parents and educators soon.

The writing process

According to Sherryl, seeing the poems gradually come together into a story has been one of the best parts of writing this book.

And feeling like, despite never having attempted this before, I had found a small child’s perspective in there – not so much a voice as a view of the world. I often tell my picture book students to get down to floor level and see the world from a child’s view, and I felt that’s what I did here.

The hardest thing about writing this book was deciding what the ending would be. I could have gone on writing poems for ever! But I knew there had to be a point where things came to an end, and moving into the big bed turned out to be the perfect finishing point. Maybe there’ll be another book, but I doubt it because I feel as though I covered some pretty big moments!

You can find out more about Sherryl Clark and her works at: http://www.sherrylclark.com/ — her blog is at http://www.sherrylclark.blogspot.com/

Or you can check out her new site at http://www.poetry4kids.net – it’s all about poetry for kids!

ONE PERFECT PIROUETTE

Today, Sherryl Clark is back to tell us about one of her very new releases, One Perfect Pirouette.

Attending the National Ballet School is every aspiring dancer’s dream. It’s been Brynna’s for as long as she can remember.

When her parents move her family to Melbourne so Brynna can attend a top ballet school, it looks like her dream is about to become a reality. But why does she feel so awful about the move? Her brother Tam is angrier than she has ever seen him and her mother is working hard to keep the family afloat.

Will every step towards success come at a price? For Brynna to realise her heart’s desire, something has to give. But will it be her family?

One Perfect Pirouette is a novel for 10-14 yo’s about Brynna, a girl torn between her passion for ballet and the people she loves best.

Sherryl Clark says that the inspiration for One Perfect Pirouette came from three days she spent in Canberra doing school visits for the CBCA there.

The person who “chauffeured” me around was a teacher-librarian at a school next to the Australian Institute of Sport. She told me about the students at her school who were at the AIS, and how their families had moved to Canberra to give them the chance to maybe become Olympic gymnasts. It got me thinking about families who sacrifice everything in order to give one child their chance – and the effect on that family. This led to a story about a family who move to Melbourne so the youngest girl can have her best chance at auditioning for the Australian Ballet School (except in the book it’s the National Ballet School).

Where the conflict comes from

Brynna  has a lot of talent and determination, but she also feels the pressure from her family (one brother doesn’t cope with the city at all) and they don’t have much money. She has to start at a new school, and finds some kids in the city are not as nice as her mates back home. And of course the pressure at the elite ballet school she is going to, where quite a few of the girls are intent on auditioning as well, and see her as a “wannabe” and try to get rid of her.

One Perfect Pirouette is not just about ballet – it’s about having a dream and the hard work it takes to achieve it, the struggle to rise above jealousy and rivalry, and also about family secrets. Brynna’s mum also has a secret that she’s been hiding!

The Main Character

Brynna has dreams, but she’s not infallible.

Sherryl says,

I read a lot about child proteges, and their families, too. One girl in particular seemed so absolutely confident that she was going to be famous that she felt unreal! I don’t think it’s that simple – especially when what you want affects your family, too. For a child of that age, to pursue a dream of the Olympics or the Australian Ballet would take a lot of courage, but underneath there would surely be moments of doubt. That’s what I was interested in – not perfection!

UQP is creating teachers’ notes, and Sherryl will be adding the material to her website http://www.sherrylclark.com/ , especially sources for research.  She says, there are some fantastic websites with video and examples.

The writing journey of One Perfect Pirouette

Sherryl advised that the things she liked most about writing this book were

My research at the Australian Ballet School, for a start! Leigh Rowles (Director of students) was a fantastic support, and she also allowed me to watch classes. I also enjoyed creating the family story – I had to rewrite Mum’s part of the story and completely change it (a request from the publisher) and I think I’ve come up with something better.

She says that the hardest part was the restructuring.

Initially it was going to be two books, and then UQP just wanted the two books condensed into one. It felt like I had to cram everything into one book (I didn’t really, I just chose the most important elements), which was a challenge. And now there’s been one review already in AB&P that suggested a sequel!

On Friday, Sherryl Clark will be back to talk about her other June release, Now I am Bigger.

MEET SHERRYL CLARK – VERSE NOVELIST, POET & CREATOR OF “THE LITTLEST PIRATE”

Sherryl Clark is an award-winning author of 41 children’s books, and 3 adult books (two of which are poetry collections).

She’s also a writing teacher at Victoria University TAFE where she taught me a lot of what I know about writing. I was lucky enough to have Sherryl launch my YA novel, Letters to Leonardo last year.

This week, Sherryl is at Kids’ Book Capers to talk about her three most recent books (two of which were released just last week).

Sherryl has been writing for many years and started in a  community writing class that morphed into a writing group.

At first I soaked up everything the class had to offer, then I went on and studied a BA at Deakin Uni by flexible delivery. In those days there was no other way to study and write at the same time.

I also became involved in community arts and met a lot of great writers who helped me and spurred me on to things like residencies and schools, and also gave me the courage to start submitting my work.

Sherryl admits to being a first draft lover!

I love the excitement of dreaming up characters and stories, and pounding away at the keyboard. I also love it when I get a new idea, and I’m not sure where it might go, but the exploration is a lot of fun.

At the moment, Sherryl is working on Draft 9 of “Pirate X”; an historical series for Penguin which will be part of their Our Australian Girl project; two different verse novels; and poems for her www.poetry4kids.netwebsite.

The hardest part of the writing process

Sherryl says that for her, the hardest part of writing is the revisions.

I’m better at this now – I’ve learned how to tackle a revision in a way that makes it new and interesting, and how to look at structure and then scene by scene. But the hardest thing of all is making myself sit down and start when I’m not entirely sure what comes next. I like plenty of thinking time in first draft stage, which helps the writing flow better.

I asked Sherryl about her greatest writing achievement.

At this point, I think it’s managing eight drafts of my historical pirate novel and not giving up on it! It started at 120,000 words and is currently 80,000 and is about to undergo another major rewrite. I still love it, and I still want to make it work.

I also won the NSW Premier’s Award forFarm Kid, which was pretty amazing.

She admits there are some consistent themes in her writing.

I realised a few years ago that with my books for older readers, one of the recurring themes was abandonment, and identity. With my books for middle years (Grade 5 to about Year 8 or 9) I write a lot about powerlessness – how kids are either ignored, abused, or treated like infants by adults. Kids are really smart. I like writing stories where they find their own solutions and their own way through the world. With picture books, it’s more about being the hero, being “centre stage” – little kids have a world that is all their own, and it’s all about them! Which is a good thing.

Sherryl’s tips for new writers

Apart from all the stuff about reading, writing and rewriting, educate yourself about the marketplace. Who is publishing what, what the current trends are (and understand you need to be ahead of the pack), and most importantly, how to be professional.

Motormouth

Sherryl’s most recent verse novel, Motormouth came out in in March this year.

She wanted to write a story about a boy who lied – big lies, not little ones! And delve into why someone would create such a huge fiction about their life. She also wanted to write about cars and boys, and the two things came together.

  • Chris has lost his best mate in a car accident, and he’s going through that stage where people expect him to “get over it”, but he can’t. His refuge is his love of cars. Then he sees this kid steal a model car right in front of him, and he can’t believe it – even worse, the kid turns up at his school. Josh is a real show-off, and talks all the time about his dad who is a racing car driver in Europe. Despite his initial doubts, Chris gradually gets drawn into becoming friends with Josh.

Motormouth, for years 4-7 is also a story about family, about where a boy fits with his dad, and his dad’s expectations and hopes for him.

Verse novels look easy to read, but there’s always more below the surface, so they can be accessible to younger readers and give older readers plenty to think about.

As a verse novel, Motormouth taps into deeper emotional issues, but I think kids of that age are very aware of their friendshops, of being included or left out, of being pressured into stuff they’re not sure about. But there are elements of humour as well – I like to add those touches for contrast.

What Sherryl enjoyed most about writing this book

Sherryl says she really enjoyed discovering who Chris was. I knew Josh right from the beginning – I think I went to school with one or two kids like this for whom the “mask” is everything. Their image (even in Grade 6) is paramount, and their need for friends overrides everything else. But Chris has gone inside himself, through grief, and he doesn’t even really understand what that means. He just knows he’s hurting, so it was up to me to draw him out and find out who he was and how he could begin to heal.

The hardest part about writing this book was the climax, where Chris confronts Josh. He has to decide what’s most important – his pride, or forgiveness. I rewrote those poems many times.

More about Sherryl

Sherryl will be back at Kids’ Book Capers on Wednesday and Friday to talk about her newest books, Now I am Bigger and One Perfect Pirouette.

Sherryl’s website is at http://www.sherrylclark.com/ — her blog is at http://www.sherrylclark.blogspot.com/
Check out her new site at http://www.poetry4kids.net – it’s all about poetry for kids!

She also has a new Littlest Pirate web page at http://www.sherrylclark.com/LittlestPirate/littlestpirate.html