The Beast of Hushing Wood by Gabrielle Wang

On Sunday afternoon I was lucky to go the book launch of The Beast of Hushing Wood by Gabrielle Wang at Readings bookshop in Hawthorn. A book launch is like a ‘Book Birthday’ when a book is officially celebrated and released into the world for people to read. This is Gabrielle’s seventeenth book!

To celebrate, Gabrielle had cupcakes with toppers that were mini works of art using the stunning illustrations from her book. They were too beautiful to eat…almost!
(Click to enlarge the photos)



Family, friends and fellow authors were invited to the book launch and it was wonderful to see three generations together with Gabrielle’s mum and daughter by her side.


Fellow author Cath Crowley interviewed Gabrielle about her book and then we were treated to Gabrielle reading some of her story which left us wanting more! I lined up to have our book signed and Gabrielle wrote an important message for her readers…


‘Why fit in when you can stand out’

I follow Gabrielle on Twitter and Instagram and have enjoyed watching her create The Beast of Hushing Wood as she shared her ideas, illustrations and progress. Gabrielle actually contacted schools via Twitter in February 2016 to ask students which name she should give her main character which you can read about HEREGabrielle shared photos of Morocco and the Berkshire Woods in Massachusetts, USA on Twitter and after reading her book I can see how her visit to Morocco in North Africa influenced the magic realism in her story and spending time in the woods was very important in helping her create the setting of Hushing Wood and the town of Dell Hollow.

I couldn’t wait to read The Beast of Hushing Wood and sat under my tree in the sunshine lost for the afternoon in Hushing Wood with the brave and adventurous Ziggy Truegood. I think it might be my favourite book of Gabrielle’s so far! 

Ziggy Truegood lives in a tiny town deep in Hushing Wood, where strange things are happening. The townspeople are fighting, Ziggy feels like something is hunting her, and her beloved woods have become dark and hostile. When exotic Raffi and his grandfather arrive in town, Ziggy finds herself strangely drawn to them. But are they there to save Ziggy, or are they the hunters? 

The Beast of Hushing Wood is a story filled with mystery, adventure and magic beautifully woven together with Gabrielle’s exquisite way with words and her delicately detailed illustrations…

Ziggy or Archer?

Imagine both my surprise and excitement when I received this tweet from author Gabrielle Wang who I have been lucky to meet and also follow on Twitter. 

Gabrielle also added that the character is a girl who is different from everyone else in town…

It was our first week of classes in the LRC and the Year 4-6 classes were certainly intrigued when I explained Gabrielle’s request. Voting for the character’s name generated a thoughtful discussion about why students chose Ziggy or Archer. Many voted for Ziggy or Archer name because it was an unusual or unique name to them and so it suited a person who was different. Some people chose Archer because it would suit a tomboy or others thought it was a good name if the character might have been going on a quest. There were lots of questions and wondering about the character which encouraged the students to think like a writer.

It was also an opportunity to discuss the concept and value of ‘crowd sourcing’ because Gabrielle was using social media to ask her readers for their opinions and ideas.

These are the results of how our Year 4-6 classes voted for Ziggy or Archer. It was interesting to see how results varied within year levels…

Gabrielle had also asked some other schools and one school had 70% voting in favour of Ziggy. 

This week quite a few of our students asked if Gabrielle had decided on her character’s name yet so I asked her on Twitter and this was Gabrielle’s response.

The book Gabrielle is writing with Ziggy as one of the main characters is called ‘Hushing Wood’ and it will be published in February 2017. You can read more about Gabrielle’s writing and illustrating on her inspiring blog.

Thank you for the opportunity to be involved in your book in a small way Gabrielle. Good luck as you continue editing, and illustrating ‘Hushing Wood’. We’ll look forward to it being published so we can read about Ziggy in a year’s time…

Book Launch of The Wishbird by Gabrielle Wang

Today I had a lovely afternoon with other kindred book people at The Little Bookroom for the launch of Gabrielle Wang’s latest book called The Wishbird .  

Can you imagine a world without music?

“Oriole’s beloved Wishbird is dying and she must leave the Forest of Birds to save him. But in the City of Soulless there are traitors everywhere, and when Oriole is captured, only a street orphan can help her.

Can Oriole and Boy save Soulless and its bewitched king, or will the city’s darkness prove too great even for magic?”

This is the first time Gabrielle has published a novel with her own illustration on the front cover.  The Wishbird contains many beautiful and intricate illustrations that Gabrielle has drawn using a sewer’s magnifying glass.  Click HERE to listen to Gabrielle read some of The Wishbird and discover where the idea for her story came from…

 Enjoy these photos from the book launch…

 Now I need to read this wonderful story for myself!