Author and illustrator: Anna Walker

On Friday of Book Week, our Prep – Year 2 students are eagerly looking forward to a visit by the very talented picture book author and illustrator, Anna Walker. We have been reading, enjoying and discussing some of Anna’s picture books as well as watching the book trailers she has made about her books. Anna taught herself how to make stop motion animation and she explains how she made Mr Huff HERE. We are beginning to recognise Anna’s style of illustration and we are very impressed with how patient and particular she is when creating her illustrations. We have also been doing some art work for Anna’s visit and we can’t wait to meet Anna in our library next Friday!

If you have one of Anna’s books you are welcome to bring it along on Friday for Anna to sign for you!

These are book trailers Anna has made for her books Peggy, Mr Huff and Florette.

We also enjoyed seeing Anna’s cosy studio where she creates her picture books!

3MC’s Google Hangout with author Tania Ingram

Towards the end of Term One, I introduced the Year 3 classes to the new Jinny & Cooper series by Tania Ingram and the books were a big hit! 

I wanted to build on the interest for this series, but it’s tricky to do in depth work on a novel when you only see classes for 45 minutes once a week. So I asked Miss Mc who teaches 3MC if she would like to read the Jinny & Cooper books to 3MC and then work with me in the library on a Friday. Miss Mc did a fabulous job reading and discussing the books with 3MC.

At our first session in the library we talked about what we liked about the books and which was our favourite book and character, with both The Revenge of the Stone Witch and Cooper the guinea pig being the clear winners. Then 3MC had fun making Cooper pop-ups from Tania’s website and I tweeted our Cooper pop-ups to Tania.

Our second session in the library had students thinking, sharing and recording their responses to the books. 3MC discussed how the first book, My Teacher’s Secret  was important because it introduced each of the characters. In the second book, The Revenge of the Stone Witch, Tania developed the story using exciting cliffhangers and created a mystery that wasn’t solved until the very end. 

The third session was a busy one with 3MC exploring Tania’s website to learn a bit more about her. Then 3MC were VERY excited to hear they were going to talk to Tania via Skype! In small groups they brainstormed questions to ask Tania under the headings Life, Writing and Books. Those questions were then shared and finalised to create a set of questions to ask Tania.

Last Friday was the BIG day and 3MC arrived in the LRC full of excitement (and some nerves) to find the chairs set up in front of the IWB ready to Skype Tania. Miss Y had tested Skype earlier in the week to make sure it worked BUT there were gremlins around! Miss V came and helped to get the microphone working, but when we tried to skype Tania the call FAILED each time. Tania suggested we try a Google Hangout…and it worked!!!

Thanks to technology we were able to sit in our library in Melbourne and hang out with Tania at her house in Adelaide to talk to her about her books and writing….what a fabulous Friday morning in our library!!


These are some photos from our Google Hangout with Tania…

Click on the 4 arrows to make the slide show full screen

Some of the things we discovered about Tania…

Tania’s daughter is a great source of ideas for her stories
Tania writes at home in her lounge room or at her kitchen table
Tania types her stories
Tania really enjoys creating and writing stories.
Tania thinks chapter books are easier to write than picture books (that made people think!)
Tania likes chocolate
Tania is a bit quirky like Cooper

Cooper is based on Tania’s dog that would eat EVERYTHING 
Tania likes chickens (We think her next book should be a chicken story!)
There will be another talking animal in one of Tania’s next Jinny & Cooper books (We’re not telling!!)

We can’t wait for the next two Jinny & Cooper books…


A life-sized book cover for Stuff Happens – Dale

When I received an email from our author friend Adrian Beck with the subject “Crazy idea”, I was a bit worried about what I might find inside when I opened it! I shouldn’t have worried though, because Adrian had a fun and creative idea he was hoping some of our students could help him with for his new book Stuff Happens – Dale. How could I say no to making a life-sized book cover?

A big thank you to the boys who did a fabulous job working as a creative team with Adrian and helped to bring his crazy idea to life. Thank you for asking us to help you Adrian and for making reading fun! You can read all about making the life-sized book cover on Adrian’s Blog….


Friday morning tweets with authors

On Friday morning, Twitter serendipitously connected us with three of our favourite Australian authors…

Before school during BRB time, two students brought me two books to ask if Jacqueline Arena was Felice Arena’s sister? “What a great question!’ I replied. “Why don’t we send a tweet to Felice Arena and ask him?” I took a photo and added our question to a tweet. By the time they had unpacked their bags in their classroom, two very impressed girls had their answer from Felice!

Two more students excitedly showed me they were both reading the first book in the Clementine Rose series by Jacqueline Harvey. The girls were excited to have their photo taken to tweet to Jacqueline. Jacqueline’s reply showed she was thrilled to see she has two new readers who have discovered her popular Clementine Rose books and the girls were even more thrilled to hear back from the author of their book!

The final author tweet was a rather mysterious one that Adrian Beck sent me with a photo of our school and some copies of his latest book written for the Stuff Happens series in the foreground. All will be revealed about Adrian’s surprise in the next blog post…

These are three small examples of the power of Twitter as an authentic way of connecting readers, authors (and teacher librarians).

A BIG thank you to Felice, Jacqueline and Adrian for using Twitter to connect with their readers in such a positive way!

An Author Afternoon Tea

As a teacher librarian, Twitter is an invaluable way to keep up to date with all things ‘books’, but for me the real value and joy is being able to connect with authors and in turn connect our students too. Connecting through Twitter with the four fabulous authors in this blog post has enriched both our reading and library program in ways I had never imagined…

I was excited to read on Twitter that The Little Bookroom in Carlton was hosting an Author Afternoon Tea on March 3rd and quickly sent my RSVP so I would have an opportunity to catch up with Jacqueline Harvey, Adrian Beck, Felice Arena and Tristan Bancks together in the one place.

It was a treat to be at The Little Bookroom to hear these fabulous authors talk about their books, answer questions and chat about bookish things…

When four authors get together you can’t miss the opportunity to take…

an Author Selfie…

Did you know…

Here is some of the latest news about each of the authors from the Author Afternoon Tea and a reminder of the ways we have been lucky to connect with them.

Jacqueline Harvey has two new books out for her popular Alice Miranda and Clementine Rose series. Click on the book covers to read some of each story…

Jacqueline has recorded the first five Alice Miranda books as audio books for Audible. Now Jacqueline can read to you! (Check with your parents if you want to subscribe)

Who would have thought Jacqueline would have written so many books including two successful book series since she visited our library on her book tour for her first Alice Miranda book in March 2012!

We know Adrian Beck is co-author of the Kick it to Nick series with Shane Crawford, but Adrian is also about to launch a new book in May for the Stuff Happens series and his character Dale also shares his red coloured hair! We can’t wait for this book!

Adrian is now the executive producer of Kids WB and it’s great to see lots of children’s authors talking about their books on the show. (Stay tuned because Jacqueline and Tristan will be on the show in the next few weeks).

We had lots of fun with Adrian last year when he came up with the brilliant idea of the Yeo-low Medal reading competition for our school and wore his ‘best’ suit to present the Yeo-Low Medal to our winners. We’re going to read for the Yeo-Low Medal again this year Adrian!

Felice Arena and his Sporty Kids series have been a big hit at our school. The Year Ones had fun tweeting about the books with Felice last year as we read them and Felice recently made a surprise visit to see these students this year. We are looking forward to his Handball and Basketball books coming out very soon! Felice told us he has recently finished writing an historical fiction novel for older readers that will be coming out in February 2017. 

Last year our school was incredibly lucky to have authors Felice Arena, Adrian Beck and Michael Wagner perform their Kicking Goals for Readers  AFL footy show for us. It was such a fun way to celebrate books and footy!

Tristan Bancks is the author of the very funny My Life series that lots of our students enjoy reading. His newest book My Life and Other Exploding Chickens is out now and I laughed out loud reading about the Ninja Librarians (I might have sorted out my Book Week costume early this year)!

Tristan loves having his readers contribute to his stories and if you want to add an idea for his next story about nits (yes nits!!) for his next book you can do so HERE.

I was lucky to meet Tristan and see his presentation at the 2015 Children’s Book Festival . Last year At their Sleepover, the Year Fours squirmed a lot while listening to ‘Scab’ from Tristan’s book My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up that I read for their Bedtime Story in the LRC.