The beginning of the Christmas festivities already!?

We had a wonderful evening at the Children’s Book Council of Australia, Northern Sub Branch Christmas Dinner last night. It was great to listen to the incredibly talented Peter Carnarvas as he told us about his writing journey. He also played a couple of little songs on his ukulele and drew a quick picture of his George character from Oliver and George, which then went into the silent auction. So much talent. Peter then went on to signing books that people had bought that evening, and I wondered if he might be suffering from an acute bout  of signusitis today after signing so many? (sorry! I blame my dad for my silly sense of humour) I for one brought home six signed books! And he drew a little picture in each one – I love it when author/illustrators do that!

Peter Carnarvas

We also heard from Paul McDonald of The Children’s Bookshop, Beecroft. He talked about the age of visual literacy in which we find ourselves. He commented that Jessica’s Box by Peter Carnarvas is a great example of this. Schools are also pushing for interactive books and he recommended ‘Mix it up,’ by Herve Tullet, who also wrote ‘Press Here,’ both fantastic books for young children. For middle grade readers he recommended ‘Awful Auntie,’ by David Walliams, it’s apparently hilarious. And his suggested read for adult book clubs was ‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves,’ It has a major twist around page 70 and from there the book takes off and you can’t help but want to talk about it. It will be my recommendation to my book club this month!

Wendy Blaxland also launched her beautiful book, The Christmas Rose by Walker Books. She also spoke passionately about Marion Street Theatre for Young People, which has been thrown a lifeline by council, but still needs much public support to ensure it is an ongoing resource for the community. My stepson Jack participates in the weekly class for children with an intellectual disability and he absolutely loves it. We also love the opportunity to see him perform. I still smile when I think back to last years performance at the Concourse Theatre Chatswood, when Jack took about two minutes to walk to the back of the stage to hang a pretend picture, because he needed a real wall for his pretend picture – a beautiful moment J

It was a great night. It was lovely to catch up with so many warm, generous and gifted friends, and great to celebrate everyone’s successes for the year. But I still can’t believe we’re celebrating Christmas at the beginning of November!

Published by Shelly Unwin

Children's Author. Born in the UK in 1977 I grew up and was educated in the small country side town of Ashbourne in the Midlands, my childhood was spent surrounded by animals and children. I was one of three children but my wonderful parents also fostered 11 little children whilst I was young. Riding horses and reading books were my main two loves. Upon leaving high school I studied teaching and biology at university in Birmingham and left with a first class honors degree. My teaching degree re-ignited my passion for beautifully written and illustrated children’s literature. I moved to Australia in 2002 where I forged a career in sales. In 2006 I married my Australian husband in 2006 and we now have two young children. Given my teaching background I had always wanted to write children’s stories that truly engage the reader, and reading to my children has again brought children’s literature to the forefront of my life. Most of my stories are aimed at children between 0-6 yrs, but they will also appeal to the reader through their beautiful rhythm and ability to take your imagination on a wonderful journey.

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