Do your children read books by Australian authors?
I am a member of writing group, The Ten Penners, a sub group of Gold Coast Writers, meeting regularly to create short stories for children and young adults. The group has evolved, with faces coming and going to produce two self published books since its inception – Shock, Horror, Gasp! and Fan-tas-tic-al Tales. The latter is a collaborative work of short stories, poems and a novella, for children eight to twelve, six of which mine. These stories include the adventures of PETAL the dragon, Zelda the Witch, Horrible Hilda, Snot Cream Pie and Grandma J who is an ordinary elderly woman no one notices, that’s why she’s a spy.
Some of our group are talented artists and writers, one short term member Angela Sunde, has gone on to publish an
Aussie Chomps book called, ‘Pond Magic’ http://www.angelasunde.com
While Kate Russell has self published her own delightful book for older readers as a mystery romance.http://katerussell-writer.weebly.com/
We have met, attended workshops, and immersed ourselves in writing events such as Somerset Literary Festival and the Gold Coast Writers Festival, to be inspired by the many marvelously talented offerings by some of our local Australian Authors.
I am often disappointed to see our children being introduced to the literary world through books such as R L Stein and his Goosebumps series, and J K Rowling magical Harry Potter series, (brilliant those these are) while parents and teachers seem oblivious to the offerings from Australian authors.
On that note, let’s briefly look at some Australian authors and their books to delve into the diverse range to appeal to the Young Adult readers.
Kate Forsythe: ‘The Starthorne Tree’, Kate has created an intricate magical world Estelliana where Pedrin and his friend Durrik, a cripple, become saviors of their world. ‘The Wildkin’s Curse’, sixteen years after ‘The Starthorn Tree’ the children of the friendships forged then, now journey, to fulfill their own destiny. Both books set in a world where children face hardship, loss and become strengthened by firm friendships and magical powers. Kate is a constant source of delight for her readers producing many other wonderful works including ‘Bitter Greens’. http://www.kateforsyth.com.au
Karen Brooks: Cassandra Kline series, ‘It’s Time, Cassandra Klein’, ‘The Gaze of the Gorgon’, ‘The Book of Night’, and ‘The Kurs of Atlantis’. Cassandra Kline leaves our own world to go to the land of Morphea, a whimsical and magical other place, where nightmares become real and have an impact on the real world. Karen is a sought out speaker, has been a radio announcer, University Lecturer, Teacher and recently television quiz show guest panelist. http://www.karenrbrooks.com
Fiona McIntosh: Wrote ‘The Whisperer’ because the other parents at the school her son attended kept asking her when she was going to write a YA’s book, this was the result. Griff lives in a circus doing manual work, the greedy Circus Master discovers he can hear peoples thoughts, and decides to make Griff his new grand attraction. For Griff this is unbearable and he plans an escape with Tess and her amazing magical creatures. To date she has written twenty-six novels, including seven novels for children. http://www.fionamcintosh.com/
Kim Wilkins: Gina Champion series teenage sleuth with an ability to help her solve crimes,
‘Bloodlace’, ‘Moonstorm’, ‘Witchsong’, ‘Fireheart’, and ‘Nightshade’. Gina Champion is a free spirit, a year eleven student, and a psychic. Kim also writes children’s fantasy in ‘The Sunken Kingdom’ series, gothic horror books for adults and under the name of Kimberley Freeman, writes commercial women’s fiction novels. Kim has an Honours degree, a Masters degree and a PhD from The University of Queensland where she is also a lecturer. http://fantasticthoughts.wordpress.com
Simon Higgins: said to me once ‘I like to creep my readers out a bit’. He began with Jade Draper in ‘(D)octor (I)d’ and ‘Cybercage’ in his teenage sleuth series. He carried on with another strong female teen lead character in ‘Thunderfish’ and ‘Under No Flag’. After more thrilling books such as ‘The Stalking Zone’ and ‘Beyond the Shaking Time’ he went on to create his own niche with his young adults books starting with ‘Tomodachi: The Edge of the World.’ http://simonhiggins.net
Michael Gerard Bauer: comically portrays the dilemmas of puberty in his ‘Ishmael’ series, simply about how cruel the world can be to a teenage boy discovering who he really is. Michael has a triple major in English Literature, became a teacher and now speaks hilariously about writing to any group lucky enough to be on the receiving end of his talks. http://michaelgerardbauer.wordpress.com/
For books with an element of learning about our history go to these books:
Gabrielle Wang: ‘Poppy’ series, a half caste aboriginal and Chinese girl fending for herself in the bush after running away from the Mission she’s been living in. The series titles are ‘Meet Poppy’, ‘Poppy at Summerhill’, ‘Poppy and the Thief’, and ‘Poppy Comes Home’. The target market is clearly defined, with Gabrielle’s books part of ‘Australian Girl Series’ by publishers Puffin Books. These are sold in places of historic interest like Sovereign Hill, Ballarat and targeted at schools. http://gabriellewang.com/
Goldie Alexander: presents ‘The Youngest Cameleer’ again delving into Australia’s past in a way the young reader can identify with. Ahmed Ackbar, a thirteen-year-old Afghan, speaks Pashto and a very little English. In late 1872 he arrives in Adelaide with three cameleers (Uncle Kamran, Alannah and Jemma Khan) to help look after four camels. Goldie has teacher’s notes to go with her novel on her website, clearly aimed at the education market. She is a prolific writer and has numerous other books for younger children, older children and plays. http://www.goldiealexander.com/
Nick Earls and illustrator Terry Whidborne: ‘Word Hunters, the Curious Dictionary’, ‘Word Hunters, the Lost Hunters’, and ‘Word Hunters, War of the Word Hunters’. They address the question, how does a writer entice a young adult to read? Their answer is to pique curiosity in the reader by asking questions like: What was the world like pre the internet and mobile phones? How do words shape our language? Where do words originate? What happens if the words disappear? At Somerset Literary Festival March 2013, I saw Nick engaging his young audience, getting the children to figure out the meanings of words and their origins. They happily raced around the illustrations to pinpoint the possible where the words began. http://www.wordhunters.com.au/
There are many more authors I could mention, but in fear of making this a novel, I’ll leave you with the creators above to glimpse the world of our local talent. All these writers work very hard to present quality, engaging stories to the world market. Getting the books produced in the hands of the target market is the greatest challenge. Speaking and promoting is an integral part of marketing that these writers practice. I am happy to promote Australian authors at every opportunity and entice younger minds to choose the books they read from this large range of engaging tales.
Home grown Australian writers are taking on the world!