3 reasons why ‘The Elephant’ by Peter Carnavas is such a beautiful book

There were definitely tears shed when I read this story, but they weren’t just tears of sadness. They were tears of hope, nostalgia and understanding. And don’t even get me started on the wonderful kapow! to the heart the second-last chapter provided (#NoSpoilers). But above all, ‘The Elephant‘ is a great insight into how a young girl deals with issues of depression and grief that have impacted her family.

The Elephant 01

 

Olive’s dad has been feeling sad for so long that she has begun to imagine his sorrow is in the shape of an elephant. The big, foreboding creature lumbers behind her father and shows no sign of moving on.

One day Olive decides she needs to get rid of her dad’s elephant and enlists the help of her Grandad and her best friend, Arthur. But igniting happiness in her dad again and chasing away the elephant may be harder than Olive thought.

 

From the premise it’s clear that Olive has a special connection with her father, but the story that captured my heart just as much was the connection between Olive and her Grandad.

Continue reading “3 reasons why ‘The Elephant’ by Peter Carnavas is such a beautiful book”

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The Writing Alphabet – D

Dun, dun, dunnnnnnn! And now for the Top 10 writing-related words that begin with D.

01. DARLINGS (KILL YOUR)
No, this isn’t a vicious murder plot whispered into Peter Pan’s ear by Tinker Bell. It’s where you agonise about deleting things from your manuscript that you love (but then go on to save everything in a file titled ‘USE THIS SOMEWHERE ELSE MAYBE???’).

02. DEADLINE
No, this isn’t a vicious murder plot where the movie A Chorus Line becomes a horror film. It’s something to sweat over when you tell yourself you love having a time limit to work towards and then panic-write up until the due date.

03. DEDICATION
No, this isn’t a vicious… Okay, that’s enough dedication to that joke. But this can also be a nice note where you dedicate your book to someone special, or you just give your readers some really solid inspiration:

Letter D 01

Continue reading “The Writing Alphabet – D”

3 reasons why you should read Adam Cece’s MG novel ‘The Extremely Weird Thing That Happened in Huggabie Falls’

I mean, that book title alone is a pretty good reason to have a read – unless you’re already neighbours with The Addams Family and you’re like, ‘Nope, got enough weirdness for my lifetime, thanks.’ It also won the Text Prize in 2017, which is pretty cool. But let me set the scene for you…

Huggabie 01

 

School friends Kipp Kindle, Cymphany Chan and Tobias Treachery live in Huggabie Falls, the weirdest town on Earth. There you can find witches, vampire bats, trolls and a house built onto a roller coaster, but all of these weird things pale in comparison to the extremely weird thing that’s happening in town. The kids don’t know what it is yet, but they’re determined to find out.

 

What’s really fun about this book is that the narrator has such a big presence throughout.

Continue reading “3 reasons why you should read Adam Cece’s MG novel ‘The Extremely Weird Thing That Happened in Huggabie Falls’”

My 3 favourite things about Mat Larkin’s MG novel ‘The Orchard Underground’

Do you ever finish reading a book and get the urge to hold it aloft, presenting it to the world Lion King style for everyone to enjoy because you loved it that much? Well that was me with Mat Larkin‘s quirky and engaging middle grade novel The Orchard Underground.

Orchard 01

 

Pri Kohli has lived in Dunn’s Orchard all his life, he’s even ‘the face’ of the town. But when newcomer Attica Stone arrives on the scene and starts asking questions – mainly ‘Why is there a distinct lack of orchards in a place called Dunn’s Orchard?’ – Pri realises his town holds more mysteries than he thought, and thus a reluctant detective was born.

 

Firstly, this book is incredibly funny. I legitimately snorted out loud like an over-excited seal more than once (#glamour).

Continue reading “My 3 favourite things about Mat Larkin’s MG novel ‘The Orchard Underground’”

The Writing Alphabet – C

If you’re to believe a certain blue monster Muppet, “C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me”, but I say, no sir. That is not good enough for me. I need at least ten words associated with writing that begin with ‘C’ otherwise this is just going to be a super short blog post sending subliminal messages about desserts.

Cookie 01
“ME NO CARE ABOUT YOUR BLOG. ME HAVE HIT COOKIE JACKPOT.”

Tough crowd. Anyway, ‘C’ is also for…

01. CAFE
A place where you can purchase delicious cookies… wait, no. It’s a place where you go to do your writing so you’re not distracted by things at home, instead you’re distracted by the thumping in your veins from your 8th cup of coffee while you guard your table located next to the only power outlet.

02. CENTRIFUGAL MOTION
When you’re worried about including random analogies in your writing but then you remember Faith Hill compared smooching to centrifugal motion in her 90s classic ‘This Kiss’ and you realise you’re fine.

Continue reading “The Writing Alphabet – C”

3 reasons why you should read Lili Wilkinson’s YA novel ‘After the Lights Go Out’

Lili 01

After the Lights Go Out by Lili Wilkinson focuses on the life of seventeen-year-old Pru Palmer, who lives with her dad, Rick, and twin sisters, Grace and Blythe, in a rural Australian town called Jubilee. The girls are estranged from their mother and are being homeschooled by their father. Oh, and the family also happen to be doomsday preppers who own a secret bunker that will allow them to survive if the power cuts out and the world turns to chaos… And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what happens.

What drew me in immediately to the story is that you’re filled with a sense of unease that never truly goes away throughout the whole book. Continue reading “3 reasons why you should read Lili Wilkinson’s YA novel ‘After the Lights Go Out’”

CBCA Book Week 2018 – What books did you treasure as a kid?

For ‘Book Week’ this year, running from August 18-24, the Children’s Book Council of Australia came up with the theme of ‘Find Your Treasure’. It made me think of two things:

  1. I hope this means Captain Feathersword from The Wiggles is moonlighting as a CBCA board member.
  2. If I had a treasure chest full of book gold from my childhood, what would it include?

The first books that came to mind were Animalia (1987 CBCA Honour Book for Picture Book of the Year) and The Eleventh Hour (joint winner in 1989 for CBCA Picture Book of the Year) by Graeme Base. The puzzles and hidden illustrations were so amazing, and since there was no internet back in the day (I am 100 years old, hello), it helped that there was an answer booklet included if you couldn’t Sherlock your way through.

 

Kudos to that outer space phase a lot of us went through as kids (glow in the dark stars on the ceiling and an irrational sadness later in life for Pluto losing its planet status, right?) for my next favourite childhood book:

Continue reading “CBCA Book Week 2018 – What books did you treasure as a kid?”