Best Children’s Books I read in 2018: from Dimity Powell

It’s virtually impossible to remember the plethora of inspiring and inspirational children’s books I’ve read this year. But Mia Macrossan​ from StoryLinks Children’s Books Reviewed​ set a challenge I couldn’t ignore. Here are a smattering of some of my favourites this year.

Visit the StoryLinks site for more best reads by various kids’ lit peeps. #kidslit #childrensbooks Jenny Stubbs​ #picturebook #LoveOzYA #middlegradefiction #versenovels #graphicnovels #juniorfiction #hardtochoos

Dimity Powell is a children’s author who recently published At the End of Holyrood Lane.
This is super hard btw but here are my attempts at narrowing things down – not something that I’m naturally good at! (You’ll note, I’ve blatantly ignored the rule of  three concept, apologies)
  1. Non-Fiction: Real Food Kids Will Love by Annabel Karmel – there’s been a flood of Great Women, Great Guy type NF books this year and the Little People series is a fave, insects featured a lot too,  but this one takes the cake, as it were.
  2. YA: Living on Hope Street by Demet Divaroren ties Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee
  3. Middle Grade Fiction: The Endsister by Penni Russon 
  4. Junior Fiction older readers: Natural Born Leader Loser by Oliver Phommavanh
  5. Picture Books early childhood: Want…

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Interview with Dimity Powell author of At the End of Holyrood Lane – Readilearn

Spend a moment or two with children’s author, Dimity Powell as Norah Colvin from Readilearn uncovers more of the story behind the story of At The End of Holyrood Lane, Dimity’s latest picture book.

via Interview with Dimity Powell author of At the End of Holyrood Lane – Readilearn

Small Moments Make Your Story Big

Valuable advice and summation of what it takes to ‘keep it simple’ yet relevant and powerful in the art of storytelling. Something I sometimes struggle with but endeavour to achieve in picture book writing.

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

“A big story is about a small moment.” ~Matthew Dicks

Think about that for a moment (not a small one).

Every book you have ever read is about a small moment—an epiphany when a character realizes an emotional truth with complete clarity.

Let me provide examples:

THE MONSTORE is not just about a store that sells monsters. It’s about a brother and sister who learn to appreciate one another and cooperate.

7 ATE 9 is about number 9 realizing his worth.

LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD is about not judging someone before you get to know them.

Before I read Matthew Dicks’ STORYWORTHY, I used to phrase this “small moment” concept differently. I would explain that a story, especially a picture book, required an emotional core. Now I realize that is an amorphous blob of a statement.

In other words, not very helpful.

Likewise, if I told you my manuscript…

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HITTING THE HIGH NOTES AT THE SCBWI WINTER CONFERENCE, NEW YORK

Better late than never! Here’s a guest post from SCBWI West’s Reporter-at-Large and Regional Advisor, Frané Lessac, illustrator, and Susanne Gervay, SCBWI Australia/NZ RA and author. Thank you, FranéSCBWI_2013_NY_blog headerHave to admit, I was a wee bit anxious leaving an Australian summer for sub zero temperatures of the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York. I need not have worried. The Conference hotel was conveniently located smack bang above Grand Central Station with gazillions of restaurants, shops and public transport right downstairs.

The bonus of attending SCBWI New York is that many of the top US children’s book editors, agents, publishers and art directors get involved. With 999 attendees, 17 countries represented, and 45 US states, it was a constant thrill in the elevators to find out who was from where. When they realized WA wasn’t an abbreviation for the state of Washington, West Australia always got the biggest wow. 🙂 new-york-new-york_Frane-

Meg Rosoff gave the first keynote entitled “So When Are You Going to Write a Real Book, You Know, For Adults?” She was hysterical when she translated that into a list of people she wanted to punch in the face for asking. Most celebrity authors were targets. Jay Leno’s book, IF ROAST BEEF COULD FLY had a roasting for sure.

I must have heard Shaun Tan speak over a dozen times. He never ceases to amaze me. Every time his talk is different – even if he’s talking about the same piece of art. He received a standing ovation, not only from me, but by the other 998 attendees too!

Another keynote was by NY Times bestselling mother and daughter writing team, Julie Andrews and Emma Walton. Although their presentation was heavily scripted, it was a highlight seeing Mary Poppins in person.

Mo Willems gave the closing keynote – inspiration and infotainment at its best.

A major US children’s bookseller had some good news to share. In her opinion: The library and school markets are healthy. Schools have money to buy books, although mostly paperbacks. They’re looking for short stories, fairy tales and folktales relating to the curriculum, and narrative non-fiction. Also the go: action packed novels, bullying, movie tie-ins, war, survival and diversity.

There are funds for author school visits with Skype visits on the increase. Bookstores are coming back and the balance is changing. In the future, stores may be used as showrooms, as people buy an ebook after viewing the print version. The balance will never be equal again, but children still want a book to hug.

Frane in America1
Frané keeping company with pumpkins.

If anyone would like more information about attending the New York or Los Angeles SCBWI Conferences, please feel free to contact Frané Lessac.

Conference blog link: http://scbwiconference.blogspot.com.au/

1001 ways to ignite young imaginations

Countless parents, teaches and children’s authors know the secret to finding 1001 ways to ignite young imaginations – read aloud and tell stories to children.

Today’s guest post is from SCBWI Queensland member, Dimity Powell. Dimity is the author of children’s stories. Her qualifications for this role include Professional Children’s Writing Courses, Motherhood, Director of Marketing in the Leisure, Boating and Hospitality Industries and travelling around the world a couple of times. Dimity’s ‘fond of the real world but especially love imaginary ones.’ For her, to Read, Write and Inspire rank as high as wining and dining. Take it away, Dimity!

Dimity Powell, author
Dimity Powell, author

One thing that I am emphatically unashamed to promote out loud and that I believe is the critical essence of our existence as writers and illustrators for children is the art of storytelling. Stories exist in many forms: physically in dance, visually in colour or via the written word, through music and even as bumps and raised dots. But perhaps, for me, one of the most joyous ways to be part of a story is to hear it being read – out loud – by another human being. And I know quite a few people under the age of 10 who agree with me.

Read to My Child is an exciting new web site for kids and their carers and parents created by Jasmine Berry. Jasmine developed this site after identifying the unfathomable capacity under-five year olds have for hearing the same story being read to them again and again. Being time-poor is a modern day dilemma for many working parents and electronic babysitting is not the most nurturing or inspired of solutions. This site combines the convenience of self-help with the lovely organic involvement of hearing and seeing a real person, read a real book with real interaction.

The collection of books featured are stories that many young children will adore; classics from the likes of Jackie French, Hazel Edwards and Janeen Brian. The site in no way replaces parents reading to their children, which is a precious experience for parent and child alike, but rather, it is another option at those times when something just needs to get done (like ironing the school uniforms and making the dinner!).

Read to My Child offers an alternative to putting on another kids show on TV. If your child particularly enjoys some of these stories, you can purchase them for their next birthday or Christmas straight from the site. Stories are selected to be both educational and absorbing for children.

Jasmine is always keen to expand the selection of books she can share with others, so if you are an author who wishes to contribute one of your books to be read on the site please contact Jasmine at: contact@readtomychild.com.au

http://www.readtomychild.com.au/about

Here’s Dimity’s web page for kids. Kool Kidz Stuff

Reading, Running and Realising Books are the Real Treasure!

Do you want your kids to be excited about books? Do you want your kids to spend more time playing outside?

Are you looking for something different for your kids to do so that they’ll look back in years to come and think of it as one of the really fun things they did as a family when they were young and maybe even carry on the tradition?

If you’ve answered yes to all the above then maybe you’ll be interested in organising a Book Sleuthing Treasure Hunt for your own children and invite all the others in the street or neighbourhood to join in. It’s also perfect for a children’s party or a school class.

How to Organise a Treasure Hunt where Books hold all the Answers.

Devised by Prue Mason with lots of help from Jill Morris, Judy Paulson, Gillian Leigh and Sue Collaro.

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This activity can be for as little as two children but definitely the more the merrier as they can be divided into two teams.

What you need:

1. At least two treasure hunters ore more divided into two teams – to make it simple make one the gold team and the other the silver team with each having a team leader.

2. Gold and silver medallions for the participants (cut out of cardboard and tied around the neck with string)

3. 20 books

4. 20 clues (these can be put inside gold or silver tins or boxes before they are hidden)

5.  20 signposts to mark the areas where the clues are hidden

6.  2 maps (if you’re an illustrator you can make your own but for others there are great treasure hunt maps that can be downloaded and from the internet and adapted)

7. 2 clipboards

8. 2 instruction poems

9.  2 answer sheets marked from 1 -10 so the hunters can mark each letter in right order as they find them and which will then spell out a full ten letter word. This sheet also needs to have space for the hunters to write their definition for the ten letter word they uncover.

10. 2 sealed envelopes with instructions on how to find the edible treasure

11. 2 treasure chests full of edible treasure

12. At least an hour before hand to set up the signposts, clues and books.

What you do:

1. Draw 2 maps of the area where the clues are to be hidden.

2. Give names to 20 places where you want to hide the clues, linking them to the stories and characters in the books you’re using.

3. Make signposts using these names. Mark these with gold or silver and put these in the ground around where the clue from each book is to be hidden.

4. Divide the books into two groups and mark each map with 10 hiding places, making sure they are marked 1-10 so the hunters find each clue in the right order.

5. Think of two ten letter words – one word for each team and using the first ten books find one letter inside each book to make up the ten letter word. e.g. If looking for a letter ‘e,’ this might be found in book titled: Camel Rider on Page 20, line 4, word 6, letter 2. These instructions will then be the clue. It’s important the hunters find each clue in the right order to make up the word.

6. Repeat this with the other ten books to create the second 10 letter word

7. Hide the clues in the sign-posted places making sure you keep the two lots of 10 clues separate. The paper clues can be hidden inside small boxes or cylinders that can be painted either gold or silver.

8.  Keep the books in two separate baskets so the hunters can return to them each time they find a clue. They will need to look through the book for the answer that they then mark on the answer sheets provided.

9. When each team has found all the clues and spelled out their word they must think of a definition for the word. They don’t need to know what the word means but be encouraged to use their imagination.

10. When they have met this final challenge they can be handed the sealed envelope with the final clue that will lead to the edible treasure

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Poem to start the treasure hunt:

Golden/Silver Treasure hunting Team
It is time to test your sleuthing skills
And join the treasure hunt that’s full of thrills
Read these words most carefully
For it tells you what your team’s tasks will be.

A special map will set you on the track
for in this park/garden you will see
Signposts that will be the key
Start at one and end at ten
Seek the golden/silver tins for each one holds a clue
But it is the books that will find the true answers for you.

All ten letters you must get
This will give you the full set
That make a word that’s weird but fun.
The challenge is to find meaning for this one
And then there is one final test
And an edible treasure to end your quest.
So off you go and find your first clue.
good luck to each one of you!

Poem to end the treasure hunt:

Look to the nearest, biggest, greenest tree
From this take steps three by three
Towards a …. (an obvious place such as a wall, window, garden bed etc.
Then in the ground
Dig deeply until the treasure is found.

If all this sounds like lots of work that’s because it is but to see children rushing around and having fun with books does make all that organising worth it.

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