Monday, 31 December 2012

Thanks TLC Books for your support!

As we are about to bid our year adieu, these were our top overall sellers from all categories for the year 2012:

1. All That I Am by Anna Funder (fic)
2. Poor Man's Wealth by Rod Usher (fic)
3. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (fic)
 4. The Pink Pirate by Michelle Worthington (chd)5. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (fic)
6. No Remorse by Ian Walkley (fic)
7. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James (fic)
8. Yellow Dress Day by Michelle Worthington (chd)9. Flock by Lyn Hughes (fic)
10. Engibears Dream by Andrew King (chd)

Thank you so much to Tania and the crew at TLC Books for all their support in 2012.
Here's to a fun and fabulous 2013!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Spook Books by Joseph Delaney

I am so excited!
I have found some books that Mr. President (my 12 year old super genius reader) wants for Christmas
at my local bookstore!
He bought the first book in the series off my gorgeous friend
Karen Mounsey-Smith, founder of Gidgyemo Illustrations (
and illustrator of The Pink Pirate (
for 50c at the Bubznkids Christmas market we did together.

As I shared with Dimity Powell (
and the audience at the 2012 Gold Coast Writers Festival (
I find it so hard to get age appropriate books for my oldest boy who reads a book a night at way above the normal reading average for a 12 year old. He has read every book there ever was written about dragons and knights Templar, he doesn't like books with kissing in them and he loves to read books that he can lose himself in. I was so surprised when he finished the first of Joseph Delany's books, The Spook's Apprentice. He couldn't read it at night because it scared him too much but he finished it in 2 days and begged me for more. We found the next book, The Spook's Curse on Amazon for 97c with $25 postage (sigh) and he finished it in a day. I looked at my local favourite bookshops
but I had left it too late to order in by Christmas.
Lucky for me, Angus and Roberston at Cap Park had a couple of Joseph Delaney's books in stock to get Mr President through at least one or two weeks after Christmas!!
And I found out they are making the series into a movie! My son couldn't be more excited, except maybe for me...

I am so inspired by authors like Joseph Delaney and I highly recommend his books for brave 12 year old boys, even if they have to read them only during daylight hours.
Great fiction broadens minds, changes lives and inspires hope in others.
Never underestimate the power of a book,
even one that was purchased second hand for 50c...

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Guest Blogger - Dimity Powell - Censorship in Children's Writing

  • Censorship in Children’s Writing – A matter of debate
I recently had the privilege to present and participate at the Gold Coast Writers’ Festival.
Attending festivals like this one, showcasing writers, illustrators and publishing styles of every ilk, within a mutually stimulating and inspiring environment, not only enhances ones understanding of the industry; but also opens up a Pandora’s Box of absorbing topics for debate.
First and foremost on my agenda was the panel presented by Gold Coast author, Angela Sunde on Writing for Children.
She quizzed a talented line up of well-known children’s authors including Pam Rushby, Alison Reynolds and Michelle Worthington.  Questions were varied and insightful. Answers were delightfully different from each panellist. Until the last question: Do books need a rating?
This seemingly benign question could easily have filled another 45 minutes discussion.
In the forever metamorphosing environment of book genres, where YA novels can cover every conceivable topic that adult novels do, it would at first make sense to want to try to categorise or rate them to suit reader age and emotional intellect. The model for this was, rating censorship used on movies.
But should written content be treated in the same way as visual content? One young (secondary school aged) audience member thought not. She believed that what we (kids) read is processed very differently to what we view at the movies, on line or via other forms of media. It is ‘more slowly absorbed’ and therefore makes less of a (disturbing) impact. Kids should be allowed to read ad hoc and without restriction. She then returned to her text message.
Michelle Worthington, picture book author, felt differently. She said that as a parent, she had a certain responsibility to monitor what her kids read in the same way she would like to know what they were watching or listening to. A chapter book that presents no problem for one child, could act as a catalyst of discomfort and unease for another.  It is not a matter of wanting to be controlling or banning the book forever, rather a decision based on the current emotional capacity of an individual to cope with what is being imparted at the time.
She said this proactive approach to shared-regulating what her kids were reading allowed for open and honest discussion of story topics, values and emotions; something which every parent should be endeavouring to foster by reading to or with their children at every chance.
She echoed a shared sentiment, that while all texts should be available to all kids to read, the time at which they read them was the important thing, not what those texts contained. Children grow up so fast. Not permitting them access to a meaty YA novel at age 12, even when they are more than capable of physically reading it, may allow them to cherish being 12 for just a bit longer.
I personally, remember every crystallising moment when I first read something new and shocking; my first taste of erotica, my first grisly tale of murder most foul, my first exposure to unrequited love. All these images remain with me to this very day. I don’t think they damaged or upset me unduly in any way. The point is, how can anyone, including parents, ever judge or know the critical moment when a child has inadvertently read something essentially life changing; that may remain with them forever? How do we know what is being remembered, forgotten or laughed off? What are the literary triggers that ignite a child’s memory? And can these triggers be determined by age, lumped into categories and cast off as ratings to be used as reliable guidelines to book choice?
Would trying to do so corrupt the sale of children’s books in an age where we are more and more desperate for kids to read? Would censorship stifle the enjoyment, and adventure of reading?
It is not an easy conundrum to resolve. I look forward to tackling this on future discussion panels. Meantime, move gently into the night; preferably with a good book.
Promise to pay more attention to guidelines in future Jackie!

Dimity Powell

Friday, 9 November 2012

Ross Dee - Island Princess

Thank you so much to my beautiful friend and island princess Rose Dee for hosting my picture books at her Book Launch on the 24th of November at the Kids Life Indoor Playcentre in Mackay.

Wish I could be there to share some Pink Moet with you, Princess.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Kids Reading Guide

Yellow Dress Day was selected for the Kids Reading Guide.
It will be available in independent book stores.
Thank you to the Australian Booksellers Association for your support.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Happy Birthday to Me! (and Charles Dickens)

It is with a sigh of relief from myself and my collective family and friends that this birthday, after 8 years without, I have ‘someone special’ to spend it with. I have the feeling of “at last my and my kids are where we belong, tucked up safely in a ‘family” unit again.

On the surface, our family looks pretty much like any other family. It appears to be made up of the usual adult couple, caring for children, with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in the background. In fact, to look at me, you wouldn’t know I had been married before the person I am with is not the biological father of my children. There are no fundamental differences between our family and any other family, to us. It is the opinions, whether misguided or otherwise, of others, that makes us distinctive.

Society in general are still obsessed with the fact that most people still believe stepfamilies to be born out of ‘loss’. The loss of a partner and the loss of a parent are powerful obstacles to overcome, but in their wake lies so much happiness if the people involved are able to heal and move on.

No family is an island. Each one is part of a network of  relationships that spreads well beyond the family itself. In the case of a relationship after divorce, this network is slightly bigger and slightly more complicated, but no less a family of loving individuals.

Every family is faced with the task of turning a group of individuals, each with their own personality, past experience, hopes and fears, into something that can truly be called a family. Each will cope in its own way and will find individual solutions to the particular difficulties that emerge. At the same time, it is worth remembering that many of the problems we face is not  from the fact we are in a blended family, but from out own  personal failings.

There is no recipe for success in a second relationship, but there are some ingredients that give it a better chance from the start.  Today, my relationship tastes like birthday cake, and I can’t stop smiling.


Michelle Worthington is the author of The Bedtime Band available at