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Sarah Davis’ spooky model of the haunted house was centre stage at the launch of ‘Sounds Spooky’, a brilliant picture book illustrated by Sarah Davis and written by Christopher Cheng.
Maurice Saxby gave a wonderful reading of Sounds Spooky celebrating the originality of the book’s design, unique three dimensional models created by Sarah and the spooky words of Chris.
Publisher and former President of the CBCA Margaret Hamilton, illustrator Serena Geddes, author Wendy Fitzgerald, librarians, children and friends came to celebrate. People crowed into Better Read than Dead Bookshop in Newtown and we all partied.
Tim MacGarry, Sandra Eldridge and Eva Di Cesare, the Directors of Monkey Baa Theatre are creative, passionate and have done a brilliant job adapting Australian children’s lietrature for the stage.
Their adaptation of Jackie French’s ‘Hitler’s Daughter’ will be touring North America next year.
Next year opens with Tim Winton’s Bugalugs – it’s booked across Australia.
However the piece de la resistance is the adaptation of Duncan Ball’s ‘Emily Eyefinger – it was magic – the comedy, the digital support and animation enhancing the talented actors. Of course Tim McGarry (who plays my JACK in ‘I AM JACK’) was the star to me – he was hilarious. They were all great and played to full houses.
The Christmas party was fun with cast members, production manager Sam Johnston (who did I AM JACK – love Sam), the Monkey Baa team. board members and of course … actors. Love them all.
Looking forward to a year where we can be part of a world community promoting literacy in developing counties like Room to Read – www.roomtoread.org or in Australia like Books in Homes www.biha.org.au
It’s the National Year of Reading which is launched February 14 in libraries across Australia. Call your library and find out how you can celebrate.
I’ll be at the State Library in Macquarie Street Sydney as an Ambassador for the National Year of Reading.
The Cancer Council’s Relay for Life is a community celebration of those living with cancer and working towards its eradication. Join in – walk the circuit, barbecue those sausages, enjoy the bands and festivities in your local area.
Writers can pursue their inspirations – participate in your Writers Centre, Children’s Book Council, SCBWI – see the meetings across Australia.
I’ll be running the SCBWI events at The Hughenden Hotel in Sydney and am Festival Director of the Kids and young Adult Literature Festival 30th June at the NSW Writers Centre – come along.
Support the brilliant Monkey Baa Theatre which adapts the best in Australian children’s literature – www.monkeybaa.com.au
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation working against school bullying – love them.
So many fantastic things to do, enjoy and celebrate.
Supporters, writers and friends piled into The Hughenden to celebrate the contributions of Australian volunteers to Room to Read – www.roomtoread.org – bringing literacy and education to the children of the developing world.
To date Room to Read has reached 6 million children in countries from Nepal to Uganda.
John Wood founder of Room to Read established it 11 years ago, He is in Sydney for the great GALA Wine event which raised $1 million for Room to Read.
Jennie Orchard who founded the Australian branch of Room to Read and the author ambassador programme was celebrating.
Deborah Abela and Susanne Gervay are author ambassadors for Room to Read.
SCBWI Australia and New Zealand supports Room to Read
The Hughenden supports Room to Read.
Apps creator and writer Karen Robertson who was at The Hughenden, is creating an app for Room to Read for the picture book Zak the Yak created by John Wood.
Author Mark Thomason hs committed to write the next Zak the Yak picture book.
Room to Read is now a partner for The National Year of Reading 2012.
Authors and illustrators supporting Room to read at the event included Margaret Roc, Aleesah Darlinson, Nathan Luff, Lesley Vamos, Sarah Davis, Chris Cheng, Oliver Phommavanh and lots more.
There’s something romantic about Teddy’s Library in historic Olesnica. With nearly 7500 children’s books in Glowinski’s Library, in different languages from 88 countries, children and parents have access to the world culture of books.
I’ve donated from time to time my books. Teddy just sent me this photo of his grand daughter Daria holding ‘Jamie’s A Hero’ – my first book. I’m reminded to post some books next week to the Glowinski Library.
Daria wants to be a librarian like her grandfather. I find it touching.
As an author Ambassador of Room to Read with my writing friends like Deborah Abela, Markus Zusak, Libby Hathorn, Tristan Bancks, we can change the world through books and literacy.
Teddy’s library is doing that there in his small corner of the world.
Yesterday I was part of the Cancer Council’s photo shoot for their Pink Ribbon Day – with kids, babies, young women, old women, guys – it was great fun and something close to my heart as a multiple breast cancer survivor and author of ’Always Jack’ that carries the Cancer Council’s logo – the yellow daffodil.
SUPPORT the Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon Day in October.
Beautiful congratulations are coming from all over Australia & the world.
Thankyou to HarperCollins Australia for the stunning bouquet of flowers.
Thankyou to the organisations I advocate for – the NSW Writers Centre, Monkey Baa Theatre for Young People, Room to Read, CBCA, the Children’s & Illustrators Network (at the Hughenden), SCBWI, Books in Homes, Cancer Council …
Thankyou to my very funny friends – who think an OAM is hilarious and keep courtseying and sending me cards with OAM.
Thankyou Australia for the OAM!!!!
Thankyou for SCBWI – the messages are coming from everywhere.
As the child of post war refugees, my parents with my baby brother, left everything to escape Hungary across minefields in the dead of night, for freedom. In the Austrian refugee camp, they hoped a country would take them.
They wanted to be chosen by the USA, but it was Australia who offered them home. They didn’t know what or where Australia was, except it was far away from war, communism and imprisonment.
They came on a refugee ship, without language, possessions, community, but with hope. Like many, they rebuilt their lives in a new country. It is the story of America, Canada, UK …. many countries.
It’s hard to believe that as the child of refugees, I have been awarded an Order of Australia. It is overwhelming and deeply meaningful.
There are some incredible athletes amongst our ABBA bloggers but if scaling Everest only happens in your dreams, read on – Just a few weeks ago on 14th May, a friend of mine, Rob Hart, made the summit and raised $15 000 in sponsorship for the Room to Read Project in South Africa and for building a school in Nepal. The trip took seven weeks, starting in Kathmandu on March 30th, and ending there on May 17th.
Passionate about Room to Read Rob and his wife, Anna, first got involved with the project when they moved to Singapore in 2008. Room to Read daily transforms the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on books, literacy and gender equality in education. Apart from building libraries and encouraging children to read, they support girls, who in most circumstances would’ve had to drop out of school, with special scholarships which give them the chance to complete secondary school and reach their full potential.
But back to Everest!
Rob has climbed the Seven Summits at the rate of one a year since 2003. He says: 'I’ve dreamt of climbing Everest since I can first remember, and that dream morphed to include the highest mountain on each continent. The attraction of frozen digits, howling winds and inedible food eludes many, but to me the draw is that such adventure and challenge is still available in modern times.'
This year’s success was his second attempt at Everest. In 2005 the mountain defeated him with icy winds. Even this year’s assent was not without its drama. Coming face to face with other climbers on their way down who hadn’t made the summit, he writes: ‘We meet mostly disappointed climbers coming down in the other direction, because the wind was quite strong the day before, May 12. One girl sobbing through her oxygen mask stands out, her dream in tatters for the time being. I know how that feels from last time. Some of the others did not make the top, but are just happy to be getting down alive.’
The ‘getting down alive’ part is brought grimly home when they came across a Japanese climber who’d died two days before. ‘Apparently he had got hypothemia, become disorientated and when his sherpa tried to help him, he became aggressive and pulled off his goggles, and so they had to leave him. He was still attached to the rope, looking like a wax model, and just a few meters off that path, so we cut him loose and retied the rope so that climbers could continue to use the fixed line.’ ‘A quick 9 hour slog up the mountain and I am on top of the world. As you can see I was tired enough to want to sit down. With only 2 of us up there it was impossible to hold the flag out properly - Mike took 3 photo's of me with my flag with his hands out of the gloves in -20C, and this is
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‘When you educate a girl, you educate a family that includes that girl’s future children, her comunity, her nation and the world.’
Room to Read’s girls’ education programme is now educating nearly 11,000 girls in 8 developing countries -Laos, India, Zambia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Nepal, Bangladesh.
As an author ambassador for Room to Read, I support education as the real way to fight poverty. Reaching girls, means we will reach boys and community.
The Hughenden Hotel Woollahra, supports Room to Read – their menu includes a Book Menu where all books sales go to Room to Read.
Erin Ganju, co founder and CEO of Room to Read spoke at the Sydney event raising awareness of their Girls’ Education Programme. Jeni Orchard has taken Room to Read to Australia inspiring corporates and the ordinary person to make a difference with Room to Read.
Meg Lee, who I’ve known since a little girl, is a co-chair of the Mallesons Stephen Jacques Room to Read, Power of Ten Committee raising funds for girls’ education. I’m really proud of Meg.
Such a wonderful supporter night, with soprano Katie Connor singing movingly, together with young musicians for the Australian Youth Orchestra.
The sun was shining, Government House was a gracious reminder of the past, the gardens flowering for the investiture of Australians for their contributions to Australia.
We sat in the sumptuous sitting room, as guests gathered for the ceremony. It was inspiring to hear the contribution of so many awarded decorations for courage, extraordinary services in fields as varied as medical, business, government, social justice …. and of course my very special Order of Australia (OAM) for children’s literature and professional organisations.
My wonderful children were there which made it doubly special.
Thankyou to my friends who sent me letters, emails, gifts.
Thankyou to the organisations who are part of my life that supported this award – Room to Read, The NSW Writers Centre, SCBWI, CBCA, MonkeyBaa Theatre and many others.
It was a time where I reflected on my parents’ journey as refugees to Australia. I know they were there with me. We had lunch at 21 Double Bay where my father took me as a girl to share Hungarian dishes, laugh and share stories.
I carried a private momento of my parents with me today.
I drive towards The Southport School at Southport on the Gold Coast Queensland. The skies are sparkling blue, the sun bright and the sprawling fields the green of spring.
I had the pleasure of meeting Stewart Eglington again, a brilliant teacher and educator who two years ago took The Southport boys to MonkeyBaa Theatre’s ’I Am Jack’ which was the feature event of the Somerset Celebration of Literature Festival.
In my 29 years of teaching that (I Am Jack) was the most powerful and moving experience that dealt with bullying in an honest open yet sensitive manner.
Stewart Eglington. Coordinator of Students and Staff The Southport School – Preparatory School
I spotted Stewart when I saw boys running towards him. They had things to tell him and share the education experience. When I asked if they’d like a photo with Stewart, there was a rush and crush.
Such great teachers – a special thanks to Mr Mac and librarian Deborah Schinckel and all the staff for the warm welcome.
It is such a special experience when a school embraces my JACK series where I invite readers to come into my home and life.
Thankyou to the kids and teachers of Central Coast Adventist School for loving I Am Jack and my JACKS!
‘I Am Jack’ is a core study at the Adventist School for a term. As I entered the library, it felt like I was welcomed by friends. The warmth of the kids and teachers was a special way to end nearly 2 months on this Book writing tour.
It was so much fun driving with my daughter Tory from Sydney to the Central Coast especially since my GPS went crazy.
We ended up at this Buddhist Cafe and gallery set amongst rolling hills and the green countryside. Beautiful. Then I got to speak to this fantastic kids on their last day before school holidays.
As an ambassador for the National Year of Reading 2012, love speaking to kids and promoting books – next year is going to be a major one – log onto and have fun:- www.love2read.org.au
Deborah Abela gave a vivacious reading of John Wood’s kids’ book - Zac the Yak.
Zac the Yak is sending the message from Room to Read that kids in the developing world need books and the right to read. That’s the way to end poverty and change the world.
Tristan Banks gave a terrific speech about all the ways we can help Room to Read from joining their City to Surf team to joining the charity ball ….
Illustrator Gus Gordon joined in and there were lots of other authors and supporters. Even though I was a little late due to Sydney Harbour Bridge traffic, I made it for the speeches. It was a great night.
Nearly on the plane to Fiji, then flying to the capital of Kiribati -Tarawa – on the equator.
It’s a Pacific Calling Delegation including Patrick Dodson father of reconcilation, Phil Glendenning human rights advocate and Director of the Edmund Rice Centre, Tom Zubrycki award winning film maker - www.tomzubrycki.com.
The world is so small – apologies for cliche – Tom met my cousin Ruth Balint (also a documentary film maker) for coffee a few days ago.
Our delegation shared dinner last night in preparation to start our 8 day mission on Monday.
My purpose: As a kids and YA author who writes to gives choices to young people, and as an ambassador for Room to Read bringing literacy to kids in the developing world, I’m on a fact finding mission.
Join author Susanne Gervay at Woden Library and discover her insightful and inspiring story Always Jack, a story that highlights the challenges that face children when their mothers are diagnosed with cancer.
Always Jack uses humour and warmth to break down the taboos surrounding cancer and encourage parents, teachers and children to discuss the subject openly.
About Susanne Gervay:
A multiple breast cancer survivor herself, she faced cancer when her children were six and nine; when they were teenagers; and again just recently, so she has firsthand experience of how difficult a cancer diagnosis can be on children.
An award winning author, specialist in child growth and development, nationally and internationally recognised for writing stories on social justice from school bullying to burns.
Her books are endorsed by Room to Read, Alannah & Madeline Foundation, Life Education, The Children’s Hospital Westmead, and The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).
Susanne is passionate about reaching kids, parents, schools, and the community and as a result, is donating a percentage of book sales of Always Jack to the Cancer Council and the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre.
Books will be available for sale at this event, and Susanne will be happy to sign them for you.
Authors & Illustrators network at The Hughenden Hotel in Sydney’s heritage Paddington-Woollahra, where they share publishing, festival, writing news – offering support when there’s a rejection or celebration with a new book, leads for new work, humour and lots of coffee and friendship.
Open to all published authors & illustrators – just turn up and you’ll be welcomed.
It meets the first Wednesday of every month (except January) 10.30-12.30 with optional lunch at The Hughenden. For directions - www.thehughenden.com.au
Christmas Network – celebrations and Christmas cheer – 10.30-12.30 – need to book for brunch $15 – just respond to contact here.
I LOVE being an Australia Day Ambassador – my parents who were Hungarian refugees would be so honoured.
They loved Australia and were always grateful to find a home where they could rebuild their lives and where their children would be safe.
Other ambassadors include:-
Writers – Thomas Keneally, Libby Hathorn, Bryce Courtney, Maurice Saxby
Sports people – Mike York Captain of the Australian Hockey Team, Dean Widden Rugby player, Parramatta Eeels, Mal Melinga Rugby League icon
Singers – Marcia Hines, David Campbell, Angry Anderson
Journalists and TV personalities – Ita Buttrose, Belinda Green Miss World, Don Burke
People who have changed the world – Gough Whitlan former Prime Minister, Clary Castrission Founder of 40K creating eduction for poor Indian children, Ian Keirnan Founder of Clean Up Australia, Dick Smith
Human Rights, leaders in all fields – Police, Law, Indigenous …..
I’ll be going to the country over the Australia Day weekend.
I could even be the speaker at a Citizenship ceremony.
There’s Australia Day celebrations everywhere. It’s the first time I’ll be missing the Australia Day Aussie barbecue at The Hughenden Woollahra – but everyone is welcome to drop by there and wave a flag – say hello, while I’ll be saying hello to our fabulous country Aussies in Wakool! The GM at The Hughenden is from Wakool – how kool is that!!!
LOVED catching up with author friends from everywhere. Some favourite moments:-
Deborah Abela and Tony Park joking around – adventure African ex-soldier author meets one of my favourite authors Deb Abela
Tristan Bancks was hilarious on the Books for Boys panel except - yuk to his ‘scab’ story!
Maggie Hamilton really makes a difference empowering boys (and girls) – love beautiful Maggie – and when will she give me Reiki again? Maggie has magic healing hands.
Andrew Daddo’s story of writing his 1st book had everyone in stitches.
Dinner at the Hughenden with fabulous award winning Lucy Christopher for his first book – international best seller ‘Stolen’.
Libby Hathorn - so funny dining at the Hughenden when the next table whispers – ‘Is that Libby Hathorn? We named a class at Australia Street Public School Newtown after her!’ The Mum was thrilled to see Libby. She’s a brilliant author.
So good to catch up with Tim Pegler from Melbourne – cutting edge YA novellist.
Special to chat to Isabelle Carmody who has flown in from Prague for the festival. She says she’ll be back in Australia in a couple of years.
Newington Literature festival is raising funds for Room to Read – bringing literature to the kids of the developing world.
As an author ambassador for Room to Read, I think Newington is fantastic.
Thankyou to Sean Corcoran Head of English for supporting Room to Read a Newington College charity and to Newington College for embracing Room to Read!
There’s so much news too. Have to get my photos in order 1st as lost them too- so just a quick entry because my son and bullying’s on my mind.
I loved speaking at All Saints - the authors, creators, teachers, kids … it was about friendship, sharing story, inspiring young people and old. I came home to beautiful fan mail and comments from All Saints.
I was moved when a parent-teacher sought me out after my talk on I AM JACK & School Bullying. She said that after hearing me speak, she’d shared time with her son and they’d talked about bullying in a real way.
TEARY moment for me – because I’d been there with my son bullied and he couldn’t get me to hear him.
Monkey Baa Theatre for Young People is performing I AM JACK at a theatre in the Seymour , Sydney.