Cristy Burne – AUTHOR AND STEM CREATIVE

story, science, technology and creativity


Leave a comment

Victoria roadshow: free on-line and in-person events!

I’ve been working with Deakin University as the 2023 Children’s Writer-in-Residence and it has been INCREDIBLE! I feel so lucky to have had time and space and money to support me while I work on a new and very special project. I had the most fabulous time in Warrnambool and met so many inspiring people.

Now my time is nearly at an end, and I’m excited to be doing a mini-tour of Victoria to run a series of writing-related events for kids, adults, writers and people who want to have a General Good Time 😎😁👍

Events are free, and you can register below. Bring your questions and let’s chat all things writing, publishing, science, creativity and fun!

27 April, 12-1:30 PM AEST Writing for Young People Online Masterclass (on-line; open to Deakin students)https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/597342466397

Australian children’s author Cristy Burne is Deakin University’s 2023 Children’s Writer-in-Residence. A writer of children’s fiction and non-fiction, Cristy has published 11 books. In this masterclass, Cristy will share tips for getting published and discuss working with different narrative forms and genres.

28 April, 12-1:30 PM AEST Emerging Writers Online Masterclass (on-line; open to all writers)https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/601007328097

Australian children’s author Cristy Burne is Deakin University’s 2023 Children’s Writer-in-Residence. A writer of children’s fiction and non-fiction, Cristy has published 11 books. In this masterclass, Cristy will share tips for getting published and discuss working with different narrative forms and genres.

2 May 5-6 PM AEST Author talk at Deakin Warrnambool Campus Library (in-person): https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/cristy-burne-author-talk-tickets-608029140527

During this one-hour talk, Cristy will share her experiences as a children’s author and science communicator, sharing practical advice and tips to aspiring writers who are interested in learning more about what it takes to get published.

8 May,  6:30-7:30 PM AEST Authors in Conversation: Writing with Children (in-person and on-line): https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/597486948547

Australian children’s author Cristy Burne works at the intersection of story, science, technology and creativity. A writer of children’s fiction and non-fiction, Cristy has published eleven books. Cristy is the Deakin University/Copyright Agency Cultural Fund 2023 Children’s Writer-in-Residence.

Gabrielle Wang is an author and illustrator born in Melbourne of Chinese heritage. Gabrielle’s stories are a blend of Chinese and Western culture with a touch of fantasy. She has written more than twenty books for young readers. Gabrielle is the current Australian Children’s Laureate for 2022 and 2023.

9 May, 4 -5 PM AEST Science and Storytelling with Cristy Burne, Waurn Ponds Library (in-person; for children)https://events.grlc.vic.gov.au/event/8265705

Join Cristy Burne for this fast-paced and funny look at how science and innovation can inspire creative writing. STEAM up your imagination with everything from fatbergs to hoverboards.


Leave a comment

Smoking hot VOLCANO activities: lava cakes, bicarb eruptions, volcano maths and explosive STEAM ideas

Hello hot stuff!

Volcanoes rock! (And they’re on the curriculum, so why not have some fun!)

There’s so much to lava lava about volcanoes!

Ideas flow. Creativity explodes. Learners are red hot with interest, engagement and excitement.

Whether you’re reading the inspiring true story of Suzy Urbaniak: Volcano hunter and STEAM warrioror racing Gorgomoth the Unclean through the volcanic pizza oven in Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire, I hope there’s something to spark your interest and passions in these explosive activity ideas.

Scroll down to go straight to activity ideas 😎 or download this post as a PDF here.

About my VOLCANIC books

Wednesday Weeks series: published by Hachette

Comedy lovers aged middle grade and up: start here 😊

Join accident-prone Wednesday Weeks, her maths-geek pal Alfie, their know-it-all friend Bruce (who just happens to be a skull), and Wednesday’s old-fashioned grandfather (who just happens to be a powerful sorcerer) in a series of comedy fantasy adventures featuring a (spoiler alert!) train race through a live volcano! In a world of magic, can science save the day?

Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows – ISBN: 9780734420206  (April 2021)

Wednesday Weeks and the Crown of Destiny – ISBN: 9780734420213 (September 2021)

Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire – ISBN: 9780734420237 (August 2022)

  • Co-created by Denis Knight and Cristy Burne
  • 2021 Shortlisted for WA Premier’s Book Awards
  • 2022 CBCA Notables Book – Younger Readers
  • 2022 Shortlisted for WA Young Readers Book Awards

Aussie STEM Stars series: published by Wild Dingo Press

The inspiring true stories of Australian heroes of science, technology, engineering and maths, told in engaging narrative style for ages 10+ by award-winner Australian authors (and I’m one of those authors 😊)

Suzy Urbaniak is a geologist and Prime Minister’s Prize-winning high school science teacher. She’s also a rule breaker, limbo dancer, volcano hunter (!) and massive fan of doing things your own authentic way.

Dr Fiona Wood is a world-leading burns surgeon and inventor of spray-on skin. An inspiring true story of spirit and stamina, generosity and courage.

Suzy Urbaniak: Volcano hunter and STEAM warrior
– ISBN: 9781925893786 (February 2023)

Fiona Wood: Inventor of spray-on skin
– ISBN: 9781925893281 (September 2020)

  • 2021 Shortlisted Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards
  • 2020 Shortlisted Australian Book Design Awards

Formal teaching notes

There are formal teaching notes for Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire (thank you Hachette) and teaching notes for Suzy Urbaniak: Volcano hunter and STEAM warrior (thank you Wild Dingo Press), and for all of my other books too!

There are formal teaching notes for Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire (thank you Hachette) and teaching notes for Suzy Urbaniak: Volcano hunter and STEAM warrior (thank you Wild Dingo Press), and for all of my other books too!

To supplement that, in these pages I wanted to share some other ideas for using volcanoes in the classroom.

And if you want to go deeper into geology, the rock cycle, Earth science and student-centred STEAM-focused learning, I urge you to check out Aussie STEM Star Suzy Urbaniak’s own brilliant CORE Foundation in #therealclassroom

Activity ideas: STEAMing ahead with volcanos

These STEAM and STEM activities have you covered – at home or in the classroom (and in the kitchen!). Choose from volcano science demos, volcano art, volcano fashion or volcano food.

Volcanoes are great for learning the science of pressure, for studying the geoscience of our planet, and for learning about natural disasters and natural history.

Plus volcanoes can really capture the imagination. Or try some volcano art, with the vibrant splish-spash freedom of explosive creativity. (And for little kids, I love this handprint lava volcano.

Make and decorate your own 3D volcano, perhaps with papier mache (how will you make the frame? chicken wire? cardboard? something else?), or by mixing a batch of salt dough, or using playdough like the NASA pros.

Making a 2D volcano diagram? The volcano cone could be made from a paper cut-out, dirt glued onto the page, a mosaic of crepe paper layered for texture, or something soon to be dreamed up.

If you’re feeling particularly patient, try folding an origami volcano or creating your own pop-up volcano Valentine’s card (I lava lava you 💕). Or take a break from all that intense folding to get outside and erupt into laughter with the classic Mentos-and-coke reaction.

Or stay on-screen to tour the world’s volcanoes using Google Earth’s 10,000 Years of Volcanoes. Or make your own Minecraft volcano complete with virtual lava that flows just like a real (pixelated) liquid. Or check out the volcano lessons in Minecraft Education.

And of course, to celebrate the dessert queen and volcano hunter that is Suzy Urbaniak, you can experiment with recipes (and maths) by baking lava cakes! Yum!

Volcanoes and literacy go together like magma and an underwater vent. Think volcano poetry: everything from acrostics and shape poems to playing with onomatopoeia and sensory language, metaphor and symbolism.

Plus some of my favourite science demos are great for volcanic learning. Try these fun scientific activities below.

And please contact me with your own volcanic ideas and activities. I’d LOVE to see what you create.

Time to science!

Volcano maths

Work out the net of a cone, then use cardboard and scissors to build your own volcano hat (and then paint it! And add lava streamers out the top!)
(And remember: icecream cones are cones too. Yum.)

Working in 2D? Volcanoes are some of the world’s most famous triangles. And there’s loads of maths in triangles.

Don’t forget everyone’s favourite: Venn diagrams! What features do various types of volcano share? What makes each type of volcano different?

Volcanic toiler cleaner sauce

Volcanos erupt because of pressure. In some cases, super-heated molten rock meets water, and look out!

The water boils instantly, changing from a liquid (taking up not much space) to a gas (taking up loads of space), and because there’s nowhere for all that gas to go, the pressure builds and BANG! Eruption!

You can simulate this pressure build-up, and enjoy the wild ‘eruption’, by recycling a sauce bottle (or an eco toilet cleaner bottle with a pop top).

This is an activity best performed outside 😊

What to do:

  1. Wrap a spoonful of bicarb into a square of toilet paper (this thin layer of paper will buy you precious seconds to put on the lid later).
  2. Pour a centimetre of vinegar and a drop of dishwashing liquid into your sauce bottle.
  3. Make sure the lid of the sauce bottle is twisted shut.
  4. Drop your bicarb package into the sauce bottle and VERY QUICKLY screw the lid on! The bicarb and vinegar will react, producing bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. The pressure inside the sauce bottle will rapidly build and then…
  5. Making sure to point the bottle AWAY from people and other precious things, twist open the lid of the sauce bottle to release the pressure. Woo hoo!

Bicarb-and-vinegar volcano

Who doesn’t love the classic chemistry of bicarb and vinegar? This dramatic reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide gas: simply pour some vinegar into a jar, then pop in a spoonful of bicarb.

To lava it up, pre-mix red food colouring into your bicarb.

For extra foam, a drop of dishwashing liquid to your vinegar. You’ll be bubbling lava a go-go.

For an extra STEAMy challenge, build a volcano around your jar. If you’re working outside, try this experiment in the centre of a sandpit volcano.

If you love Lego, try building a volcano around your jar.

If you have a spare lampshade (see the last photo in this post 🤩), or a dog cone, or an itching to make salt dough, what are you waiting for?

Mini debris cannon

You’ve seen our enormous air cannon (modelled in this photo by my amazing Wednesday Weeks co-author Denis Knight) – now try a (mini) volcanic debris cannon!

You can use these mini-cannons to demonstrate the way rocks and ash is thrown into the air by an eruption.

To simulate the volcanic debris, fill your cannon with small pieces of (soft) recycled bits and bobs: think foam offcuts and chopped up cardboard (or think marshmallows and popped corn – yum!)…whatever you have lying around.

When your mini volcano erupts, which bits are thrown the furthest?

What to do:

To build your mini debris cannon, you’ll need a paper cup, scissors, sticky tape and a balloon (plus your debris 😊).

  1. Pop on your safety glasses.
  2. Blow up the balloon, then let it deflate again.
    (it gets better, I promise.)
  3. Tie a knot in the deflated balloon.
  4. Chop the bottom few millimetres off your balloon.
  5. Cut out most of the bottom of the cup.
  6. Stretch the chopped balloon across the bottom of the cup, with the neck of the balloon facing out.
  7. Fill your cup with debris, then fire the cannon by pulling back on the neck of the balloon and … letting go.
    Pew! Pew! Pew!

I hope these ideas have your synapses fiery hot.

Please let me know what works and what doesn’t and share your ideas. I’d love to see them!
Any questions? Please get in touch. 💕


Leave a comment

Tips for writing a biography or family history from writing Aussie STEM Stars

This time next week my second biography in the Aussie STEM Stars series — Suzy Urbaniak: Volcano hunter and STEAM warrior — will be out in all good bookstores.

When Wild Dingo Press first approached me back in 2019 with the wild idea that I might write a biography of Dr Fiona Wood, burns surgeon and inventor of spray-on skin, plus Australian of the Year, National Living Treasure, multi-times winner of Australia’s Most Trusted Person and founder of the Fiona Wood Foundation, I had no idea how anyone (let alone me!?) could do justice to such a magnificent life story.

I’d never before written a biography. As a journalist, I’d written 1000-word or 2000-word feature articles and profiles of scientists and celebrities. But still…. a book-length biography of Fiona Wood!? I had no idea if I’d be able to do a good job.

Spoiler alert!

But (spoiler alert!), I said ‘Yes please’ to the project anyway. (Because who could give up the chance to work with Fiona Wood!!??)

I learned SO MUCH from working with Fiona and I loved the process so much, I signed up again to do a second Aussie STEM Stars, this time profiling Prime Minister’s Award-winning science teacher, geologist and founder of the CoRE Foundation Suzy Urbaniak. Both times I felt so incredibly privileged to be trusted with personal stories, to share their life lessons, and to try my very best to record these incredible life stories.

Hitting the books

The first preparation I did for this biography project was to hit the books: I studied and read loads and loads of biographies. I read biographies for kids and for adults. I read biographies of scientists and sportspeople and singers and stars. I learned as much as I could about how different writers approached the gnarly and unique challenge of writing someone else’s life.

Research, research, research

Once I had a grounding in how biographies could be structured, opened, closed and approached, I dived deep into my subject. Both Fiona and Suzy gave their time incredibly generously, but before we even exchanged a word, I had researched their lives for many hours.

I listened to podcasts they featured in, I looked up news articles, speech notes, research papers, a zillion websites and books too, if possible.

In Fiona’s case — after the media storm that followed the Bali Bombings — I had a file of notes that was 10,000+ words long. For Suzy I started with fewer notes, but since I’d already interviewed her six years earlier (hello, journalism career :-)), I had more confidence in how we might work together to write a biography that kids would love.

Let the interviews begin!

I only started chatting with Suzy and Fiona after I’d soaked up as much prior knowledge as I could. I was super-conscious that these remarkable women were busy making super-valuable contributions to patients, students, communities and our shared future.

So I tried to be efficient and strategic in my questions.

The Aussie STEM Stars books aren’t a long list of career achievements. They’re the true stories, anecdotes and turning points from childhood, told in narrative form.

The brief from Wild Dingo Press said: “These books must read like — and be as exciting as — novels.”

So, how to find the stories kids would love to hear?

Tips for interviewing for biographies…

Interviews aren’t just about getting the who what when where why how. You want to give your subject the space to open up, express feelings, ideas, thoughts, insights…and to uncover long-lost memories.

So, here are my top tips for interviewing people about their lives:

  1. Prepare: Like I said earlier, do your homework. Research, prepare, list a bunch of questions, and then sit down to listen.
  2. Record: Use Zoom or other software to record your conversation — but make sure you have permission to do this first! A recording means you can focus more on the conversation and less on your notes (because you can go back to check the recording for details later)
  3. Listen: Did I mention listening? Really focus on the person in front of you. What are they saying? What aren’t they saying? What words are they choosing?
  4. Be curious: Follow your gut…the questions that come up as you listen can naturally lead to more questions and then suddenly you’re down a fascinating rabbit hole you didn’t know was there.
  5. Relax: This is hard to do, but people can open up more when it feels like a casual chat and not a job interview.
  6. Go with the flow: Feel free to go where the conversation leads.
  7. Stay on target: If you sense that the conversation is going way off-piste, maybe it’s time for a new line of questions.
  8. Stick to a time limit: Not even the most focused subject in the world can talk and talk and give and give for hours at a time. Make sure your interview has a limit and stick to it.
  9. Batch your follow up questions: As soon as you sit down to write a scene or story, you’re absolutely guaranteed to discover you need more information. Rather than shoot off an email every time, batch your queries and send one email with 10-ish questions. (Sending 100 questions will freak your subject out :-))
  10. Ask for feedback: It’s vital your subject has ample opportunity to make sure you’ve told their story in a way that feels authentic and real to them. This means giving them lots of time to read through, mark-up and make suggestions for your draft manuscript. The whole point of a draft is that you get to make it better.

Thank you!

I’m always profoundly grateful to anyone who takes the time to share their personal story with someone else.

In the case of the Aussie STEM Stars, these amazing scientists, teachers and inventors give their time and their life stories in the hope that children who read it will be inspired.

Certainly, I’ve been inspired time and again by the chance to work with such incredible role models and change-makers. This series really a hugely special opportunity to learn more about all the different ways that Australia’s great STEM stars contribute, and all the different pathways they travelled to get there.

I’d absolutely love for you to read Fiona Wood and Suzy Urbaniak. I love these stories, I’m proud of these books, and I feel like readers will come away informed, inspired and encouraged to believe in a better future for everyone.

I think these stories deserve to be read wildly. If you do read them, I’d also absolutely love to hear from you with your feedback, thoughts, shelfies and reviews. THANK YOU for reading this far – you’re amazing! I very much value your support 💕🎉⭐

Thank you to my kids for this promotional tile😁😎😉


Leave a comment

Dungeon of Fire blasts off!

🥳 What a weekend!!!! ☠😻

Thanks to my co-author in crime, @denisknightauthor for all the work and imagination and words and laughs that went into publishing the third instalment in the Wednesday Weeks series of comedy fantasy science-meets-magic adventures! And huge thanks to everyone who attended today’s launch of Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire 🔥🔥🔥 at @theliteraturecentre

Slug-tastic

The weather was dismal. The catering appalling. And the pizza recipes left a decapitated slug taste in your mouth.

Huge thanks to everyone who came to our very own dungeon book launch at @theliteraturecentre on site at the Fremantle Prison!!

What a pity the whole dreadful comedy launch was ruined by the awesome company. ❤❤❤ Goblin King Gorgomoth would not be impressed 😄🤩🥳😜🥰

Thank yous!

Especial thank you to Launch Legend, Children’s Book Council of Australia WA Branch past-president and lifelong children’s book supporter @nicholls_jan , and to our tireless and creative publisher and editorial team @hachettekidsanz , and to the Lit Centre team for a brilliant venue and all that support, and to our awesome photographer Elena, our super show volunteers, our supporters, families and friends and more 🥰🥰🥰 We love you!!

Comedy adventure childrens book gold

If you know a young reader who loves funny books, or a reluctant reader you want to hook on reading, or a science-lover who usually sticks to non-fiction…or basically anyone who loves children’s books and is aged 8+, then I totally recommend you hit up your local independent bookstore and ask them to pretty-please order you a copy of Wednesday Weeks!

There’s book 1, Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows (CBCA Notable Book and shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Book Awards!)…

Book 2, Wednesday Weeks and the Crown of Destiny (complete with sassy faeries, podiatrist trolls and deadly fungi and fun guy)…and

Book 3, Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire (if you love runaway pizza train rides through a live volcano…well, let’s just say this is the book for you ;-))

Thanks again Elena for the awesome photos! There was laughter, there was tears (and not just on stage), there were crowds of toilet paper enthusiasts and vortex cannon fans. Plus a rude skull, DIY worms, Alfie Junior the robot and more. It was so much fun! Live event book launches are just the best!!! THANK YOU booksellers, librarians, readers, teachers, parents and book lovers everywhere for all the love our Wednesday Weeks series is receiving. We love you!


Leave a comment

Videos, resources, competitions, Opera House, Science Week and more!

Wednesday Weeks co-author Denis Knight and I have been super-busy making a bunch of fun Wednesday Weeks resources for National Science Week!

Teaching notes and STEM activities

You’ll find more information, including teaching notes and a 13 pages of STEM activities to try at home or in class, at our dedicated Wednesday Weeks page.

Science videos, blog posts and more

If you want more Denis-and-Cristy on your screens or to share with your students, check out our fun-and-funny science videos and activities.

FREE Sydney Opera House digital learning session

For the rest of the year, you can watch Denis and I working with Rad Yeo at the Sydney Opera House in this 30 minute video for National Science Week. To access the show, simply register here.  

Cristy’s mailing list competition

And in a bonus competition: Subscribe to my Not-Very-Often Newsletter and post online with #WednesdayWeeks you could also win a cooool pair of Wednesday Weeks earrings or a signed copy of Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire!

And don’t forget… You can win the ultimate Wednesday Weeks prize pack

Individual Prizes – 5 lucky winners will receive:

·         A copy of Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire by Denis Knight and Cristy Burne

·         A signed bookplate

·         A Wednesday Weeks fridge magnet

·         Exclusive access to a deleted scene from the Wednesday Weeks series

·         A personalised video message from Denis & Cristy

Class Prize – 1 lucky winner will receive:

·         A class set of 35 copies of Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire by Denis Knight and Cristy Burne

·         35 signed bookplates

·         35 Wednesday Weeks fridge magnets

·         Exclusive access to a deleted scene from the Wednesday Weeks series

·         An online class visit from Denis & Cristy

Enter if you dare…

If you’d like to enter to win one of these AMAZING prize packs, show us how you or your class are the ultimate Wednesday Weeks fans! Get creative, put your thinking caps on and express your love for Wednesday Weeks.

Some ideas for how you can show that you are the ultimate Wednesday Weeks fan:

·         Create fanart of your favourite character or scene

·         Make a Wednesday Weeks character out of LEGO

·         Write fanfiction inspired by Wednesday Weeks

·         Write a short essay

·         Write a poem

·         Program a robot

·         Draw your own maze

·         Write a coded message

Spread the Wednesday Weeks love and share your entry on social media with #WednesdayWeeks! We’d love to see your entries!


Leave a comment

Win the ULTIMATE Wednesday Weeks prize pack!

Get creative and enter below for your chance to win one of the following prizes!

If you’d like to enter to win one of these AMAZING prize packs, show us how you or your class are the ultimate Wednesday Weeks fans! Get creative, put your thinking caps on and express your love for Wednesday Weeks.

Enter if you dare…

Some ideas for how you can show that you are the ultimate Wednesday Weeks fan:

– Create fanart of your favourite character or scene

– Make a Wednesday Weeks character out of LEGO

– Write fanfiction inspired by Wednesday Weeks

– Write a short essay

– Write a poem

– Program a robot

– Draw your own maze

– Write a coded message

Individual Prizes

5 lucky winners will receive:

– A copy of Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire by Denis Knight and Cristy Burne

– A signed bookplate

– A Wednesday Weeks fridge magnet

– Exclusive access to a deleted scene from the Wednesday Weeks series

– A personalised video message from Denis & Cristy

Class Prize

1 lucky winner will receive:

– A class set of 35 copies of Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire by Denis Knight and Cristy Burne

– 35 Wednesday Weeks fridge magnets

– 35 signed bookplates

– Exclusive access to a deleted scene from the Wednesday Weeks series

– An online class visit from Denis & Cristy

Spread the love!

Love Wednesday Weeks? Spread the Wednesday Weeks love and share your entry on social media with #wednesdayweeks

Enter here

Open to Australian residents only. Competition closes 11.59pm AEST 24th September 2022.

And don’t forget: If you’re a Not-Very-Often News subscriber (my not-very-often newsletter) and post online with #WednesdayWeeks you could also win a cooool pair of Wednesday Weeks earrings!


Leave a comment

Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire by Cristy Burne and Denis Knight

PullUpBannerWednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire is OUT!!!! I’m so excited and nervous and relieved.

It was a huge effort by myself and gallant co-author Denis Knight, and I’m so happy with the result 😍😁😅

And it TOTALLY makes my day to see reviews like this one:

THANK YOU SO MUCH ASHLEIGH!!!

(And don’t forget: if you’ve joined my mailing list and then post something this term with the hashtag #WednesdayWeeks then you’re in the running to win copies of Dungeon of Fire, or your very own Bruce-and-Alfie-Junior earrings!!!! Wooooo!!!!)

The Book Muse

Title: Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire

A brown boy with a sword, a tiny robot, a girl with a blue hair streak, and an old man in roves with a staff run away from lava. Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire by Denis Knight and Cristy Burne,

Author: Cristy Burne and Denis Knight

Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism

Publisher: Lothian/Hachette

Published: 27th July 2022

Format: Paperback

Pages: 290

Price: $16.99

Synopsis: Gorgomoth the Unclean is back and he’s up to no good, of course. Can Wednesday and the gang beat Gorgomoth to the long-lost Stone of Power, or will the world be plunged into Never-Ending Darkness?

Just when it seems like Wednesday and Alfie might finally be free to get on with their lives without Gorgomoth ruining everything, the Unclean one rears his ugly head again.

This time Gorgomoth is on the trail of the long-lost Stone of Power, which he will be able to use to rule the nine realms and bring about the Third Age of Never-Ending Darkness.

Now Wednesday and the gang must beat Gorgomoth to the stone and pass three trials to see who is…

View original post 774 more words


2 Comments

Brisbane Writer’s Festival fun (and WA Premier’s Book Awards!)

I’m back from the Brisbane Writer’s Festival and it was so much fun I just had to post!

And, while I was in Brissy, I heard the news that Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows has been shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Book Awards! Molten!!!

And don’t forget: if you love tomato sauce, unfriendly cats, pizza trains and Bruce, you can pre-order your copy of Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire NOW!

Thanks so much to all my readers and supporters and to all the volunteers and organisers and to everyone who reads and who reads to their kids. You are all legends!


2 Comments

What Wednesday Weeks is that?

Buckle up for a whole heap of #WednesdayWeeks news!

1) Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows is a CBCA Notable Book for 2022. Yay!

2) Wednesday Weeks and the Crown of Destiny could be even faster and funnier than Tower of Shadows (!?! is that even possible!?!?!), according to a highly scientific survey of random people and anecdotal feedback from early readers.

3) Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire has a cover!! Co-author extraordinaire Denis Knight and I revealed it live on-stage using toilet paper and matching leaf blowers as part of CBCA WA’s A Night With Our Stars 2022. Yeeeha! Photos below!

You can pre-order your copy of Wednesday Weeks and the Dungeon of Fire NOW!

4) And as if all this awesome news wasn’t enough, @coffeebooksandmagic posted a super-lovely totally-gets-it review of Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows this week….and it makes me glow all over. Thank you to everyone to reviews children’s books and shares the love.

“This book is a non-stop middle grade fantasy joyride from start to finish. It’s like Percy Jackson meets Indiana Jones but with STEM. It’s like a kid’s coding app and an escape room had a baby and that baby was a book…

The first person narrative voice of Year 6er Wednesday is zippy, fun and irreverent, and a great sense of wry humour pervades the storytelling. Madcap, imaginative and amusing situations abound, and the friendships carry just the right amount of depth for this type and level of story.

This is a book that is truly aimed at its target audience – i.e. 8-12 year olds – and I am so here for that.” 

COVER REVEAL!!!!

View the cover reveal video here.


Leave a comment

STEAM teaching ideas for your classroom

Time is precious. So if you just want the STEAM Teaching Ideas download, here it is.

Is it okay if I….?

Can I….?

What are we supposed to do…?

GAH!!!!

I work with thousands of students every year, and most of them are terrified of making a mistake. They think there’s only one answer: the correct answer.

But the world doesn’t work like that. Otherwise there’d be a perfect way to be a parent. And a correct way to be a teacher. And the right way to solve climate change. And guess what? There’s no right way, suckers.

Instead, we need to invent an imperfect way, try it out, learn from our mistakes, then try to improve.

That’s where creativity comes in.

Research shows that students who learn to think critically and creatively also engage better in the classroom. Creative kids = fewer issues with behaviour management AND more engaged learners.

But with so much squeezed into the curriculum and into our daily lives, it can seem like there’s no room for anything more.

Instead, we spend time training kids to memorise spelling and times-tables.

Is that the right answer?

Creativity is an essential skill for the future.

Science is just curiosity by a different name. Science is being allowed to try and fail, then try again.

Science is setting out to answer a question, enquiry-based learning, imagination, creativity, resilience, teamwork, making something out of nothing. Basically, it’s totally awesome.

A *huge* part of STEAM education — and science — is giving students the space to engage. Loosening the reins, allowing mistakes to occur, setting kids off on a guided adventure where the destination may not be one you’ve ever been to. This requires courage and trust and the support of those around you.

Because STEAM education isn’t about churning out perfect.

It’s about learning. And learning how to learn.

I’m not an expert in STEAM education. I’m still learning, every day, every workshop, every student. I’ve spent 20 years as a science communicator, which is all about providing students with opportunities to be curious. And I’ve spent the last three years team-teaching in schools across Perth as part of the Creative Schools program, which is all about teaching creative habits of mind.

And I want to learn more!

If you’re experimenting with STEAM in your classroom, I’d love to hear from you.

If you want to dip your toe into some practical ideas for trying STEAM in your classroom, I’m presenting an online STEAM education PD as part of the Brisbane Writers Festival.

If you want a list of brainstormed ideas for STEAM projects that link to my books, you can download it here.

And for more teaching and creativity resources from the Creative Schools program, check here.