Cristy Burne – AUTHOR AND STEM CREATIVE

story, science, technology and creativity


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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!


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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.


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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.


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Blasting into 2022!

Hey team!

I’m writing this in the second week of school and my creative juices are ALIVE! I just love summer holidays: they’re such a great time to rest and think and refuel the body and soul. And I also love going back to school. Because kids and learning and doing are what it’s all about.

If you’re in to doing this month, there are loads of things to get involved in:

Perth Writers Festival

The 2022 Writers Weekend is on this year under the glorious trees of the Fremantle Arts Centre. There’s more information online, but what you most need to know is I’ll be there to work with you on telling a STEM-inspired creative story from 10:30am-10:55am for Family Day on 27 Feb! Free event.

StoryLab

If you’re a kid who loves making stuff with words – and you’re also curious about your world and science and STEM, then get on board for Term 2 of StoryLab! I’ll be your host and we’ll have a heap of fun writing with other keen writers. Bookings here.

WAYRBA voting

I’m *so stoked* to see OFF THE TRACK is shortlisted for a WA Young Readers Book Award. If you’re a kid and you live in WA then you can vote for your favourite books here. And remember: a vote for OFF THE TRACK is a vote for chocolate and icecream and adventures 😉

A Night With Our Stars

One for the adults-only crowd. ANWOS22 is on again and it’s always a sparkling highlight of the CBCA WA social calendar. There are laughs, there are book discounts (20% off if you pre-order through WestBooks) and there’s loads of opportunity to catch up with friends. I love it! Tickets sell fast and you can grab your ticket here.

The Lit Centre

Don’t miss out on this year’s Year 6 Young Writer’s Collective at the Lit Centre. I’ll be taking the Term 1 sessions and it’s going to be awesome! Find out more and secure your spot here.

Make stuff

If you get a quiet moment, check out these TO THE LIGHTHOUSE activity ideas. Maybe you’d like to write a diary from the perspective of a lighthouse keeper. Or you’re keen to design your own high-tech roller-coaster secret-tunnels all-in-one lighthouse? There are loads of ideas to check out.

Have fun!

This year is going to be a doozy! Remember to make time to laugh and create and catch up with your friends. And if there’s no time, just go for a five-minute walk. How beautiful is the great outdoors!?!?


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Free curriculum-linked TO THE LIGHTHOUSE activity booklet

Are you keen to teach To The Lighthouse in the classroom?

Perhaps you want to explore Isaac and Emmy’s story more deeply?

Or are you looking for curriculum-linked activity ideas that explore literacy, technology, arts, maths, HASS, sustainability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture?

You’ve come to the right place!

You can download the free 27-page To The Lighthouse activity booklet here.

There are also curriculum-linked teaching notes for To The Lighthouse here.

About To the Lighthouse
SHORTLISTED 2019 West Australian Young Readers Book Award
By Cristy Burne
Illustrations by Amanda Burnett
Published by Fremantle Press
 
ISBN (PB): 9781925164619
Year level: Y3–6

CROSS-CURRICULUM PRIORITIES:
– Sustainability
– Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

AUSTRALIAN CURRICULUM OUTCOMES:
Y3–6 English Y3–6 History/Geography Y3–6 Biological Science

THEMES
• Family
• Friendship
• Adventure
• Honesty
• Forgiveness

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK

‘Burne channels the restless energy of a pre-teen chafing at parental restrictions, and the thrill of pushing against the rules, even in small ways. She captures the essence of holidays, with hot chips at the beach and long bike rides. [Four stars]’ Books+Publishing

‘The illustrations were so cool because they were detailed. I liked that the author used sounds to describe the setting and the feel, not just saying what it was and used very descriptive words.’ Bailey, age 10, YARR-A

‘This is a terrific little junior novel: well-written, with just the right balance of naughtiness and retribution.’ Readings Monthly

‘Burne’s writing is lively and energetic and she has a gift for bringing characters and setting vividly to life on the page.’ Buzz Words

‘Cristy Burne has an easy-to-read writing style and students will enjoy her touches of humour interspersed throughout the novel … Highly recommended.’ Magpies

‘It is a wonderful read for both boys and girls … It is about adventure, fun, and making friends, whilst also being a very real lesson in trust and telling the truth.’ Lamont Books


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Signed books for Christmas

I’m excited to be teaming up with the fabulous people at Paper Bird Children’s Books and Arts to offer *personalised signed copies* (woo hoo!) of my books in time for Christmas.

Because the only thing more delicious than snuggling up with a good book is snuggling up with a good book especially signed for you by the person who wrote it. And signed by the gorgeous person who gifted it…that’s YOU. And knowing that you’re supporting a brilliant community-driven family-run book store at the same time. ❤️❤️❤️

To order, simply contact Paper Bird and let them know which books you’d like to gift (and what messages you’d like me to write); you can also shop Paper Bird online right now for the titles you crave (and email me to let me know about messages).

There’s just one catch: Australia Post! If you want your special packages under the tree in time, you need to:

  1. Order by December 3 [For WA peeps]
  2. Order by November 19 [For non-West Australians]

Postage is about $8.50ish (and pick up instore is also available for a long time only at the special price of Absolutely Free).

Thank you so much for your support — and here’s wishing us all a fantastic Christmas and lucky 2022!


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Publication is go! Wednesday Weeks and the Crown of Destiny is out now!

HOORAY!!!!!

Wednesday Weeks and the Crown of Destiny is out now! Do what you need to do to get a copy of this fast-and-funny fantasy adventure into your house ASAP 🙂 There are laughs! There is mystery! There’s a giant pinball machine! A deadly fungus! A ludicrous bad guy with body odour and a poor understanding of Occupational Health and Safety! And, of course, Bruce the talking skull. Alfie Junior the fantabulous robot. And our brilliant heroes, Wednesday and Alfie.

Thanks to everyone at Hachette ANZ, and to my fabulous co-author Denis Knight, for taking me on the Wednesday Weeks journey…I’m loving it! (Even the slugs!)(Especially the slugs!)(Who doesn’t love slugs?)

Thanks to everyone who has read Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows! It’s so wonderful to have your support and to know that you’re loving being part of Wednesday’s world! If you see Wednesday in the wild, or want to share your thoughts or ideas or photos or reviews, please do get in touch and let us know what you think.

THANK YOU!!!


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Book Week, York Festival, Maritime Museum workshops, Australian Reading Hour, Wednesday Weeks 2, and more…

Happy CBCA Book Week! I’m lucky enough to be working with schools and libraries all month, and I’m having a ball!

And beyond Book Week? So much is happening! The publication of Wednesday Weeks and the Crown of Destiny (Wednesday Sept 1); Australian Reading Hour (Tuesday September 14); the inaugural York Festival Writers Program (Saturday October 2); Awesome Festival, school holiday workshops at the WA Maritime Museum (October school holidays) … and more!

WEDNESDAY WEEKS AND THE CROWN OF DESTINY: Out Wednesday September 1

This is a hoot of a book – loads of laughs and adventure and escapism.

Early reviews are in (from my kids) and they’re awesome:

“I read in one sitting!”

and

“I read all the way to the end!”

Sensational! Available now for pre-order from all good bookstores.

YORK FESTIVAL WRITERS DAY: Saturday October 2

Head to York for a day trip or book a fun weekend getaway to celebrate the York Festival’s first-ever Writer’s Day! I’ll be there along with other awesome writers and children’s authors (including Norm Jorgensen and Katie Stewart!). The whole festival runs Sept 25 to October 10. Read more about the festival here or for more details and to book, visit yorkfestival.com.au

AWESOME FESTIVAL: September 28 to October 2

Awesome Festival is on again! Check out the full program here or come and see me to chat all things Beneath The Trees on Thursday September 30 from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

Science, nature and creativity often go hand in hand. This session will be sure to give you the best of all worlds, and the ability to turn anything you’ve learnt or are yet to learn into something creative and fun. Come along as local WA Author Cristy Burne talks about her new book Beneath the Trees, a squishy, slime filled look at what is means to be responsible while lost in a rainforest. Tickets here.

AUSTRALIAN READING HOUR: Tuesday September 14

Let’s get all of Australia reading on 14 September 2021! I’m so proud to be an Australia Reads Reading Ambassador! There are events happening in schools, libraries and bookshops across Australia, in person and online. To find out more or to host your own event, check out the Australia Reads website.

#Australiareads #Storiesthatmatter #Morebooksmoreoften #Australianreadinghour

SCHOOL HOLIDAY WORKSHOPS: October school holidays

A poster featuring a LEGO ship sailing on the ocean

I’m super-excited to be working with the WA Maritime Museum education team to deliver school holiday workshops that celebrate their brand-new exhibition Brickwrecks: Sunken Ship in LEGO® Bricks. Love inventing stories, diving into history, and imagining real-life shipwrecks, survival and science? These workshops will be your perfect escape to explore, write and create these School Holidays! These are day-long workshops and they come in two flavours:

Story Detectives – Creative Writing Workshops

Ages 9-11 years
Wednesday 6 October 2021 | 8.30am – 4.30pm
Thursday 7 October 2021 | 8.30am – 4.30pm
Thursday 13 January 2022 | 8.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $120 per participant (full day)
BOOK YOUR SPOT

LEGO Tales – Story and Animation Workshops delivered in collaboration with LEGO® Ambassador John Geijsman

Ages 9-11 years
Tuesday 5 October 2021 | 8.30am – 4.30pm
Wednesday 12 January 2022 | 8.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $120 per participant (full day)
BOOK YOUR SPOT

AT-HOME SCIENCE DEMO FUN: National Science Week

To celebrate National Science Week I recently worked with Emma Marie Horn to produce a series of fun science demonstrations you can try at home. Check them out here.

BUCKLE UP, CHUCKLEHEADS: I can’t believe Book 2 is nearly here! Bye for now and thank you for being part of the fun!


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CBCA Children’s Book Week costume ideas

It’s that Book Week time of year! If you’re looking for costume ideas, or you’re keen to dress up as a book character from an Australian book, or (like me) you’d love suggestions for an awesome-but-also-quick-and-easy costume idea, check out these…

You can:

– adopt the sass of Wednesday Weeks and dye a streak of hair

– take the weather-friendly option and dress in a yellow raincoat like Cam or Sophie from Beneath the Trees

– choose method acting and dress as Harry from Off The Track (complete with grumpy attitude)

– embrace Take Your Skull To School Day and escort Bruce from Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows

– choose the Covid-friendly book week costume and include a face mask when you dress as Fiona Wood and celebrate one of our most awesome Aussie STEM Stars.

Whatever costume you choose to wear, I hope you have a whole heap of FUN dressing up as your favourite children’s book character! And a huge thanks to the Children’s Book Council of Australia for being such huge supporters of Children’s Book Week every year!


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All the things!

It has been a crazy-busy time with loads of fun news!

SHORTLISTING! CONGRATULATIONS TO FIONA WOOD AND THE WHOLE TEAM!

My biography of Dr Fiona Wood, part of the Aussie STEM Stars series, has been shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards. YAY!

These awards aim to promote quality Australian books that help children get the best, most literate start in life. Each book is judged on its appeal to children, interactive quality and ability to assist speech pathologists and parents in communication and literacy development.

Huge congratulations to Fiona Wood for her courage and determination, and to Wild Dingo Press for their vision in publishing the Aussie STEM Stars series, and to the Fiona Wood Foundation for their ongoing contribution towards making tomorrow better. I am so proud of this book and so thrilled to see Fiona’s story honoured like this. Fiona’s story is incredible and uplifting and an inspiring read for anyone aged 10+ (..including adults! 😜)

WEDNESDAY WEEKS AND THE CROWN OF DESTINY: AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

We have an official cover for Wednesday Weeks and the Crown of Destiny, which is out September 1, just five weeks away!!!!

Like Book 1, this is an adventure stuffed full of cool fantasy settings, funny jokes and full-throttle adventure. There’s a giant pinball machine of doom, a floating fortress, killer fungus, troll podiatry and more.

You can pre-order your copy now from all good book stores.

And check out these awesome reviews for Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows:

‘Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows is full of peculiar creatures and charismatic adversaries in strange realms, and yes, magic! … This is a science book for budding fantasy fans and a fantasy book for young science wizzes but ultimately the good humour, relatable characters and colourful plot makes it a fun read for everyone.’ 

– Lee Constable, TV & Online Presenter⁠

‘This is another great book that celebrates friendship. It celebrates difference and allows kids to see themselves in Alfie and Wednesday – in a variety of ways that celebrates what makes us different and special and shows that it is wonderful when it is our interests, rather than physical similarities, that unite us and bring us together…a story that uses tropes and themes common in fantasy, but takes a wonderfully new and inventive stance on the fantasy novel. A wonderful start to a new series!’

– Ashleigh Meikle, Book Blogger

PODCASTS AHOY!

If you want to listen to me talk about writing and reading and creating and messing about, I’ve been lucky enough to be interviewed on several awesome podcasts recently. If you feel like a dose of Cristy Burne in your living room, check out:

1) me and the amazing Allison Tait chatting on the super-helpful podcast So You Want To Be A Writer;

2) me and Wednesday Weeks co-author Denis Knight chatting with kid-podcaster extraordinaire Red Loosey for the Scribbler’s Festival podcasts;

3) me and Denis chatting with the Mama Mia team about raising science kids vs arts kids (and is that even a thing??) on This Glorious Mess podcast; and

4) me and Denis chatting with superstar Dani Vee about co-authoring, pancakes and joy on the always-interesting and inspiring Words and Nerds podcast.

HANG OUT IN PERSON!

This next month or so I’ll be out and about at schools and libraries and I really hope to see you at one of these events.

If I’m not visiting your school, let’s hang out anyway! Want to spend some time playing with science, then channel that fun into your creative writing? Sign up for this fun-and-free after-school workshop at Thornlie Library… Suitable for kids aged 8+Wed, August 25, 2021; 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM AWST.

SCRIBBLERS FESTIVAL!

Scribblers Festival was totally awesome! Thanks to everyone who came along and who contributed to making it so much fun!!! (And thanks to Sundae Studio for the cool shot!)

COVERGIRL!

At last, my lifelong ambition to be featured as a covergirl has come true! 😉

But seriously, what a cool honour (and wild surprise!) to find myself on the front cover of the Professional Journal of the WA School Library Association for July 2021.

Thanks so much to the WASLA team for featuring my article 🙂 It’s all about why we get out of bed in the morning…(and only some of it is about coffee, I promise ;-)).

Instead, it’s about how lucky we are to have the opportunity to make such a huge difference in the lives of the children we work with.

I feel incredibly lucky to be working in a job I love, surrounded by people who are awesome, writing about things that make me laugh and give me hope.

I hope you have a fantastic National Science Week and Children’s Book Week (costume hint: if you go as Wednesday Weeks with a streak in your hair, please send photos!).

Hooray for children’s literature! (And hooray for coffee too :-))