story, science, technology and creativity

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What kids can do with glue and haiku

To Hedland I flew,

Friends and words mixed with red dirt

We wrote glue-haiku.

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I was lucky enough to spend a chunk of last week in Port Hedland visiting school kids and making poems at the West End Markets with Scribbler’s Fest and FORM WA. It was SUPER fun!

Not all the poetry the kids made was haiku. Some was freeform, some was prose.

All of it was thought-provoking and fascinating and fun. And lots of it made me laugh!

I had an absolute ball. I’m now Officially In Love with Hedland and the Pilbara.

The Port Hedland coffee was amazing, the cafe food fabulous, the landscape spectacular and the company an absolute hoot.

Thanks to the whole FORM team for making me feel so welcome and making me laugh. Especial thanks to Jeanine from the Port Hedland Visitors Centre for stocking gorgeous teapots, and to Deb for the courage to buy such a special teapot All For Myself.

And huge thanks to Maria for making it all happen….together we conquered airline food, invisible crocodiles, and even Putting Petrol Into A Hire Car. From here, I really don’t think anything can stop us.

Now, Children’s Book Week!

It’s here and it’s huge and… YAY!

Stories rock my world.







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Tales from Telling Tales in Balingup

I’m just back from the most fabulous weekend in the gorgeous town of Balingup. We had stunning weather for this year’s Telling Tales in Balingup Festival, and that was just icing on the cake for a super weekend.

Hundreds of people turned out for writing and illustration workshops, meet-the-author sessions, parades, pantomimes, gourmet pies, great coffee, loads of laughs, kite-making, book-reading and more. I ADORED IT!

Thank you to everyone who shared their ideas and read their work and chatted and laughed and bought my books. I appreciate it! Thanks to Timber Top Cottages for a log fire and stunning forest views. And special hats-off to the organising committee. You pulled together an A+ weekend of fun and literature and children’s books and lovely people. You rock!!


I got to be a sous chef for giggle-a-line children’s poet Chris Owen. I sat in on the most hilarious, poignant and floss-worthy author talk c/o multi-talented author Deb Fitzpatrick. I drank matcha latte with an incognito mouse. I shared a meal with my gorgeous cousin and her equally gorgeous family. I was blown away by kids’ ideas, stories and writing.

Also, I took a selfie with some chickens.

And I laughed a lot. Thanks to everyone who made it great! Thank you Balingup!

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Singapore Writers Festival: Words Go Round

Singapore Words Go Round logoYay! The programme for the Singapore Writers Festival Words Go Round school program is up. It’s happening in late February, early March 2013, and some awesome writers from all around the world will be there (including me :-))

Kate McCaffrey

Kate McCaffrey, looking anything but angsty. 🙂

Also attending from Australia is the fabulous YA mistress-of-angst Kate McCaffrey, who will also be giving the opening address at an incredible day-long public event: the WGR Literary Open House, a day dedicated to young writers and readers. If you’re in Singapore on March 2 2013, be there! It’s going to be huge.

I’m offering a couple of sessions for kids in Grades P4-6:

From vampires and zombies to bean-shakers and talking umbrellas, the world’s mythical creatures have inspired generations of authors. Join Cristy Burne, author of the Takeshita Demons series, in a lively discussion of Japan’s monsters, how to survive them, and what they can teach us about history, culture and the human condition.

Have you ever rung an old bell, then imagined who might have rung it before you? Or perhaps you’ve read an old postcard, then felt the ghost of its writer beside you? Some objects seem to carry their own history, and in this creative writing workshop, we open a window into their past. Students interact with ancient and peculiar artefacts, combining history with fantasy to write their own exciting stories.

Fergus helps me research some science…He also loves dinosaurs, dolphins and How Things Work by Richard Scarry 🙂

TWO BITES OF THE APPLE: Combining science and literacy in the classroom
There’s also a programme for teachers, in which I’ll be presenting a hands-on professional development workshop on combining science and literacy in the classroom.

I call it Two Bites of the Apple, since I’m hoping to explore ways in which we can tick science learning objectives along with English learning objectives in the same lesson.

And why not? Some of the world’s best scientists are also great communicators, and science is a language that unites us all.  A couple of quotes that get right to the heart of it:

Science immerses children in content that is so interesting and important to them that they want to learn about it, which motivates them to read.” Dr John T. Guthrie, University of Maryland, Literacy Research Center.

“Not only is reading critical to the learning of science, science is critical to the learning of reading.” Dr Rowena Douglas, National Science Teachers Association, Canada.

What do you think? Sounds fun? I think so and I can’t wait 🙂 🙂