David Mackintosh, author of Lucky, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

David Mackintosh

author of Lucky, Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School and more

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Belfast NI, but left there before I was one year old. I grew up in Brisbane, and went to Griffith University to do a bachelor of visual arts. I didn’t return to Belfast until I was 25.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Twelve: I wanted to be a porter in a big hotel, carrying people’s suitcases to their room. I liked the idea of being useful, and I like hotels because they are self-contained worlds where people act differently.

Eighteen: I still wanted to be a porter in a big hotel. But I decided I’d also like to be an engineer, so I went to night school and got a job in a drawing office during the day.
Thirty: I wanted to continue illustrating and designing so I could do some more travelling.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That I’d always have beautiful long hair.

Author David Mackintosh

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Grimble by Clement Freud / A Boy Named Sue written by Shel Silverstein / Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens.

It’s hard to isolate all the things that one is influenced by, but I do like these three. A common thread is the determined individual. Grimble was the funniest book ever and I wish I was him. I loved the mood of the boy named Sue forever searching for the man who gave him that awful name, and the Devil getting up to no good at nightfall when everyone else is being righteous always made me feel good.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I don’t think there were many artistic avenues open to me because I can’t paint, play an instrument well or act. I can draw well enough to tell a story in pictures and that’s good for me. Growing up I looked at a lot of illustrated texts: comics, comic strip annuals, newspaper editorial illustrations, New Yorker magazine panel cartoons, Popular Mechanics magazines and much more. I have always been hooked on words and pictures, and I’m naturally drawn to them. My favourite was American MAD Magazines which I collected for years before they began publishing a local version which was just awful. I may not have understood the humour so well as a little kid, but the editorial tone was evident and the relationship between the pictures and words always fascinated me. I wanted to become a cartoonist and sit at a desk in an office building drawing and inking cartoons. Writing books was a natural progression.

 

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Lucky is a picture book about a boy who misinterprets something his mother says and has his unrealistic expectations dashed as a result. In the process, he finds that he has other reasons to feel lucky. It’s seen from the perspective of the boy and his little brother Leo, who is the eternal optimist and the one who plants the seeds of his downfall, be it accidentally. The cover has a pineapple on the front cover which is a symbol of good fortune in China apparently. However, I didn’t know that when I did my book and the pineapple is included for a plot reason. So I see this as extra lucky.

Grab a copy of Lucky here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I don’t expect anything from the reader other than the time it may take them to read the book and look at the pictures. That’s enough for me. What they make of it is for them to decide, but I suppose I hope they can appreciate someone’s point of view, and enjoy the humour.

where-the-sidewalk-ends8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Here are just some: Joseph Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Shel Silverstein, Peter Carey, Lauren Child, and Mark Hellinger. After reading/listening to them they make me want to have a go at writing something too.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To do one picture book per year for as long as I am able.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Just sit down and write something and don’t be afraid to make mistakes and to put them right again.

David, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Lucky here

Lincoln Peirce, author of the Big Nate series, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Lincoln Peirce

author of Big Nate in the Zone, the Big Nate series and more

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Ames, Iowa, but by the time I was six months old my family had moved to Durham, New Hampshire. So I consider Durham my hometown – that’s where I lived until I went off to college at age 17. I attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where I studied art and art history. Then I moved to New York City, and I earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Drawing & Painting from Brooklyn College.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

I decided in third grade that I wanted to be a cartoonist like my hero, Charles Schulz of “Peanuts” fame. I loved all types of comics, but newspaper comic strips were my favourite. I’d read a quote from Schulz that went something like this: to be a cartoonist, yeu need to be a good writer, not a great writer, and a good artist, not a great artist. I thought that sounded like me, and I spent a lot of time creating my own comics as I grew up. So at 12 and 18, my goal was exactly the same: to create my own nationally syndicated comic strip. By age 26, I’d reached my goal.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

It’s not easy to remember just how I looked at the world when I was eighteen; that was 32 years ago. But I’m sure I was like a lot of young people who have some growing up to do: I thought the very small part of the world I inhabited was

lincoln

Author Lincoln Pierce

the most important part, and I believed my own life was more significant than it really was.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

There’s no doubt the single biggest influence on me as a writer and a cartoonist has been Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts.” I read it obsessively as a child, and I absorbed the rhythm of writing dialogue to fit neatly into four little panels. I loved many other comic strips as well, especially great ones from the past like “Krazy Kat,” “Polly And Her Pals,” “Thimble Theater starring Popeye,” “Li’l Abner,” and “Pogo,” to name a few. But “Peanuts” was my Rosetta Stone.

I would also point to Charlotte’s Web, written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams, as a hugely inspiring work of art. I think it is the most perfect marriage of text and artwork in all of children’s literature. It also felt personally significant to me because it painted a picture of a world I recognized. It’s a farm story, and I come from a farm family. My mother grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York, and during my teenage years, I worked on a farm after school and on weekends.

Last but not least is a book I first read as a sixth or seventh grader, and have read many times since: Banner In The Sky, by James Ramsey Ullman. It’s a mountain climbing story, and a quite old-fashioned one. I’m not sure how many children nowadays would be interested in it. But I was fascinated. The book, which takes place in Switzerland in the 1860’s, tells the story of Rudi Matt, a young man who dreams of being the first climber to reach the summit of the Citadel, the mountain on which his father was killed. He fails to make it to the top himself, but Rudi’s selflessness and courage save the life of a rival climber and enable his friends to summit the mountain. The message of the book – that a mountain guide must put the safety of his colleagues ahead of his own aspirations – was one that made a major impression on me.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I didn’t really choose to write a novel. I’d been writing and drawing my comic strip, “Big Nate,” for about 18 years. It appeared in a couple hundred newspapers and, although I certainly wasn’t getting rich, I was managing to eke out a living as a professional cartoonist. Then along came the opportunity to write “hybrid” books – novels featuring Big Nate that are a combination of text and comics.

I’d never written a book before, but I’d spent nearly two decades creating jokes and storylines for Nate and the other characters from the comic strip. So I was reasonably confident that if I could write a good story that lasted four panels, I could also write one that lasted a couple hundred pages. And as things turned out, I’ve really enjoyed it. There are things you can do in a novel that you’d never be able to do in a four-panel comic strip. The possibilities are nearly endless.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Big Nate In The Zone is the sixth book in the series, and it focuses on Nate’s shifting fortunes. He has a string of incredibly bad luck (including an embarrassing moment involving his band, Enslave The Mollusk), followed by an improbable run of GOOD luck.

A few supporting characters play major roles: Artur, Nate’s friendly rival; Chad, his sidekick whose crush on a classmate could lead to heartache; and Marcus, an alpha male with whom Nate makes a potentially costly wager.

Grab a copy of Big Nate in the Zone here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

My goal is always the same: to create books that children will think are fun to read.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Some of my favourite writers are cartoonists and/or graphic novelists. Ben Katchor, in his long-form comic strip “Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer,” has created a world that is simultaneously familiar and bizarre. Chris Ware writes and draws about the inner lives of lonely, often desperate people, and his innovations in the world of sequential narrative have been ground-breaking. His most recent project, “Building Stories,” is a masterpiece.

I also love reading non-fiction, particularly American history. Some of my favourites over the years have been Robert Caro’s The Power Broker, Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, and David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers and Thank You For Your Service. There are also two writers whose work I always admire in newspapers and magazines: Elizabeth Kolbert and James Carroll.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

thank-you-for-your-service

Click here to grab a copy

I’m fortunate enough to have achieved my childhood dream of seeing my comic strip syndicated. Beyond that, the only goals I have concern the health and happiness of my family and friends.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

It’s usually aspiring cartoonists, rather than aspiring writers, who seek me out for advice. Young cartoonists are often over-focused on the importance of artwork in comics. My own opinion is that being a good writer is a far more important skill than being able to draw well. A great-looking comic book with beautiful illustrations will fall flat if the story isn’t engaging. But if a story has memorable characters and crisp dialogue, even stick-figure drawings might suffice. So I always advise people to make sure they write every single day. Writing is really no different than playing a musical instrument: you improve with practice.

Lincoln, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Big Nate in the Zone here

Happy Star Wars Day – May the Fourth Be With You!

For the uninitiated,  May the Fourth is International Star Wars Day.

The pun, largely credited as the greatest pun of all time, was first used in 1979 when Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party placed an advertisement in the London Evening News after her election win that stated “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations,”

May 4th wasn’t observed as a holiday, however, until a group in Toronto, Canada organized a celebration in 2011. The event has gained traction every year since then and last year Disney celebrated the holiday with several Star Wars festivities and more.

To celebrate Star Wars Day we’re discounting our Lego Star Wars books by 30% or more!

It’s what the galaxy, however long ago and far far away, would have wanted.

Click here to see our Star Wars Lego range

 

ABIA 2014 Book Awards shortlists announced

The 14th Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) shortlists were announced this morning in Sydney, with a raft of new categories and a host of wonderful writers and books.

The inaugural International Book of the Year award contains Man Booker winner Eleanor Catton and Pulitzer Prize winner Donna Tartt, while the hotly contested Literary Fiction Book of the Year has some extraordinary authors jostling for the gong with Tim Winton and Hannah Kent joined by favourite for the Miles Franklin Award Richard Flanagan.

If any of these books have passed you by, you still have time to be your own judge, with the winners to be announced on Friday 23 May!


International Book of the Year


The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt, author of the phenomenal bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend, returns with a breathtaking new novel.

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph – a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.

Grab a copy of The Goldfinch here


And the Mountains Echoed
by Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed is a deeply moving new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another and how the choices we make resonate through history. A multi-generational family story revolving around brothers and sisters, it explores the ways in which they love, wound, betray, honour and sacrifice for each other.

With profound wisdom, depth, insight and compassion – and moving from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos – Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, the ways that we help our loved ones in need and how we are often surprised by the people closest to us.

Grab a copy of And the Mountains Echoed here


The Luminaries
by Eleanor Catton

The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction, which more than fulfils the promise of The Rehearsal. Like that novel, it is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device.

Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement for someone still in her mid-twenties, and will confirm for critics and readers that Eleanor Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

Grab a copy of The Luminaries here


Hard Luck: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
by Jeff Kinney

Jeff Kinney’s 8th book of this hilarious and highly successful series, and Greg Heffley and his friends now have a whole new set of adventures.

Greg Heffley’s on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance. Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg’s life destined to be just another hard-luck story?

Grab a copy of Hard Luck: Diary of a Wimpy Kid here


I Am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai

In 2009 Malala Yousafzai began writing an anonymous blog for BBC Urdu about life in the Swat Valley as the Taliban gained control, at times banning girls from attending school. When her identity was discovered, Malala began to appear in Pakistani and international media, campaigning for education for all. On 9 October 2012, Malala was shot at point-blank range by a member of the Taliban on the way home from school. Remarkably, she survived. In April 2013, Time magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

I Am Malala tells the inspiring story of a schoolgirl who was determined not to be intimidated by extremists, and faced the Taliban with immense courage. Malala speaks of her continuing campaign for every girl’s right to an education, shining a light into the lives of those children who cannot attend school. This is just the beginning…

Grab a copy of I Am Malala here


General Fiction Book of the Year


Elianne
by Judy Nunn

In 1881 ‘Big Jim’ Durham, an English soldier of fortune and profiteer, ruthlessly creates for Elianne Desmarais, his young French wife, the finest of the great sugar mills of the Southern Queensland cane fields, and names it in her honour.

The massive estate becomes a self-sufficient fortress, a cane-consuming monster and home to hundreds of workers, but ‘Elianne’ and its masters, the Durham Family, have dark and distant secrets; secrets that surface in the wildest and most inflammatory of times, the 1960s.

The workers leave the great sugar estates as mechanisation lessens the need for labour. And the Durham family, its secrets exposed, begins its fall from grace…

Grab a copy of Elianne here


Watching You
by Michael Robotham

Marnie Logan often feels like she’s being watched. Nothing she can quite put her finger on – a whisper of breath on the back of her neck, or a shadow in the corner of her eye – and now her life is frozen. Her husband Daniel has been missing for more than a year. Depressed and increasingly desperate, she seeks the help of clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin.

Joe is concerned by Marnie’s reluctance to talk about the past, but then she discovers a book packed with pictures, interviews with friends, former teachers, old flames and workmates Daniel was preparing for Marnie’s birthday. It was supposed to be a celebration of her life. But it’s not the story anyone was expecting…

Grab a copy of Watching You here


The Husband’s Secret
by Liane Moriarty

Cecilia Fitzpatrick, devoted mother, successful Tupperware business owner and efficient P&C President, has found a letter from her husband.

“For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick, to be opened only in the event of my death”

But Cecilia’s husband isn’t dead, he’s on a business trip. And when she questions him about it on the phone, Cecilia senses something she hasn’t experienced before. John-Paul is lying. What happens next changes Cecilia’s formerly blissful suburban existence forever, and the consequences will be life-changing for the most unexpected people.

Grab a copy of The Husband’s Secret here


The Tournament
by Matthew Reilly

The year is 1546. Europe lives in fear of the powerful Islamic empire to the East. Under its charismatic Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, it is an empire on the rise. It has defeated Christian fleets. It has conquered Christian cities. Then the Sultan sends out an invitation to every king in Europe: send forth your champion to compete in a tournament unlike any other.

We follow the English delegation, selected by King Henry VIII himself, to the glittering city of Constantinople, where the most amazing tournament ever staged will take place. But when the stakes are this high, not everyone plays fair, and for our team of plucky English heroes, winning may not be the primary goal.

As barbaric murders occur, a more immediate goal might simply be staying alive.

Grab a copy of The Tournament here


the-rosie-projectThe Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. Then a chance encounter gives him an idea. He will design a questionnaire—a sixteen-page, scientifically researched document—to find the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker or a late-arriver.

Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is strangely beguiling, fiery and intelligent. And she is also on a quest of her own. She’s looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might just be able to help her with—even if he does wear quick-dry clothes and eat lobster every single Tuesday night.

Grab a copy of The Rosie Project here


Literary Fiction Book of the Year


Barracuda
by Christos Tsiolkas

A searing and provocative novel by the acclaimed author of the international bestseller The Slap, Barracuda is an unflinching look at modern Australia, at our hopes and dreams, our friendships, and our families. It is about class and sport and politics and migration and education.

It contains everything a person is: family and friendship and love and work, the identities we inhabit and discard, the means by which we fill the holes at our centre. Barracuda is brutal, tender and blazingly brilliant; everything we have come to expect from this fearless vivisector of our lives and world.

Grab a copy of Barracuda here


Eyrie
by Tim Winton

Tom Keely’s reputation is in ruins. And that’s the upside.

Divorced and unemployed, he’s lost faith in everything precious to him. Holed up in a grim highrise, cultivating his newfound isolation, Keely looks down at a society from which he’s retired hurt and angry. He’s done fighting the good fight, and well past caring.

What follows is a heart-stopping, groundbreaking novel for our times – funny, confronting, exhilarating and haunting. Inhabited by unforgettable characters, Eyrie asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing.

Grab a copy of Eyrie here


The Night Guest
by Fiona McFarlane

One morning Ruth wakes thinking a tiger has been in her seaside house. Later that day a formidable woman called Frida arrives, looking as if she’s blown in from the sea. In fact she’s come to care for Ruth. Frida and the tiger: both are here to stay, and neither is what they seem. Which of them can Ruth trust? And as memories of her childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency, can she even trust herself?

The Night Guest is a mesmerising novel about love, dependence, and the fear that the things you know best can become the things you’re least certain about. It introduces a writer who comes to us fully formed, working wonders with language, renewing our faith in the power of fiction to tap the mysterious workings of our minds, and keeping us spellbound.

Grab a copy of The Night Guest here


Burial Rites
by Hannah Kent

In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait on the farm of District Officer Jón Jónsson and his family, who are horrified and avoid Agnes. Only Tóti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes’s spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her. As the summer months fall away to winter, Agnes’s story begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn’t she?

Based on a true story, Burial Rites is a deeply moving novel about freedom and the ways we will risk everything for love. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland’s formidable landscape, and asks: how can one woman endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

Grab a copy of Burial Rites here


The Narrow Road to the Deep North
by Richard Flanagan

A novel of the cruelty of war, and tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.

August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.

This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.

Grab a copy of The Narrow Road to the Deep North here


General Nonfiction Book of the Year

The Good Life by Hugh Mackay
Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia by David Hunt
On the Trail of Genghis Khan by Tim Cope
Stalking Julia Gillard by Kerry-Anne Walsh
Murder in Mississippi by John Safran


Illustrated Book of the Year

The Food of Vietnam by Luke Nguyen
The New Classics by Donna Hay
Love Italy by Guy Grossi
I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson
Gurrumul by Robert Hillman


Biography of the Year

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
Ponting: At the Close of Play by Ricky Ponting
Ned Kelly: The Story of Australia’s Most Notorious Legend by Peter FitzSimons
The Crossroad by Mark Donaldson
Madness: A Memoir by Kate Richards
Everything to Live For by Turia Pitt with Libby Harkness


Book of the Year for Younger Children (0 to 8 years)

The Very Brave Bear by Nick Bland
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan
The 39-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, illus by Terry Denton
Ruby Red Shoes Goes to Paris by Kate Knapp
Alphabetical Sydney by Hilary Bell & Antonia Pesenti
Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester


Book of the Year for Older Children (8 to 14 years)

The Kensington Reptilarium by NJ Gemmell
WeirDo by Anh Do
Alice-Miranda in Paris by Jacqueline Harvey
The Last Thirteen Book 1: 13 by James Phelan
Ranger’s Apprentice Book 12: The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan


Don’t forget to follow Booktopia on twitter at @booktopia for breaking news and updates from the wonderful world of books.

You can also check us out on Facebook here.

Shona Innes, author of Life is Like the Wind and Friendship is Like a Seesaw, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

9781760060558

Click here to grab a copy

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Shona Innes

author of Life is Like the Wind and Friendship is Like a Seesaw

Ten Terrifying Questions

___________________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in sunny Queensland. I was born in Toowoomba, but grew up living in Buderim on the Sunshine Coast. I went to primary school at Buderim Mountain Primary School and then I went to High School in Maroochydore – I was school captain at Maroochy High for the class of ’83.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

When I was 12, I’m pretty sure I wanted to be one of Charlie’s Angels. I could help people out and chase down bad guys all while wearing high heels and having glamorous hair.

At 18, I wanted to be a school teacher. I got a really good tertiary entrance score and all of my teachers tried to talk me out of it, but I stuck to my guns….for a good two weeks… before changing unis and starting a psychology degree. I was interested in understanding more about people and their behaviour. I ended up doing a science degree in Psychology, but did all of my electives in education and then did a Grad Dip in Child Psychology.

At 30, I was totally in love with psychology, but I still wanted to know more. I was working at a custodial Youth Justice Centre and I enrolled in a Masters of Clinical Psychology.

Shona2 (2)

Author Shona Innes

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That happiness would always be a glorious mix of Wham!, shoulder pads and a perm.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

My mum was a working Mum in an era when not many mums had a job outside the home. I was definitely going to have a career.

I won five dollars in a poetry competition at primary school. My poem was about a spider’s web after the rain. Maybe I was good at writing?

In high school, I borrowed the Cinderella Complex by Colette Dowling. I’m not sure that I fully understood it all or if I ever finished it, but I re-borrowed it multiple times. It made me feel intelligent.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

I have great memories of books in my childhood. I would often get books as gifts and my sister and I created a little library in the cupboard under the household telephone. My grandmother and my great aunt would read aloud to me and they always bought books for me that they knew I would love. It was something that meant someone was sharing their time and the joy or excitement of whatever was happening on the pages. Being read to while sharing the pages was definitely a comfort thing. It’s hard to imagine that you could evoke those same feelings electronically. The children I write to love getting mail instead of an email. I think it shows effort and a preparedness to share – ingredients of important relationships.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

Life is Like the Wind” and “Friendship is Like a Seesaw” were both developed from letters I had written to my young clients after our sessions. I write to young clients to help them remember what we talked about, but also to give their parents, carers or teachers an idea about how to talk with the child about the things that are on their mind. The Big Hug series will target some of the more frequent issues children bring with them to our psychology practice. The aim is to assist children (and grownups) to understand their feelings and then to accept the feelings or think about some ideas that might make them feel better.

9781760060565

Click here to grab a copy

Grab a copy Life is Like the Wind or Friendship is Like a Seesaw here

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

All lives have their ups and downs. I’d hope that the Big Hug books can help children and grownups ease through the tough times and appreciate all that is good.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

I admire people who put in an effort – whether the effort be the hard work that comes with facing fear or battling depression, the sacrifices people make because they care, or the dedication people have to their work or craft. Some people are really shiny, have the “gift of the gab” and a lot of charisma, but their efforts are shallow. I value hard work, but really struggle with those who take credit where it is not due.

9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

This year I’d like to run 10km in under 55 minutes, visit friends in faraway places and have all my favourite music artists make it to the top 10 in the Triple J Hottest 100.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Know about what you do. Apply effort. Be genuinely grateful for shared knowledge and learn from tough times.

Shona, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy Life is Like the Wind or Friendship is Like a Seesaw here

Top Ten (ish) Picture Books to Give to Adults – instead of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” again.

I have received three copies of Oh, The Places You’ll Go in the past two years. It’s read at graduations. It’s the perfect promotion gift. It’s so good that it’s used time and time again. So good that other great picture books sometimes get overlooked.H15671-e1356011194559-780x422

So here at Booktopia we have decide to take a stand. We have compiled a list of books which make the perfect gift for all of your adult friends. Want to celebrate an achievement? Make someone chuckle? Send a not-so-subtle message? There’s something here for everyone…

There’s even a little Dr. Seuss.

*This list originally began as a Top Ten, but there were so many great ones that we had to be a little lenient!


kay-thompson-s-eloise-For the DivaEloise

by Kay Thompson & Hilary Knight

Eloise is a little girl who lives at The Plaza Hotel in New York. She is not yet pretty but she is already a Person.

Henry James would want to study her. Queen Victoria would recognize her as an Equal. The New York Jets would want to have her on “their” side. Lewis Carroll would love her (once he got over the initial shock).

She knows “everything” about The Plaza. She is interested in people when they are not “boring.” She has Inner Resources.

If you take her home with you, you will always be glad you did.

Click here for more details…


For the Chronic Dieter – Feathers for Phoebefeathers-for-phoebe

by Rod Clement

Phoebe is small, grey, and ordinary – very ordinary. ‘I want to get noticed!’ she declares.

Zelda is glamorous, talented and famous – and she runs the most popular beauty salon in the forest. And she’s only too happy to help Phoebe become the bird she’s always wanted to be. First a little feather headdress, then wing extensions – until Phoebe is transformed into a Diva.

She looks gorgeous – but when she tries to take off, surprises are in store for them both!

Click here for more details…


the-rabbitsFor the Teacher - The Rabbits

by John Marsden & Shaun Tan

“The rabbits came many grandparents ago.
They built houses, made roads, had children.
They cut down trees.
A whole continent of rabbits…”

The Rabbits offers a rich and immensely valuable perspective on the effect of man on his environment. Visually loaded and told with a passion for truth and understanding, The Rabbits aims to promote cultural awareness and a sense of caring for the natural world.

Click here for more details…


For the Twitter Addict – It’s a Bookit-s-a-book

by Lane Smith

CAN IT TEXT? BLOG? SCROLL? WI-FI? TWEET? No… It’s a book.

No matter how many electronic devices are available these days, you can’t deny the simple appeal of a good book. Monkey is reading a book, but his friend wants to know what the book can do.

Does it have a mouse like his computer? Can you make the characters fight? And does it make loud noises? No, it’s a book.

Monkey’s friend discovers that a good book doesn’t need fancy electronic accessories.

Click here for more details…


the-pink-refrigeratorFor the Couch Potato – The Pink Refrigerator

by Tim Egan

“Try to do as little as possible.” This was Dodsworth’s motto. One morning, on his daily trip to the junkyard, he discovers a pink refrigerator.

There’s not much to say about a pink refrigerator, except this one had a note on it. The note said, “Paint pictures.” And so Dodsworth did.

The next day, a new note appeared on the pink refrigerator. And the day after that, and the day after that.

Dodsworth liked doing as little as possible. But the pink refrigerator had big plans for him . . .

Click here for more details…


For the Perfectionist – Ishish

by Peter H. Reynolds

Ramon loved to draw. Anytime. Anything. Anywhere.

Drawing is what Ramon does. Its what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother, Leon, turns Ramon’s carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just “right.”

Combining the spareness of fable with the potency of parable, Peter Reynolds shines a bright beam of light on the need to kindle and tend our creative flames with care.

Click here for more details…


george-and-marthaFor the Best Friend – George and Martha

by James Marshall

Great friends aren’t hard to find–they’re right here.

Marshall’s themes are all resonant with a reading-age child–navigating the waters of first friendships, honesty versus kindness, curiosity versus privacy. These are the kind of deeply humorous, deeply true stories that inspire a love of reading.

Click here for more details…


For the Friend About to Go Overseas – Where the Wild Things Arewhere-the-wild-things-are

by Maurice Sendak

Max, a wild and naughty boy, is sent to bed without his supper by his exhausted mother. In his room, he imagines sailing far away to a land of Wild Things.

Instead of eating him, the Wild Things make Max their king.

Soon Max tires of this and sails home, only to find his supper, still hot, waiting for him.

Click here for more details…


madeline-70th-anniversary-editionFor the Nostalgic- Madeline

Ludwig Bemelman

“In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…”

Something is not right with little Madeline. Her friends are sad when she goes to hospital to have her appendix removed. But they cheer up when they see her impressive scar.

The small but feisty heroine, Madeline, and her charming Parisian world have been loved by children and adults alike for seventy years.

Click here for more details…


For the Hipster – All My Friends Are Deadall-my-friends-are-dead

by Avery Monson & Jory John

If you’re a dinosaur, all of your friends are dead. If you’re a pirate, all of your friends have scurvy. If you’re a tree, all of your friends are end tables.

Each page of this laugh-out-loud illustrated humor book showcases the downside of being everything from a clown to a cassette tape to a zombie.

Cute and dark all at once, this hilarious children’s book for adults teaches valuable lessons about life while exploring each cartoon character’s unique grievance and wide-eyed predicament.

From the sock whose only friends have gone missing to the houseplant whose friends are being slowly killed by irresponsible plant owners (like you), All My Friends Are Dead presents a delightful primer for laughing at the inevitable.

Click here for more details…


the-gruffaloFor the Entrepreneur – The Gruffalo

by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

“A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.

A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.”

Walk further into the deep dark wood, and discover what happens when the quick-thinking mouse comes face to face with an owl, a snake and a hungry gruffalo . . .

Click here for more…


For the One Who Hates Change – Schnitzel Von Krumm’s Basketworkschnitzel-von-krumm-s-basketwork

by Lynley Dodd

Sausage dog, Schnitzel von Krumm, is outraged when his family decides to replace his worn out, beaten up old basket.

The new bed doesn’t look right, feel right – or smell right.

Something must be done.

Click here for more…


For the Politician – The Butter Battle Bookthe-butter-battle-book

by Dr. Seuss

The Butter Battle Book, Dr. Seuss’s classic cautionary tale, introduces readers to the important lesson of respecting differences.

The Yooks and Zooks share a love of buttered bread, but animosity brews between the two groups because they prefer to enjoy the tasty treat differently.

Whether in the home or in the classroom, The Butter Battle Book is a must-have for readers of all ages.

Click here for more…


For the Marxist- The Moose Belongs to Methis-moose-belongs-to-me

by Oliver Jeffers

“Wilfred owned a moose. He hadn’t always owned a moose. The moose came to him a while ago and he knew, just KNEW, that it was meant to be his. He thought he would call him Marcel.”

Most of the time Marcel is very obedient, abiding by the many rules on How to Be a Good Pet.

But one dark day, while deep in the woods, someone else claims the moose as their own…Is Marcel really Wilfred’s pet after all?

Click here for more…


alexander-and-the-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-dayFor the One Who Hates Their Job

by Judith Viorst

Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in this hair.

And it got worse…

His best friend deserted him. There was no dessert in his lunch bag. And, on top of all that, there were lima beans for dinner and kissing on TV!

Click here for more…

Need a book for the plane? The beach? The kids? Need travel advice? Visit Our Holiday Haven

holiday haven rotating home page banner

For a reader, the holidays are a thing of beauty. It’s your chance to spend your mornings reading, your lunchtimes reading, your afternoons reading, and your nights reading!

These holidays it’s time to sit back, put the feet up, and lose yourself in a great book. And our Holiday Haven has something for the whole family, from puzzle books for the kids to big fat novels for mum and dad.

Whether you’re catching up or slowing down, make books a part of your summer with Booktopia.

Beach Reads rotating home page banner _v1

Just because you’re on holidays doesn’t mean you can’t escape a little more. Drift off to other times, other lands, other lives. Our Beach Reads are the perfect books to leave and then come back to as you soak up the summer.

Click here to visit our Beach Reads collection

 978174261239310122013  978174275838110122013  978014330808910122013


Boredom Busters landing page banner _v1

In a time before Grand Theft Auto became a national pastime, we used to spend car trips in the back seat with a pile of puzzle books, sticker books, and activity books. Remember that? Leave the battery chargers behind and give the kids the perfect toy this holiday season.

Click here to visit our Boredom Busters collection

 Click here for more details or to buy  978140883629310122013  978054549856210122013

australia wide landing banner
The Great Southern Land has many faces. From ski fields to rainforests,  coastlines to deserts, creeks to oceans. Celebrate Australia in all its glory in this beautiful collection of books devoted to Down Under.

Click here to visit our Australia Wide collection

 978174220423910122013  978174117426710122013  978073333215910122013

SummerReading-Newsletter_Banner2013
Holidays mean you have the most important thing a reader needs. Time. And not only time to just read, but time to devote yourself to the best books of 2013. Books that will make you ponder the bigger things and broaden your horizons. Books that will stay with you forever. Gift your grey matter these holidays with this incredible collection.

Click here to visit our Summer Reading collection

 978192642853610122013  978174331731010122013  978184708876510122013

Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Jeff Kinney

author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

Ten Terrifying Questions

 ———————-

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in Maryland in a suburb about ten miles south of Washington, D.C.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

When I was 12, I wanted to be a computer game designer. We owned one of the first personal computers, an Apple IIe, and it set my course in life. When I was 18, I still wanted to be a game designer, but I was interested in computer graphics as well. When I was thirty, I actually was a game designer, but I wanted to be a cartoonist as well. Now I’m both… a game designer by day, cartoonist by night.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I feel that my beliefs now are more or less consistent with my beliefs back then. That means I’m either admirably consistent or I’m suffering from a case of arrested development.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. Without the hapless Peter Hatcher, I’m not sure there would’ve been a Greg Heffley. Likewise with Charlie Brown of Peanuts fame… I think every cartoonist working today owes a debt of gratitude to Charles Schultz for his influence on modern comic strips. Finally, Bob Dylan’s Brownsville Girl… Dylan is the master of lyrical economy, which is what cartoonists strive for.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I backed into it. I wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist, but I couldn’t get past the gatekeepers. So I took a different tact and put my comics in books.

6. Please tell us about your novel.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck follows the plight of pre-adolescent Greg Heffley, who finds himself friendless and needing to navigate the perils of school on his own.

Publisher’s blurb:

Greg Heffley’s on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance. Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg’s life destined to be just another hard-luck story?

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I hope they laugh, and I hope they’ll read the book again.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

I most admire Bob Dylan for being able to evoke a whole story with just a few words.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

My goal is to stick around and have some sort of relevancy after Diary of a Wimpy Kid is over.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring writers is to take an idea and nurture it to fruition rather than just put your first effort out there. It’s tempting to write something, then see if it sticks. But writing is like any discipline, and to become an expert, you need years to master it. I worked on Wimpy Kid for eight years before I was ready to share it with the world.

Jeff, thank you for playing

Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck is a Booktoberfest title. Buy it now to go in the draw to win Booktopia’s weekly giveaway – a $250 Booktopia voucher – AND order by 31st October 2013 to go in the draw to win the fantastic publisher prize.

Click here for prize details and to see the full Penguin Showcase

Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
Hard Luck

by Jeff Kinney

Jeff Kinney’s 8th book of this hilarious and highly successful series, and Greg Heffley and his friends now have a whole new set of adventures.

Greg Heffley’s on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task.

To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance.

Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg’s life destined to be just another hard-luck story?

Click here for more about Diary of a Wimpy Kid : Hard Luck

Walker Books joins our Booktoberfest celebration – you could win twenty awesome titles worth over $350!

How would you like to give everyone you love a book for Christmas… without you having to pay a cent?

To help us celebrate Booktoberfest our friends at Walker Books are giving you the chance to win all of the books in their Booktoberfest Showcase.

Order any of the books in the Walker Books Booktoberfest Showcase to go into the draw to win the entire collection – worth over $350!

Click here to enter the Walker Books showcase

Walker Books Booktoberfest Highlight

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

by Kate DiCamillo

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him.

What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry-and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format-a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell.

Click here to buy Flora and Ulysses from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Transformers: The Ultimate Pop Up Universe – John Purcell’s 21 second review

John Purcell was asked to review Transformers: The Ultimate Pop Up Universe in 21 seconds, using only sounds and utterances.

Can he do it? Let’s find out…

Well played John. Well played.

Click here to buy Transformers: The Ultimate Pop Up Universe from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,052 other followers

%d bloggers like this: