And the winners of the Big Little Lies Girls Night In prize packs are…

During July we gave you the chance to win 1 of 3 Girls Night In prize packs which not only included books but chocolates and a blanket. 

All you needed to do to enter was buy Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty!

And the lucky winners are…

S.Costin, Limpinwood, NSW

R.Davino, Merrylands, NSW

B.Hill, Cheltenham, NSW

BigLittleLiesNewsletterBanner

big-little-liesBig Little Lies

by Liane Moriarty

‘I guess it started with the mothers.’
‘It was all just a terrible misunderstanding.’

‘I’ll tell you exactly why it happened.’

Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. A parent is dead.

Liane Moriarty’s new novel is funny and heartbreaking, challenging and compassionate. The No. 1 New York Times bestselling author turns her unique gaze on parenting and playground politics, showing us what really goes on behind closed suburban doors.

‘Let me be clear. This is not a circus. This is a murder investigation.’

Grab a copy of Big Little Lies here

Grab a copy of Big Little Lies here


Congratulations to the winners!
For your chance to enter a Booktopia Competition click here

The winner of the signed Frank Lampard Jersey and books is…

During the Football World Cup we gave you a chance to win a Chelsea Jersey signed by football royalty Frank Lampard.

All you needed to do to enter was buy a book from the Frankie’s Magic Football series!

And the lucky winner is…

T.Baer, New Norfolk, TAS

franklamaprd

frankie-and-the-world-cup-carnival

FRANKIE AND THE WORLD CUP CARNIVAL : BOOK 6
by Frank Lampard

Frankie and his friends and their dog, Max, are magic-ed to Brazil where they must track down three key items to help England win the World Cup: the referee’s whistle, a football and the trophy. Their adventures take them through a jungle, a Rio carnival and onto the beach for a game that could change the history of the tournament.

 

Grab a book from the series here


Congratulations to the winner!
For your chance to enter a Booktopia Competition click here

Carole Wilkinson, the Dragonkeeper series, answers Six Sharp Questions


shadow-sisterThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Carole Wilkinson

author of Dragonkeeper series and more…

Six Sharp Questions
___________


1. Congratulations, you have a new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?

Thanks. It is Shadow Sister, the 5th book in the Dragonkeeper series. It follows on from Blood Brothers and is the ongoing adventures of the dragon Kai and Tao, who is coming to terms with being a dragonkeeper. It is a sort of ghost story. There are insects.

2. Times pass. Things change. What are the best and worst moments that you have experienced in the past year or so?

The very best thing in the last year was learning I’m going to be a grandmother in October. Also we are building a holiday house, an earth-covered house, and seeing it progress has been exciting. Finishing another book is another big thing, getting to that stage where you don’t cringe when you read it aloud and you’re happy to send it off into the world. Actually the last 12 months have been huge!

3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us? It doesn’t need to be deep but it would be great if it meant something to you.

The one that springs to mind is “The journey of a thousand li begins with a single step” written by Chinese philosopher Laozi around 6th century BC. It is true of every worthwhile endeavour. There are no shortcuts, you just take it one step at a time.

4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it? Please tell us a little about the day to day of your writing life.

There are times, when I get bogged down in the middle of a book, when I can be pretty cranky. Day to day, it’s not very exciting, not to an observer anyway. I get up early. I sit in front of the computer at 7.30 and I try to write 1000 words each day. Once there’s a completed draft, there is a great deal of re-reading and editing, which I like much more than writing the words for the first time. My idea of a break is to go to the State Library of Victoria or Melbourne Uni Library in the afternoon to look up information. I’m writing a non-fiction book at the moment, so there’s a lot of that happening.

5. Some writers claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).

I think, “I wonder if anyone will want to read this?”, but I don’t start by wondering what will be successful or hit the spot in the market at this point in time. I write what I am interested in, what will keep me engaged and keen to get in front of the computer every morning. I hope that my enthusiasm will filter into the book and others will be enthusiastic about the story too.

 

6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only five books with you. What do you take and why?

You do like to pose hard questions! I don’t think there is one version of being “civilised”. I would just get them to be keen readers and then they can take their own path to whatever sort of education suits them.
This is a topic worth many hours, if not days, of contemplation, but…I have a book to write. So just off the top of my head:

  1. Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien, for total immersion in another world.
  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, to make them laugh.
  3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, to make them cry.
  4. Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe, to scare the pants off them.
  5. Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne, in case they missed out on reading as a kid.

Carole, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Shadow Sister here

 

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

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Is John Flanagan a Time Lord? Booktopia interrogates the author of Ranger’s Apprentice and Brotherband series

Grab a copy of Slaves of Socorro here

Slaves of Socorro

Brotherband Series : Book 4

by John Flanagan

Return to the seafaring world of Hal and his intrepid ship’s crew in the fourth book of John Flanagan’s epic Brotherband series.

When the Heron brotherband become the Skandian duty ship to the Kingdom of Araluen, they’re excited at the challenges ahead. Hal, Stig, Thorn and the Herons eagerly set off for the trip – with an unexpected new crew member aboard.

But an enemy from their past returns, throwing the Herons into a dangerous quest to free captured Araluans from the slave market in Socorro. Even with the help of an Araluan Ranger, the task may be too much.

About the Author

John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice and Brotherband adventure series have sold more than eight million copies worldwide. His books are available in more than 100 countries, are regularly on the New York Times bestseller list, and have had multiple award shortlistings in Australia and overseas. John, a former television and advertising writer, lives with his wife in a Sydney beachside suburb.

Grab a copy of Slaves of Socorro here

 

BREAKING NEWS: Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards Announced

shortlist2It’s the sticker that is instantly recognisable for generations of Australians. The tick of excellence for a future Australian classic. The seal of approval by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

The CBCA is a volunteer run, not for profit, organisation that was established in 1945 and is comprised of branches of individual members who are passionate about children’s and young adult literature.

Congratulations to all the winners of this wonderful honour.

9781742758510 Older Readers:

* Felicity Castagna – The Incredible Here and Now (More…)

* Melissa Keil – Life in Outer Space (More…)

* Will Kostakis – The First Third (More…)

* Allyse Near – Fairytales for Wilde Girls (More…)

* Fiona Wood – Wildlife (More…)

* Claire Zorn – The Sky so Heavy (More…)

Younger Readers:

* 9781921977565Anna Branford, illus by Sarah Davis – Violet Mackerel’s Possible Friend (More…)

* Julie Hunt – Song for a Scarlet Runner (More…)

* Catherine Jinks – City of Orphans: A Very Unusual Pursuit (More…)

* Barry Jonsberg – My Life as an Alphabet (More…)

* Dianne Wolfer, illus by Brian Simmonds – Light Horse Boy (More…)

Early Childhood:

* 9781921720161Janeen Brian – I’m a Dirty Dinosaur (More…)

* Mem Fox, illus by Emma Quay – Baby Bedtime (More…)

* Libby Gleeson, illus by Freya Blackwood – Banjo and Ruby Red (More…)

* Alison Lester – Kissed by the Moon (More…)

* Jan Ormerod, illus by Andrew Joyner – The Swap (More…)

* Dianne Wolfer, illus by Karen Blair – Granny Grommet and Me (More…)

Picture Book of the Year:

* Margaret Wild, illus by Freya Blackwood – The Treasure Box (More…)9780734410672

* Nick Bland - King Pig (More…)

* Bob Graham – Silver Buttons (More…)

* Danny Parker, illus by Matt Ottley – Parachute (More…)

* Doug MacLeod, illus by Craig Smith – The Windy Farm (More…)

* Shaun Tan – Rules of Summer (More…)

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books:

9780733331176* Christopher Faille, illus by Danny Snell – Jeremy (More…)

* Peter Gouldthorpe – Ice, Wind, Rock (More…)

* Mark Greenwood, illus by Terry Denton – Jandamarra (More…)

* Paul Ham – Yoko’s Diary: The Life of a Young Girl in Hiroshima during WWII (More…)

* Rae Murdie, illus by Chris Nixon- Meet Captain Cook (More…)

* Laklak Burarrwanga and family – Welcome To My Country (More…)

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