Saturday, August 30, 2014

'Mrs T's Kooky Pants' Book Launch

launch_invite 

It's finally here...

Mrs T's Kooky Pants is now published, with my official launch being held at The Children's Bookshop in Beecroft on 20th September at 2pm (refer invitation for full details).

Proceeds from the sale of every copy of Mrs T's Kooky Pants will go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), who have actually endorsed the book.

My Fantangle Designs artworks will also be on exhibition at the launch, with a portion of art sale proceeds going towards breast cancer research.

It all seemed a little surreal that I'm finally a published author, until being notified by my publisher, eTV Publishing, that online sales of my book have already reached '53 books sold' as at today! I feel so honoured that people are buying my book!

Here's what my publisher and the NBCF say:
“Mrs T’s Kooky Pants is an engaging and vibrant story suitable for younger readers, that tells a valuable lesson in an interesting and entertaining format. With themes including cancer, death, acceptance and learning how to move on, it is a story that will connect with children and allow them to understand some of the more unpleasant aspects of life in a supportive format.” eTV Publishing    
“For many years Jennifer has helped people from all walks of life understand more about breast cancer by sharing her own personal story as a National Breast Cancer Foundation speaker. Jennifer has now drawn on her own experience to help explain cancer to children through Mrs T’s Kooky Pants. Mrs T’s Kooky Pants is a beautiful tool to fulfil an unmet need - for teachers and parents with young children, how to communicate the reality of cancer in an age-appropriate way.” Carol Renouf – CEO, National Breast Cancer Foundation 
“Cancer comes with a myriad of challenges. But perhaps one of the greatest is communicating this to our loved ones, especially children. Research tells us that communicating to children about what is happening with family members can really help to reduce their anxiety. Jennifer has used her own experience with breast cancer to help young children better understand cancer.” Dr Alison Butt – Head of Research, National Breast Cancer Foundation
And here's what the lovely Jackie Hawkes, Children's Book Council of Australia NSW Inc. Committee Member, iRead Editor and Teacher Librarian, says:
"Wow Jennifer, what a beautiful book. Absolutely full of your own kindness and energy! I didn't realise it was part of a personal journey. We can't ignore cancer, but it seems we CAN move on from it. 
You have really captured the essential qualities of what teaching is about - helping kids become positive and caring so that they do cope with personal snags along the way and giving them a support base for when big issues become part of their lives. Ready to go because "every day is a new day and a chance to start again." The soft and subtle pictures contribute to the gentleness of the story. 
There has to be a lot of you in Mrs T. I just get the feeling that you are great plus with your kids. Writing can make you feel very vulnerable, but words and ideas just need to be out there to share with the broader world."
If you're in town, I'd love to see you at my book launch on 20th September. If you can't make it and you happen to be one of the 53 people who have already purchased my book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Feel free to write a review on Amazon or my Facebook page.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation's aspirational goal is for zero breast cancer deaths by 2030 ... gathering interest in my book is my way of continuing my ongoing support of this goal, so please help me spread the word.


 

(Free Download - Teachers' Notes for Mrs T's Kooky Pants)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I love Lebanon...



As I felt the stones beneath my shoes and looked down, I couldn't quite believe I was there.


Walking on the same ground my parents and grandparents had played on as kids. 


The exact road my mother, wearing a white dress and flowers in her hair, rode on her father's donkey to meet her love (my father)...who was eagerly awaiting the love of his life to marry her.


I couldn't believe I was actually walking on the same soil and stones that were part of the very life and labour of my grandparents and their parents before them.


I could hear with my own ears, the church bells that my ancestors heard. 


I watched the same sun rise and set in the distance...and gasped each time I witnessed a soft blanket of clouds mysteriously covering the twinkling lights of the village below, ready to fall asleep for the night. 


At every moment, I was completely stricken with a myriad of emotions. 


Thankfulness, sadness, jubilation, love.


But to all those newfound family and friends around me, I was simply a traveler checking out the place.


Did they not know that I was a writer in search of my history?


Did they not know that I was the daughter of those great men and women who went before me...whom I greatly loved (even those I had never actually met)?


Did they not know that I had an inexplicable love for a land I had never before set foot on?


Did they not know what I had been through to get here?


Nope, they didn't know.


They knew only what they could see. 


A curious, carefree girl checking out their humble hometown.


The breathtaking views they'd seen every day of their lives.


The majesty of the cedars, olive orchards and grapevines they'd witnessed on a regular basis.


The harvesting of fruit and vegetables that was their labour, not just a novelty...the fresh organic produce they ate daily.


And I noticed them gaze into each other's eyes each day. With love yes, but also a familiarity. Perhaps they don't know, as I do, that today could be the very last day they get to look into one another's magnificent eyes. 


Or perhaps they know it better than I. 


Maybe that's why they live much less complex lives than ours. 


Maybe that's why some choose to live and die in their beautiful mountain village home.


Maybe that's why they hold on to a faith, deeper than I've ever known, as though it is as vital as the air they breathe.


I loved Lebanon before I ever set eyes on it. 


I loved Lebanon when I eventually trod on its soil. 


And now, I love Lebanon more and more....


...knowing that I may never have the privilege of stepping on its holy soil again, may never harvest and eat of its nutritious produce, and may never look into the beautiful eyes of my beloved family there....


Lebanon will be in my heart forever!




Sunday, June 1, 2014

Research Advice for Writers

Bags packed - check.

Writing tools at the ready - check. 

Nerves calmed - check. 

Ready to go? I think so :) 


road
Road to where I'm headed


As you probably know by now, I'm off on an overseas research trip to Lebanon tomorrow. It is the land of my heritage, and is one of the settings in the historical fiction novel I'm writing. I'm excited and nervous all at once, but I'm ready for the adventure!

Especially after overcoming a particular concern I've had up until today. I've been trying to figure out where to actually start with my research, or how to best go about it. But after checking in with my awesome 12x12 peeps, asking them to share any clues, advice, tips, strategies or suggestions, all my fears are allayed. Here's how the conversation went:

Rebecca Sheraton "Good luck Jennifer"
Teresa Robeson "Jennifer, I think we'd need to know what the novel is about or encompasses before we can tell you how to go about looking for resources. But since your novel is set in the past, perhaps there are historical societies or historical museums that you can visit while there? Good luck and have fun!"
My response: "My novel is based on the story of my parents and grandparents migrating from Lebanon to Australia just after WWII. My father and grandparents have passed away and my mum is 84, so it is going to be very emotional to experience actually walking the land they grew up in :) "
Juliana Lee "I always want to know the best places to eat while I travel. What do the locals eat and what dishes are not found elsewhere. I guess what I'm trying to say, is eat your way into the heart of the people!"
Meg Miller "I don't have any practical experience, but my gut says to spend plenty of time enjoying, watching, chatting people up. Soak it all in!  Have fun!!!"
Julie Rowan-Zoch "I'm with Meg, only I'd eat a lot too!"
Katie Davis "When I was in Italy many years ago with Franny Billingsley, I watched her research the novel that would eventually become Chime. She touched everything. She felt the rough walls in the ancient towers. She watched how the light hit the uneven stones and heard how her footsteps sounded in the piazza. She wrote down everything. She saw and heard and felt and smelled and experienced it all. For me it was How To Research a Novel College."
My response: "Thank you all so much! Katie, that's exactly what I'm bursting to do!! Now I know it's okay to do just that :) "
Julie Foster Hedlund "When I was in Italy (which I will be using in writing soon!) I also took recordings of church bells, street musicians, and just the sound of the street - of life going by. The great thing is being able to have a recorder and a camera with you (phone) at all times. Also, don't go ANYWHERE without a notebook."
My response: "That's beautiful, Julie ... I'll be attending a traditional wedding too, so I'm sure there'll be church bells to record :) "
Julie Foster Hedlund "A few years ago, when I spent a summer in Italy, there was one church in the little village on the Riviera where we stayed that played the most beautiful bells on the 6:00 hour. I recorded it - all 3 minutes of it. Then there's the sound of the sea and people talking and enjoying themselves in the background. I cry every time I play it back. The more visceral you can make your memories of the experience, the better. Even if you just write "glimmers" of things that catch your eye that capture taste, smell, touch, emotion. Not even full sentences. That way when you come back, you'll be able to draw from the emotional truth of the experience, which is the most important part."
Jacque Duffy "You've got some wonderful tips here Jennifer, enjoy every moment."
Carrie Finison "What a great opportunity! I would do whatever you can to get a glimpse of traditional daily home life. Can you stay in a bed an breakfast of some kind (do they have those?) where you'd actually be sharing someone's home? Or maybe have a friend of a friend or a long-lost cousin show you around and with luck invite you to dinner at their home. The more rural/traditional the better, too.
My response: "Thanks Carrie ... I'm actually staying with my mum's sister in the mountain village my family comes from :) So I'm very blessed to be meeting cousins I've never met before, etc. I'll also be visiting the home my mum actually grew up in...her brother and his family still live in that home :) "
Carrie Finison "That sounds perfect, Jennifer! You'll get so much local flavour from those experiences. Another thing that works well, esp. with older family members, is looking at old photographs with them. That can trigger a lot of memories/stories.

It sounds like you just need to figure out the best ways to record and capture your experiences. Maybe bring a couple of options - a voice recorder, a notebook, a camera with video capability?"

My beautiful mountain village destination
My beautiful mountain village destination

This advice is pure gold to me. Thought I'd share it in case someone else out there is stumped about how to go about their research adventure. But what a great problem to have, don't you think?!

Alla mahkoun (meaning God be with you/a Lebanese farewell)

 

Friday, April 25, 2014

12 x 12, writing and fabric designing

I love being a teacher. I love that I get to hang out with kids who love picture books as much as I do, who don't mind my silly voices when I tell stories, and who think my wacky dance moves are funny and cool. I also love school holidays, when I get to rest, rejuvenate and create, create, create.

These holidays have been very productive. I've revamped my art studio...

10150711_708101452588165_7672156452514221522_n
 

I entered a Digital Fabrics design competition...

botanical fabric design_colour
 

I've read some awesome books, including this gorgeous New York love story by amazing author/illustrator Gus Gordon...

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 9.56.37 pm
 

And I've been writing...maybe not what I should be writing, but any writing is better than no writing, don't you agree? I was recently featured on fabulous author, Julie Hedlund's blog, and was blown away by the love and encouragement sent to me through cyberspace via that post. Thought I'd share it here.
Enjoy...

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 9.43.39 pm

 
jreid-profile-pic-1-copy   This is a special Tuesday 12 x 12 post, and NOT because it’s being posted on Wednesday (result of jet lag). No, today’s post from author Jennifer Reid is special because it reminded me of everything that is important in life while also underscoring why we need to give ourselves permission (TODAY) to create. We must OWN the fact that we are writers, illustrators, poets, artists, creators. Even better if we can support each other along the way. I won’t say anything more so as to allow this post to unfold for you in the way it did for me. Please welcome Jennifer. 


A Wonderful Journey

“Don’t worry, it’s not cancer.” The famous last words of the doctor as I left her office for an ultrasound back in May 2009…a routine test that would soon turn my world upside down. 

The sonographer’s face as she moved over my right breast said it all. She stared at the unusual black circle in my breast on her screen, then her eyes moved to another black shape under my right arm. Something was clearly wrong. 

I pushed the panic back down, long enough to keep impossibly still as my breasts were painfully jammed between two cold metal plates. Who would have thought breasts could be squashed as thin as pancakes? It was my very first mammogram.

Then a needle was jabbed through my breast, directly into the centre of that black shape discovered earlier. Why had I never heard of a core needle biopsy? What the heck is inside that black thing? Am I going to die? The voice in my head shouted, this can’t be happening to me. I don’t drink or smoke. I only eat junk food every now and then. I’m only 39 years old.

But I had breast cancer.

They cut out the lump and ripped out all my lymph nodes. My body was scanned, poked, prodded and interrogated, but the cancer may have spread its ugliness elsewhere. It could be quietly clever and sneakily invisible, lurking somewhere waiting to pounce.

So doctors weren’t taking any chances. Guilty cells, along with the innocent, had to be stopped. Chemotherapy was the answer – chemical warfare.

Before the first drop of poison was pumped into my body, I sat holding my husband’s hand tight, tears streaming down my face. The nurse asked for my name and date of birth to match the right poison with the right person. I nudged, “You tell her”. But she insisted, “No, you have to tell me.”

My heart thudded. No one else could do this for me. My body, my life, my fight.

On 28th July 2010, after I’d successfully done some of the necessary fighting against this enemy called cancer, I embarked on another epic journey. It was on this day I wrote my very first blog post, reigniting my long lost passion for writing. It became my therapy, giving me the courage to move on from the trauma of cancer and take back the life I was meant to live.

Writing got me out of my comfort zone, so much so, that I decided to do a marathon, and in Paris, no less! I’ve heard only 1% of the world’s population have ever run a marathon. I wonder what the statistics are relating to writers becoming published authors? I never thought I could do a marathon, but now have the medal to prove I did! And I never thought I was a writer either, up until that day I allowed myself to write again.

That first blog post opened the floodgate to my creative soul. I am a writer and illustrator, (and I’m not afraid to say it!) I have embraced my creative soul, and am committed to ‘creating’ and not apologising for it. I had always tried to hide my creative pursuits, but not anymore.

Becoming part of the amazingly talented 12×12 community has brought it all out in the open. I feel like I’ve finally ‘put it out there’ to the universe…I am a writer and illustrator (and I’m not afraid to say it!)

Thank God for the generous and most talented Julie Hedlund, who could have kept her success to herself, but didn’t. Being part of 12×12 is like training for my next marathon, but this time with a team of elite athletes.

I’m so grateful to be part of such a talented team of artists and am confident that no matter where this ‘writing race’ takes us, it’s going to be a wonderful journey!

Mrs. T's Cranky PantsIn addition to being a writer and illustrator, Jennifer Reid is a doting wife, mum of two cherubs, primary school teacher, National Breast Cancer Foundation Ambassador and day-dreamer. Since she believes in living life to the full, her creative work focuses on positivity and ‘looking for the good’ in every situation. In her previous life, Jennifer worked in radio, banking and the health & beauty industry. Nowadays, when she’s not writing or drawing, she can usually be found dreaming of her next travel adventure. But family always comes first, so Jennifer is very good at squeezing her creative pursuits into every spare nook and cranny of her day. After a breast cancer diagnosis in 2009, Jennifer quickly decided that life was too short not to pursue her true creative passions. She is currently writing a historical fiction novel based on the life of a family who migrated to Australia after World War II. She has her first children’s picture book, based on her cancer experience, due to be published in 2014…so be sure to ‘watch this space’ .   

Comments 

What a wonderfully inspiring story, Jennifer! Sometimes it takes a traumatic event to propel us to pursue our dreams. Congratulations on your upcoming picture book! May you continue to have success and a clean bill of health!

jdewdropsofink
Wow. Very inspiring. Glad you beat it.
Wow. What a great post and inspiring story, and a precious reminder to do what’s important right now today! I hope your wonderful journey continues for a long, long, long time!
What an inspirational story. Glad you are here with us in 12×12, Jennifer. Happy and fruitful creating to you!
What a beautiful story Jennifer! Nice to meet you!
Congratulations on all your successful achievements! We’ve got several marathoners in the group – maybe that reflects the persistence of the 12x12ers. :) Wishing the rest of your writing journey is a long healthy one.
Jennifer, Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story. Mega congrats on finishing the marathon and much success with your writing and books.
Great post. Thanks to both of you – Julie and Jennifer – for an up close look at courage and commitment. Awesome.
Jennifer, Thank you for sharing your “wonderful journey”. Your smile could part oceans, btw. Wishing you all manners of success with your important picture book. You are an inspiration to the power of ten!
Hello Jennifer! Thank you so much for sharing your incredible story…when I was 44, I, too, had a core needle biopsy…fortunately, the results were benign…but you never forget the weeks of sitting/standing/sleeping on edge…until you get the news. And running a marathon…in Paris…what an inspiration you are! So glad you embraced your writer’s soul…and lucky kids who get to read your stories. :)
My hat off to you. proud of ya x x
Congratulations Jennifer! Both in being published and in your success against breast cancer.I have personally seen both spectrum of cancer. I helped my Mom beat breast cancer and recently lost my husband to kidney cancer. I too am grateful to have found 12×12 and to have the encouragement and support of Julie, Kelli, the other elves, and the amazing artists/writers as I struggle to answer “Now what are you going to do”? Thanks for an inspiring post. Best of Luck!
Very inspirational. Thanks jennifer
Wonderful post and I am so glad you came out as a creative!
Wow, what a journey so far! Some are carrying a heavier load than others, but what a wonderful thing when we can find a way to express ourselves and really love the life we are living! All the very best to you, Jennifer!

Meredith Pinkstone
Inspiring and awesome! Thanks for sharing!
So glad it all turned out well for you! I had to go through a core needle biopsy about a month ago and it was stressful! Best wishes for your continued health and success!
Thanks for sharing your journey, Jennifer! You’ve gone through so much.
Amazing post, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing your journey….very inspiring. I love your illustration style! The owls are so wonderful!
You are certainly an inspiration Jennifer. Thanks Julie.
WOW!!! Thank you for this post, Jennifer and Julie! Inspiring, moving, scary and celebrational all at once. All the best to you in your writing journey and in your life’s journey, Jennifer!
Health and happiness… and writing success to you Jennifer- beautiful post!
Wow, what an amazing story. I love your writing style and sense of humor. I want to know when your book is released Jennifer. I specialize in reviewing books that heal for children on my website Children’s Books Heal. Only have found a few good PBs about cancer for kids. Great post!
wow Jennifer Reid, just wow. I am glad my doc didn’t say that and they got mine early. My heart goes out to you and you are a great inspiration. I hope other people wont leave following their dreams until some big wake up call. Well done WRITER and ILLUSTRATOR, you are a fantastic person and I hope you have abundant success. <3 12 x 12 are a fantastic place to be exploring your creativity in. Thank you Julie.
Dear Jennifer: Thank you for sharing your journey with us. it is never to late to start to do the things you were meant to do. Thank you for the inspiration. Shiela
Jennifer, you are truly an inspiration to me! Keep on writing . . . and running!

Sheri McCrimmon
Jennifer, thank you so much for your inspirational post. Thanks for the reminder that giving up is not an option and it involves time/work/action/attitude. My mom just had a brain tumor and a portion of her skull removed. She is 74 and recovery is still a possibility. The road is long and arduous, but always worth it. Hope you are doing great and your beautiful smiling face pic is recent :).
Thank you for sharing your difficult journey with us, Jennifer. So glad God could use it for good, in creating Inspiration for your writing. I am fascinated with the topic for your historic fiction book . . . keep up the good work!
Wow, Jennifer! I admire your drive and positive attitude to press on. Best wishes in health and writing!
Thanks for sharing your story. It’s inspiring to read about how you are following your dream!

Pamela Courtney
This story is such an inspiration. You are courage personified!! We should all get banners declaring “I’m a writer and I’m not ashamed to say it!” I’m so glad I stopped by to read this post. All the success and blessings to you Jennifer. Thank you Julie for another amazing post.
Wow! An amazing, inspiring story. Your right, life is too short, we must live it to the full. Share our knowledge, enjoy our passion, whatever that my be. Thank you, Jennifer and Julie.
Thank you, Jennifer for sharing your story. You are a true inspiration. Life is too precious to allow our passion to be just a glint in the creative sunshine. Another amazing post, Julie. Thank you.
What an inspiring story! You are right – life is so short so we need to live it to the fullest.

Stacy S. Jensen
Thanks for sharing your story. Glad Julie reposted. I had good intentions of visiting and the week got away from me. Good luck with all your writing and illustrating projects.
Thank you Jennifer for taking us on your life journey. Now we can join you in your publishing journey too. Best wishes. Julie
Jennifer – I’m late reading your story, but so glad I did. You’ve fought cancer, run a marathon, and now you’re writing again. Brave! I loved the line in you post: “committed to ‘creating’ and not apologising for it.” I’m still working on the not apologizing part, but 12×12 has made me braver about saying that I’m a writer, too. Congratulations on your picture book coming soon!
Wow…I’m overwhelmed and honoured by all your heartwarming and encouraging comments. Thank you so much! You’ve inspired me to keep ‘creating’ :) I wish you all the same! xx

LaurenKerstein
April 30, 2014 at 9:33 am
Your post gave me the chills. Your story is inspirational and incredibly touching. I feel honored you chose to share it with all of us, and wish you much happiness in this part of your journey. Congratulations on finding your inner strength as you fought such a difficult fight. It sounds as though you’ve surely come out in a better place.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Anticipate, Appreciate, Applaud

You know how much I love children's picture books! Why wouldn't I? You get to relive your childhood, devour delightful words, chuckle, cry, hoot, swing....

Well, you get what I mean, don't you? C'mon then...if you don't know what I mean, it's obviously been way too long since you've read a picture book!!

I recently had the privilege of attending a Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) event, along with many other children's book lovers, so I'm not loony after all... heaps of other clever adults love picture books!

Anyway, it was the CBCA “anticipate, appreciate, applaud” event, where the 2014 list of Notable Books and the Short List for the 2014 Children’s Book of the Year Awards were announced.

What did I do there?
  • Mingled with authors, illustrators, publishers, other teachers, teacher-librarians, and fellow book-lovers.

  • “Anticipated” the Short List with a panel of experts who shared their personal choices before the announcement.
  • “Appreciated” the wonderful array of Australian children’s literature.
  • “Applauded” the authors and illustrators whose books have been chosen for the 2014 Notable Book List and the Short List.


The CBCA Shortlist:

The complete lists can be found at cbca.org.au/ShortList-2014, but I was particularly chuffed when two of my current favourites made the list…

The first is in the Early Childhood category...

This is a book I recently bought as a gift for a baby shower. It’s a sweet poem/lullaby celebrating a baby's wonder at our amazing world. Who doesn't love Alison Lester?!

The second is in the Picture Book category…


This is one of the books I chose to teach in the Literacy Unit I wrote for Term 1. It’s a haunting, but beautiful tale of the power of words, the importance of stories and the resilience of the human spirit. It’s a celebration of things that can’t be destroyed by bombs or fire. Although it is about war, my young students thoroughly enjoyed it, which goes to show that kids can handle more serious themes.

I was very excited that my choice of text was worthy of the Short List :) Not surprising, considering how amazing Margaret Wild is!

What else did I learn?
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” C.S. Lewis
  • It’s all about EMOTION!

Important question: Do the words and the pictures (where relevant) evoke an emotional response in the reader?
  • There is such beauty in words!
Just look at them:

  • In picture books, every element of text and pictures should work together to enhance the emotion in a story.
Illustration by Tony Flowers, which he cleverly created on the day

  • "To fully appreciate a story, we should read with our heart first"…this is a great lesson to teach our kids, from the amazing Mem Fox.

Unveiling of 2014 Book Week theme  – “Connect to Reading / Reading to Connect”:
  • Book Week dates: 16-22 August 2014
  • “Connect to Reading/Reading to Connect” - I think the theme of Book Week this year is very exciting… encouraging connections between:
- teacher/student
- student/student
- parent/student

Quality literature to support the new Australian Curriculum:
  • Australian Curriculum definition of literature...

“The Literature strand aims to engage students in the study of literary texts of personal, cultural, social and aesthetic value. These texts include some that are recognised as having enduring social and artistic value and some that attract contemporary attention. Texts are chosen because they are judged to have potential for enriching the lives of students, expanding the scope of their experience, and because they represent effective and interesting features of form and style. Learning to appreciate literary texts and to create their own literary texts enriches students’ understanding of human experiences and the capacity for language to deepen those experiences. It builds students’ knowledge about how language can be used for aesthetic ends, to create particular emotional, intellectual or philosophical effects.”

“In this syllabus, the study of a wide range of texts is central to the study of English. This includes the study of texts which are widely regarded as quality literature, providing students with the opportunity for aesthetic experience and to develop an appreciation of the artistic expression found in texts.In the primary years of schooling, the study of text types, as part of a broader study of texts, is intended to facilitate student literacy skills and help to establish knowledge about the purpose and audience, structures and language features of a broader range of texts.”

“When teachers are looking at selecting books, we need to see if quality literature will fit into the relevant categories/cross-curriculum priorities of the syllabus; not just buy any book that will fit into that category. Let’s choose quality that will inspire children to understand why these priorities are important.” 
The 3 cross-curriculum priorities are as follows:
–Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
–Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia
–Sustainability.
“The new curriculum also looks at developing General Capabilities. And literature is just amazing because we can tick off every single one of these general capabilities by reading a quality children’s book.”
The General Capabilities in Literacy are as follows:
“Students become literate as they develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to interpret and use language confidently for learning and communicating in and out of school and for participating effectively in society. Literacy involves students in listening to, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and creating oral, print, visual and digital texts, and using and modifying language for different purposes in a range of contexts.”
What is quality literature?

This inspirational quote sums it up beautifully…
“Literature is not just about a story, it is about life and one’s world. It can act as a mirror to enable readers to reflect on life’s problems and circumstances; a source of knowledge; a means to peer into the past, and the future; a vehicle to other places; a means to reflect on inner struggles; an introduction to the realities of life and death; and a vehicle for the raising and discussion of social issues…literature offers ‘endless possibilities’ for readers to explore their world and learn from it, to enter ‘other worlds’ and to engage in meaning making.” (Cairney, T.H. (1995). Pathways to Literacy. London: Cassell, pp. 77-78) 
To end…

I believe there’s nothing quite like holding a quality book in your hands.

If you've read “It’s a Book” by Lane Smith, you’ll know exactly what I mean! If you haven’t read it yet, watch this…






Friday, March 7, 2014

Jenny Loves To Write!

Remember that secret I hinted at here?

I think it's time to start revealing the whole thing. Well, maybe not the whole thing...but part of it can be spotted at the end of this page...

Did you click over there?

Yep, that's right, it's all happening in 2014! :)

I do have another secret I can't wait to share....just not yet :) Soon, I promise!

Anyway (*a quick change of subject*)...

I've been a little under the weather the last few days, so it's given me time to do some reading, which I always love (when I'm not writing or drawing, of course). In fact, I read a whole pile of books, which I'd had on my to-do list for ages, in ONE DAY...

Bunny Loves to Write by Peter Bently
Bunny Loves To Write by Peter Bently
   I know, I know, they're children's picture books, but what better way to lift your spirits than by reading pure, innocent, colourfully mesmerising literature for kids?!

I find it heartwarming and comforting in a way that's difficult to define. But it takes me back to my childhood...a carefree time, when I thought I would live forever, conquer the world and save it, all at the same time!  

One of my favourite characters, I was truly blessed to meet on this reading adventure, was Buster Bunny, who it seems, is a lot like me.

In Bunny Loves to Write by Peter Bently, Buster Bunny loves to read and when somebody gives him a notebook and a pencil, he soon discovers a love of writing as well! Buster uses his wild imagination and awesome creativity to write the story featured in this book and he even illustrates it himself. Buster Bunny is my new hero! :)

The thing is though, when he stumbles upon the age-old problem of 'writer's block' (my take on the complication of this narrative), his friends come to the rescue. They encourage Buster by telling him how magnificent his story is so far, then go on to add their ideas. Buster welcomes their feedback and the story is finally finished. Fabulous!

Now, isn't this exactly what we all need? Encouragement and motivation to keep going, no matter what our project is?! See, you can learn so much from kids' books!! :)

I've just joined Julie Hedlund's 12x12 ...my version of Buster's group of friends. The aim is to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months. It sounds like a lot of pressure, but it's a great way to stay accountable to my writing plan. So far, the encouragement, motivation and advice I've received is priceless. I love my new 12x12 friends!

This is only the beginning of a great adventure :)