After a lengthy career nurturing and publishing talent, and championing the Australian's children book industry, Margaret Hamilton AM, and winner of the Dromkeen Medal (2004), has released her very own title - I'm sure under considerable personal pressure.
Could this doyenne of Aussie Kids' Books create her own stand-alone tome after dedicating her life to the literary success of others?
Peter called the monster under his bed ‘Muffin’, after its favourite food. Muffin also liked apple cores, cookies, and ham sandwiches. Not the crusts though, he tossed those back on the covers.
Dad checked under Peter’s bed with a torch each night before bedtime.
Mum sprayed her special ‘Monster Repellent’, which Peter knew was really vanilla air freshener.
But the monster was still there, waiting for him to fall asleep so it could break his toys and steal his socks and who knew what else.
Finally, he decided the only way to get any peace was to set a trap. He'd have to set it up early, while the monster was asleep.
The next morning, he snuck into the laundry and tipped all the clean towels out of the basket. Mum wouldn’t be happy, but it was worth it to catch the monster.
Next, he took one of Dad’s golf clubs from the hallway cupboard. Dad only played on Sundays, so he had plenty of time to return it.
Then he tip-toed into his sister’s room and cut a piece of wool from the ball she was using to knit a hat for her doll. The doll had a tiny head, it wouldn’t be missed.
Now, he needed bait. Last night’s roast? Too smelly. A piece of broccoli? Too disgusting. A honey sandwich? Too sticky. He remembered the muffins Mum baked yesterday. Perfect! He took two – one for bait and one for breakfast.
He was ready.
Back in his room, he assembled the trap. Tying one end of the wool around the golf club, he balanced the upside-down laundry basket on top. He placed one of the muffins under the trap and hid in the wardrobe, the other end of the wool in his hand.
Leaving the door open a crack, he could see the trap perfectly and, with just one tug on the wool, he could bring the basket crashing down, trapping the monster underneath. He munched on his muffin and settled down to wait.
Soon he heard a strange snuffling sound from under the bed. The monster had smelled the bait. Slowly, very slowly, it emerged. It was the size of a cat, covered in blue fur, with a thick puffy tail like a squirrel.
When it reached the muffin, Peter pulled the wool, and, with a thud and a squeal, the monster was trapped! He leapt out of the closet and peered under the basket at his prisoner.
The monster’s mouth opened, revealing jagged white fangs. “Mummy!”
Did monsters have mummies? The monster started to cry. It was more scared of him than he was of it.
Feeling guilty, and before he could change his mind, he flipped the basket over. The monster shuffled back under the bed, its yellow eyes staring out.
Peter picked up the muffin and rolled it into the darkness. He smiled when he heard the sound of munching.
Maybe the monster under his bed wasn’t so scary after all.
B. L. Draper lives in northern Australia where she teaches for money and writes for love. She enjoys writing stories for children that enrich their imaginations and inspire in them a life-long love of reading. She can be found at her website, Treekeeping.
Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’—and to delight our
KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in
the 25th of each month. Find out more here.
Bear lives by himself in a cave in the woods. One day when bear wakes up and walks outside he discovers a surprise waiting for him. The next morning there’s another one, and the morning after that, too. Crunchy things! Carrots actually, which might give you a clue as to who could have left them there.
Bear is delighted and touched that someone must like him. But he doesn’t know who it is. One day he follows some bees and discovers a tree filled with honey. Instead of eating it all himself, he decides to share it with his mystery friend and leaves some honeycomb on the rock where the carrots appear each morning.
The subtitle of this book — Adventures in Creative Writing — is perfect. For that's what this book is: an adventure from the first page to the last.
For any child who wants to write but doesn't know where to start, for any parent or teacher wanting to ignite that creative spark, for anyone of any age wanting to create with words … this book is guaranteed to have you picking up your pen or pencil and enjoying every second of the creative process.
Taken from the rhythm and rhyming style of Ten Green Bottles, here counting sheep is better than counting bottles. But what do sheep get up to all day?
We count backwards and find the hidden numbers somewhere on the page as the sheep sing silly songs, hang out clothes, walk through a maze, try to fly a kite, and other imaginative, crazy and fun things.
A heartfelt story of a teenage boy living in the conflict zone of Afghanistan, Naveed is the latest title in the Through My Eyes series. This middle fiction series introduces readers to children living in conflict zones around the world, sharing the everyday experiences of those living in the shadow of war and offering a message of courage, resilience and hope.
Through My Eyes: Naveed The explosion jolts him awake. He sits up, gasping for air, heart thumping. Was the blast real? Perhaps it had only happened in his head, a bad dream. Demons of the dark, his father had called them. 'Push them away. They'll only poison your thoughts. Seek the light and they can't hurt you.'
Naveed is sick of war - of the foreign powers and the Taliban, the warlords and the drug barons that together have torn Afghanistan apart. He's had to grow up quickly to take care of his widowed mother and little sister, making what little money he can doing odd jobs and selling at the markets. When he adopts Nasera, a street dog with extraordinary abilities, he has a chance to help rebuild his country. But will a new friend's betrayal crush his dreams of peace forever?
From the winter of war comes the spring of hope.
Naveed, written by Australian author John Heffernan, is the third book in the Through My Eyes series. For more information, visit the Through My Eyes website.
Thanks to the generous people at Allen & Unwin, we have five copies of Naveed to give away. Each book is valued at $15.99.
To win, tell us in 25 words or less, which country would you like to see featured in a Through My Eyes book and why.
Type ‘Naveed’ into the subject line and email your answer to susanATkids-bookreviewDOTcom. The most creative answers, as judged by KBR, will win. Be sure to include your full name and address — entries without will be ineligible, and be sure to provide a street address, as prizes cannot be delivered to PO Boxes.
Competition runs from Wednesday, 5 March 2014, 9pm to Wednesday, 12 March 2014, 9pm AEST, and the comp is open to residents of Australia, over the age of 18 (mum and dad can enter on behalf of kids). This is a game of skill, not chance. This is a game of skill, not chance. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Prizes cannot be delivered to PO Boxes. To be considered valid, entries must include a name and street address. Privacy statement: Winners' contact details are forwarded to the relevant publisher. Other contact details are not shared. All contact details are permanently deleted at competition end.
Through My Eyes is an outstanding series edited by Lyn White about children in the conflict zones of various countries. Naveed is the third book and is set in Afghanistan.
Naveed’s father was killed by a suicide bomber. He is now the man of the family. His sister Anoosheh is without legs due to a hidden mine, but is a happy, confident child. Survival is the goal of each day for the two children and their mother. The story follows their daily life and fight for survival against all odds.
John Heffernan is in the perfect position to give us a realistic view of Afghanistan, as it is a place close to his heart, having travelled there several times before the war. This gifted writer has opened up a window into the suffering of this nation. He concentrates on the effects of war on children; their resilience, resourcefulness, courage, determination and optimism to survive regardless of all the difficulties they face. This battle for survival takes place against a background of thriving warlords and drug dealers, the Taliban, and others that seek to become wealthy off the back of the poor.
Do You Dare to take a giant leap into the past and experience what the world was like before your time? Riding on the success of its historical fiction series for girls (Our Australian Girl already has 32 books) Penguin has just launched the parallel series for boys: Do You Dare? Those who have eagerly awaited a quality historical fiction series for boys will not be disappointed.
Each book immerses us in a specific year in Australia’s history and every tale is brought to high-action life through the experiences of a boy and his friends. Together, they meet surprising villains and face serious, even life-threatening situations. What I think I like most about the Do You Dare? series is that sometimes it is the most respectable, and those in authority, who are the most dangerous.
It's fair to say I've done a heck of a lot of teeth-grinding over princess books in my time. Butterflies and fairies have come close, but have nothing on the torment I've been through over the whole princess debacle.
Yes, I love Disney princess films, but only for their divine, retro illustration and tender quasi-alignment with true fairytales. I will admit, however, that I've also grown fond of their sweetly delusional plots over the years, as they've proved fabulous educational fodder for my children, who are fully versed in the stereotypical princess illusion delusion.
1. Can you tell us something hardly anyone knows about you? I don’t know if this is possible, but I sometimes get a strange feeling that I was once a dog, like in another time or another life. When that happens, I get an urge to dig holes and scratch myself, and if I see a bone I get really excited and start panting! (Please don’t tell anyone, though.)
2. Do you have a nickname? Yes. DICE . . . as in the little cubes with numbers 1-6 that you use for gambling. I’m not a gambler, so I don’t know why my friends nicknamed me that.
3. What is your greatest fear? Spiders.
4. Can you describe your writing style for us in ten words? Concise description; gripping suspense; believable characters; effective dialogue.
5. What are five positive words that describe you as a writer? Concerned. Thoughtful. Passionate. Open. Minimal.