'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 9 April 2011

Interview: Angela Hall of Bug in a Book

KBR is thrilled to invite good friend and all-round lovely gal Angela Hall of Bug in a Book to tell us a little bit more about herself and her amazing kids' literature and literary site. Enjoy!

What are your vital stats?Live in Logan (south Brisbane). Married with busy little miss (almost 3) Chelsea a.k.a. Bug, where our name Bug in a Book came from. Used to be an early childhood teacher (which is why I have so much respect for good teachers), and have pretty much done that since school with a few breaks in between to try new things. It is hard to beat the feeling of watching little ones learn from your efforts.

Have you always been interested in books and literature?
Yes, books were such a wonderful part of my childhood. I would read at least every night from the moment I could read... that is how I would fall asleep - book in hand. Although I have always enjoyed reading and absolutely loved reading children's books to a rivited audience of kids, it didn't occur to me that I could make it my life until I had my own child.

When did you start Bug in a Book and why?
Bug in a Book started when I discovered a love for writing. I was originally using a little facebook page to share my projects and get feedback. Then I enlisted Danielle Bagshaw my (now) business partner who is an designer and interested in the illustrations side.

We soon realised how big the book industry world was and how many interested people in the same boat as us there were . . .  All looking for answers and keen to read about the world of children's books. We were then approached by the very lovely Hazel Edwards who in turn brought in Ford Street Publishing, and we grew from there.

What is Bug in a Book about?Bug in a Book is now in the process of dividing the two areas (children's literacy and book industry resources) into seperate websites. The actual Bug in a Book site is aiming to become a Australian and New Zealand children's literacy hub. A

s well as our own reviews and publisher promotions, we are here to promote other literacy organisations, websites and resources (for free). We hope to become a place where parents and teachers can go to locate the book, literacy information and resources appropriate to them by having access to the wide variety of great organisations that are available in one place.

We invite people with literacy resources to contribute to Bug in a Book's various areas (Kids Club, BugED, etc), become a VIB (Very important Bug) and benefit from our free promotions such as our emagazine, newsletters and blog. The literacy community is such a great place to live!

What do you hope the site imparts its readers?
A love for reading, the joy of sharing and ways to help bring literacy to the home and classroom that make learning and reading fun.

What are your other plans for the site?I am really hoping to develop our resources further for parents and teachers. It would be really great to have a printed magazine one day with our VIB's contributed articles and information going out to schools and libraries. That would me amazing.

What is your favourite part of the site?
At the moment I am really enjoying developing the Bug Kids Club. I have really wanted to turn that into something special for a long time and we are now going in the right direction . . . lots of things still on the to-do list but I love watching it grow.

The new Bug Review Blog is also great. It is allowing the reviews to be presented better and easier to find in specific searches.

What is most rewarding about Bug in a Book?
For me personally, it is the fantastic people I have met. Being on the publicity side of the book industry has really broken down barriers and made it easy to connect with publishers, authors, illustrators, etc. And gosh they are just the lovliest bunch of people! I often say the book industry is not like other medias in the way that they are so approachable and friendly. When Hazel Edwards first contacted me I almost died of shock. She has been an endless source of help, inspiration and encouragement along the way.

Watching our little organisation grow is such a joy. It gives me such a buzz to know that I am doing something that matters enough to other people that they are subscribing and reading my words. I have this passion which is what I do. I am so lucky.

If you couldn’t be Queen Bug, what would you be?
I would probably write 'til I had worn my fingers down. The only downside to Bug in a Book is that I don't have as much writing time now. If my writing goes anywhere, well that remains to be seen, but if I don't write there is a huge void in my life and I circle around endlessly looking for fullfillment.

Rattle off some favourite authors and illustrators:Oh gee there are so many! Colleen McCullough is one of my absolute favourite authors of adult books - if ever I see her name on a book, I will pick it up! A few others who have caught my eye and captured my mind in children's books have been; Bruce Whatley (writing and illustrating), Karen Collum (love her new book Samuel's Kisses!), Craig Smith, Juliet Blair, Meg Cabot and Julie Fison. Of course the classic talents out there too Mem Fox, Lynley Dodd and Hazel Edwards (I could go on all day!).

Illustrators I love: Jo Thompson, Heath McKenzie, Serena Geddes, Graeme Base and Katz Cowley.

Name three books you’ve loved this year:
Arlo and the Vortex Voyage by Juliet Blair (IP Kids)

The Hazard River Series by J.E Fison (Ford Street Publishing) note: they are all good! reading Tiger Terror at the moment

Samuel's Kisses by Karen Collum and Serena Geddes (New Frontier Publishing)

Favourite ice cream flavour and why:
Anything Caramel! You really don't get sweeter then caramel.

Enjoy Angela's totally enriching literary site here, and don't forget to follow The Bug and his fans on Facebook!