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

Monday, 21 October 2013

Children's Week: Interview: 12-year-old Author Chelsea Boulding

We're celebrating Children's Week with a series of reviews, articles and interviews by or with kids! To see all our Children's Week posts, click here.

As part of Children's Week, KBR warmly welcomes Chelsea Boulding, an inspiring 12-year old author, whose first picture book - A Hippopotamus in the Sink - was published this August by Harbour Publishing House. 

Chelsea was born with quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy and is confined to a wheelchair but her mind and creativity is certainly not in the least bit confined. I was most fortunate to meet this delightful young woman at her Canberra book launch recently, and was equally delighted when she came along to my Jumpy Kangaroo book launch, where Chelsea was introduced to the crowd.

Here, she chats to us about the thrill of having her book published--and may there by many more. - Tania McCartney

Congratulations, Chelsea on the publication of your very first book--A Hippopotamus in the Sink! You recently launched the book at school; how did it feel to launch in front of so many peers and supportive people? Exciting but I felt nervous, especially when I spoke in front of everyone.

Harbour Publishing House accepted your manuscript without knowing a single thing about you. Did you ever imagine you would be published at 12 years old? No, to be honest I never thought it would come true.

Have you always loved to write? Yes. I've been writing books since starting primary school at age five.

Where did the idea for A Hippopotamus in the Sink come from? Originally I dreamt it, then I told my tutor Rosemary who scribes for me and she wrote my ideas down for me.

There is a real dreamlike quality to the book! There's also humour in your story; how important is it to inject humour into children’s books? It's very important to me because I want children to laugh, especially sick or injured children.

What was it like to work with illustrator Julie Sydenham? She's amazing, she's perfect and I couldn't have asked for anything more.

Did you liaise with Julie on the illustrations or did you give her complete creative license? We worked together. Julie drew draft pictures and I approved them if I liked them or asked her to change them.

What did you enjoy most about the publication process of this book? Realising my dream was going to become a reality.

What kind of stories do you particularly enjoy writing? I love writing animal stories.

Do you have a writing mentor? No, not yet.

Which books do you enjoy reading? Animal or cartoon books, or anything funny.

How important is it for kids to rise above challenges and forge ahead—to do what they love? Very important. I want to be a role model and show people that anything's possible if you put your mind to it.

What do the kids at school think of your publishing success? They are proud of me.

What is your ultimate career dream? To become a best selling author.

What are you working on now? A story about a teacher and a group of special needs children. One of the children is very naughty and the teacher isn't happy about it, bur she has a secret weapon to make the student behave.

Learn more about Chelsea's gorgeous book or buy a copy at www.harbourpublishing.com.au.


  1. Amazing and so clever. Congrats Chelsea!!

  2. I think this would make a great regular feature

  3. Chelsea, A Hippopotamus in the Sink sounds fabulous, no wonder the kids at school are proud of you. I loved reading your interview.
    ~ Rebecca


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