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

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Meet Megan Daley of Children's Books Daily

KBR is fortunate to know and work with a proliferation of wonderful industry players many of whom have become good friends. We'll be featuring these people and introducing you to the wonderful things they're doing for the children's book industry.

This month, we welcome the seriously book-loving Megan Daley of Children's Books Daily, with Ten Things About Megan.

  1. I am in awe of those who create beautiful books: authors; illustrators; editors; publishers; those in the marketing of books – it takes a team to produce a book of beauty and wisdom. Each book on a bookshelf represents months, sometimes years, of hard work and dedication by many people.
  2. Call me biased, but I believe Australia has one of the most vibrant children’s/YA literature communities in the world. We produce some darn fine books and have some of the most talented, creative and delightful authors and illustrators you will ever meet. The youth of Australia are well catered for in the literature department.
  3. I bake when I am stressed. The more stressed I am, the more cakes, biscuits, scones and crepes I produce – often very late at night. I find reading recipes, measuring ingredients, sifting and folding terribly therapeutic in times of chaos!
  4. I want to garden more than I actually do. My grandad was an amazing gardener and everything I know about plants comes from working alongside him, and then my parents. Jackie French is my favourite author of gardening (and children’s) books. Despite my love of gardening and reading about gardening, my own garden is shambolic. My grandmother says I should not be disheartened as when my life is less busy I will create a beautiful garden and I hope she is right.
  5. My family are starting a dynasty of teacher librarians. My mum is also a teacher librarian and needless to say she inspired my choice of career. She was originally an art teacher and studied to be a TL when I was in high school and introduced us to some wonderful books. I loved hanging out in her school library and helping her to create some fabulous Book Week displays and events. My workmates gave my first daughter, called PudStar online, a jumpsuit when she was born which said ‘Future Librarian’ – not sure my husband thought it was as brilliant as I did!
  6. PudStar [Megan's daughter] may or may not end up a librarian of sorts but she’s certainly been immersed in the world of children’s literature in Australia. She spent many an evening as a newborn sleeping under the table at Children’s Book Council (Qld and then National Exec) meetings, flew to a Children’s Book Council conference in Melbourne at six weeks old, had morning tea with Ms Quentin Bryce at Government House at 12 weeks and this year at six years old, her artwork has been used on the cover and in a chapter of a textbook about sustainability and the arts. Her show-and-tell at school one week recently was about how she was now a ‘published illustrator’. She may have peaked too early in this whole literary caper?
  7. My workplace is one of my favourite places in the world to hang out. My school library at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School (Junior School) is spectacular and the people I work with are some of my closest friends. We are so lucky to be supported by a great educational leadership team and with their support we have been able to develop an amazing collection of literature and technological resources. At the moment my teaching partner and I are in the throes of turning our library into a ‘Maker Space’ – we are just a tad excited.
  8. I will never write a children’s book. Friends ask when I will write a children’s book – the answer is never. My professor father and my very clever and academic sister sigh a fair bit when they read my writing and suggest I stay with blogging and leave academia to others. My English teacher friends will attest to the fact that I have apostrophe issues. I get very stressed about noun groups and I write the way I talk – fast and with too many words. Any book I wrote would need some serious editing to say the least and would very possibly be the cause of a nervous breakdown in an editor.
  9. My blog is also one of my favourite places to hang out. My family have had a tragedy and ill-health filled few years now. It’s been incredibly hard, so hard. But my dear friend and fab web developer, Tom from Mango Matters http://mangomatterweb.com/ set my blog up for me and said ‘go for it Megee…BLOG’ (only Tom and Jess can call me Megee BTW). I will be eternally grateful to Tom as my blog has become my place to escape to and my place to re-charge.
  10. My blog presents only a small slice of my life but I really hope that if readers of my blog met me they would sense that I am pretty much the same online as offline. I could prattle on about children’s books all day and my blog is my place to do this and to share a little of the chaos and moments of joy in my life.

Megan Daley is Teacher Librarian in the Junior School Library at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School, and the outgoing National Vice President of the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Previous to her time at St Aidan’s, Megan has worked at Anglican Church Grammar School, and West Moreton Anglican College. She is a judge for the Queensland Literary Awards and is on the Queensland sub-committee for the Australian Laureate Foundation.

Megan is passionate about the importance of books for the very young, with her first degree being a Bachelor of Early Childhood at QUT. She also has a Grad Dip in Teacher Librarianship and a Masters of Education in Innovative Teaching and Learning and Teacher Librarianship.

Megan blogs about all things literary at www.childrensbooksdaily.com