It all started with a common goal - to network with like-minded people and develop skills essential for becoming published children's book authors.
In early 2014, I began to embrace my passion for the picture book industry and follow my dream of writing for children. Having two young daughters under five clearly ignited my motivation, and particularly at a time when I was on a break from an eight-year teaching stint.
Upon 'meeting' and sharing the same interest as Jenny Graham, the Just Write For Kids (JWFK) facebook group was established. The original aim was to discuss writing strategies and learn valuable industry related information. We set out to build a community that would support and encourage aspiring authors like us.
With its rapid growth over the past year or so, Just Write For Kids has surpassed my expectations, with its continually inspiring and helpful emerging and accomplished authors, illustrators, editors and publishers. Besides learning invaluable facts and tips to assist on the publication journey, I've had the pleasure of welcoming amazing Australian talent who are so generous in sharing and empowering one another with their wisdom and experience. The level of interaction and camaraderie amongst the members is incredible - the group really has a light-hearted and supportive community spirit!
With this wonderful group who have bucket loads of knowledge to impart, such a keen interest in the field, and a genuine passion for advocating children's literature, what better way to communicate on an even wider scale than with a community blog?! Still operating under the Just Write For Kids brand, the blog is titled Just Kids Lit, which we felt encapsulates our purpose as well as allowing scope for a broad audience.
The terrific team of regular contributors have already committed so much of their time to this project, for which I am ever so grateful. Now in its fifth month, we've already had several guest posts and content that has engaged a variety of genres, from picture books through to middle grade and young adult. The blog has covered vast writing related topics from personal reflections through to publishing and technology advice.
We all have big plans to grow into a well-respected central hub for book creators, teachers, parents and students to be able to find all things 'Australian children's literature'. I would love to see the same supportive community feel translate to the blog; a place that offers plenty of valuable advice, encouragement and opportunities to network, interact and have fun.
For more information about Just Write for Kids, visit the JWFK blog, Facebook group and Facebook fan page.
Romi Sharp is an early childhood and primary teacher, writer, reviewer, mum of two and compulsive reader of all things picture books! Her reviews have appeared in several literary publications, including CBCA's Reading Time, Junior Books + Publishing, Boomerang Books Blog, Creative Kids Tales and her own blog, My Little Story Corner, which aims to foster a love of reading through fun and educational curriculum activities relating to current picture books.
Particular teaching roles such as Reading Intervention, ESL (English as a Second Language) and Art have played a part in the way she experiments with words, ideas and perspectives when writing stories. She lives in Melbourne with her husband, two daughters and fluffy dog, who all certainly keep her on her feet!