It’s that time of the year folks: time to wrangle some crepe paper, sticky tape and random things you put at the back of the cupboard thinking ‘I’ll use that for Book Week’ five years ago and forgot about. Sure, your kids might be at uni now, but what student doesn’t want to add a bit of colour to their tutorial and really make a bold statement about how much they love Australian children’s literature? If you’re looking for some inspiration – and lets face it, there’s only so many times you can send your kid in a panda onesie claiming that Kung Fu Panda is actually adapted from a book – look no further, because I have your costume sorted. Why not go with a One Would Think the Deep theme? There’s not even any need to dress your kid up as the Leviathan, you can simply pop them into this tidy costume design conceived by One Would Think the Deep‘s cover designer Astred Cherry.
Happy Book Week everyone, it’s the only week that matters. And if you’re interested, I still have some slots available for Book Week school visits, just click on ‘School Visits’ at the top of the page. I might even wear my costume.
Yep, this is a thing that happened. I still haven’t seen the Book of the Year sticker on the actual cover of the book, maybe it will feel more real when I do! In the meantime here’s my acceptance speech….
I often say that I write for my seventeen year-old-self, right now my seventeen year-old-self is standing here saying ‘What the frig? How did this happen?’ I’m the kid who had a panic attack in the middle of her first HSC English exam and left. I’m not here because of the wonders of our education system, I am a glitch in the system. I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of high schools recently and I’m not sure all that much has changed. When it comes to education we are very concerned with rankings and bell curves.It’s worth noting that I was discouraged from taking on what was then called three unit Related English because my ranking wasn’t high enough. We want our kids to perform. We teach them to play Tchaikovsky by rote, but disable their ability to write their own music. I had teachers who fought against the obsession with marks and rankings and focused on nurturing my creativity, but I think that is like trying to light a candle in a cyclone, if you will allow me to get a bit Elton John.
I must thank my darling dad who told me over and over again that creativity was immeasurably valuable and must be held on to. I must thank my mum who gave the me stubbornness and determination required to pursue an artistic path.
Creative minds are vulnerable and mine has caused it’s fair share of problems, I would not have survived, much less written any books without the love and support of my husband, Nathan. Of course my thanks also go to my Publisher Kristina Schultz at UQP and my editor and coconspirator Kristy Bushnell.
I will finish by saying that this wonderful award does not qualify me to go into schools and give students the formula for a good piece of writing. I have no interest in improving their rankings. It does qualify me to visit high schools, look those kids in the eye — the off-beat ones, the weird ones, the ones who haven’t done that Biology assignment but have written 67,000 words, sometimes on their phones — and tell them that they will be okay. To the Children’s Book Council: thank you for this award, I can not tell you how much this means to me, especially seventeen year old me.