Sunday, September 18


Need any more proof that the Ipswich Festival of Children's Literature was an outstanding success? Here're the FINAL FIGURES just released.

Total number of students at venues in Ipswich and Woodlands – 6309 X 3 sessions
Plus: Number of children seen at a school session (where the author/illustrator visited a school in the area - 2318
Plus: at Esk (a small town) 300 X 3 sessions
Plus: at Bethany (another small town) 200 X 3 sessions
Total number of students who enjoyed this first-class, free Literary Festival = 9127 children
(Total number of sessions with presenters = 22, 745)

Hi to the cool kids from Lowood State School Yrs 4/5

Friday, September 16


Finally, the winners of the Festival Writing Competition for 7-12 year olds. Eight entries will each receive a book donated by, and mostly signed by the authors and illustrators who were at the Ipswich Festival. They will arrive in the mail  to your school after the holidays.
The remaining entries have all won Highly Commended Prizes, a small, signed picture of Tatty Rat. The images will come by email to your school and can be downloaded and printed off by your teacher after the holidays.

The entries were all good, some very clearly caring about the planet, animals and water pollution. Banning smoking was popular, and some wanted to change the earth so there was no starvation and to see all children get an education.

One wanting to help teenagers not accepting celebrities as role models, one would like to have wealthy people donate a percentage of their money to St Vinnies.

There were entries to make people play more sport and one entry would like every Wednesday declared an international sports day. One 11 year-old would like to freeze the price of essentials so families wouldn't go broke.

Another entry would like all children to have a go-kart with a special road and a licence to drive on it so parents wouldn't have to drive them to school - it would make life easier and more fun! (Ed. Sounds good to me! Can adults-who-are-kids-at-heart do it too?)

A 9-year-old would like to stop wars, believing we should co-operate with each other and live in harmony.
Not one of the entries talked about personal gain - isn't that what they say, out of the mouth of babes comes great wisdom?
Here are our winners and their book prizes:

Daniel Vogler  age 12  (Ipswich Central State School) - The Emerald Casket
Miranda Roxbury   age 7  (Bulimba State School)  Pippa the Perfect FLowergirl
Tyler Bland   age 10  (Burpengary State School)   What Body Part is That?
Christie Imms  age 11 (Burpengary SS)   I Am Jack
Sarah Lurie   age 11  (Burpengary SS)    Grimsdon
Taylah Singerl  age 10  (Burpengary SS)  Secrets of Eromanga
Erin Burge   age 9 (Blair State School) Violet Mackerel's Remarkable Recovery
Lydia Grayson age 9 (Blair SS)  Riley and the Grumpy Wombat   



Chris Cheng showing flood level marker in library
 Many Queenslanders suffered in last January's devastating floods, including one of the schools who came to the Ipswich Festival of Children's Literature. 

Volunteers sorting new books
Brassall State Primary School

Brassall State Primary School sits not far from Mihi Creek. At the height of the flood, some buildings were submerged up to the ceilings, others were only up to the windows, while only one block was high enough to escape any damage.

The rotting aftermath
When the floodwaters receded, the community with the aid of the army took weeks to clean up the stinking silt, garbage and driftwood.
One of the most devasting sights were the piles of rotting, mushy library books being scooped up in the buckets of graders and dumped. 

Inside the library

I visited Brassall State School last week and talked to librarians and volunteers who were still covering and indexing the many thousands of new books bought with Government funding in their new library.

So it was lovely that the kids from Brassall State School made it to 
the Ipswich Festival this year.

Thursday, September 15


Keep tuned for when Paige Turner announces the 8 finalists in the Festival Writing Competition tomorrow.

Paige Turner - Festival co-host

THE MANY FACES OF TANYA BATT, storyteller extraordinaire

For 10 days I've roamed the Festival, listening, participating in sessions, photographing authors, illustrators in action at the Ipswich Woodlands sites and presenting four workshops myself. It's been an absolute privilege and I've enjoyed every minute of the experience.

There have been many highlights - Jeannie Baker's recount of her journey through Morocco when she wrote Mirror; Freya Blackwood's art lesson; Lesley Reece taking on the persona of Wolf in Wolf's Sunday Dinner; Kerry Brown and her sister, Michelle Pike working tandem like a well-oiled bicycle; Sarah Davis's lovely interaction with littlies; Mark Wilson's passion for endangered creatures and his lovely paintings; John Heffernan's brilliant Battle Boy presentations.

If I had to pick one presenter who most captured my imagination and admiration, it would have to be Tanya Batt. As well as an author and arts educator, Tanya is a storyteller of the first degree. 

She is regarded as one of New Zealand's top storytellers and is based on the enchanted island of Waiheke Island, Aotearoa, where she is the director of the 'Once Upon an Island' Festival and Story Centre.Tanya travels the world storytelling and spreading the world of the imagination to all ages and nationalities.

In Tanya's session, I became a 5 year old again, hanging on every word, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed (a tatty one at that), just like all the other adults at that session for 5-7 year olds.

Tanya told two folk tales this session, one from Siberia and one from the Northern Territory, Australia, including children throughout the stories. I think the images here will say more than my words.


Last day at Woodlands

It's another beautiful day at Woodlands as we countdown to the finish line at the Ipswich Festival of Children's Literature with only the Esk State School's Mini Writers' Festival tomorrow left.
Another 300 hundred school children rolled on to the Woodlands' site today and things were humming.

Today's line-up of authors, illustrators and storytellers included Michael Salmon, Aleesah Darlison, Clare McFadden, Meredith Costain, Lesley Reece, Sarah Davis, Leigh Hobbs, Tanya Batt, Sally Rippin, Kerry Brown, Michelle Pike, Chris Cheng and Lynelle Westlake.

Here're some of the images from today.
One of the many faces of storyteller, Tanya Batt

Sarah Davis captures the attention of squirmy Preps from Coominya State School.

Lesley Reece enthralls Years 2-3 with the story of 'Wolf's Sunday Dinner'.

Mr Peacock finally displays his finery when I have the camera with me.

The Book Garden's shop on site - better than a Lolly Shop (Candy Store).
Meredith Costain and her merry band of pirates.

Michael Salmon and the story of Bobo.

(Ed: Sorry for missing a post yesterday, I picked up the dreaded lurgy - a hazard when working with kids.)

Tuesday, September 13

PODCASTS - kids ask Charlie Carter questions

Charlie Carter - author of the Battle Boy series

Check out the three podcasts just added in the above Podcast Page.
The Junior Roving Reporters did their job well. 
Recordings are short and questions are good.

Day 8 - the Kids are Back in Town

After a 'quiet' weekend of the Adults Workshops and Conference Dinner and Breakfast, it's back to a schools' day. 

Excited kids spilled from buses and headed off to their author or illustrator sessions - three 1 hour sessions in a day.

Only one more Kids' Day on Tuesday and a Mini Kids Lit Festival in Esk (about an hour away on Wednesday) and the Festival is over for another two years.

Here are some images of Monday's Kids' Day at the Ipswich Festival of Children's Literature.

Kerry Brown and Michelle Pike - author and illustrator

Sally Rippin in the Chapel

Jenny Stubbs sitting down to her first cup of tea for the day

The resident peacock

Monday, September 12



Many thanks to all those who entered the drawing competition - Tatty Rat was most impressed!

All winners will receive a signed picture of Tatty Rat - you can frame it if you like.

Here are the winners.....

Mathew Pashley - Year 4
Ethan Bauer - Year 4

Logan - Year 4
Cade Scanlan - Year 4

Tess Haviland - aged 9

Thank you all for your entries!!
Winners, your pictures of Tatty Rat will arrive soon ... Tatty Rat wanted to deliver them by his skateboard to your school, but he rode the board into the creek at Woodlands and can't get it out.
From Sheryl


Yes, I'll be posting the names and the winning pictures today! Keep tuned all you Tatty Rat fans!

TATTY RAT says 'hi' - he wanted to post this himself but his claws scratched my computer keys, groan.


Lesley Reece launched the project
Yesterday, during the Festival lunch, Book Links (Queensland) launched its project, The Travelling Suitcases.  

Book Links (Qld) members and Lesley Reece
It's a fantastic project designed to bring authors and illustrators to children in remote or regional Queensland who can't access what their city cousins can. 

Illustrator, Greg Roger's suitcase showing his rough drafts, paint brushes, posters and lots more.

These 10 suitcases contain everything needed for a teacher or teacher librarian to involve students in an in-depth study of a particular author or illustrator. Authors involved are James Moloney, Narelle Oliver, Kerry Argent, Greg Rogers and Michael Gerard Bauer. Copies of original manuscripts, published works, suggested teaching units and a DVD are included in the suitcases. Author, Pam Rushby was the project manager.   

Book Links member, Sheryl Gwyther and Michael Salmon
The suitcases will be available on loan to schools throughout Queensland thus enabling small schools in remote areas to have access to authors and illustrators when an actual author visit is not financially or logistically viable.