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PASS THE BOOK BATON

It’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Every week Alphabet Soup features a book creator who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

Gabrielle WangToday the book baton is passed to author and illustrator, Gabrielle Wang. Gabrielle writes and illustrates picture books and novels, including two series in the Our Australian Girl series. Her latest novel is The Wishbird. Gabrielle says her Chinese heritage influences all her work and she likes to include Chinese philosophy and folktales in her novels. Keep an eye out for her new book The Beast of Hushing Wood, which will be published in April 2017.

Here are some of Gabrielle Wang’s books:

Last week, Michael Gerard Bauer asked:
In general I’d love to know how being an illustrator impacts on your writing. For example, if you are writing a novel, do you find yourself creating illustrations for the characters or scenes even though they might not be included in the published work? Have characters or stories ever started from something you have drawn? Is visual imagery an important part of your writing style?

Gabrielle answers:
While working on a novel, I don’t think about the illustrations. I do think in pictures and scenes though. Being a visual person, the very first thing I need to come up with when I begin a new novel is the setting. Only then can my characters begin to act out their story.

The Beast of Hushing Wood

The Beast of Hushing Wood will be published in April 2017.

In my forthcoming novel, The Beast of Hushing Wood, the woods play a major role. It is a character with its own moods, mysteries and emotions. Because of this it was important for me to travel to the USA to do research. I needed to immerse myself in place — to walk, feel, smell, touch and taste the woods before I could write about them.

Once I’ve completed the novel and it has been through all the major editing phases with my publisher, I then go back through the text wearing my illustrator’s hat. If a particular scene stands out and excites me then that’s the one I will illustrate. At the same time, I need to be practical and make sure that the illustrations are evenly distributed throughout, especially those that are full-page.

Because painting gives me such joy, I illustrate almost everyday. It’s a form of relaxation. I don’t know what I’m going to paint until I begin. I like illustrating animals so many story ideas come out of these illustrations. One day I would like to publish a picture book.

Visit gabriellewang.com to find out more about Gabrielle Wang and her books.


Sage Cookson book 1And now Gabrielle Wang passes the baton to the next Friday visitor — Sally Murphy. Sally has written over forty books for children including Pearl Verses the World, and a new series about the daughter of celebrity tv chef parents.

Gabrielle asks:
“I would love to know how you began. I’m interested in hearing about that transition between being unpublished to being published. Did it take you long? Did you ever want to give up? Did you have many rejections?”
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Check in every Friday for questions and answers from children’s authors and illustrators.
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See you next week!

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PASS THE BOOK BATON logo

 

This is our first Pass the Book Baton for 2017! What is Pass the Book Baton? Every Friday we feature a book creator who answers one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.) Make sure you check out all all the posts from the Pass the Book Baton series so far.

To start off this year’s series, the baton is passed to Michael Gerard Bauer.

Michael Gerard Bauer

 

Michael Gerard Bauer is the author of many books for children and young adults. His latest book is a young adult title — The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy and me and he has a picture book coming out soon (stay tuned!). You might recognise some of these books:

Last year Wendy Orr asked:
I’m curious whether, like me, you draw on different parts of yourself to create your characters (even if other people might not be able to see that ‘seed’ that started the process). Do you use any techniques to find these beginnings, or does the character appear to grow spontaneously, and you only recognise later the bit that sparked its creation?

Michael answers:

Bauer's latest young adult novel

I think I do draw on different parts of myself to create characters but I don’t think in most cases that I do it deliberately or consciously. I can certainly see myself, or aspects of myself, in main characters like Joseph in The Running Man, Corey from Just a Dog and Ishmael from the Ishmael series. Even the character of Maggie from The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy and Me shares quite a bit in common with me — although I’d have to admit, there’s also a fair bit of me in The Pain! Having said that, I don’t ever see myself as being those characters, despite any similarities that might exist in our personalities and attitudes. I doubt that I could write about, or would want to write about, a central character to whom I couldn’t relate or empathise.

I really don’t apply any techniques to help find character beginnings. My characters seem to emerge and grow from the situations that I imagine them in and that’s more of a spontaneous thing. So with Joseph in The Running Man it started with me imagining a boy living next door to a mysterious and reclusive neighbour and wondering how he would deal with each situation as it arose. As a writer you find out more and more about your character as you develop your story. I think the part of you that is in the character is probably the strongest and most obvious at the start, and as you unearth the story and the character is placed in different situations, they take on different layers and dimensions and so they grow away from that seed of you to become unique identities in themselves.

Ultimately I believe the best thing you can do when developing characters is to stop thinking about them as characters but rather think about them as real people. Try to imagine their life outside the limits of your story for example and how they have become the people they are. When you stop looking at them as your ‘creation’ and give them room and freedom to grow, they tend to take on a life of their own and often reveal themselves to you in surprising ways.

Want to know more about Michael Gerard Bauer and his books? Visit his website: https://michaelgerardbauer.com/


The WishbirdAnd now Michael passes the baton to the next Friday visitor — Gabrielle Wang. Gabrielle is the author of picture books and novels, including two series in the Our Australian Girl series. Her latest novel is The Wishbird.

Michael asks:
In general I’d love to know how being an illustrator impacts on your writing. For example, if you are writing a novel, do you find yourself creating illustrations for the characters or scenes even though they might not be included in the published work? Have characters or stories ever started from something you have drawn? Is visual imagery an important part of your writing style?
..
Check in every Friday for questions and answers from children’s authors and illustrators.
 ..
See you next week!

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GOING TO THE MILKING SHED

by Joshua, 8, NSW

On 25 March 2016 at the Upper Rolland Plains in NSW, Dad, Gabe and I went to a dairy farm to milk a cow.

When we got there we saw cows walking into the milking shed from the paddock. Two women workers invited us into the shed.

We tried milking the cows with our hands, but it was hard. There was also cow poo all over the ground.  I also used the big long tubes to milk a cow. We saw a big brown bull. It was about one and a half metres tall and two and a half metres long. It just ate its feed.

After that, we painted a cow red because it had a baby in its tummy and because it had a baby, it had medicine in its milk so it would taste bad.

Then we went to the back where two baby cows were lying down. We fed them hay and water.

Even though I got cow poo and wee on my clothes, it was still cool and awesome to milk a cow.


Joshua has been published with Alphabet Soup before — you can read an earlier story by Joshua here.  If YOU would like to send us a story, drawing, poem, or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy writing!

YOUR INNER GARDEN
by Natasha, 9, ACT

Ivy scrambles across the path,
Until it meets the flowers,
Its joy will make you laugh,
Its trees as tall as towers.

You can hear the birds tweeting,
It takes away every fear,
New plants you keep on meeting,
It makes you know warmth is near.

So come to it if you’re in trouble,
It will calm you down,
It will take away the rubble,
You will lose your frown.

So if you’re feeling rotten,
Take time to close your eyes,
You’ll know when you’ve gotten,
You have gotten inside.

Just go inside for a bit, just do,
And look at what you see,
Your garden is a part of you,
And mine’s a part of me.


This is Natasha’s first poem published with Alphabet Soup. If YOU would like to send us a story, drawing, poem, or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy writing!

My alien friend

by Anouksha, 10, VIC

Today at school we had art. The teacher said that you could draw anything you wanted to draw. I drew a spotty alien with four arms, two tentacles and an eye. Behind it in the background was planet Mars with a beautiful starry night sky to go with it. We were allowed to take our artwork home so I took it home and stuck it on my bedroom door.

The next day I woke up to a rustling sound. I looked everywhere but all I could see was my very own room with nothing unusual. That was strange. Then I kept on looking for the mystery sound. Wait a minute, suddenly my alien artwork I did at art yesterday caught my eye. It was MOVING!!! Suddenly out popped an ALIEN!!! It popped out from my alien artwork. I screamed and then mum came in. I pointed my finger straight at the alien but then it vanished! I told mum there was an alien before but it vanished. Mum took no notice of it and said I was daydreaming but I wasn’t.

Just when Mum left, the alien reappeared! I didn’t scream again because I’m pretty sure the alien would vanish again. Suddenly the alien started talking in a really weird language that I did not understand. I gave a puzzled look in return. Well, I guess the alien understood because the alien gave me a pair of headphones. I put it on my head and when the alien spoke, it would translate into English. “That is so cool” I said.

The alien said: “My name is Zing Zang. I have been transported to earth by your wonderful alien drawing, but I can’t find my way back to Mars. Can you help me?”
“Sure,” I replied. “Tomorrow we can camp outside in tents so we might be able to find Mars,” I suggested.
“Ok,” said Zing Zang.

It was nearly night. We set our tents up and we were now gazing into the stars.Stars. Photo from pexels.com

“All I can see is billions and billions of stars,” said Zing Zang. After a few minutes I heard Zing Zang shout out “Spaceship,spaceship,spaceship!”
“Zing Zang did you find Mars?” I asked surprised.

“No, but I found a spaceship that was a spaceship from Mars,” Replied Zing Zang. “Now all we have to do to get their attention is turn around 3 times, jump two times and clap,” said Zing Zang.

So we turned around 3 times, jumped 2 times and clapped. Suddenly a big shiny spaceship landed on our garden. Our garden was big enough for the spaceship to land. The spaceship landed and signalled something to Zing Zang. I gave Zing Zang a great big hug even though he was pretty slimy! Zing Zang walked into the spaceship and then I waved goodbye. The spaceship zoomed away into the starry night sky. In the sky the Spaceship was as small as a speck of dust.
“Oh no, I forgot to give Zing Zang the headphones,” I said. At least I could keep it to remember Zing Zang.

“Anouksha, Anouksha,” said someone. Tap, Tap! I woke up and saw my mum tapping on my shoulder and saying wake up. So all this was a dream?
“Awww” I moaned. I wish it was real. When my mum left I heard a rustling sound. “Maybe this wasn’t a dream after all.”


This is Anouksha’s first story published with Alphabet Soup. If YOU would like to send us a story, drawing, poem, or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy writing!

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REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 12, WA

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Ungifted by Gordon Korman, HarperCollins, ISBN 9780061742668

Joseph borrowed this book from his public library.

Gordon Korman wrote one of my favourite books (I Want to Go Home), and when I found this at the library I knew I wanted to read it. I thought it wasn’t as funny as some of Korman’s other books, but it had a great plot and kept me engaged.

Because of a mistake, Donovan is sent to an academy of selective distinction. He know’s he’s not gifted enough to be there but he decides to try to stay because he’s hiding out from the principal at his old school. (He skipped detention and managed to destroy the gym.)

All the kids at the academy suspect there was a mistake, so he has to do his best to blend in. Unfortunately he has a history of getting into trouble. I like how Korman links so many events in the story and keeps you guessing. Most readers aged 11+ would enjoy this humorous book. It involves lots of modern technology and the vocabulary suits advanced readers.


Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of The Island of Dr Libris. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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Friends Forever
by Anishka, 7, QLD

 On a nice winter afternoon, I was running down my school path and suddenly I stopped! I saw someone that I liked. She had black hair, brown skin, brown eyes, red lips and a bandage on her arm.

I asked what her name was, she looked back at me and said, “My name is Rida”.

She asked my name and I answered “Anishka”, then we wore a great big smile on our faces.

Surprisingly, she was living near to our suburb. We started carpooling. I went in her car in the morning and my dad picked us up in the afternoon, and we never missed a single day. We had great fun. We started going to each others houses during weekends and we enjoyed each other’s company a lot. In Grade 1, we were in same class. Rida and I were best friends.

One day, she told me that she was going to leave her house and school because her father got a job which is at the other end of the town. It was four more days and she will be going to her new house. I felt sorry but the lucky thing was, it wasn’t today. In our class, we had a farewell party for Rida and it was a free dress day. This is how the party started. Everybody were hiding under their desks. When Rida and I came to the class, everyone shouted surprise and me and Rida got surprised.

I knew it was fun but finally she left the school and moved to her new house. She was telling me, she will have fun in her new school. Now, I am going to school alone. When I am at the drop off zone at my school, I have no friends to talk with me and I feel very lonely and sad. I was playing alone in the playground. I wish Rida would come back soon but it is not possible. I hope Rida will get a new friend in her new school, but still we are best friends.


Anishka has been published at Alphabet Soup many times — you can read all her earlier work here.

If YOU would like to send us a story, drawing, poem, or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy writing!