Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young writers in action: Cyclone Debbie

CYCLONE DEBBIE
by Anishka, 7, QLD

Rain and wind. Photo courtesy pexels.com

 

Swirling wind fills the sky,
I hope it is not a cyclone’s eye.
Suddenly the wind roars,
And rain floods the roads.
Cyclone Debbie is on her way,
And it is staying all day.
Be careful, you better watch out,
I hope you will shout!
Cyclone Debbie is on her way,
I don’t think, she’ll ever stay.
Everybody is safe, everybody is here,
Next time we will not stand fear.


Anishka is a regular contributor to Alphabet Soup — you can read all her earlier work here.

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Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Oxley Christian College

Book review: The Snow Wombat

REVIEWED BY JEREMIAH, 8, VIC

The Snow Wombat by Susannah Chambers, ill. by Mark Jackson, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781760113810

The Snow Wombat by Susannah Chambers, illustrated by Mark Jackson

Jeremiah borrowed a copy of this book from his school library.

The Snow Wombat is a heart-warming story of a curious little wild wombat who sees lots of nature covered in snow, including the high country and his nose!

This is a beautiful story with amazing illustrations and incredibly funny words in it. It encourages little kids to predict the rhyming words.

I rate this book as suitable for 3–4 year olds. My joy rating is 100%.


This is Jeremiah’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. If you’d like to read more book reviews by Oxley Christian College students, you can click on ‘Oxley Christian College’ in the grey categories box in the right column of this blog. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Oxley Christian College

Book review: Gary

REVIEWED BY ZAC, 8, VIC

Gary by Leila Rudge, Walker Books Australia, ISBN 9781925081695

Zac borrowed a copy of this book from his school library.

Gary by Leila RudgeGary is like the other racing pigeons but when they depart in the travel basket, Gary stays at home.

Gary can’t go anywhere because he can’t fly!

When the others arrive back home, Gary collects notes about their experiences so that he can remember. But, is Gary still the same as the other pigeons? Will Gary eventually find a way to travel?

I recommend this book for kids aged 4–8 years old.

Leila Rudge’s words and illustrations are outstanding. They hook the reader into the ordinary, but then extraordinary, life of Gary.

I give it a 6-star rating.


This is Zac’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. If you’d like to read more book reviews by Oxley Christian College students, you can click on ‘Oxley Christian College’ in the grey categories box in the right column of this blog. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in poetry, Young Writers in Action

Young writers in action: One Snowflake for You

ONE SNOWFLAKE FOR YOU
by Lacey, Nambour Christian College, QLD

Snow storm. Photo courtesy of Pexels.comSoftly falling from the sky
Gentle, loving and divine,
Playful, happy, time is true
One is landing just for you.

Softly falling from the sky,
Gentle, loving and divine,
White and beautiful,
Clean and fruitful
Just for you.

Snowflake, Snowflake,
Why don’t you come down?
Snowflake, Snowflake,
Not making a sound.


This is Lacey’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Oxley Christian College

Book review: Chip

REVIEWED BY NICHOLAS, 9, VIC

Chip by Kylie Howarth, The Five Mile Press, ISBN 9781760400736

Nicholas borrowed this book from his school library.

Chip by Kylie Howarth

Every seagull loves chips and Chip is a cute little seagull who loves fish and chips especially. However, when he gets banned from his favourite chip store near the Beach, he tries to form a plan with his friends to get access to his precious chips again.

How will they get their chips back so they don’t starve?

I think this book will be wonderful for children aged 3 and over. It has excellent pictures to show the little ones what is happening and describes the setting in detail. I personally think it is a magnificent book.

I give it a 10 out of 10 rating.


This is Nicholas’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. If you’d like to read more book reviews by Oxley Christian College students, you can click on ‘Oxley Christian College’ in the grey categories box in the right column of this blog. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in authors, Pass the Book Baton

Pass the Book Baton: Tamsin Janu

PASS THE BOOK BATON logo

Photo of Tamsin Janu credit Shane Reid Adelaide Writers' WeekIt’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.)

Today the book baton is passed to award-winning author Tamsin Janu. We’re especially thrilled to have her visiting Alphabet Soup, because she has two new books out — Blossom, and Figgy Takes the City. (This latest book in the Figgy series is out in bookstores on 1 September 2017. Yes, that’s today!)

As well as writing award-winning books Tamsin has studied law at university, worked at a cake store, at a children’s shoe store, in a legal centre helping refugees, as a youth worker in remote Northern Territory, and as a research assistant at a charity.

Last week Tom Jellett asked

When you are writing, do you have a definite idea on where your story will go, or is it something you discover on the way there? How much of an influence are your characters on the story you end up with? I guess this is a roundabout way of asking: What comes first, story or characters?


Tamsin replies:

I don’t have a definite idea of where my story will go while I am writing it. Which is sometimes a bit scary — it’s like being dropped in the middle of nowhere without a map or a phone — but can also be exciting. I’m terrible at following maps in real life (I’m constantly getting lost), so I guess it’s not surprising that I wouldn’t try to follow a map when writing my stories! My unstructured way of writing does mean my first drafts are often quite messy, but they can always be fixed up after I’ve gotten the words down.

And with my books the characters generally come first, and the story follows. For the Figgy books it was the character of Figgy who began it all, a courageous Ghanaian girl ready for an adventure. And with my new book, Blossom, it was the character of Blossom I came up with first: a mysterious little girl arriving on a doorstep one night, with a story to tell. Once I have a character in mind, if I’m lucky the plot follows quickly!

Check out Tamsin Janu’s website for more about her and her books.

Read a review of Figgy in the World.

Read a review of Figgy and the President.


Danny Best Never Wrong by Jen Storer, ill. by Mitch VaneAnd now Tamsin passes the book baton to the next visitor — Jen Storer, author of many, many picture books and novels. You might know her Truly Tan series, Danny Best series, or some of her picture books like Blue, the Builder’s Dog.

Tamsin asks: 

What is the absolute best thing about being a children’s author? What aspects of writing do you find the most challenging?

[Pass the book baton will take a short break while our authors and illustrators recover from Book Week … er … Book Month. The interview series will resume in a few weeks with Jen Storer.]

While you’re waiting, you can catch up on all the interviews in the Pass the Book Baton series so far!

Posted in Recommended reading, Top Reads

Top Reads: August 2017

August is a favourite month for bookish people — librarians, booksellers, authors, illustrators, Alphabet Soup, and readers! (Our editor loves the dress-up book parades best.) We hope August has showered you with good books, fun costumes, and amazing book characters … but just in case you still need some booky recommendations, here’s this month’s list from our Top Reads team.*

You’ll find a recommended list from our Top Reads Team on the last day of every month (February to November). If you missed last month’s, don’t forget to check out the July Top Reads.

*All our Top Readers are kids aged 13 and under. No grownups allowed!