Posted in authors, interviews

Katrina Germein: Tell ‘Em!

Katrina GermeinToday’s visitor is Katrina Germein: an award-winning picture book author. Her books have been published all around the world and even read during story-time on television for Play School. You might have read some of her books already, like Big Rain Coming, My Dad Thinks He’s Funny, or Thunderstorm Dancing. Today we’re talking to Katrina about a new picture book called Tell ‘Em!, a collaboration with the children of Manyallaluk School, Rosemary Sullivan, and illustrator Karen Briggs.

Tell 'Em by Katrina Germein, the children of Manyallaluk School, and illustrator Karen Briggs

From the publisher:

A joyous and exuberant picture book about life in a remote community Tell ’em how us kids like to play. We got bikes and give each other rides. Tell ’em about the dancing and singing, and all the stories the old people know. In this book, written in conjunction with children from Manyallaluk School in the Roper River region in the NT, the voices of Indigenous children sing out across the land to tell us about their life in a remote community.

Time for some questions!


You wrote Tell ‘Em! in collaboration with Rosemary Sullivan, the children of Manyallaluk School, and illustrator Karen Briggs. How did the collaboration come about?
I met co-author Rosemary Sullivan when I was living in a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory. I was working as a teacher and Rosemary was also teaching at a nearby school. We quickly became friends. After returning to my hometown of Adelaide I drafted an early version of Tell ’em! So when Rosemary mentioned an idea to create a book with the children of Manyallaluk School we decided to work together.

How did everyone communicate with each other during the book’s creation?
Rosemary used the early draft of Tell ’em! to workshop story ideas with the children of Manyallaluk. The students shared their ideas with Rosemary while they were at school and then they emailed the ideas to me. The story went back and forth like this for several months until it felt finished. The children held the final say on what was included in the text. The book is their story. It’s about them and 100% of author royalties go directly to Manyallaluk School.

A sneak peek inside Tell 'Em
A sneak peek inside Tell ‘Em

From initial idea to published book, how long did the process take?
Once the story was accepted by a publisher, Indigenous artist Karen Briggs joined the team and completed the stunning artwork for the illustrations. The whole project took over five years, and it’s exciting to now see the book in libraries, shops, schools and homes. (Picture books often take a long time!)

Can you tell us something about your next book?
My latest book (illustrated by Tom Jellett) is called Shoo, You Crocodile! It’s for young children and is a zany story about a crocodile on the loose in a museum! I’m always working on new stories. One I’m writing at the moment is about some little piggies who have the job of washing dishes in a busy restaurant. The fourth book in the My Dad Thinks He’s Funny series, My Dad Thinks He’s Super Funny, is coming out in 2021.

Do you have a tip for young writers who would like to collaborate with other creators on creative projects?
Hmm. Good questions. Every book I make is a collaboration. I can’t illustrate my own stories so I’m used to working with people. I think  it’s fun seeing what ideas other creators have but some people might find it difficult not to be in control the whole time. My advice is to remember that the project is ‘shared’; it’s not ‘yours’. The people you’re working with deserve the chance to make decisions about how the project will turn out. I think it helps if you really appreciate their talents. Think about how they’re making the project better.


Tell 'Em by Katrina Germein, the children of Manyallaluk School, and illustrator Karen BriggsAWESOME EXTRAS:

Check out previous interviews with Katrina Germein.

Click here for Teachers’ Notes.

Visit Katrina Germein’s website for more about her and her books.

Posted in authors, Pass the Book Baton

Pass the book baton: Katrina Germein

PASS THE BOOK BATON logo

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.)

Today the book baton is passed to best-selling author Katrina Germein. Katrina lives in Adelaide with her family and her dog, Mango. Her first picture book (Big Rain Coming, illustated by Brownyn Bancroft) has been in print since 1999. Her latest picture book is Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! illustrated by Janine Dawson.

Here are just some of Katrina’s books:

Last week Raewyn Caisley asked:
You write about so many different things: footy, remote communities, beaches, funny dads … I even read that you want to write about mermaids! Is there something that all your books have in common?


Katrina Germein signing booksKatrina replies:
Good question, Raewyn. I don’t set out to write about particular topics but some themes are quite common in my stories. The natural environment and the beach come up a lot, as do dogs and family. They must all be important to me. I’d like to write about a mermaid because I love the sea. (I’ve been trying to write that story for a long time but I can’t quite get it right!)

My new book Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! is inspired by my two sons. I’m influenced by people and things that I Iove. So perhaps love is the thing that all of my books have in common.

For more about Katrina Germein and her books, check out her website: katrinagermein.com


The elephant (cover) by Peter Carnavas.And now Katrina Germein passes the baton to the next visitor — Peter Carnavas, an award-winning author-illustrator. His latest book is a novel, The Elephant.

Katrina asks:
“Hi Peter,
Sometimes you write, sometimes you illustrate and sometimes you write and illustrate. What’s the hardest thing about being so talented?”
..
Pass the book baton is taking a break for the Australian school holidays. The interview series will resume in August.
 ..
In the meantime, you can read all the interviews in the Pass the Book Baton series!

Save

Posted in info

Three Quick Questions: Katrina Germein (#11)

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today’s visitor is Katrina Germein, author of Big Rain Coming and My Dad Thinks He’s Funny.

"Big Rain Coming"  "My Dad Thinks He's Funny"

 

1. Where do you like to write?

I’m not picky. I’ll draft anywhere—on a bus, in a park, beside the sea. I love notebooks with fancy covers and keep a store in my car and my handbag for when I find a few minutes to scribble ideas. When it comes to sustained writing and editing I like to work at a desk with my computer. It doesn’t need to be my desk and it doesn’t need to be very big but it needs to be in a quiet place. I’m not one of those authors who can work with music playing.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

George and Ghost by Catriona Hoy and Cassia Thomas. It’s beautiful. I love all of Catriona Hoy’s picture books. I’d love to have written them myself!

"George and Ghost"
Katrina recommends George and Ghost by Catriona Hoy, ill. Cassia Thomas

3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have writer’s block?

Katrina Germein
Katrina Germein

‘I was the only one with a key.’

Find out more about Katrina Germein and her books—visit her website and her blog.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with Katrina Germein” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … see you back here on Monday, when we’ll have the first of our birthday giveaways!)

Posted in authors, Events, teachers' resources, what we're reading

My Dad Thinks He’s Funny by Katrina Germein

Some of you probably remember me posting before about when I was growing up and listening to my dad’s terrible jokes and bad puns. I recently read a new picture book by Katrina Germein—and she could have been talking about MY DAD! So I invited Katrina to visit our blog today to talk about  My Dad Thinks He’s Funny (illustrated by Tom Jellett). Here’s a taste:

"My Dad Thinks He's Funny"
Katrina Germein is celebrating her new book My Dad Thinks He's Funny.

My dad doesn’t like babysitting.

He says no one should sit on babies.

My dad doesn’t eat seafood.

He says there’s something fishy about it.

My dad doesn’t lie in bed.

He says you should always tell the truth.

My dad thinks he’s funny.

Congratulations on your new book, Katrina! When you were growing up, did your dad make all the jokes in My Dad Thinks He’s Funny?

"Inside My Dad Thinks He's Funny"
A peek inside the book!

I’m lucky because I grew up with two dads, my father and my step father. My dad likes to tell long stories and my step dad likes to recite silly poems. Mainly, the jokes in My Dad Thinks He’s Funny came from lots of other people.

Once I had the idea for the book I started listening out for jokes and every time I heard one I would write it down. My father-in-law probably contributed the most but there are also jokes from my sister-in-law, my brother and my husband. I was looking for the kind of jokes that make us roll our eyes and also make us laugh.

Once I had a collection of ‘dadisms’ I decided to write the book from the point of view of a child. I wanted to create a story that was warm and humorous, rather than just a collection of jokes.

What does your family think about you using their best jokes in your book?

I think my father-in-law is quite proud to see some of his best material in print! He jokes that I should share the royalties from the book with him.

Now you have your own kids—do they hear these jokes from their dad (or your dad or stepdad)?

Yes! Unfortunately it runs in the family and my husband tells jokes just like his dad.

What’s your favourite joke from the book?

My favourite page is the one where the little boy asks, “Dad, do you know what?” and Dad answers, “I don’t know What, but I know his brother.” That makes me laugh every time. It’s one of the hardest jokes for very small kids to understand but children who are seven or over really like it.

What is the best way to deal with a ‘dad joke’? (Do you roll your eyes?)

Usually I just laugh. I actually think they’re funny!

Katrina Germein is the author of many children’s books, including My Dad Thinks He’s Funny, Little Dog and Big Rain Coming.

"My Dad Thinks He's Funny""Big Rain Coming""Little Dog"

You can find out more about Katrina Germein and her books by visiting her website, her blogTwitter, and her Facebook page.


~ Rebecca Newman, Alphabet Soup magazine

Posted in authors, Events, teachers' resources

“Lights Out!” (Katrina Germein)

Today Katrina Germein visits Soup Blog to share about ‘lights out’ (or rather, ON) at her house. Katrina is the author of Big Rain Coming, and Littledog, and she has a new book coming out in August – My Dad Thinks He’s Funny.

A Sneaky Plan

"Katrina Germein with her family"
Katrina Germein with her family

My son thinks he can trick me. He thinks he has me fooled. But I’m smarter than he thinks and I know what he’s up to.

He tells me he wants to sleep with the light on, not just the lamp but the big bedroom light.

“But why?” I ask.

“It’s better,” he says.

I don’t believe him; no one sleeps better with the big light on. Still, I leave the light. I know it’s all part of his sneaky plan.

“Shut the door,” says my son when I kiss him goodnight.

“But you get frightened,” I say.

“Not anymore,” answers my son. “Not now I have the big light on.”

I close the door and leave him alone, alone in his room with the big light on. But he’s not alone really; he’s invited others. They’re all in it together. I wonder who’s conspiring with my son tonight. Zac Power? The BFG? Specky Magee? Bonnie and Sam? Captain Underpants? My son has his favourites. (If it was me I’d choose Pippi Longstocking. But this is my son’s sneaky plan and not mine.) Anyway, I’ll find out who the accomplice is later. I have my ways.

An hour later I open the door. My son is asleep, The Famous Five still in his hand. So that’s who’s been plotting with my son tonight. He’s not the first to fall for their charms.

I kiss my son on top of his head. “Good plan,” I whisper and I turn out the light.

© 2010 Katrina Germein

You can find out more about Katrina Germein and her books at her website.


"Undercover Readers Logo"Alphabet Soup magazine is celebrating the launch of Undercover Readers (our new reviewers club for kids)!  If you’d like to join the Undercover Readers Club, you’ll find an information pack you can download from the Alphabet Soup website. As part of the celebrations, we have a different children’s author or illustrator visiting Soup Blog each day until 29 June 2010 to talk about what they used to read after ‘lights out’ when they were growing up. So be sure to check back tomorrow!

Posted in authors, Pass the Book Baton

Pass the Book Baton: Danny Parker

PASS THE BOOK BATON logo

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.)

Today the book baton is passed to Danny Parker. Danny Parker is the author of many picture books, and a new series called Lola’s Toybox. When he’s not writing books, Danny is a writing and drama teacher at a Perth boys school.

You might recognise some of these books:

Last week Aleesah Darlison asked:
You’ve worked with some amazing illustrators in the past, in particular Matt Ottley. Can you tell us how much interaction you have with Matt before and during the book creation process?


Danny answers:

I always feel completely confident when I know that Matt has one of my texts because I think that we both feel the same way about picture books. I know that he will never just ‘draw my words’ he will find a way of working that will be intelligent and surprising. He hides extra meaning inside his pictures, often exploring the story in new ways. This gives the reader such a rich experience.

Matt has taught me a lot about the picture book format. When I am writing I can almost hear him in my head saying, ‘If you can see it, don’t say it — trust me to show it.’ That sounds quite complicated but I think he understands story so well that he can interpret what you really mean in a text. Then when those first images come through I start to rework some of the words, because we don’t always want the words and pictures to be telling the same story! Sometimes we talk a great deal about what the book will look like, sometimes very little. Our latest book is called Sarah and the Steep Slope — I only saw a couple of pages from this book before he had finished the whole thing. It is extraordinary. [Sarah and the Steep Slope is out in August 2017.]

Sarah and the Steep Slope by Danny Parker and illustrated by Matt Ottley

Freya Blackwood is also great to work with — she often shares her ideas, and shows me little bits along the way. Her illustrations are always so beautifully observed. I really enjoyed seeing her illustrations for Perfect. This was a text with no real story or characters so she had to imagine and create it all. I love that she sometimes puts little pictures from her other books in her illustrations. There is a picture of Maudie and Bear hanging on the wall in Perfect.

It is a wonderful feeling when you open the package of illustrations for the first time. I have been so lucky, so far I’ve opened quite a few packages, and there are more to come — but it is always remarkable and magical. I can’t quite believe these books started with my stories!

For more about Danny Parker and his books, check out his website: dannyparker.com.au


And now Danny passes the book baton to the next Friday visitor — Tom Jellett. He has been an editorial illustrator (illustrating for newspapers), and the illustrator of a number of children’s books.

My Dad Thinks He's Funny by Katrina Germein, illustrated by Tom JellettDanny asks:
“If you could swap your skills as an illustrator for the skills of another art form — what would you want to swap with and why?
And who or what has been the biggest influence on your work — you have such a distinctive style — I’m looking at My Dad Thinks He’s Funny as i write this! How did you come up with your ‘look’?”

Check in every Friday for mini interviews with children’s authors and illustrators.

Happy Book Week!

Save

Save

Posted in authors, illustrator, Pass the Book Baton

Pass the book baton: Peter Carnavas

PASS THE BOOK BATON logo

Our Pass the Book Baton series took a break for the winter school holidays … and now it’s back! Every Friday we’ll 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.) You can see earlier interviews in the series here.

The Elephant

 

You might remember that we left Katrina Germein with the book baton in June. Today she passes the baton to Peter Carnavas.

Peter Carnavas is an award-winning author-illustrator. His picture books have been translated into German, Portuguese, Dutch, Korean, Slovenian, Arabic, Italian and more!

His latest book is a novel called  The Elephant.  It’s about a girl called Olive, and an unwelcome elephant that nobody else can see …

.

.

.

You might recognise some of these books:

Back in Term 2, Katrina Germein asked:
Sometimes you write, sometimes you illustrate and sometimes you write and illustrate. What’s the hardest thing about being so talented?


Peter Carnavas photoPeter replies:
Thanks for the (slightly embarrassing) question, Katrina.

It’s true that I write and illustrate, sometimes making books by myself, sometimes working with another author or illustrator. The hardest thing about this is I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do! It takes a long time to make a book – months and months, sometimes over a year — and I have lots of little ideas that will never escape my head.

That’s not a very hard thing, though. There are lots of jobs that are much harder than making books. The most difficult thing, really, is trying to get my hand to draw the picture that I can see in my head. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s also hard trying to finish a book on time. It’s just like handing a school project into your teacher, except I hand mine into a publisher. I often reach my deadline and have to write an email to the publisher begging for a little bit more time to finish the pictures!

For more about Peter Carnavas and his books — check out his website.


Secrets and Spells by Aleesah DarlisonAnd now Peter Carnavas passes the baton to the next visitor — Aleesah Darlison, author of picture books, novels and series.

Peter asks:
You have written many different types of stories: picture books, funny stories, adventure stories, and books about the importance of looking after animals. Which stories do you enjoy writing the most, and is there a type of story you haven’t tried, but would love to?”

Check in every Friday for mini interviews with children’s authors and illustrators.

See you next week!

Save

Save

Posted in authors, Pass the Book Baton

Pass the book baton: Raewyn Caisley

PASS THE BOOK BATON logo

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.)

Today the book baton is passed to Raewyn Caisley. Raewyn was born and grew up in New Zealand, and has spent more than half her life in Australia. She’s lived in a number of Australian cities, and also lived for a year in the outback. Her most recent book is Something Wonderful, illustrated by Karen Blair.

Here are just some of Raewyn’s books:

Last week Bren MacDibble asked:
Looking at your recent picture books, I immediately get a sense of place, not just anywhere but of Western Australia or of New Zealand. Most of the scene setting is done by an illustrator in a picture book, but do you consciously try to contribute towards building a sense of place with your prose? And how do you do that?


Raewyn answers:
Raewyn Caisley (photo)Actually, most of the scene setting is done by the author first, even in a picture book. You just don’t notice it! When Karen Blair did the pictures for Hello From Nowhere she had never even been to the Nullarbor so I guess my words must have somehow taken her there.

The trick is allowing the reader to see the place through the eyes of the characters, and if the writer includes their own real feelings about the place, well then it will be just like being there.

Another clever trick is incorporating the five senses. How does it smell? What can you hear? What can you see? Touch something and think about how that thing makes you feel … Again, though, you have to do it in a very real way. A lot of kids like to say ‘You could smell his fear’ but I’m not sure you can really smell fear. You shouldn’t go through the senses like they’re a shopping list either! Just put a smell in here, a sound in there … Do it in a way that feels natural.

The best compliment you can ever give someone who writes about place is, you took me there. I hope that’s how people feel when they’ve read one of my books.

For more about Raewyn Caisley and her books, check out her website: www.raewyncaisley.com

 


Great Goal Marvellous MarkAnd now Raewyn passes the book baton to the next Friday visitor — Katrina Germein. Katrina’s latest book is Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! illustrated by Janine Dawson.

Raewyn asks:
“You write about so many different things; footy, remote communities, beaches, funny dads … I even read that you want to write about mermaids! Is there something that all your books have in common?

Check in every Friday for mini interviews with children’s authors and illustrators.

See you next week!

Save

Save

Save

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

Book review: Thunderstorm Dancing

REVIEWED BY LILLIANNA, 9, VIC

Thunderstorm dancing

Thunderstorm Dancing by Katrina Germein, illustrated by Judy Watson, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781743314593

Lillianna borrowed a copy of this book from her school library.

Thunderstorm dancing is a story that you won’t see every day. It has lots of clues that keep it fascinating.

A family is at the beach and there’s a storm coming, but is it really a storm after all?

The book has very detailed illustrations and the pictures have been created with great care and respect.

Each page is about a different character.

I recommend Thunderstorm Dancing for 3–9 year olds because there are more pictures than words.

I give Thunderstorm Dancing a 5-star rating.


This is Lillianna’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!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Amazing sites

AUTHORS, ILLUSTRATORS, POETS & MORE!

AUTHORS

Aleesah Darlison
Andy Griffiths
Angela Sunde
Anna Branford
Briony Stewart
Carole Wilkinson
Catherine Carvell
Christina Booth
Christine Harris
Deborah Niland
Dianne Wolfer
Duncan Ball
Frances Watts
Frane Lessac
Freya Blackwood
Gabrielle Wang
Graeme Base
Gus Gordon
Hazel Edwards
James Foley
Janeen Brian
Jeni Mawter
Julia Lawrinson
Karen Collum
Kathryn Apel
Katrina Germein
Leanne Davidson
Libby Gleeson
Lorraine Marwood
Marcia Williams (UK)
Mark Greenwood
Meg McKinlay
Michael Rosen (UK)
Morris Gleitzman
Narelle Oliver
Nette Hilton
Peter Carnavas
Sally Murphy
Sandy Fussell
Sherryl Clark
Sheryl Gwyther
Stephen Michael King
Steven Herrick
Susan Stephenson
Tania McCartney
Wendy Orr

ILLUSTRATORS

Briony Stewart
Cassandra Allen
Christina Booth
Deborah Niland
Frane Lessac
Gabrielle Wang
Graeme Base
Gus Gordon
James Foley
Kerry Millard
Narelle Oliver
Peter Carnavas
Rebecca Cool
Stephen Michael King
Sarah Davis
Terry Denton

POETS

Duncan Ball
Janeen Brian
Kathryn Apel
Lorraine Marwood
Michael Rosen (UK)
Sally Murphy
Sherryl Clark
Steven Herrick
Rebecca Newman

CLASSROOM RESOURCES

Alphabet Soup (you’re here!)
Children’s Book Council of Australia
Children’s Book Council of Australia WA Branch
Kids Book Review
Literacy Lava
Michael Rosen (tips for using poetry in the classroom)
My Little Bookcase
Poetry Tag
Samurai Kids
Susan Stephenson
The Book Chook
My Little Bookcase
Australian Children’s Poetry