Posted in activities, book reviews, competitions

Alphabet Soup’s Young Book Reviewers’ Competition

Boy reading. Photo by Tanya Gorelova via Soup’s Young Book Reviewers’ Competition (Entries close 2 May 2020)

Announcing our book reviewing competition. This comp is open to Australian residents aged 12 or younger.

To enter: Review a children’s book from any genre, fiction or nonfiction. You can choose to review any book you own or borrow, but you cannot enter a review of a book if that book was provided to you or a family member as a review copy.

There is no word limit for reviews.



All longlisted reviews will be published at Alphabet Soup’s website:

Junior category (Kindy, Preprimary and Year 1): Winner will receive 6 postcards from various children’s authors and illustrators (one postcard per month for 6 months)

Primary category (Year 2 to Year 6): Winner will receive 6 postcards from various children’s authors and illustrators (one postcard per month for 6 months)

Check out these awesome authors and illustrators who could be sending you a postcard!

James Foley

Wendy Binks

Amber Moffat

Kylie Howarth

Briony Stewart

Michael Speechley

Caz Goodwin

HM Waugh

Cristy Burne

Norman Jorgensen

Deb Fitzpatrick

Gabrielle Wang

Find out HOW TO ENTER here.

Posted in activities, poetry, school holidays

Write 31 poems in 31 days!

Month of Poetry is run by children’s writer Kathryn Apel and is open to anyone — children and adults — anywhere in the world. Aim to write one poem per day during January and at the end of the month you’ll have a drawer full of new poems.

If you register at the Month of Poetry site (it’s free to register), Kathryn will send you a password. The poem pages are not open to the public, so only participants with the password will be able to see poems, post their own poems, and add comments. Once a week there will be a specific poetry challenge (e.g. a theme or an image) posted to the site. If you have registered, you can use the password to post your poem for that day onto the locked pages, and you can read other participant’s poems … and comment on them if you like.

Of course, you don’t need to sign up to the website to write a poem a day … you can just quietly (or loudly) write a poem every day in January anyway. But if you’d like a bit of encouragement, then the Month of Poetry site is a great way to get your writing kickstarted for 2015.

To find out more about the Month of Poetry, (or to sign up) head over to the Month of Poetry website!

But BEWARE: THE LAST DAY YOU CAN REGISTER is Tuesday 30th December 2014. That’s TODAY! (Children who want to take part will need an adult to register them. Happy writing!)

Posted in activities, school holidays

July school holiday activities (NSW)

A Magic Midwinter at The Children’s Bookshop!


In the July 2014 School holidays, The Children’s Bookshop is offering workshops for kids.

Midsummer Magic Midwinter — Monday 7 July, 9am –12.30pm ($50)
A drama workshop for 8-12 year olds, focusing on the comedy and whimsy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The Wishing Chair Comes to Beecroft — Wednesday 9 July ($30)
A workshop for younger readers: Ages 4-6.

Animal Heroes — Thursday 10 July, 9am — 12.30pm ($50)
A Writing and illustration workshop with the fabulous award-winning picture book team: Mark Greenwood and Frané Lessac

Creating Kooky Comics with Illustrator/Writer James Foley — Friday July 11, 9 — 12-30 ($50).
Creating kooky comics.

E-mail The Children’s Bookshop to request a full brochure.

Posted in activities, Events, illustrator

Bob Graham exhibition

A Bird in the Hand - Bob Graham retrospective

If you love picture books and you can get to Canberra — here’s an exhibition you really must see!

Bob Graham is one of our favourite illustrators. You’ll recognise his artwork from picture books like  How to Heal a Broken Wing, Let’s Get a Pup, Max … and heaps more. Now you can see his work in an exhibition, including sketch books, manuscripts, memorabilia and illustrations. Items in the exhibition have been selected from his studio and from the Lu Rees Archives at the  University of Canberra.

Where: Canberra Museum and Gallery, cnr London Circuit & Civic Square, Canberra City

When: From Sat 17 May until Sunday 24 August

Over the next few months, you can meet Bob Graham, take art workshops and sign up for school holiday workshops. Find out more at the Museum and Galleries website

Posted in activities, Events, library

Family-friendly activities at the State Library of WA

Picture a Story Family Day

Explore the magic of picture books with your child at a fun family day at the State Library of Western Australia.

Join a magical story-time before taking part in the host of art activities on offer.

Kids will love creating artworks to hang in our tiny gallery. They’ll also learn new drawing techniques from local illustrators and create a small book to take home. Don’t forget to visit the fabulous fairy tale photo booth to have your picture taken!

Before you leave, purchase picture books from the State Library Shop and have them signed by the illustrators themselves.

The Family Day is a wonderful opportunity to explore the world of picture books illustrations with your little ones.

When: Saturday 2 November.

Join a special storytime from 10.30am and fun family activities from 11.00am to 1.30pm.

Where: The Place, Mezzanine Floor, State Library of Western Australia (25 Francis Street Northbridge, WA)

Recommended for: Children aged 6+ and their families. Younger siblings are also welcome.

Cost: Free

Bookings: Not required

More info: visit the State Library of WA website

SLWA event

Picture a Story Exhibition

 The Picture a Story Family Day is being held as part of the Picture a Story exhibition which is taking place from 2 November 2013 to 27 February 2014. On display throughout The Gallery (Ground Floor) and The Place are original illustrations from Australian picture books from the 1970s to today.

When: 2 November 2013 – 27 February 2014

Where: The Gallery, Ground Floor and The Place, Mezzanine Floor, State Library of Western Australia (25 Francis Street Northbridge, WA)

Entry is FREE. Open during library hours.

Posted in activities, Soup Blog Poetry Festival

Tuesday Challenge – a 5-senses poem

autumn leavesToday’s challenge is to write a 5-line poem using your five senses — sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch. You might like to write a poem describing apples, a season, or your favourite colour (or your least favourite colour!).

Here’s one our editor (Rebecca) wrote:

Autumn is orange, red and brown

It sounds like rice bubbles for breakfast

It tastes like apple pie

It smells like freshly dug earth

It feels like skipping into the wind

Perhaps you could write a 5-senses poem about a feeling or an idea. (Check out some interesting Senses Poems here.)

We’d love to read your 5-senses poems — if it’s OK with your parents or teacher, post yours in the comments below!

Posted in activities, Soup Blog Poetry Festival

Tuesday Challenge … limerick

On Tuesdays, until the end of August, we’ll post a tiny poem challenge for you. So here’s today’s challenge!

Write your own limerick and then read it out to someone to see if you can make them laugh … [OK, groaning counts].

A limerick has five lines — three long ones and two short ones — and a particular rhythm and rhyme. Limericks are often nonsensical and funny. Do you know any? Here are two we like:


There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said ‘It is just as I feared! —
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’

– Edward Lear


An ambitious young fellow named Matt
Tried to parachute using his hat.
Folks below looked so small
As he started to fall,
Then got bigger and bigger and SPLAT!

Graham Lester

Would you like some help writing your first limerick? You’ll find some instructions here.

If you think your limerick is a humdinger, ask a parent to email it to us and we’ll post it here! (If we post your limerick, we’ll only publish your first name, age, and state – or country if you are outside Australia.)


This limerick was written for Leith’s cousin Angus’s 2nd birthday card (good idea, Leith!).

There once was a boy named Gus,
Who drove to school on a bus.
He ate all the cake,
And got a belly-ache,
And made a terrible fuss.

by Leith , age 7,  QLD
Posted in activities, book reviews, school holidays

Book Review: The Holiday Creativity Book

The Holiday Creativity Book by Mandy Archer, ill. Jennie Poh & Elle Ward, ISBN 9781922077394, Walker Books Australia

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher

Holiday Creativity Book (cover)

It’s the second week of the school holidays here in WA.**  Picture this: you’ve used up all your screen time. You’ve finished all the books you borrowed from the library and you’re taking a break from all that story-writing …

When you’re looking around for something to do, this spiral-bound book is bursting with ideas to keep your fingers busy and your brain entertained.

Activities include old favourites like ‘spot the difference’, and ‘spot what’s wrong’, plus there are mazes, stencils, art and craft projects, games and stickers. (We really love the map challenge.)

Grab some scissors, glue and a pencil and get started. Happy holidays!**

** If you don’t live in WA and you’re already into term 2, we’re sure this book would be just as entertaining after school, or on weekends — or, of course, there’s always the next school holidays …

© April 2013 “Review of The Holiday Creativity Book” by Rebecca Newman (