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a forest photo by pexels.com

Forest
by Kaia, 10, USA

Among the vast trees sees

Lie secrets that shall never leak peek

No human shall ever find confined

The birds can only feel conceal

The hush of the forest purest

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Kaia has been published with Alphabet Soup previously. You can read her earlier piece: ‘Anger’. 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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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.)

Today the book baton is passed to Bren MacDibble. Bren has a special interest in science fiction and loves to write to explore the future. Her latest novel — How to Bee — is set in a post bee, post famine Australia, where children hand-pollinate fruit trees.

You might recognise some of these books:

Last week Cristy Burne asked:
I love that you have introduced the real-life issue of honey bee losses in your fictional novel, How to Bee. Can you please tell us more about how this issue grabbed your interest and its role in inspiring your story?

Bren answers:
Bren MacDibble photoWhen I saw the beautiful photos in the Huffington Post article (linked on my website) about how farmers in a valley in the Sichuan Province in China were already spending their lives climbing through trees, hand-pollinating flowers, because there just aren’t any bees there anymore, I knew I wanted to write about the lives of hand-pollinators.

I’d also read an article about pigeon pea farmers in India who had been put into debt from purchasing insecticides. When they went back to the old ways of beating the bushes, and dragging a sheet through the rows of pigeon pea with a flock of chickens following, the health of the pea bushes improved, more people had work, no one went into debt, and chooks got nice and fat and laid lots of eggs. (Young Peony in How to Bee has chickens for this very reason, she also talks about circles of life, and how pesticides cut through them.)
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How to BeeI think children know a lot about climate change and it worries them, so I wanted to set a story in the future after the bees had gone and the world had changed. I didn’t want to terrify children with a famine caused by bee loss, I wanted to go further into the future and show the world after things had resettled. In particular, I wanted young readers to see children like them living in this new time, getting on with things. I wanted to show them coping, and learning what is most important in a new world.
Check out Bren MacDibble’s website for more about her and her books.
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Something wonderfulAnd now Bren passes the book baton to the next Friday visitor — Raewyn Caisley. Her latest book is a picture book, Something Wonderful.

Bren asks:
“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?”

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

See you next week!

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FRAMED LOVE
by Charlize, 10, QLD

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Take a walk in the park, hand in hand
Breathe in the fresh air of the free land
Explore the area full of flowers and bugs
Then give your mother lots of big hugs
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Show her how much she means to you
Tell her how life would be without her, too
She cooks, she sweeps, looks after us all,
She doesn’t care what you look like, big, or small
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She looks at you and smiles
The grin stretches for miles
She whispers ‘I know what to do, little one’
‘Let’s take a picture to remember this fun.’
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You kneel down and kiss your mother
The camera at a special angle, held by your father
The heartfelt picture hangs up above
But nothing is ever higher than your mother’s love.

This is Charlize’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!

 

REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 11, WA

Firefly JulyFirefly July by Paul Janeczko (editor), ill. Melissa Sweet, Candlewick, ISBN 9780763648428

Matilda reviews her own copy of this book.

This is a book of VERY short poems all about different subjects.

I like the way the book progresses from spring, then through all the seasons, and ends at winter. My favourite poem was called ‘Window’ by Carl Sandburg. It’s only 3 lines long and it’s about the dark night having slashes of light. I really liked the choice of words and I’d like to read more by this poet.

Melissa Sweet’s illustration style definitely suits the poems. It’s interesting that in many of the illustrations she uses a sort of collage.

I recommend this book for ages 7+ and for people who like short poems!


Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. You can read Matilda’s other reviews here. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

 

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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.)

Today the book baton is passed to Cristy Burne. Cristy is an author, a past editor of CSIRO’s Scientriffic magazine for kids, a regular contributor to Crinkling News and Double Helix mag for kids/teens, and has worked as a travelling performer in the Shell Questacon Science Circus. Her latest book is To the Lighthouse

You might recognise some of these books:

Last week Alice Pung asked:
You mention finding a plastic head in the rubbish bin as one of the inspirations for your Takeshita Demons books. This is fascinating! Could you tell us the true story about the head that inspired the books?!


Cristy answers:

Cristy BurneMany years ago, when I was living in Japan, I was walking home from work when I received a huge shock. It was a freezing, wintry day, and the time of year when villagers put their large rubbish out on the verge, ready for council pick up. I didn’t have a whole lot of furniture in my house, so I was keeping an eye out for anything useful I might bring back. There were old wooden bookshelves, comfy chairs, storage chests, even what looked to be a pristine condition antique sewing machine … I wanted it all!

However, at that time in Japan, it was considered poor manners to collect ‘rubbish’ from off the verge. And anyway, these things were too heavy for me to lug home.

Then I spotted it. In a cardboard box, next to an old set of wooden drawers. Human hair.

It was straight and shiny. Thick, black human hair. Sticking out of the top of the box.

I gulped. I panicked. I looked around to see if anyone else had seen it. Human hair!!

But there was no one else in the street. No one at all. So I stepped closer to the box and peered inside.

Skin!! Through the shining hair, I could see the pale skin of a scalp!

I looked around again, starting to freak out. Should I call the police? Scream and run? What if the murderer was watching me right now? What should I do!?!

I knew I shouldn’t panic, so I took a deep breath, steeled myself. And I did what any ordinary, sensible person would do. I bent down to the box, grabbed a handful of that thick, shining hair in my fist, and lifted it up …

… and an entire head came with it! Was it a woman? A man? I couldn’t tell, but its eyes were staring right at me. PANIC!!

And worse, there was more hair in the box below. I grabbed another handful and pulled up another head. And another.

In all, there were three heads in that roadside box, all identical, all with lush black hair. All, thankfully, plastic. I guess they were old hairdressers’ dummies? Anyway, they’d been thrown out, so they were mine now!

I took them home, washed their faces, shampooed their hair, and stuck them in a pretty row in my front window, for passers-by to admire. They looked so realistic! It was the funniest thing ever to sit and sip tea and secretly watch the reactions of people in the street. (I recommend you do this anytime you want a good laugh.)

A few months later, I heard about the Japanese nukekubi—a mythical creature whose head detaches from its sleeping body so it can fly around and terrorise small puppies and children. And I started to wonder: what if these heads weren’t hairdressing dummies? What if they were nukekubi heads, still in search of their bodies? And so the idea of an adventure series featuring Japanese mythology was born. Takeshita Demons was the first book in that series, and my first published book (yay!).

And what about the heads?

Well, when I left Japan, I was too embarrassed to bring all three back in my suitcase. So I only brought one. And I still have it now. As I type, it’s staring at me, from across the room. Staring and maybe waiting, for just that right moment to spring back into life … ? I don’t know.

But I do know having your own plastic head is a great way to meet friends, dream up practical jokes, and get inspired to write a book!

Check out Cristy Burne’s website for more about her and her books.

 


How to BeeAnd now Cristy passes the book baton to the next Friday visitor — Bren MacDibble. Bren’s latest book is How to Bee, published in May 2017.

Cristy asks:
I love that you have introduced the real-life issue of honey bee losses in your fictional novel, How to Bee. Can you please tell us more about how this issue grabbed your interest and its role in inspiring your story?

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

See you next week!

REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 11, WA

Amazing animals of Australia's national parks.Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks by Gina M Newton, National Library of Australia, ISBN 9780642278883

Matilda received a copy of this book from the publisher.

In this nonfiction book about Australian animals, there is one page for each animal with the headings:

What is it?

Where does it live? and

What is its life like?

I like the way the book is split up into the climates that the animals live in and the photographs are extremely professional. There is a ‘how to use this book’ page, which is really helpful for understanding certain symbols used in the book.

My favourite animal in this book was the Rufous Bettong (Aepyprymnus rufescens). This animal lives in woodlands, grasslands and forests.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves animals and wants to know more about Australian animals.


Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. You can read Matilda’s other reviews here. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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.)

Today the book baton is passed to Alice Pung. Alice is an award-winning author and writes for adults, young adults and children. (And did you know — Alice’s father named her after the Alice in Alice in Wonderland?)

You might have read Alice Pung’s books from the Our Australian Girl series, illustrated by Lucia Masciullo.:

Last week Gabriel Evans asked:
You’re both a solicitor and author. How do you balance these two jobs? Is there a connection between the two?

Photo by F Roselli.

Photo by F Roselli.

Alice answers:
I work as both a lawyer and writer. I work three days a week at the Fair Work Commission (Wednesday to Friday), and write on Mondays and Tuesdays. I think it is a good balance because I feel like I am doing something to help the community with my law background, and the writing becomes more fun when I don’t have an infinite time to do it. I never get writer’s block because I always value my writing time and try and use it wisely!

Find out more about Alice Pung and her books — check out her website: www.alicepung.com

 


To the lighthouse (book cover)And now Alice passes the book baton to the next Friday visitor — Cristy Burne. Christy is a science writer, teacher, editor and children’s author. Her latest book is To the Lighthouse.

Alice asks:
“You mention finding a plastic head in the rubbish bin as one of the inspirations for your Takeshita Demons books. This is fascinating! Could you tell us the true story about the head that inspired the books?!”

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

See you next week!