Posted in authors, Events, teachers' resources

“Lights Out!” (Wendy Orr)

Today we are thrilled to welcome (Wendy Orr), author of Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea. Her most recent book is Mokie and Bik Go to Sea. And The Princess and her Panther will be out in July!

She’s here today to help us celebrate the launch of our Undercover Readers Club – by telling us about what she used to read after lights out when she was growing up!

Wendy Orr

I always used to read as late as possible, because I always had a book that I couldn’t wait to finish. If I didn’t have a torch so I could read under the covers without being caught, I’d sneak into the bathroom with the book! However I don’t think I ever really got into trouble for reading after lights were supposed to be out, because my parents used to do it too – in fact, one Christmas they gave my son a booklight so he could go on reading after bedtime.

Now my husband has given me a booklight too, so I can read under the covers without bothering him, because I’m still not very good at putting a book down just because it really is bedtime. The last book that I kept on reading under the covers was the Museum of Mary Child by Cassandra Golds, but when I look at my book shelves, I can see many, many other books that kept me awake till I got to the last page (and sometimes after!)

And as well as reading under the covers,  I’m still guilty of reading while I brush my teeth or wash my face… a few water spots are worth the extra pages I can discover.

© 2010 Wendy Orr

For more information about Wendy and her books, visit www.wendyorr.com – now with blog!


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, Events, info, teachers' resources

“Lights Out!” (Sue Walker)

Today we welcome Sue Walker to the blog to tell us about what she used to read after lights out when she was growing up. In the past Sue has worked in a bank, a school, a bookshop, and a cemetery. She now works from a studio in her backyard in Sydney, where she lives with her husband, three children, and a scruffy white dog.

Her book Tilly’s Treasure is part of the Aussie Nibbles series, and Best Friends is a Children’s Book Council Notable Book. Sue’s latest title is Arnie Avery – a novel for children 9-13 years.

"Tilly's Treasure (cover)" "Arnie Avery (cover)""Best friends (cover)"

"Sue Walker photo"
Sue Walker

When I was young, I had a bed with a light built into the bed head. It was great for reading after lights out. I’d read books by Enid Blyton – The Magic Faraway Tree, The Enchanted Wood and The Wishing Chair, and I’d imagine it was me visiting all those strange lands and flying in the wishing chair. I shared my room with my sister, and she’d complain because the light kept her awake at night, so sometimes I’d use a torch instead of my bed light. The best book I ever read was The Shark in Charlie’s Window. It was about a boy who had a flying shark for a pet.

As I grew older, I became an avid romance reader, and I loved super scary books too. Sometimes I was so tired in the morning it was hard to get ready for school, but it never stopped me from reading after lights out. Somehow, it was more exciting when I knew everyone was sleeping except me, and the house was dark and quiet around me.

Even though I’m an adult now, I still read loads of children’s books. If I had a lights out curfew, I’d read the kind of books I loved as a child. Books with a little bit of adventure and fantasy – they’re great for the imagination.

© 2010 Sue Walker

Visit Sue Walker’s website for more information about the author and her books!

"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.

Posted in authors, teachers' resources

“Lights out!” (The Book Chook)

Monster Maddie

Today’s visitor will be familiar to regular readers of Alphabet Soup. We’re pleased to welcome The Book Chook – a writer, editor and reviewer. She has a column in every issue of Alphabet Soup magazine with great writing tips for kids! Her picture book, Monster Maddie, was published in 2010. What did The Book Chook read after ‘lights out’ when she was growing up? She’s here to tell us today.


I love stories. Fiction books mostly, but I’ll take a story any way I can get it. When I was a child, Mum and Dad didn’t think reading was a good enough excuse to stay up past bed time. Parents are strange like that, aren’t they? If they saw the light on in my room, they would take my book away. So I would grab my torch and book, huddle under the bedclothes, and read my book like that.

The problem with this was oxygen. Or rather lack of oxygen. I would read for so long that pretty soon I’d used up all the air. So I’d surface for a while, take a few quick, quiet gasps, then go undercover again.

One night I had an idea. I took my brother’s snorkel into my bedroom, put the mouthpiece in my mouth, and stuck the other end above my bedcovers. It tasted rubbery and a little salty, but it was better than suffocating.

Undercover Readers cartoon © Susan Stephenson 2010
Image courtesy The Book Chook

This time, the problem was Mum finding the snorkel under my pillow next day. Do you think she believed me when I said I wanted to dream about being underwater?

Nowadays, when the lights are out, I have finished reading all I want. But if somebody said I couldn’t read, I know that would just make me want to read even more. I bet I could invent something ingenious – maybe a tiny headlamp for seeing, connected to a mini oxygen tank for breathing. I would read lots of great books undercover – ones that make me laugh, with characters I like who go on adventures or solve problems.

Alphabet Soup’s book review club is called UNDERCOVER READERS. You don’t have to read under the bedcovers to belong, but if you do and you run out of air, can I suggest a snorkel?

© 2010 The Book Chook

The Book Chook has a blog for parents and teachers featuring fantastic literacy resources and tips.


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!