World Poetry Day – 21st March 2021

I would like to celebrate World Poetry Day this year by once again saying thank you to The School Magazine (and all its subscribers) for supporting me and my poetry. Since 2005 my poems/stories have appeared 36 issues of the various magazines – Countown, Blast Off, Orbit and Touchdown. The poster above is a little collage of some of them.

Why do I like writing for The School Magazine? Because of the illustrations! And the same goes, of course, for writing picture books. I have no illustration talent whatsoever and I absolutely adore seeing how my words have been translated, for lack of a better word. So today, and in no particular order, I would also like to say a huge thank you to all the talented illustrators who have brought my poetry and stories to life.

The late Kim Gamble – If I Were a Giant

Gaye Chapman – Magical Nine ~ Fire

Vilma Cencic – Nothing to Worry About ~ A Raindrop Race ~ A Pig Tale

Kerry Millard – Puppy & Me ~ Greens and Genes

Drahos Zak – The Wolf, the Woodcutter, Granny and the Red Riding Hood

Astra Lacis – My Cat ~ Birds of a Feather

Andrew Joyner – Get out of the Water! ~ It’s True

Stephen Axelsen – A Raindrop Race (reprint)

Veronica Rooke – The Crows

Anna Bron – Wherever

Bronwyn Bancroft – Fleeting ~ Birdsong

Matt Ottley – Hark ~ A Dessert Sky ~ Metamorphosis ~ A Sticky Situation ~ To Paint the Sky

Althea Aseoche – The Halloween Elf

Christopher Nielsen – It is What it is ~ A Not so Ordinary Afternoon ~ How Curious

Tohby Riddle – Breathe ~ The Invasion

Jenny Tan – My Mother’s Hands

Aśka – Stumped

Sheree Fiala – Inside

And Happy World Poetry Day!

And for anyone who’d like to read some of my poetry you can download this PDF for FREE until midnight tonight. I’ve prettied it up in CANVA. Just click the image below…


Why I wrote – If I Were a Giant

“If I Were a Giant” was the first poem of mine that The School Magazine published in ORBIT way back in 2005. This is what the cover of the magazine looked like. Tom Jellett illustrated it.

And here is the poem, beautifully illustrated by the late, great Kim Gamble.

I lived by the sea when I wrote this poem and every morning I would walk my dog, Jep. Here’s Jep…

Jep and my son who turns 21 this year!

On this particular morning I walked over the hill and saw the sun rising over the ocean and the town was spread below me and I felt very big because I could see so much. I felt like a giant and I wondered, if I were giant could I paint the world as beautifully as nature had. The poem is quite structured. It follows a day from morning to night. It also loosely follows the seasons with the blossoms of Spring, the beaches in Summer, the Autumn coloured sunset and the cold Winter night. I like patterns and I like order, this, I think, is why I also enjoy writing in rhyme and metre. It brings order to an otherwise chaotic and often unpredictable world. Mostly my poems are joyful, I like to think that they capture beauty and if they can also bring a smile to your face then that is the perfect outcome and really the reason I write at all.

So when I write a poem I see the subject matter in my head, like a movie or a painting. I’ve always thought of poetry as painting with words. Capturing an emotional moment by focusing on the essence of what I want to say. A poem, for me, is a way to condense so much into smaller, more manageable bites. Each poem that I write, in a way, is like a jigsaw piece, the completed jigsaw will show how I’ve seen and experienced the world. But of course it’s not finished yet!

I wonder what your jigsaw puzzle will look like?

Here’s a little bit of mine…

An Amazing Australian Road Trip (the story behind the story)

On 6th January Lesley’s and my new book with Walker officially hit the shelves and I just wanted to share some of the wonderful things that have been said about it so far but before I do that I’d like to share the book’s journey to publication because that’s been a road trip in itself!

Back in 2016 (yes 5 years ago) I had the very great privilege of a manuscript assessment with Maryann Ballantyne at a Kid Lit Vic Conference. While the manuscript that I submitted wasn’t quite on target, the meeting began a conversation. One that ultimately led to the conception of a road trip book.

As you may well know, The Croc and the Platypus is a reworking of Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat. “Reworking” is something that I love to do and originally I had the idea to “rework” John Williamson’s Home Among the Gum Trees.

Here’s how it went (more fun if you know the tune)…

I’ve been around the countryside

A hundred times or more

I’ve seen a roo and wombat too

And cockies by the score

But I would rather find myself

Amongst the city sprawl

And this is what I say

Give me a home amidst the city

The lights are pretty

And the Opera house is pretty grouse

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

Is also ridgy didge

It’s the city life for me

The problem however was that it was too similar to the original so copyright and permissions might have been an issue. However if I could come up with something more original then that (pardon the pun) would be another story!! And so the idea for An Amazing Australian Road Trip was born. That was in September 2017.

And here’s the original first and second verses…

We’ve packed the paraphernalia

For a road trip round Australia

There’s Mum and Dad and Flea

And Aunty Glo and me

.

‘Let’s go!’ says Aunty Gloria

And we head across Victoria

With lunch and luggage stowed

We hit the Ocean Road

The contract was signed at the end of 2017 then jump forward ten months and I begin working with the wonderful Linsay Knight. A few hiccups meant that we had to find a new illustrator (hello Lesley!) and push back the release date but such is the world of publishing.

During this time I applied for a May Gibbs Creative Time Fellowship – and am happy to say I was accepted. In April 2019 I spent a wonderful month in Canberra where I completely reworked my Road Trip story even changing the metre from a duple one to a triple one. I felt a triple metre suited a longer text without sounding too stilted.

The first verse now reads…

We’re travelling from Melbourne on a birthday trip west,

our aunty is sixty and we’re off on a quest.

She’s keen for a picnic and fancies a view,

a cake and a loud “Happy Birthday to You!”

And that’s the story behind the story with a wonderfully happy ending which brings me back to what this blog post is about. Sharing the wonderful things that are being said about our Amazing Australian Road Trip.

In no particular order – huge thanks to these guys!

@finding_myself_young

We’ve just added An Amazing Australian Road Trip to our collection and it really is amazing! The book takes us on an epic road trip adventure all across Australia starting in Melbourne and stopping in every state and territory. With fun rhyming text, vibrant illustrations and loads of interesting facts about Australia this book is definitely a winner. And a fun way to teach Australian geography to younger kids.

@picturebookbc

Strap in! This wonderful new picture book takes you on a road trip to remember! 🚙🦘🚦..
.
‘We’re travelling from Melbourne on a birthday trip west 🎉🎂..
.
Our Aunty is sixty and we’re off on a quest!’..
.
Join the family holiday as the hunt begins for the perfect picnic spot.. for the best birthday ever! 🎈..
.
This informative and entertaining picture book takes the reader to many wonderful places in Australia – what an adventure! ..
.
Some of the destinations include The Great Ocean Road, Coober Pedy, Broome, Kakadu , Uluru and The Great Barrier Reef 🐠..
.
Each page is filled with bright and inviting illustrations by @lesleyvamos and informative info intertwined with a great story by @jackieannehosking 📖
.
I learnt many things from this picture book and it is a great one to dip into and explore each different destination. I also adore the end pages – they feature a bright map of Australia – which makes it easy to track this awesome road trip! 🚙🚦..
.
Packed with info in a bright inviting package! I really love this one! ..
.
A truly wonderful showcase of a beautiful country 🙏🏻..

An ‘Amazing’ Review by Fran Knight

@kids.books.we.love

“An Amazing Australian ROAD TRIP”
I WISH!!!! Need a road trip!!!
Everyone should do the Great Ocean Road Trip in Australia – I so want to do that one again!
What a TOP book – a colour popping illustrated book but that’s not all…..FULL of interesting and fun facts.
Even Adults will LOVE reading this! A quality hardcover Edition with pages that are thicker than normal, I LOVE it ♥️♥️♥️
PS – inside covers are both different 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

BOOK INFO
“Hop in for the rollicking, rhyming Australian road trip of a lifetime, as we travel all around Australia in search of the best spot to celebrate Aunty’s birthday.”
“We’re travelling from Melbourne on a birthday trip west, our Aunty is sixty and we’re off on a quest….looking for the perfect picnic spot…”
ISBN 978-1-760650-76-6
Picture Book in Hardcover Edition. RRP$24.99 AUST.
Author Jackie Hosking loves to write in rhyme…
Illustrator Lesley Vamos spends her time doodling, travelling, running her design and illustration business…”
Thanks to @walkerbooksaus for this FANTASTIC book!

@mrlovesbookshelf

We have arrived in Torquay! Woohoo! This is home for the next few days – the perfect family getaway and no, we haven’t left Victoria but with a book like An Amazing Australian Road Trip by @jackieannehosking and @lesleyvamos – we don’t need to! We’ve been to Kati Thanda in South Australia, swam with whales in Ningaloo Reef, explored Kakadu Park, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, paid respects at the War Memorial Shrine and so much more!

This book will seriously take you on an Australian road trip of a lifetime – and all through rhyme! Starting in Melbourne, the book shares the story of family travelling all around Australia in search of the best place to picnic for Aunty’s birthday. The characters explore landscapes and visit iconic locations and landmarks that celebrate each state and territory’s culture and history. The illustrations are colourful, bright and so full of detail. Each page captures the Aussie spirit and the incredible beauty of our land. It is JAM PACKED with information and interesting facts which I love because now it’s no longer just a story, but an informative Australian text that is accessible to readers of all ages. It’s full of adventure, love, humour and highlights the importance of togetherness and family.

Most primary teachers have used classics to support with Australian mapping lessons. This book is an absolute must have for these kind of lessons. I promise I’m not just saying it, I really mean it – every teacher should have a copy of this book. There is just so much that you could do!

Thank you so much to the team @walkerbooksaus for sending me yet again, another brilliant book!

@get.kids.booked

It’s the summer holidays in Australia! Will you be going on a road trip?! Maybe not, due to recent developments… so let’s travel vicariously through this awesome new book!
🚐🗺
Beginning in Melbourne and taking you on a journey through every state and territory of Australia, this book is all about a family experiencing everything our great country has to offer! The family are looking for the perfect place to celebrate Aunty’s 60th birthday. The inside front and back covers give an awesome summary of the journey taken by the family, perfect for a geography discussion with the little ones!
🚐🗺
The text is written cleverly, in rhyming verse, making the adventure exciting and engaging. Each page also has facts about the locations visited, some being World Heritage listed landmarks! With each turn of a page you see changing landscapes and climates, from the deserts of the outback, to the tropical feel of the Great Barrier Reef.
🚐🗺
The story is beautifully complemented by the stunning illustrations. The changing tones and vibrant colours help take you to the destinations! Each page is like an artwork!
🚐🗺
Such a celebration of a book! You will enjoy this one whether you are an Aussie, or not, with it’s fun storyline and stunning visuals.
🚐 🗺
Thank you to @walkerbooksaus for kindly sharing this book with us. Thank you for the ‘Roadside Essentials’ too! It certainly made the reading of this book more authentic! 😆💙
📖
Another “Amazing” review.

@wherethewildthingsare_bookshop

This family is taking a road trip….AROUND AUSTRALIA! With upbeat rhyming text and lots to see, ‘An Amazing Australian Road Trip’ by Jackie Hosking and Lesley Vamos will be an instant Aussie fave!
🐨
About the book:
We’re travelling from Melbourne on a birthday trip west, our aunty is sixty and we’re off on a quest. In An Amazing Australian Road Trip a family visits every state and territory of Australia, looking for the perfect picnic spot and experiencing all the landscapes, climates and wonders that Australia has to offer along the way. Each page has exuberant and dynamic artwork along with fun facts about the iconic locations and landmarks they visit, from Ningaloo Reef to Uluru, the Australian War Memorial to Coober Pedy and more. – Walker Books

@canyoutellmeastory

How lucky are we that Australia is so diverse and offers so much in the way of natural beauty.
.
An Amazing Australian Road Trip by @jackiehosking and @lesleyvamos @walkerbooksaus
is out next week and offers an abundance of awesome options for domestic holidays. If you are an international follower, hopefully it’s not too long till you can safely visit as well!
.
Thank you @walkerbooksaus

Top kidlit leaders share their knowledge…

So next week I’m going to be sharing a very exciting opportunity for anyone hoping to further their career as a children’s author/illustrator but before I do that I would like to invite you to download this e-book which is being offered free of charge by the crowd at INFOSTACK.

INFOSTACK have invited me to be part of their “KidLit Creators Super Stack” – which is a collection (a stack) of kidlit resources from all round the world. For one week this stack of info will be made available at a ridiculously affordable price. My contribution to the stack is my METRE MATTERS COURSE. But that’s for next week. In the meantime please enjoy this wonderful FREE resource and learn the secrets to crafting a timeless children’s classic straight from industry leaders such as…

*A former literary agent who is an award-winning author/illustrator, the acquiring editor and art director at Clearfork Publishing/Spork, and the founder of the Children’s Book Academy.

*A Random House published author, editor, agent, educator, and the publisher of Children’s Book Insider, and Children’s Writing Monthly.

*The award-winning author of children’s books Grumbler, Joyride, and Pling’s Party, and the owner of Orange Blossom Publishing.

Plus many more!

Click here to get your FREE copy. And enjoy!

Winding up…

As this very strange year comes to a close I was thrilled to receive an early Christmas present from Walker Books, my author copies of my next picture book, An Amazing Australian Road Trip. How brilliant does it look! I absolutely love it.

Fingers crossed that I will be able to launch it into the world with all the celebration that it deserves.

Click the image to purchase through Booktopia

In other news my poem, The Little Boat and Me, received a Highly Commended in The Scribbles Creative Writing Awards. Competitions are interesting animals, I know because I run them myself. Sometimes it’s difficult to know, particularly if you write in verse, if a piece is a story or a poem. For the competition that I run each Spring, I see the difference between the two like this – a story tells a story with a beginning, a middle and an end where a poem captures a moment or an emotion. When I first wrote The Little Boat and Me, I thought it was a picture book and I took it along to KidLitVic 2018 to be assessed by Cristina Pase from Windy Hollow Books and this is some of what she had to say about it…

“Language is beautifully used to evoke emotion. Language is very visual and sensory…I loved the imagery; the gentleness but the very things I loved, for me made it less of a picture book manuscript and more of a poem.”

Hence why I entered it into the poetry category of the Scribbles CWAs rather than the picture book one. Having said that, however, some folk would say that poems can tell stories too, and they can. No one would argue that The Man from Snowy River isn’t a poem but the reason that I draw a distinction between the two is because, for me, it would be like comparing apples with oranges. It just levels the playing field a bit I think.

So if you’ve been entering competitions or submitting to publishers with what you thought was a picture book text and you’ve not been getting anywhere – then maybe, just maybe, it’s a poem.

My last bit of news is that Temper Tabitha, published by Larrikin House is being released as a BIG BOOK in March next year and later in Hardback. I am thrilled to bits about this as this book is such fun to read aloud and we all love a naughty but nice story.

A reader contacted me recently and said…

We bought your book ‘Temper Tabitha’ and we have read it 5 times already. Our 2 year old […] sat and listened, never usually happens.

Warmed the cockles it did.

If you fancy a copy of Temper Tabitha and the chance to win a cute bunny Shakespeare’s Bookshop in Blackwood South Australia is running a competition. To be in the draw see below…

So that’s about it I think. Keeping fingers crossed that next year is less traumatic, hoping to be able to celebrate (properly) the 3 new picture books that will be released, An Amazing Australian Road Trip (Walker Books) Jan 6th 2021, I Really Want a Pet (Scholastic) May 2021 and An Aussie Christmas Gum Tree (Walker Books) for Christmas 2021.

Until then, keep safe, enjoy the festive season and I’ll look forward to sharing my books with you in the New Year!

Welcome Temper Tabitha

Today is the official release day for my new picture book with Larrikin House, illustrated by Leah Russack. No big fanfare or book launch, just a quiet announcement to welcome Tabitha into this very strange world that we are living in at the moment. And here’s a sneak peek of how the story begins.

When Tabitha wanted a that or a this

she wouldn’t ask nicely and give you a kiss,

she’d stamp and she’d stomp,

she’d rant and she’d rave,

Tabitha didn’t know how to behave.

When I originally sent this story to Larrikin House it had a very different ending to the one it has now, one that I thought was hilarious, but one that left the reader feeling unsatisfied. James however, saw the potential and together we coaxed it into a much more satisfying shape and of course, along came Leah who further improved it with her own interpretation. One of the things I like most about the whole process is seeing what the illustrator will bring to the story, Tabitha’s bunny being one of them.

So just for a bit of fun I thought I’d share with you how the story originally ended, because deep down, the wicked part of me, still thinks it’s funny.

The children lost interest and went on their way

The audience, speechless had nothing to say

Mother and Grandfather had a nice chat

Till Tabitha wanted a this and a that

This of course, this isn’t how the story ends but will Tabitha ever learn how to behave? If you know a Temper Tabitha, and we all do, this may well be the book for you and rest assured that the ending isn’t quite so wicked!

How to WIN a Tabitha Bunny

Order a copy from me by midnight on Sunday 2nd August

The School Magazine and me

Click here to book your ticket

15 years ago The School Magazine published a poem titled, If I Were a Giant, and this was the beginning of a very beautiful friendship. Illustrated exquisitely by the late, great Kim Gamble, this poem still holds a special place in my heart.

First published in The School Magazine Orbit March 2005

Since then, along with so many wonderful illustrators, we have produced many beautiful poems but never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be invited to be part of their Literary Festival. I am humbled and truly honoured and also a little apprehensive because while I know I can write poetry, I’ve never really thought about how I do it and then I wonder, is poetry a thing that can be taught anyway? Because I think, perhaps, we are all poets – so I guess what I hope to do is to encourage or coax the poet, that may be shy or too timid to show itself, out into the sunshine.

Thanks again to everyone who is part of creating this priceless magazine and I will look forward to being part of a festival that not only celebrates literacy but creativity in all its guises. So please join me and all these other wonderful creatives as we celebrate The Wonderful World of Worlds.


What some of my poems have been up to.

Just wanted to share what some of my poems have been up to lately should you fancy taking a look.

Stone the Crows

Stone the Crows was first published in The Caterpillar Magazine in 2018 and it recently appeared in their weekly mailout. It has been added to the Better Than Starbucks site here. Such a wonderful resource for all sorts of poetry. I’ve also been lucky enough to have it beautifully illustrated by Debbie Mourtzios. Debbie has illustrated a few of my poems. I really love her style.

Stone the Crows
 
In the field, there’s a man
made of sticks and straw
On the man, there are crows
that croak and caw
 
He’s supposed to scare
the crows away
He’s supposed to keep
the crows at bay
 
But the birds aren’t afraid
they think he’s sweet
And they walk on the man
with their little crow feet

It’s true

It’s true was first published in The School Magazine (Blast Off 2013) and more recently on Kenn Nesbitt’s GiggleVerse site, another brilliant resource.

I think that walking on your tongue
Would make it hard to eat
But did you know the butterfly
Has tastebuds on its feet?

And did you know the elephant
With trunk and massive rump
In fact’s the only animal
That cannot ever jump?

The crocodile with gnashing teeth
And gnarled and snarling snout
Never sticks its tongue out
Cause it cannot stick it out

And snails can sleep for years and years
A problem hard to fix
They fall asleep at three years old
And wake up when their six

The ostrich is a flightless bird
That runs along the plain
And did you know its eyeball
Is bigger than its brain?

And did you know the cockroach
Can live without its head?
It takes nine days for it to starve
Before it drops down dead.

And did you know the slimy slug
That slithers on the floor
Is known to be quite nosey
Not with one nose, but with four?

A flea can spring a distance
Many times its size
Like you could jump a football field
And win the long-jump prize.

But here’s a thing you’ll never do
Your mouth is not that wide
A hippo’s on the other hand
Can fit you right inside

But the weirdest of the animals
The ones not in the zoo
Live inside the mirror

Take a look – it’s true.


Over the moon!

My last post was titled The Moon so why now am I over it?

Because today I can publicly announce that my poem – Everything’s Been Cancelled, has been commended by poet Roger McGough, judge of this year’s Caterpillar Poetry Prize. Sitting alongside me are such fabulous names as Coral Rumble (Winner of the prize in 2018), Kate O’Neil (fellow Aussie), Robert Schechter, Brian Cooke, Joseph Moorwood and Sarah Ziman. And of course huge congratulations to the winner Fergal McNally.

I have been entering this competition for years so to finally be able to share this news is beyond wonderful.

So very grateful to The Caterpillar Magazine for offering this opportunity each year for all of us lovers and writers of children’s poetry.

The poem, of course, was inspired by the very strange times we find ourselves in at the moment. Sitting in front of my computer, feeling very odd, I was struck by the fact that on my ten acre property, none of the animals were aware of the new rules and it gave me such hope.

Also thrilled to hear that the poem is appearing in the current issue of the magazine which can be purchased here, should you fancy a copy and can I say the accompanying illustration is divine!

Thanks again to everybody who helped to make this happen. It’s certainly popped a smile on my face.