Inside Story, Reviews

First review of Inside Story!

The first review of Inside Story has just been published, in Buzz Words magazine, and it’s great! You can read it below and also find it at the Buzz Words site.

Inside Story: The Wonderful World of Writing, Illustrating and Publishing Children’s Books compiled by Sophie Masson, Kathy Creamer, Beattie Alvarez, and Peter Creamer, edited by Jen Scanlan and Sharnee Rawson (United Publishers of Armidale) PB RRP $29.99 ISBN9780648815457

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Here is an invaluable resource and reference book for aspiring writers, illustrators, editors and designers or anyone interested in Australian children’s books. It is the first publication by the newly formed UPA, a collaboration between two independent publishing houses: Christmas Press and Little Pink Dogs, in association with the New England Writers’ Centre. And what a comprehensive and beautifully designed and presented book it is! Designed by Rae Ainsworth, the book covers all aspects of writing, illustrating, and publishing children’s books. It includes a section on what happens in the publishing process, how to pitch to publishers, alternative publishing models, useful organisations, and resources.

On each page there are coloured photographs and graphics, break-out boxes, and information (and advice) from a wide range of industry workers. Colourful double-page spreads introduce each topic, and there are also numerous lists of children’s books under headings such as picture books, illustrated storybooks, fiction anthologies, graphic novels, and more. Any inspiring author would benefit from the advice and tips offered by authors, agents, editors, publishers, and illustrators such as Stephen Axelsen, Pippa Masson, Ian Irvine, Jenny Blackford, and dozens more.

There is, as one would suspect, a clear bias towards books published by Christmas Press and Little Pink Dog Books, but other publishers shine in the book, too. It’s gratifying to see that the compilers have included poetry collections and anthologies, with advice from editors and compilers. Ursula Dubosarsky, Richard Tulloch and Duncan Ball share information and tips for writing plays, with Ball sharing his discoveries as former editor of The School Magazine.

In the tail end of this very engaging book is a list of useful organisations and resources for everyone, including editors, designers, and publishers. Numerous publishers have granted permission to use images from their titles, and there is a page of acknowledgements to the many people who have contributed material (and crowdfunding income). Interestingly, there’s a double page spread at the end of the book with photographs and biographies of the compilers, editors, and book designers.

There are many hours of interesting reading in this comprehensive book. Highly recommended!

Announcements, chapterbooks, Cover reveals, forthcoming books

Cover reveal for A Very Special Moon Mission!

We are delighted to reveal today the fabulous cover of our July title, A Very Special Moon Mission, written by Rebecca Fung, with illustrations by David Allan. The striking cover illustration is by David Allan, and the cover design by Authors’ Elves. Isn’t it just a fantastic cover!

Here’s a bit about the book:

Phoebe and Elliott are space-mad best friends but Julia, the unpopular new girl at school, has tagged along with them on them on a visit to the local Space Station. There, they meet the three astronauts competing to be the first woman on the moon, and they’re also introduced to the magnificent rocket known as The Obsession, and its know-all super computer IMP. But when they start the rocket without meaning to, and IMP malfunctions, the adventure takes a real turn for the unexpected! Sure, a moon mission is great: but how do you get back to Earth?

Written with Rebecca Fung’s characteristic verve and humour, this is a really fun read for young readers 7-10 years old and is illustrated with lively pictures by David Allan.

Check out all other book details on our Chapter Books page.

Announcements, Books, celebrations, collaborations, Inside Story, Launches, New releases, United Publishers of Armidale, UPA Books

Inside Story publishes today!

Today is the official release date of Inside Story: the wonderful world of writing, illustrating and publishing children’s books, which is published under UPA Books, the joint imprint we collaborate on with fellow children’s books publisher Little Pink Dog Books. Inside Story is also published in association with the New England Writers’ Centre, supported by a significant grant from Create NSW and generous backers in a crowdfunding campaign. This fully-illustrated book is aimed both at aspiring writers, illustrators, and other book people, and also at anyone interested in contemporary Australian children’s books, as it’s a gorgeous showcase of some of the best work around and, as well, features illuminating quotes from over 70 Australian writers, illustrators, agents, editors, designers and publishers.

Christmas Press is proud to be involved in this beautiful book, and together with our partners Little Pink Dog Books and the New England Writers’ Centre, we hope it will reach many readers and help to inspire many new writers, illustrators, editors and designers in their journey into children’s books.

The book is available in all good bookshops and may also be purchased directly through us or Little Pink Dog Books.

There will be a national online launch of the book to which all are invited. It’s being run by the New England Writers’ Centre: it’s free, but you need to book, please see here.

To give you a bit of a taste about what Inside Story is about, read this interview with one of the compilers of the book here, and watch the little trailer below.

authors, Awards, backlist, celebrations, News, Picture books

Congratulations to Gabrielle Wang, new Australian Children’s Laureate!

Big congratulations to the wonderful author-illustrator Gabrielle Wang, who has just been announced as the new Australian Children’s Laureate for 2022-2023. So well-deserved!

At Christmas Press we are thrilled to have Gabrielle as one of our wonderful authors: her beautiful picture book with illustrator David Allan, Two Enchanted Tales from Old China, which we published in 2017, is an absolute delight. Still available now from all good bookshops! Gabrielle also has a story, Pony for Sale, which she illustrated herself (see illustration below, on right), in our 2017 anthology A Christmas Menagerie. (The anthology is also still available.)

Announcements, authors, chapterbooks, Reviews

Lovely first review for Lucy Newton, Cat Trouble!

A lovely first review of Phoebe McArthur’s Lucy Newton, Cat Trouble, has just been published on the Read Plus blog. Here’s a short extract:

This is a short but charming story that is full of magical ingredients, apprentice witches, spell books and talking cats, a world that is part ordinary and part magic. Lucy has a habit of ignoring adult warnings and then having to solve the problems she creates. Her spell book is also a ‘learner’, hence the well-intentioned chaos that ensues.

You can read the whole review here.

Announcements, Books, celebrations, Christmas, festive season, holidays, short stories, short story

A festive gift for our readers

It’s that lovely festive time of the year again and to mark it we are offering a gift to our friends, supporters, readers: a fabulous Christmas short story from the magical pen of Phoebe McArthur, featuring everyone’s favourite little witch, Lucy Newton! First published in our 2019 anthology A Christmas Cornucopia, this fun tale of fun, magic and food is now available right here on our website to enjoy free. Download the PDF from the button below.

You can of course get the Lucy Newton books from any bookshop, including our partner Granny Fi’s Toy Cupboard.

We wish everyone a merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and a wonderful holiday season! See you next year for more wonderful book news.

Announcements, collaborations, forthcoming books, Imprints, Inside Story, videos

What’s inside Inside Story

There’s only two days left till the end of the crowdfunding campaign for Inside Story, the wonderful non-fiction book about Australian children’s books which we are collaborating on with our UPA partners Little Pink Dog Books, under our joint imprint UPA Books. As a finale to the campaign, and to encourage even more people to take a look at this amazing book, UPA has created a fabulous short video which gives a bit of a glimpse into what you’ll find inside Inside Story. Enjoy!

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Cover reveal of Inside Story

We are delighted to reveal today the fabulous cover of Inside Story: the wonderful world of writing, illustrating and publishing children’s books, which is being published by UPA Books in May 2022. UPA Books is the new collaborative imprint between ourselves and Little Pink Dog Books, and is part of our joint United Publishers of Armidale initiative.

The cover was designed by Rae Ainsworth, and features gorgeous illustrations by Patricia Ward, Fiona McDonald, Amy Golbach and Kathy Creamer.

Watch here too a short video about how the cover was created:

We are entering the final week of the crowdfunding campaign for the book: don’t miss out on securing your own pre-order copy of the book! Here’s the link to the campaign and a link to the update where you can also see the cover and the video.

acquisitions, Announcements, authors, chapterbooks, forthcoming books, Illustrators, News

Announcing the acquisition of Rebecca Fung’s new book

We are delighted to announce that we have acquired author Rebecca Fung’s fabulous new chapterbook for young readers, A Very Special Moon Mission. Rebecca’s earlier chapter book with us, Princess Hayley’s Comet, illustrated by Kathy Creamer, was published in 2018 and this year has also been produced as an audio book by Spineless Wonders Audio.

A Very Special Moon Mission is a standalone title, and features main characters Phoebe, Elliott and Julia. Phoebe and Elliott are best friends but Julia, the unpopular new girl at school, has tagged along with them on them on a visit to the local Space Station. There, they meet the three astronauts competing to be the first woman on the moon, and they’re also introduced to the magnificent rocket known as The Obsession, and its know-all super computer IMP. But when they start the rocket without meaning to, and IMP malfunctions, the adventure takes a real turn for the unexpected! Sure, a moon mission is great: but how do you get back to Earth?

Written with Rebecca’s characteristic verve and humour, this is a really fun read for young readers 6-9. It will also feature pictures by acclaimed illustrator David Allan, and will be published by Christmas Press in July 2022.

About the author:

Rebecca Fung works and lives in Sydney, Australia. She loves to write children’s fiction and several of those stories have been published in Christmas Press anthologies Once Upon a Christmas, A Toy Christmas and A Christmas Menagerie. Her first book, Princess Hayley’s Comet (illustrated by Kathy Creamer) was first published in print by Christmas Press in 2018, with an audio book edition published in 2021. A Very Special Moon Mission is her second book.

Picture of Rebecca Fung by Gildus Lam

About the illustrator:

David Allan is an illustrator and artist whose first picture book, Two Trickster Tales from Russia(retold by Sophie Masson) was published by Christmas Press in 2013. His second picture book, Two Tales of Twins from Ancient Greece and Rome(retold by Ursula Dubosarsky) was listed in Good Reading Magazine’s Best Books of 2014. He has also illustrated Two Tengu Tales from Japan(retold by Duncan Ball, 2015) and Two Enchanted Tales from Old China(retold by Gabrielle Wang, 2017), and the chapterbook Petal and the Really Hard Riddle, written by Kathyrn England (2018), all published by Christmas Press. He illustrated Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff(translated by Stephanie Smee, Eagle Books 2016) and has also illustrated for storybooks and anthologies, including The Stuff of Tales, published by Arts North West. David’s work is in private and public collections and he has exhibited artworks in both solo and group shows. He lives in the New England region of NSW. www.davidallanart.com

David Allan with two of the books he’s illustrated.