anniversary, authors, Books, celebrations, chapterbooks

Lovely anniversary post from Rebecca Fung

Here’s a wonderful tenth anniversary tribute from the fabulous author Rebecca Fung, whose two chapterbooks (Princess Hayley’s Comet, illustrated by Kathy Creamer, and A Very Special Moon Mission, illustrated by David Allan) we have published.

Happy 10th anniversary, Christmas Press! I still remember the rush of excitement when Christmas Press first selected to my short story to be published in a Christmas anthology alongside many other Australian authors. The book was beautifully presented and is a real treasure. Later, Sophie chose my story, Princess Hayley’s Comet, to launch the chapterbook line for Christmas Press. Christmas Press has given me, and manyothers, so many amazing writing opportunities. I wish it many more years of producing gorgeous Australian books for its eager readers.

activities, Announcements, Books, celebrations, Picture books, Two Tales series

Fearsome Fairy Tales activities

We’re pleased to present another fabulous set of activities created by the talented Ash Taylor: this time, the activities are around Two Fearsome Fairy Tales from France, by Adèle Geras and Fiona McDonald. The activity booklet can be downloaded from the link below. Enjoy!

acquisitions, Announcements, Book news, Junior fiction

We have acquired Lorena Carrington’s first junior novel!

Christmas Press is delighted to announce that we have acquired world rights in Leaf Letters, a unique interactive short novel for young readers that is award-winning creator Lorena Carrington’s first junior fiction title as an author-illustrator. With a background in fine arts, photography and design. Lorena has previously worked as an illustrator for story collections, anthologies and picture books, and has also created a number of cover illustrations and designs.   

Christmas Press publishing director Sophie Masson said, ‘As soon as I read Lorena’s proposal for Leaf Letters, I was hooked. Told in words and pictures, this is a story of friendship, the pleasures of the natural world, and the pleasures of mystery! Plus it’s an invitation for young readers to join in the fun through coded messages and puzzles to solve. What’s not to love?’

From the beginning, readers are drawn into the world of nine-year-old Hazel Bird as she roams her neighbourhood bushland, photographing its tiny wild worlds. But then she meets Cole, a boy with a hundred pockets and a strange and marvellous way of talking. Together they find hidden treasure and a handwritten book of secret codes…Will they solve its mysteries?

Lorena Carrington said, ‘Hazel Bird is undeniably a young version of my adult self, happily lost in the tiny worlds of the undergrowth, camera in hand and twigs in her hair. She loves puzzles of all kinds, whether they involve constructing pictures, deciphering words, or figuring out the world around her. I’ve been wanting for a long time to create a story, told in words and pictures, that includes secret codes and a mystery. When Hazel and Cole popped into my head, I knew it was the perfect chance.  I was so thrilled that Christmas Press felt the same way, embracing the idea of Leaf Letters. They are the perfect publisher for this book, and I am ever grateful to Sophie and the team for their enthusiasm and support. It means I get to dream up weird and wonderful enigmas, and spend a whole lot more time crawling around the damp mossy ground.’

Leaf Letters will be published by Christmas Press in July 2024.

activities, anniversary, backlist, Books, celebrations, free stuff, Picture books

Fantastic new activities pack for Selkies!

As part of our anniversary year, our talented intern Ash Taylor has been hard at work creating some wonderful activities centred around our classic Two Tales series of illustrated storybooks. Today we are publishing the first of the activity packs he’s created, centred around Kate Forsyth and Fiona McDonald’s popular Two Selkie Stories from Scotland. The pack, which is free to download and print out for use by kids, families, schools and libraries, includes a word search, colouring pages, and research and creative writing activities. Lots of fun! Download from the link below.

Announcements, authors, Awards, Book news, middle-grade fiction

Fantastic news for Wanderer!

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the very exciting news that Victor Kelleher’s extraordinary novel, Wanderer, which we published last year in our Eagle Books imprint, has just been shortlisted for the very prestigious Patricia Wrightson Prize, which is the children’s category in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards! This is absolutely wonderful news, and a very well-deserved major recognition of Victor’s magnificent book. Here’s what the judges said about the novel:

With danger at every turn and constant action that grinds to a dramatic climax, Wanderer by Victor Kelleher grips the reader from the start, never letting up on the drama, tension, and conflict. This novel stood out for its strong narrative voice and for its child protagonists who remain in control of their own destinies throughout. Theirs is a high-stakes, life-and-death struggle against the decaying, lawless world around them as they must battle and attempt to outwit adults, wild animals, and nature itself. 

This middle-grade novel is set in a dystopian future where ocean levels have risen and society has crumbled. Young Dane and his new friend, Lana, must complete a perilous quest that focuses on special treasures: precious, rare books. And, yet, Wanderer is also much more than this. It’s a tale of friendship, courage, endurance, and a warning of what the future may hold for humanity.

Huge congratulations to Victor! We are so proud to have been able to publish Wanderer, and so delighted that the book has been honoured in this wonderful way.

Winners of the Awards will be announced at the State Library of NSW, Sydney, on May 22. It will also be the opening event for the Sydney Writers’ Festival. #NSWPLA

anniversary, authors, Books, celebrations, Junior fiction, middle-grade fiction

And more from another wonderful author…

This time, it’s the fabulous Jenny Blackford who’s penned some lovely words from our anniversary. Jenny’s published two fantastic books with us: The Girl in the Mirror (2019), a middle-grade mystery novel which won the Davitt Award for Best Crime Novel in the Children’s Category in 2020; and Fil and Harry (2021, illustrated by Kristin Devine), a lively, engaging fantasy novel for junior readers. As well as writing fiction, Jenny is an award-winning poet who has had two books of poetry published plus numerous others in anthologies and journals.

Small presses are beautiful things, and Christmas Press is a particularly beautiful small press, creating gorgeous packages. I am so grateful that they published my spooky middle grade novel The Girl in the Mirror, which won the Davitt Award for Best Children’s Crime Novel, and my junior novel Fil and Harry, complete with snarky talking cat. Thank you, Christmas Press, and happy anniversary!

anniversary, authors, Books, celebrations

And the lovely words keep coming!

We were delighted to receive these lovely words of anniversary congratulations from the wonderful Ursula Dubosarsky, multi-award-winning author and former Australian Children’s Laureate (in 2020 and 2021). Ursula has published two gorgeous books with us: Two Tales of Twins from Ancient Greece and Rome (illustrated by David Allan, 2014) and The Boy Who Could Fly and Other Magical Plays for children (illustrated by Amy Golbach, 2019).

Wonderful congratulations to Christmas Press on the anniversary – such a tremendous, rich achievement – for literature, for children and indeed for Armidale. Sophie Masson is such a creative. generous and imaginative publisher – she seeks stories with resonances deep in cultural history and brings their special and sometimes hidden beauty to children through the many remarkable books published by Christmas Press. Writers, illustrators – and most especially readers – are all in her debt. (Ursula Dubosarsky, 2023)

anniversary, authors, Books, celebrations

More lovely anniversary words…

We really are so lucky to be working with such wonderful authors! In this lovely pair of posts, author Michael Grey , author of Children of the Wild as well as several short stories, writes about how he first came in touch with us and what happened next. Design of both posts by Yasmin Paige. The first one has the shorter version of Michael’s words, the second one the full version.

activities, audiobooks, authors, celebrations, collaborations, Illustrators, Picture books, publishing

The book that launched Christmas Press!

In 2013, we embarked on the adventure that was to become Christmas Press, with the illustrated storybook that was to become our launch. title: Two Trickster Tales from Russia! The book sold out of its first print run in just six weeks, and ten years later, still continues to sell, all around Australia, where it’s available in all good bookshops. Readers certainly seem to love the fun, lively retellings by Sophie Masson and the gorgeous illustrations by David Allan!

It was quite a journey, creating the book: find out all about the fascinating story behind it here. And check out the wonderful free activities and downloads we’ve created around Two Trickster Tales from Russia. And here, is where you can access the fantastic audio edition of the book–for free!