We’re delighted to announce that our beautiful illustrated anthology, A Toy Christmas, will be launched twice, in two cities! First up will be the Melbourne launch, at the beautiful new children’s bookshop, Readings Kids in Carlton, on Thursday November 10 at 6 pm(for 6.30). The lovely author-illustrator Sally Rippin will be launching the book, and four contributors to the anthology: George Ivanoff, Goldie Alexander, Meredith Costain and Michael Grey, will be there to sign books, as will the editor and compiler, Sophie Masson. Official invite below. We’d love to see you there!
(You can RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, or just turn up on the night!)
Today we are celebrating the official publication day for our beautiful new picture-book title, Margrete Lamond and Ingrid Kallick’s gorgeous Two Troll Tales from Norway.
Retold in lively and authentic style by Norwegian-Australian author Margrete Lamond, and sumptuously illustrated by Norwegian-American illustrator Ingrid Kallick, these stories of magic and mischief from Norway will enthral young readers!
Margrete Lamond is a consummate storyteller with a deep understanding of fairy tales and folk tales. Her books include Tatterhood and Other Feisty Folktales, illustrated by Peter Sheehan, The Nutcracker, illustrated by Ritva Voutila; Frankenstein, illustrated by Drahos Zac; and the Once Upon A Timeless Tale series, a collection of retold folk and fairy tales, illustrated by a variety of leading Australian and international artists.
Award-winning illustrator Ingrid Kallick’s work has been featured in magazines and books, including in the Once Upon A Christmas anthology (Christmas Press 2014). Her work was selected for the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles shows in 2013 and 2015, with a bronze medal in 2015. Her magazine covers won the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award in 2012 and 2015, while her selection for the SCBWI stand at the Bologna Book Fair in 2014 received an honourable mention. Two Troll Tales from Norway is her first picture book.
Two Troll Tales from Norway is available from all good bookshops around Australia.
We’re delighted to reveal the gorgeous cover for our Christmas title, A Toy Christmas, which will be released on November 10. That beautiful cover illustration is by Fiona McDonald, design by Beattie Alvarez and David Allan.
Compiled and edited by award-winning author Sophie Masson, this fabulous anthology of new, original seasonal tales, written by some of Australia’s most talented authors, both established and emerging, features the special magic of toys at Christmas. Illustrated in full colour, this is the perfect book to snuggle up with in the festive season—and well beyond!
Absolutely fantastic event last night at Walcha Gallery of Art, celebrating John Heffernan and Kate Durack’s gorgeous book with Christmas Press, Two Tales of Brothers from Ancient Mesopotamia. The evening featured a great exhibition of Kate’s original art from the book and a fabulous talk by John about the experience of writing the book, and the extraordinary Epic of Gilgamesh, which is the source of the stories he retold. The big,enthusiastic crowd just loved it and all the stock of books went in a flash!
Fiona McDonald and Sophie Masson represented Christmas Press at the celebration, and had a lovely time!
Thank you to the Walcha Gallery of Art, Reader’s Companion, and everyone who helped make this such a great event. And congratulations to that fantastically creative duo, John Heffernan and Kate Durack.
It’s a celebration! This week sees the publication of our latest picture book: Two Tales of Brothers from Ancient Mesopotamia, written by John Heffernan and illustrated by Kate Durack. It’s a gorgeous book, with John’s lively retellings of two stories from the Epic of Gilgamesh, interpreted by Kate’s striking pictures that are influenced both by ancient Mesopotamian art and the dynamic power of graphic novels. Congratulations to John and Kate on a stunning book, and may it find many, many readers!
Two Tales of Brothers from Ancient Mesopotamia also represents something of a landmark for us. With our trademark pairing of established author and emerging illustrator, it’s our tenth published title and the sixth title in our ‘Two Tales’ series of picture books that has formed the backbone of our publishing list since 2013.
We will be showcasing the book at some great events this week and next: at the Society of Women Writers’ lunch function at the State Library of NSW on May 11, where one of our founding directors, Sophie Masson, will be giving the keynote address and speaking about the history and development of Christmas Press; and at the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s conference, at the Menzies Hotel in Sydney on May 19-21.
John and Kate will be at the CBCA conference on Saturday May 21 to sign books–even if you aren’t coming to the conference, you can still come into the bookshop and trade display area to get your copy and have it signed!
We are delighted to present advance information about our upcoming new picture book title, Two Tales of Brothers from Ancient Mesopotamia, by John Heffernan and Kate Durack, coming out in mid-May. It’s our tenth published title, and the sixth title in our ‘Two Tales’ series.
Two Tales of Brothers from Ancient Mesopotamia
Retold by John Heffernan
Illustrated by Kate Durack
Published by Christmas Press
May 13, 2016
Hardcover, A4 size
The ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia, located in what is now Iraq, Syria and Kuwait, produced one of the world’s great heroic sagas, the Epic of Gilgamesh.
In this exciting, lively retelling, popular author John Heffernan brings two stories from the Epic to engaging life for young readers, while new illustrator Kate Durack’s striking illustrations, inspired by Ancient Mesopotamian art, superbly illuminate the mythical world of the heroic brothers.
John Heffernan is a well-known, award-winning Australian author who has written for children and teenagers in a variety of genres and styles, from picture books to young adult novels, reality to fantasy.
Born and raised in Brisbane, artist and illustrator Kate Durack lived and worked in Sydney and Malaysia before moving to the regional NSW town of Walcha, where she now lives. Her work has featured in several exhibitions. Two Tales of Brothers from Mesopotamia is her first picture book.
In this great interview, author Duncan Ball talks about his fabulous book, This School is Driving Me Nuts and Other Funny Plays for Kids, launch title for our Second Look imprint, which was published this month.
First of all, Duncan, congratulations on the publication of This School is Driving Me Nuts! We are delighted that it’s the launch title of our Second Look imprint. Can you tell us something about the process you went through, updating and revising the original plays from Comedies for Kids?
Authors rarely get to re-write their work after it’s published. It’s all set in stone once it’s a book. After Comedies for Kids was published I read and re-read the shorter plays out loud in schools. I could see that some of the jokes needed changing because either the kids didn’t get them or they just needed little changes to get bigger laughs. And when I saw some of the plays performed I could see how they could be improved. When Second Look agreed to re-publish the plays I had lots of notes about how to make the plays better and that’s exactly what I did.
You wrote a new play, “The Teeth of a Vampire”, for the new edition. What was that like, going back into the spirit and atmosphere of the collection to create something new?
I really enjoyed it. All I had to do was to re-read the other plays and I was back in the groove again. Writing comedy is very challenging but, when it works, it’s the best.
Plays suitable for children to perform–especially funny plays!–are not easy to find. Why do you think that is?
Kids love to read plays. I discovered this when I was working at the School Magazine at the NSW Department of Education. I think the reason for this is because plays don’t have all the (sometimes boring) description that other writing has. They also like the novelty of having the story all in dialogue. I think that many publishers avoid publishing plays for kids is that they’re afraid that parents won’t buy them. They’re wrong, of course.
What are your top tips for writing plays kids will enjoy?
It’s important to write what you enjoy reading. If you enjoy it there’s a good chance that others will too. When it comes to writing for kids an adult (like me) has to try to become a kid again. When I sit down to write I become the
twelve year old I was many many years ago.
Tell us about some of your favourite anecdotes regarding these plays.
There are so many things that have happened regarding these plays. Here are a couple of them that spring to mind:
Three of these plays were performed by First Nations kids (Cree Indian high school students) in Northern Saskatchewan in Canada. They took their productions to provincial and national competitions and won themselves a number of prizes. I was sent videos of the plays but I wish I could have been there to see the actual performances.
Recently, a woman contacted me to say that when she was in primary school she and her cousin acted out one of the plays, “Yak Attack” for their grandmother. Last month her grandmother was having her 90th birthday and said that she loved the play so much she wanted the women to act it out again—which they did.
We are very excited here at Christmas Press, because not only have we got some fabulous new titles coming up in our core Christmas Press Picture Books list–watch this space!–but we are also debuting two wonderful new imprints this year–Second Look Publishing and Eagle Books.
Second Look Publishing: New editions, in e-book and print on demand format, of classic out of print Australian children’s literature, featuring plays, poetry and fiction. Our launch title(March 2016) is a completely revised edition, with a new play added, of a hilarious collection of plays for children by Duncan Ball, illustrated by Craig Smith, which we’ve retitled This School is Driving Me Nuts and Other Funny Plays for Kids (originally published in 1988 as Comedies for Kids). It will be followed in July/August 2016 by a new illustrated edition of Libby Gleeson’s powerful first novel, Eleanor, Elizabeth. We plan to publish two-three Second Look titles a year.
Eagle Books: A new list also debuting in 2016, this will focus on adventure novels for older readers, by both classic and contemporary authors. The launch title (April 2016) is a magnificent limited edition of the first new English translation in over a hundred years of a great classic adventure novel by the legendary French author Jules Verne. Translated by distinguished translator Stephanie Smee, with illustrations by David Allan, Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff is a major publishing milestone!
Eagle Books will publish 1-2 titles a year.
More details on the Eagle Books and Second Look websites soon!
Our fabulous new Christmas title, Three Dragons for Christmas, is being released officially this week, and we thought you’d enjoy a sneak peek at it!
The book, which is a gorgeous hardcover with gold foil stamping on the front cover titles, coloured endpapers, and lavishly illustrated throughout, features three fabulous stories: Dragon Market, written and illustrated by Fiona McDonald; The Christmas Dragon, written by Sophie Masson and illustrated by Lisa Stewart; and The Dragon’s Pet, written and illustrated by Beattie Alvarez.
It’s a wonderful book to read aloud to children, or for children to read by themselves. The perfect Christmas gift! Available from all good bookshops, or direct from us.
Congratulations to wonderful illustrator Ingrid Kallick, whose gorgeous illustration for Charlotte McConaghy’s story, Wolfskin and the Huntress, in our Once Upon A Christmas anthology(edited and compiled by Beattie Alvarez, published 2014) has just won the Society of Illustrators (USA) Bronze Medal for Children’s Illustration! It has also been chosen to feature in the Society of Illustrators’ big show in Los Angeles.