authors, Books, celebrations, Illustrators, Imprints

Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Illustration by Fiona McDonald, from The Dolls' Nativity, by Natalie Jane Prior.
Illustration by Fiona McDonald, from The Dolls’ Nativity, by Natalie Jane Prior.

It’s that festive time of the year again–and to all our contributors, readers, friends and supporters the Christmas Press team sends the very best of wishes for a merry Christmas and a very happy and successful New Year! Thank you all for your support throughout 2016, and here’s looking forward to a great 2017!

Pictures are from our latest title, the fabulous anthology, A Toy Christmas.

And to all emerging authors: watch this space on Boxing Day for some great news about our 2017 Christmas anthology!

Illustration by Beattie Alvarez for George Ivanoff's 'The Pudding Prize'
Illustration by Beattie Alvarez for George Ivanoff’s ‘The Pudding Prize’
Illustration by Kathy Creamer, for her own story,'What, No Christmas Toys for the children?'
Illustration by Kathy Creamer, for her own story,What, No Christmas Toys for the Children?
Illustration by David Allan for his own story, 'The Fairy Tree'
Illustration by David Allan for his own story, ‘The Fairy Tree’
authors, Books, Illustrators, Reviews

Lovely review of Troll Tales in Magpies

Delighted to see that Margrete Lamond’s and Ingrid Kallick’s gorgeous Two Troll Tales from Norway has garnered another lovely review! It’s in the latest issue of the prestigious children’s literature magazine, Magpies, and is by author and bookseller Mike Lucas. Here’s a very short extract:

Christmas Press, a relatively new publisher specialising in fairy tales, folk tales and traditional stories, has brought together a magical storyteller and a perfectly suited illustrator to retell these two Norwegian tales..

The review is below(not available online)

magpies-review-trolls

authors, Illustrators, Reviews

Excellent review for Two Troll Tales in Reading Time

trolls-6Just in, another great review for Margrete Lamond and Ingrid Kallick’s Two Troll Tales from Norway!

Here’s some short extracts: Margret Lamond skilfully retells the two magical tales in this charming picture book displaying her talent as a storyteller….The illustrations by Ingrid Kallick convey the unusual quality of these stories and have a distinctly Scandinavian appearance in the decorative patterns and colours.

You can read the whole review here.

authors, Books, celebrations, Illustrators

Fascinating insights from the author and illustrator of Two Troll Tales from Norway

In the excellent Teachers’ Notes that we have just put up for Two Troll Tales from Norway (you can access and download them here, just scroll down the page), there are some fascinating insights from author Margrete Lamond and illustrator Ingrid Kallick about how they approached the creation of words and pictures. Here’s an extract:

margrete-lamond-author-photoMargrete:

I don’t know why I love retelling traditional tales, but something about it makes me feel hugely satisfied. Perhaps it is an ancient thing in my bones, hearkening back to those long-ago days when we told one another stories by the fireside, or while walking or working. Whatever it is, I relish the feeling of retelling, and most especially the challenge of retelling sometimes well-known tales in a fresh and emotionally engaging way. When I set out to retell a story, therefore, I always imagine I’m speaking directly to a group of listeners, and that I’m telling them a story they might know perfectly well, but that they haven’t heard told with this particular emotional flavour.

Norwegian folk tales are particularly satisfying as sources for retelling, because in their original forms (as collected and published by Asbjornsen and Moe) they retain some of the raw folk voice of the old storytellers from whom they were collected.

ingird_picIngrid:

While some people really have trollish personalities, it’s good to remember that although “Trolls are Trolls and there’s nothing anyone can do about it,” the trolls have their own regard for each other. For that reason, the trolls I painted for “Two Troll Tales” are just a little aware of what they are, and maybe they have feelings too – not always the worst possible feelings. They just don’t get along with humans very well.

As for the nitty-gritty of my process, I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and looking at photos and other art before I start sketching.

I use pencil to make small drawings called thumbnails, about the size of a postage stamp. I choose the ones I like, scan them into a computer and re-draw then larger, with more details. Then I print out the final drawing at the size I would like to paint. Sometime I will print on watercolor paper and paint directly over the print. For “Two Troll Tales”, I transferred the sketch to watercolor paper with pencil and colored it with soft body acrylic paint, which can be made transparent like watercolor or opaque like tempera or gouache.

When I’m finished, I scan the painting into the computer. Then I can adjust the size, color and position of things to make it fit better with the text and page size.

 

You can read more in the full Teachers’ Notes, including Ingrid’s very interesting reminiscences about her Norwegian heritage.

Announcements, authors, Books, celebrations, Illustrators, New releases, News

Publication day for Two Troll Tales from Norway!

Two Troll Tales from Norway coverToday 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.

 

 

 

Announcements, authors, Books, Cover reveals, Illustrators, News

Cover reveal for our fabulous Christmas title!

A Toy Christmas Cover Final-jpegWe’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!

With an introduction by Sophie Masson.

Featuring:

Natalie Jane Prior—Meredith Costain—Michael Grey—Fiona McDonald—Juliet Marillier–Anna Bell–Ian Irvine—Kathy Creamer—George Ivanoff—Goldie Alexander—David Allan—Rebecca Fung—Beattie Alvarez.

Have a look here at what Natalie Jane Prior, has said on her blog about the experience of writing The Dolls’ Nativity, her story for the anthology.

Book details:

ISBN 9780994234063

RRP: $24.99

Format: Large Paperback

Page extent: 96 pages, illustrated in full colour

 

Announcements, authors, celebrations, Events, Illustrators, New releases

Celebration of Two Tales of Brothers from Ancient Mesopotamia

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.

authors, Books, celebrations, Illustrators, Launches, New releases

From a modern war zone comes an ancient tale..

From the Advocate (Walcha):

John Heffernan has a new picture book out, illustrated by local artist Kate Durack. Two Tales of Brothers from Ancient Mesopotamia tells two pivotal stories from the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest tales ever written. “These are stories of great warriors and grand battles from the mists of time,” says John Heffernan. “And yet they are set around an area that has recently seen some of the most brutal fighting in the Middle East, Syria and Iraq. To me there is something disturbingly timeless about that.”

The book has only been published a few weeks but has already had three glowing reviews, including a Highly Recommended from Reading Time, the magazine of the Children’s Book Council of Australia. “I can’t claim any credit for that,” John insists. “Gilgamesh is already a thumping good yarn, pumped with action; I’ve only had to re-tell it. Kate’s visuals are what lift this book to that special level. I hope everyone in Walcha will have a look at it.”

And everyone can have a look. The book will be launched at the Walcha Gallery of Art on Friday June 17th at 6.30pm, along with an exhibition of drawings and paintings by Kate. Author and publisher Sophie Masson will launch the book, Kate will say a few words, and John will give a short reading. Copies will be available for sale and signing.

As an added bonus, there will also be an exhibition of works by Stephen King: TO BIRDSVILLE AND BACK.

Two Tales of Brothers from Ancient Mesopotamia is published by Christmas Press.

ISBN 978-0-99423-404-9  RRP $19.99launch brothers

Announcements, authors, Books, celebrations, Illustrators, New releases

Publication week for Two Tales of Brothers from Ancient Mesopotamia!

Two Tales of Brothers cover higher resIt’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!   kate durackJohn Heffernan author pic

Announcements, authors, Books, Illustrators, News

Our upcoming picture book title

Two Tales of Brothers cover higher resWe 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

ISBN: 9780994234049

RRP: $19.99

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.