All welcome–come and meet the author and get a signed copy of her book!
We are delighted to join with United Publishers of Armidale in bringing you the virtual launch today, Friday August 28, of Four on the Run, a lively, funny chapter book for young readers written by Sophie Masson and illustrated by Cheryl Orsini. The Virtual Launch, hosted on the United Publishers of Armidale website, features a series of fabulous videos for you to enjoy. The book is being launched by Lesley Gibbes, author of acclaimed junior fiction and picture book, and you’ll hear from her in the first video. Then in the second video, you’ll hear from author Sophie Masson, introducing the book and its inspiration and process, and in the third video, Sophie reads the intriguing first chapter of the book. The final video is a little book trailer.
You can view these today, or on any day! Thank you for joining us in the celebration of Four on the Run, and we hope you enjoy. And don’t forget to visit the book’s Featured Pages on the UPA website for more information, and wonderful activities!
Armidale-based children’s book publishers, Christmas Press and Little Pink Dog Books, are delighted to announce a brand-new joint initiative, United Publishers of Armidale, with the launch of a new website, www.unitedpublishersofarmidale.net, and associated social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The United Publishers of Armidale website features a number of books from each publisher, with free activities and resources to go with each, as well as information on each title. Activities and resources include audio and video presentations by creators, puzzles, quizzes, word searches, printable colouring pages, teachers’ notes, and more. The Featured Books page will be updated regularly with new, upcoming and backlist titles and their associated activities, while the About page gives information about the UPA partner publishers.
‘The idea behind United Publishers of Armidale is that in these difficult times, it makes sense for publishers, especially small, regionally-based publishers like us, to pool our efforts and resources in order to promote and showcase our books and help to support our creator communities, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Little Pink Dog Books on this,’ said Sophie Masson, co-director of Christmas Press. ‘But it’s also very much about supporting the wider community, especially children, their families, teachers and carers, by offering free resources and activities through a dedicated website.’
‘We are delighted to be partnering with Christmas Press in this new enterprise and we hope that everyone will have lots of fun discovering our featured books and the activities around them,’ said Kathy Creamer, co-director of little Pink Dog Books. ‘And we warmly thank our authors and illustrators for getting so enthusiastically behind the project and creating such fabulous and diverse activities for our readers.’
Books featured for the website launch are, for Christmas Press, middle grade historical fantasy novel, The Phantasmic Detective Agency, by Julian Leatherdale (out May 2020) and Australian Children Laureate Ursula Dubosarsky’s recent collection of plays, The Boy Who Could Fly and Other Magical Plays for Children(2019); and for Little Pink Dog Books, author-illustrator Trish Donald’s picture book Tissy Woo and the Worry Monsters(2018) and Parmesan, The Reluctant Racehorse, written by Jacqui Halpin and illustrated by John Phillips (2017).
Check it all out here!
The second of our celebratory launches for A Toy Christmas will be held in Sydney on Thursday November 17 at the lovely Balmain Library at 6 pm. The book will be launched by the wonderful author Ursula Dubosarsky , and some of the contributors to A Toy Christmas will be there, including the editor and compiler Sophie Masson. And there’ll be light refreshments and door prizes! It’s a free event but you can book at http://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/whatson, see poster below.
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!)
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 $19.99
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 delighted that our hometown of Armidale now boasts another children’s books publisher besides Christmas Press!
Little Pink Dog Books, which opened for business on December 30 2015, will be specialising in picture books for young children, by new and unpublished authors and illustrators only, and will publish between one and three books a year initially. They are open to submissions at the moment.
Little Pink Dog Books is owned and operated Kathy and Peter Creamer, who are fairly new to Armidale but have previously run a children’s books publishing company overseas. Kathy is an author-illustrator with a long publishing career, and has worked on over sixty books, while her husband Peter looks after the business and production side of things.
We caught up with them this week, and asked them a couple of curly questions!
What’s the reaction been to Little Pink Dog Books so far from authors and illustrators?
The reaction has been remarkably good, with our first manuscript submission arriving just a day after the launch of our new website and Facebook page. Since then, we’ve had submissions arriving at the rate of two or three a week, but unfortunately, not a single submission from illustrators. I think we may need to adjust the information on our website to make illustration portfolio submission a little more prominent.
Other reactions have been that it’s good to see a new publisher that specializes in Children’s picture books.
It’s been viewed as a very enterprising initiative that could help a significant number of locally based talented authors and illustrators.
What are the advantages of running a publishing company from a regional town like Armidale? and the disadvantages?
Armidale is full of creative people who know each other and are keen to work together.
Being a small community, everyone knows about you and what you do, so you don’t have to advertise too much.
Artists and illustrators in Armidale are keen to experiment and we have been impressed with the range of different techniques, skills and media people use as part of their creative expression.
Armidale is on the NBN, which is a fabulous advantage in terms of moving information around.
We are also very conscious that quality is vitally important and hence your reputation stands for a lot!
The book services for printing, distribution and marketing do not appear to be readily available within the Armidale area.
The number of traditional retail outlets for the product is very small in number.
Access to events and shows where one can promote picture books is difficult, but not impossible, with most such events being held in the various state capital cities.
Costs for services, equipment and consumables are also inevitably a little higher than in the larger cities.
Getting your products and the authors and illustrators who created them a public profile will be more expensive here, as they would need to travel to key events usually held in major cities.
Congratulations on the launch of Little Pink Dog Books, Kathy and Peter!
If you live in the Armidale area, or you’re visiting, Christmas Press and Granny Fi’s Toy Cupboard invite you to a very special event: come and celebrate with us the launch of Two Fearsome Fairy Tales from France!
Date: Saturday May 2
Time: 3 pm
Books will be for sale. Illustrator Fiona McDonald will be on hand to sign books.
Free event. No bookings required. Light refreshments provided.
Eagle Books, the brand-new fiction imprint of Christmas Press, are thrilled to announce that our launch title will be the first English translation in over a hundred years of one of the best adventure novels of all time, written by one of the most popular writers of all time: Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff.
First published in French in 1876 as Michel Strogoff, it is a rip-roaring tale of adventure and suspense, painted with romance and humour and set in pre-revolutionary Russia. Suitable for both adult and young readers from 11 and up, it is a book that’s inspired countless film and TV adaptations all over the world.
In France, it’s been a huge success from the word go, and has never been out of print, with most people considering it to be Verne’s best novel. But it has dropped out of sight in English-speaking countries as the original English translation–published well over a century ago!–is rather stodgy and dated for modern tastes.
But in Stephanie Smee’s perfectly-pitched, lively translation of the original 1876 French text, the first such translation in over a hundred years, English-speaking readers can discover for themselves just why this novel has such an enormous following not only in France but all over the world.
Stephanie is a Sydney-based translator who turned in a legal career to combine her true loves of literature and French. She is responsible for introducing the enormously successful works of much-loved French author, the Countess de Ségur, to a whole new generation of English-speaking children, and those translations have been bestsellers.
To celebrate this major publishing event, we have just today launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund production of a beautiful collectible limited edition, not available on the general commercial market(commercial hardcover and paperback editions will follow later).
This exclusive collectible edition will be limited to 750 hand-numbered copies, with internal pages of soft cream paper, and each chapter featuring a delicate black and white illustration by artist David Allan. The cover will feature a full colour illustration by David Allan, set into high-quality textured red hardback binding, and the book will feature other special elements, such as coloured end-papers, a satin bookmark, and gold foil detail on front, spine and on book block edges.
This beautiful book will be available to Australian and New Zealand contributors for a pledge of AUD $55, postage included, and to all other international supporters for AUD $75, postage included. There are also many other levels of support, from $10 to $1000, and some truly fantastic perks for contributors, from commemorative bookmarks to playing cards, limited edition prints of the illustrations, authentic 19th century prints featuring Russian scenes, hand-painted book plates, and more.
The campaign will run till May 16, 2015.
We invite you to join us in bringing back this fantastic novel to English-speaking readers!