I’m chuffed to bits to share the cover of first book in my brand new young fiction series, Reggie Rabbit and the Great Carrot Heist. Illustrated by the Becka Moor and written under my pseudonym, ‘Swapna Reddy’, this series will be published by Oxford University Press with the first book is out in May!
I’ve had the most fun writing this detective series. In this first book, you will meet Reggie Rabbit who wants to be a big-shot detective in Bearburgh City, just like his hero Detective Fox. His parents, however, have other ideas: they would rather he stayed at home and worked on their vegetable stall.
But when a carrot-snatching crime wave hits the canals, the family stall is in danger of closing. Even worse, the famous Detective Fox won’t take the case. Reggie decides to step in, and his best lead is the new parakeet at school, Pipsquark, who has heard rumours of foul (or should that be fowl) play.
You’ll have to pick up a copy in May to find out if this tiny, fluffy detective can brave the big city and crack the case?
And then, Conor and I created a brand new animal character based on his brother, Tim. We came up with Tim the Camel, a stand up comedian who was about to go on tour in Antarctica. We even came up with a title: Tim’s Got the Hump!
Thank you to everyone who tuned in. I hope you are spending the rest of your week creating your very own stories too.
In the book, you will meet Doctor Diplo, the Jurassic kingdom’s best-loved therapist. He introduces ten of his Jurassic friends: Steggie the Angry Dinosaur, Rex the Scared Dinosaur, Bruno the Sad Dinosaur, Minka the Happy Dinosaur, Poppy the Lonely Dinosaur, Percy the Shy Dinosaur, Terrie the Excited Dinosaur, Trev the Overwhelmed Dinosaur, Iggy the Bored Dinosaur and Nino the Content Dinosaur.
Their stories show you how to navigate different emotions, with simple mindfulness tools and exercises, in a full-colour guide on emotions and feelings.
I loved writing this book and it is exactly what I needed as a child so I hope this one helps every little (and big) person master their DINOSAUR-sized feelings.
Phew! That was a BIG year! You’ve all made so many of my dreams come true, starting with a phenomenal World Book Day release for Dave Pigeon.
I was chuffed to bits to see so many schools join in with mine and Sheena’s big virtual event. HUGE thank you to everyone who shared their work with us.
Dave was back again with Dave Pigeon (Kittens!) in July and it’s been awesome to share his brand new story with you.
And next year promises to be even BIGGER! I have a whopping six books out, including new Bad Panda:
There will also be a new Dave Pigeon book in time for Halloween. In addition to my these two series, I have a brand new series, written under my pseudonym Swapna Reddy, and illustrated by mega-talented Becka Moor. It’s all about a detective called Reggie Rabbit and the first TWO books in the series are out next year, starting with Reggie Rabbit: The Great Carrot Heist, hopping on to shelves in June 2024.
And my first book with Scholastic New Zealand is set to hit the shelves next year too! I’ll have more on that soon…
We had a whole bunch of classes join in to hear me read from the book and create their very own Dave Pigeon story plans. We had ideas about gluestick heroes saving everyone from scissors and ideas inspired by evil pumpkins, handy lanterns and candlelit caves too!
Thank you to all the brilliant pupils and teachers who tuned in and your fantastic questions at the end of the session. I hope you all use your story plans to create new stories.
Little Dinosaurs, Big Feelings by me, Yiting Lee, Amber Owens publishes in January 2024 with Magic Cat Publishing and I’m so excited for you to meet Dr Diplo and his dino friends: Steggie the Angry Dinosaur, Rex the Scared Dinosaur, Bruno the Sad Dinosaur, Minka the Happy Dinosaur, Poppy the Lonely Dinosaur, Percy the Shy Dinosaur, Terrie the Excited Dinosaur, Trev the Overwhelmed Dinosaur, Iggy the Bored Dinosaur and Nino the Content Dinosaur.
You’ll get to read their stories in this cute graphic novel style, full-colour guide on emotions and feelings for children aged 5 and older and discover how to navigate different emotions with simple mindfulness tools and exercises.
This weekend was the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival. The theme of the festival was ‘a moment that marks the beginning of a journey, to the place where the river meets the sea – Te Pūao’ and the incredible star-studded line up of writers, illustrators and creatives included Witi Ihimaera, Fiona Farrell, Jacinta Ruru, Stacey Morrison, Ruth Paul, Susan Wardell, Michaela Keeble and Tokerau Brown, Barbara Else, Emily Writes, Coco Solid and so many, many more.
This year I was not in the role of author but instead MC for the Pakiwaitara Children’s Storytime sessions. It is not my usual role but I learnt heaps on the job and here are my top tips for hosting the children’s sessions of a festival:
Get to know your guests and their books. This is the fun part. I had a good read of all my guests books ahead of the festival and it was an utter treat to put time into my schedule just to read and call it work! I also reached out to all the authors and illustrators to find out more about what they planned for their events and if they had specific introductions they wanted from me. Not everyone will get back to you and when they do they may not answer all the questions you have because they themselves have not yet figured it out, (being on the other side of these events as an author – I totally understood this), so my tip top toppy tip is do your research anyway for biographies and then adjust if your hear back.
Be ready for any number of guests and any age group and have a team to support you so if you run into technical hiccups or a lack of paper for craft activities you can get help!
Attendees are here to see your guests and not to see you so keep those intros short and make sure the spotlight is entirely on your guests.
Susan Wardell reading The Lighthouse Princess
Ruth Paul making jellyfish
Michaela Keeble, Tokerau Brown and me
I also got to chair an adult event this year which I was quite nervous about. Though I have attended many book events from grown ups and even presented at a couple of writing workshops and talks, I have to admit my forte is very much seven-year-olds and fart jokes. But I’m glad I did it and I’ve added another string to my bow. Here are my top tips for chairing book events for grown ups. Guess what? They aren’t that different from my top tips for children’s events!:
Be prepared. Read the book, learn about your guests, and reach out. They will be just as nervous as you (probably) and will want to work closely to make sure questions and topics run seemlessly throughout the conversation and that you don’t ask things they may make someone uncomfortable.
Find out if they would like to do a reading. The audience loves this but it’s best not to assume that the author is comfortable to read. Making sure everyone is happy and comfortable will ensure a great event.
If the chair set up feels too formal, it’s OK to change it up! Again, you want everyone, including yourself, to feel comfortable becasue it is nerve-wracking to have all eyes on you.
Have questions and topics to keep the conversation flowing, especially if the audience doesn’t step up with questions. Be ready to fill in the silence.
Barbara Else, Emily Writes and me
And my final top tip for ALL events is to say THANK YOU. There is a team always working behind the scenes to help you so remember to remind them that they are awesome.
Today, I joined Team Rotherham Loves Reading for not one but TWO events!
First up I met with EYFS and Key Stage 1 for a reading of My Dad is a Grizzly Bear and we all created our very own grizzly bears. Then I met with Key Stage 2 for some Dave Pigeon (Kittens!) fun where we created brand new story ideas and plans. We heard about dentists and Roman armies and snot worlds and pirate ships.
Thank you so much to all the classes who joined me today – I can’t wait to read your stories and see your bears.
We created heaps of new story plans including stories about warring pens and pencils, stories about dogs who want to go to magical schools and stories about books that can fly. I can’t wait to read the resulting novels based on all the incredible story plans I heard today.