Archive for April, 2016

Note to self: always keep ideas, no matter how undeveloped.

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

by author Catherine Bailey & illustrator Sarita Rich


Thank you for hosting us today, Miss Tara. We are excited to be here, and we are excited to celebrate the release of HYPNOSIS HARRY, and we are excited to talk about each other and, well, we are just really excited. So without further ado, here is us interviewing us.

1. Okay, Sarita, Harry’s expressions are some of my favorite moments in the book. Was he, or any of the characters or images, based on your family or home life?

As much fun as Harry was to draw, I really liked having a sister. In an earlier draft, she was older, but I decided maybe a baby/toddler would be funnier, especially on the last page. And I had a (sometimes) cooperative model at home, so that was helpful. I also liked having a cat in the story. I’ve had my share of…

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Some good advice…


Note: The following advice has been taken from Lesson 8 (Don’t Write in Rhyme) and Lesson 9 (Rhyming Is All About Rhythm) of Josh Funk’s ‘Resources for Writers – Guide to Writing Picture Books’ and from a ‘Mistakes You Can Make When Writing a Rhyming Picture Book’ list on TheListApp.

Also note: Despite everything Josh Funk says below, he is the author of Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast (a rhyming picture book), the forthcoming Pirasaurs! and Dear Dragon (both rhyming picture books), and several other upcoming picture books (nearly all of which are also written in rhyme).

If you’re going to write a picture book, the best advice I can give you is:

Don’t Write in Rhyme

“Why not?” you ask.
“But publishers are constantly printing new rhyming picture books.” True.
“I’ve heard librarians like reading rhyming books at story time.” Also true.
“Children love rhyme, don’t they?” Probably…

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Wonderful words.

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This is shocking!

Fight for Rhinos

In 2011, TIME magazine reported China had plans to establish a breeding colony of black and white rhinos, with the sole intention of harvesting their horn.

Their investigation found that a Chinese arms company – the Hawk Group –  had imported 60 rhino from South Africa to a park called Africa View in the Hainan Province of China. (This was a year AFTER China assured CITES they had no intention of farming rhinos.)

rhino farm aljazeera         Rhino farm in China, photo-Al Jazeera

Previously, in 2009, a TRAFFIC report showed that South Africa and Zimbabwe had exported 141 live Rhinoceros to China over the previous nine years.

The “park” Africa View was touted as an African safari themed park. However, when a reporter visited in 2008 he found “No animals were in evidence, save 60 or so rhinos living in rows of concrete pens.”(which he photographed)

china rhino farm location    The Sanya rhino farm location. photo: the…

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Well done Hildie!

A few weeks back, Hildie and I ventured down to KidLit TV to record a reading of Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep. (Here’s a link to my previous post.) And I’m thrilled to finally say, voilà, here it is. Enjoy!*

THANK YOU, KidLit TV! You made my year—and then some! 🙂

*If you like what you see, please give it a big thumbs up, share it with friends, frenemies, witches, goblins, ghouls, and your favorite zombies on social media, and feel free to leave a comment. Be sure to check out all of the incredible programs KidLit TV has to offer.

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My Sunsets

I have seen the most beautiful sunsets in Africa but The Sunset Coast in Western Australia delivers some beauties too!  So I thought I’d share a few from my travels and a poem I wrote when I was very young living in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia.

0911Zambian Sunset

(Can’t credit this as I have no idea who took it, but it was shared on the Great North Road website and is so typical of sunsets I saw in Africa.)

African Sky

heat of the day

cool of the night

clear blue sky

such a beautiful sight

trees so green

(greener than I’ve seen)

earth rich and brown

rain pouring down

to make the hour cool

like diving in the pool

when the heat gets you down 


then the coolness of night

with stars shining bright

but before they appear

comes the scene held so dear

there’s no more exquisite sight

than day changing to night

and the reds and the golds

which appear in the folds

of the African sky

when night is nigh

Frances Macaulay Forde © 1968


Dingle, Ireland on our trip to the Cliffs of Moher. FMF© 2003.

I live just off Ocean Reef Road in the Northern Suburbs of Perth, Western Australia.  That’s  between Hillarys and Mindarie on ‘The Sunset Coast’ which stretches from “Cottesloe and includes the Scarborough precinct, Trigg Beach, Hillarys Boat Harbour, Mindarie Keys and Perth’s northernmost beach at Two Rocks “ (Wiki).


Sorrento Beach on an evening walk. FMF © 2004


Cottesloe Beach – driving from Fremantle to Ocean Reef. FMF © 2005.


The sky is on fire! No, simply a sunset, taken from our back patio looking west to the sea. FMF © 2006

Aren’t I lucky!  

Scarborough Sunset Watchers

Here’s a professional photo – beats mine but available for purchase.

@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #SunsetCoast  #Sunsets  #POEM:AfricanSky  #DingleIreland  #SorrentoBeach  #CottesloeBeach  #ScarboroBeach  #TriggBeach  #HillarysMarina  #OceanReef

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B is for Brooklyn

I loved it!

The Fluff Is Raging


I feel like I’m the last person in the world to see Brooklyn, which I finally got around to watching.


What a lovely film. I am not sure it’s a great film, but it certainly is lovely.

Having now seen it long after the Oscars, I can understand why Saoirse Ronan was nominated. After several years as a child actor and playing the juvenile lead, Ronan has finally been given the opportunity to portray an adult. She gives a winning, heartbreaking performance as Eilis, a young woman who leaves the rain-sodden, narrow-minded, parochial confines of 1950s small-town Ireland and moves to New York.


The film, based on the novel by Colm Toibin (which I have not read, so I am not sure how the two compare) runs through almost every cliche of the immigrant story: the long farewell at the docks; the tears; the strange food; the noise and speed…

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Speaks for itself!

The Fluff Is Raging

So today is the last day of Reading Ireland Month

giphy (1)

It’s been a fantastic month of blogging about Irish culture.


I’ve enjoyed reading all the contributions and have found a lot of new favourite blogs.


And I discovered a lot of books I want to read.


Thank you to everyone who was involved, and we hope to see you again next year.

giphy (2).gif

And thank you again to Cathy of 746 Books, a veritable blogging machine, for co-hosting The Begorrathon.

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Stephen Page

Author: The Salty River Bleeds, The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. Alum: Palomar College, Columbia University, Bennington College. Follow on twitter @SmpageSteve on Instagram @smpagemoria on Facebook @steven.page.1481

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