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BLOG | BLOG – Page 2 – Active Kids Books

Active Kids Books

when the humans go away, the creatures will play

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ABC Publishes My Writing

ABC Open – Stories about peoples Day Jobs


Tale End of Ice Cream Tale


As with all ‘guest author’ appearances I do. I tend to throw my whole self into delivering an engaging fun exciting session.

Parabadoo primary today was no different. Starting with 6-8min theatrical story, I finally introduce myself as someone who loves to READ stories, WRITE stories and TELL stories…

For the LOVE of story, you can sample (teaser) my work via this video.

Make note, my 7yr old daughter did the recording on my iPhone. Capturing the tail end of a ‘hero’s journey’, a tale about over coming hurdles/ challenges to consume all the FREE ice-cream one could possible eat in one day!

Thanks for having me Parabadoo. Enjoy your holidays!!!


For the of Story Kalbarri Primary

On Tuesday 10th June, the WA Tour branched away from the iconic coastal scrub that Aussie author Tim Winton best describes. Away from the walking, sight-seeing and surfing to visit the joyous kids of Kalbarri Primary School.

Being a guest at this school was insightful for all involved. I enjoyed listening and learning from the children as much as their smiles and enthusiasm awarded me the attention I received.

Next school visit; Parabadoo Primary near the amazing Karajini National Park.





Story Time Was Captured by a Friend

Story Time was sweet and delightful. It took me back to the world of ‘Wheels on the bus’, ‘If your happy and you know it’ and ‘The great big elephant is so slow’…What i was invited for, was a little contemporary injection. Reading Skate Session to many smiling cute faces and young parents in Margs.

Special thanks to my new friend and WA local; Mandy Collinson, for coming along in support and taking these pics as seen here.

Next stop, Kalbarri Primary School…YEW!!!




AKB Now Available at Augusta Margaret River Library


After an eery early morning surf @ Gracetowns South Point, where one of the recent shark attacks went down. Did i mention i was out there alone for the first hour, before a great guy by the name of Rob paddled out. And it just so happened Rob assisted the shark bitten surfer out of the water that day. He conducted CPR for 40min on him. Yet, not the result all of humanity would ask of their friend or loved one, yet it was real. And it was the bravery of Rob & his mates, not to pull the victim out of the water in the first place, but to be the first two surfers to paddle out for a wave the next day. They decided to take this action as a way of lifting the dark cloud that hung over the area and its people. And as Rob says, there has been 5 attacks in the last ten years and thousands of surfers in the water every day. The passion and joy one gets from riding a wave far out ways the small chance of being bitten by a Noah.

Besides the noah story, i was pleased at the support and love i received from the local library here in Margies. Not only have they purchased a copy of each book title, but they really did look after me in whatever way they could. So a big heart felt thank-you go to the librarians on the day.

Kind local librarians and opportunities a match. As synchronistically i walked in as weekly sheduled Story Time had just finished. And unbeknown to everyone, next Tuesday’s Story Time might see me grace the chair. As MR library may have a guest author read them an action-adventure tale that the local kids and their parents will enjoy I’m sure!

See ya there if your in the area…

The Raw Truth @ Margaret River Writers Festival



Supporting fellow surf write & legend Nick Carroll!!!

The journey of a World Class Surfer

The journey of a World Class Surfer

Literally, Spiritually, Passionately i fulfil the festivals theme of 'Journey' on the WA Tour...

Literally, Spiritually, Passionately i fulfil the festivals theme of ‘Journey’ on the WA Tour…

The Yallingup statue, representing the proud surf culture & history of the South West area…

We are pleased to say, the Margaret River Writers Festival officially kicks off the #ActiveKidsBooks Tour of Western Australia. Look out kids, here we come!!! Yippy…

So as one event comes to a close, symbiotically another takes its first breath. And before long, I will be passing on the torch to the work force at the Kimberley Writers Festival come late July 2014. With many schools and fun to be had in-between. Before we head off, I’d like to personally thank Nick Carroll for the literary gift he kindly signed for me at the MRWF. As one author to another, i’ve invested in a good book i just know it. As i grew up with #TomCarroll, in which the book is based on, as being a World Champion Surfer and one to watch with amazement! The book will be my reading material for the next couple of months as i travel in the recently purchased Landcruiser!

And to talk briefly about my Poetry Slam experience. Not a genre i generally find myself writing or delivering in public. Yet, it ended up being the only opportunity i had to speak with the literary folk of the area. So i blew caution to the wind, got busy writing 5 days before hand and gave it my best shot. I managed to get a 9/10 from one judge, yet i struggled to remember the entire poem and to really do it justice. It was fun all the same, but not to joke with you i was also super nervous. What it offered was a deadline, somewhat boxed the wild imagination in with faded grey boundaries yet a whole lot of freedom to creative play with words! BOOm thats why i went for it!

Before i go, i encourage you to say hello if you see me in the streets (or out in the surf). And to also have your children write to me, let them tell me what they think of AKB stories etc. I’m promoting old school snail mail over email, but everything and anything is great for their literary development.

Go well and lets pray for swell!!!

9 Day Countdown before Life’s Awesome Campaign begins!

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“Teaching affects eternity. You never can tell where their influence will stop”, as believed and promoted by Kalbarri Primary School staff and support by us here at AKB.

The AKB initiative of supporting boys lower literacy and promoting healthy active kids, kicks off for the third time running in 9 days time. Always an exciting part of our development and focus for Active Kids Books. And thrillingly so, we head off to the wild west for adventure, inspiration and share our colourful love of story.

Western Australia boasts the biggest land mass of all the states in OZ, so there is going to be plenty of driving. This campaign is shaping up to be of epic proportions, with three months allocated to travel from Margaret River down south east to the KImberly way up north-east. We look forward to visiting the kids & staff at Kalbarri Primary, Tom Price, Paraburdoo, Karratha and community schools within the KImberly…

But its not all about work. To walk the talk on health and inspiration, one must experience and live such mantra. And its with this that i set out to surf the biggest waves of my life. I’ve wanted to do a surf trip to WA twenty years ago, now my reality is only days away.

I intend on updating my travels, but also know i’m looking to embrace the moment and not get bogged down in external events. My intention is to offer the kids of WA something special, to give back for all that it will give me. I set off as the proud creator of AKB and look to full-fill an authentic journey of adventure, physical achievements and to share the love of story!

Wish me luck.

Upcoming AKB Event: Life’s Going to be Awesome in the Wild West!


Book Tour

The Western Australian adventure is nearing its departure.

The Life’s Awesome campaign No. 3, is in it’s final stages of planning and preparing for another trip away. The excitement is building and the focus is becoming more clear, whilst the days count down. There has been moments of fear, anxiety and questioning the intention/ reason for going. But right now, i’m in the zone with my heart rhythmically drumming a convicted beat.

A determined beat can be heard, with 5 weeks to go before i leave. It feels like the right thing to do, with excitement and determination emotionally flowing out of me. I’m really looking forward to having time to create. I look forward to pushing my athletic abilities in big powerful waves and i look forward to sharing my love of story with kids of the west, including Indigenous  communities along the way. I’m going there to make a positive impact, to see and feel more of my country and to share the joy, the fun, the importance of STORY (creation, entertainment, written, told, performed, read, shared, history, communication). Although i’m not sure of the outcomes, the success of the trip or the state of my bank account when i get home (back to Byron). The Life’s Awesome campaign, the desire to focus on new writing concepts and my passion for adventure will be a reality very soon.

You can follow ‘the tale of one dyslexic man & his dream’ via this blog, also articulated as ‘The Journey of the Wild West’.

The journey of the wild west is three fold, as you know. What i’d like to share, is the detail of these intensions that are taking me across and up this vast island country i call home. First and foremost, the Life’s Awesome campaign is all about ‘showing up’ and sharing my love for story with a group of kids. I aim to engage the audience via dynamic acting, sharing my truth and hardship i felt as a dyslexic child and talking about the makings of ActiveKidsBooks. The campaign’s focus is to roll out positive change towards the disappointing stats on ‘boy’s lower literacy levels’ in Australia. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Profile-CK WA-School-Kids

Secondly, I’m excited to share the sprouting ideas that ill be taking with me to WA. With hope of having the time to flesh them out further and make in roads to their development and a strong base to come home with. These creative babies include; 1. ‘Action-adventure’ script for a feature film, as requested by ‘Byron Bay Screenwriters’. 2. Children’s chapter book, for boys becoming men. A fictional tale with positive values underlining its superficial layer, based on male archetypes as i see them and allowing for metaphors to be apparent. 3. The Spirit of the West, the authentic tale from kids in the West. This will be a collaborative co-created book, put together by the children i engage with along the way. Each couple of pages will be dedicated to those i meet from the towns i visit. Finishing up with a book AKB will publish once i get home. The link’/ theme is ‘Spirit of Western Australia’, so whatever that means to the kids is what will be organically created. To me, ‘spirit’ means life-force. So i’m interested in capturing the life’, the life-force of each town i visit.


Archetypes of the masculine

Thirdly, and not without surprise. I’m excited to go to WA for its big powerful challenging waves. Surfing is another creative outlet i get to immerse myself in. Its a chance to test my strength, test my coordination and test my wits against the unpredictable ever respectful ‘mother-nature’. Surfing is the balance i have between sedentary styles of creation i.e. writing, and physical creation of surfing! Drawing any line i choose on a moving mountain of aqua. Surfing helps me stay creative out of the water and offers me breathing time to come up with creative ideas.

WA Surf - Heavy Challenging Charge-it..

WA Surf – Heavy Challenging Charge-it..

There is a good reason AKB has published #SurfSafari, #SkateSession & #ShreddingSnow. As the passion i have as the author, i’m super stoked to be able to share to joy i feel with others! Especially to offer a gift (story book entertainment/ good times/ golden moments) that is shared between parent and child.

I’ll be signing out now. Signing out as one excited author/ father/ adventurer, with the future of AKB looking bright and life treating me well!




P.S. Given that its a Football World Cup Year, you may be interested to know that the first draft of ‘Football Friendly’ (AKB’s coming title) has been written. Given the time it takes to illustrate, our forecast for this title to be published and ready, is the following World Cup in 2018. Stay tuned.

Writing for Children: How to Inspire and Excite

One world – One tribe, is how i choose to see our existence on this planet.

As it ‘takes a village to raise a child’ (Jane Cowen-Fletcher), i’m happy to share the stage/ forum/ blog spot with fellow writer George Campbell. 

George Campbell, is a passionate freelance writer, advocate for kids literacy and believer of #ActiveKidsBooks. I’m delighted to have him as our guest bloggist (as seen below), as he has written a beautiful insightful piece on ‘how to inspire & excite’ kids…an area i feel passionate and supportive about myself!


Writing for Children: How to Inspire and Excite

So many people think that it is easy to write a children’s book. While it does not necessarily have to be a laborious process, you have to acknowledge that children have a vast and vivid imagination and which can be difficult to engage and excite. Here are a few tips which it is worth bearing in mind when creating a children’s’ book, which will help you connect with and inspire this bright young audience.


Reminisce on your childhood

One of the most enjoyable aspects of writing a children’s book is the opportunity it grants you to reflect upon your own childhood. In order to connect with and inspire young readers, it’s important you can reminisce on your reading preferences when you were a child. What excited you, what scared you, what were your interests and hobbies? If you can isolate these memories and develop an understanding of them, you can tap into the imagination of a child and therefore write exclusively to their interests. Contemplate on whether your childhood interests and emotions were specific to you or a broader element of childhood in general. For example, look at children’s interests today and see if there exist elements which are tune with topics you expressed a keen interest in as a child. This way you can learn if these topics have the potential to become a successful book. For instance, magic and mystery have long been a popular childhood interests. Books such as J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Hobbit“, Roald Dahl’s “The Witches“, the Harry Potter series, even so far back as the legends of Merlin and King Arthur, demonstrate that magical adventures and mystical beasts remain a fundamental resource of immense enjoyment and excitement for numerous generations of children. Subsequently, you can build upon these traditional successful genres and interests in order to create your own range of writing which inspires and excites young readers.


Do your research

A highly effective way in which you can improve your ability to write for children is to first research what literary formats are currently popular. You need to be aware of what types of books are currently being published, for example, formats such as picture books. With modern technological advancements, a vast majority of children lack patience. From interactive computer games and television series to even modern online teaching resources such as Maths Doctor, information is much more rapid and easily accessible to this current generation of young readers. Therefore your books need to be as well. Don’t spend too long introducing the premise of your story or their attention is likely to wane. If you can be sharp and to the point, you are much more likely to quickly pique their interest and thus sustain their excitement throughout the rest of your writing.

In order to develop a keen eye for what books in which young readers will be interested, it’s worthwhile frequenting a variety of bookshops, book festivals and libraries in order to learn which books are best received by young audiences. Many bookshops offer group readings of children’s books. This grants you an opportunity to witness firsthand what elements of books excite children the most. This provides a resource from which you can garner inspiration and moreover share ideas by communicating with other authors and parents. Subsequently, you can place yourself in the mind of a reading child, developing a well rounded understanding of their interests, which will enable you to directly appeal to your target audience.


Ultimately, when writing for children, remember that these are young minds viewing aspects of life for the very first time. Many concepts will be as yet unknown to them and this is your opportunity to introduce them to a whole new world. This can be an immensely enriching experience for both reader and author. Place yourself in their shoes. When writing, assume that your reader knows nothing about previous associations concerning the genre in which you are writing. This grants you a golden opportunity to introduce young minds to a plethora of contemporary and traditional issues, enlightening them to a broad spectrum of both imaginary and real worlds.



Special Thanks to Madeleine Anderson & Anneli Knight

AnnelieKnight Madeleine

Active Kids Books, now in its 5th year since the very entertaining launch at #ByronBayWritersFestival in 2009. One title released then, and three titles in hardcopy to speak of now. It’s all due to the support I’ve been given along the way. Without the belief and assistance of so many people i.e. #JeremyAustin #VictoriaLowe #JanetJudge #SarahMa #DennisKolcze #Mum #TomWillmott #DannyWills #MichelleDawson #BreeDelian #CorbinHarris #RyanKolcze #EmmaHawkins #TechaBeaumont #RadKidsEverywhere #AwesomeParents #ActiveKidsBooksStockist #MartinChatterton #PlusMoreLove. To them i am super grateful!

Reflecting on the evolution of AKB and its supporter’s. It’s clear to me now thats it’s never been a ‘one author’, ‘one illustrator’ process. We have all co-created these titles together. Whether it’s been inspiration, opinion, wisdom, friendship, world events, surfing playtime, teacher, parent/ child’s feedback etc. In a way, a mass pool of people, unknown of it’s extremes, have help co-create the three titles so far and will continue to assist in the process of coming titles Football Friendly & Disco DJ’s…

I love the concept of co-creating a ‘gift of richness’ to share with generations of kids in coming time. The more the merrier i say. And its for this reason i’ve decided to take this even further and add, as part of the WA ‘Life’s Awesome’ Book Tour this year (May-July), the hands on collaborative process of co-creating a published book with as many kids as i cross paths with; themed: Spiritual Adventure of the West, from the authentic voices of its kids. 

From the tours beginning, at Margaret River Writers Festival. Right (Write) through to the final stop in the Kimberly. The aim is to gain input, art work, written text, feeling, format etc. from the kids of  Western Australia. And produce their published co-created book for them. Ready for public review by term 4 of school (full-moon November 6th).

Many people will need to be thanked, post publication of Spiritual Adventure of the West,  from the authentic voices of its kids, comes into fruition. However, two special gorgeous women need to be thanked and acknowledge for their support now!

Madeleine Anderson & Anneli Knight have kindly donated their time to promote, to advance, to share Active Kids Books (AKB) with those we have not reached as yet. And its with their kind hearts, their contribution of energy and belief in AKB that i’m truly grateful and thankful for. Many thanks gals, your support is cherished.

As fellow writer, i recommend you check out the lovely Anneli Knight; a highly intelligent passionate writer/ journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, author of ‘Flirting with Finance’ and other non-fiction goodies -http://www.anneliknight.com/

And what a good place to wrap up this blog, highlighting the love and kindness that connects us all here at AKB…Much Lov CHa:D

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