Family Fun Day at Newcastle Writers Festival

This year marks the 5th anniversary of the Newcastle Writers Festival. The Family Fun Day is being held on Saturday 8 April, at Wheeler Place (outside Civic Theatre).

The line up for the day looks great. Local illustrators Liz Anelli, Gwynneth Jones and Kirrili Lonergan have planned a fun and interactive session, and Richard Roxburgh will be attending. There will also be a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter!

Here is the Family Fun Day program from the Festival website:


Meet some of Australia’s leading writers and illustrators for children at this FREE interactive event. The Wheeler Place hub will inspire creativity with a range of fun activities for children. All featured guests will sign books after their events in the Festival bookshop on the ground floor of nearby City Hall.

MC Katrina McKelvey

10.00am – Art fun with local illustrators Liz Anelli, Gwynneth Jones and Kirrili Lonergan

10.35am – Sea stories with John ‘Stinker’ Clarke

11.00am – Meet Jackie French

11.45am – Artie and the Grime Wave with Richard Roxburgh

12.15pm – Word Hunters with Nick Earls

12.45pm – Newcastle Youth Orchestra Kids introduces Professor Falconette

1pm – 2pm – Celebrate the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter with Professor Falconette

Prizes for the best costume

by Catherine Whittaker

School Holiday Activities

Local libraries have many activities for kids in the school holidays.

Newcastle Region Library’s program can be accessed here:

Activities include:

  • Storytimes for ages 3-8 with the themes of Bugs, Easter, and Science
  • Family Movie Night
  • Lego Master Builders Challenge
  • Science Galore – presented by the SMART Team from Newcastle Uni
  • Make your own kaleidoscope

Bookings are requried for some sessions.

Lake Macquarie Libraries also have some great activities which you can find here:

Newcastle Art Gallery also has workshops in both weeks of the holidays. Bookings are required and each session costs $10. For more information:

Which Harry Potter character would Mrs Critchley like to be?

Thanks to 2C’s Mrs Critchley for sharing her favourite books, authors and tips with
us this week!

What was your favourite book as a child?

As a younger child I loved reading the Enid Blyton books. I also remember in high school my year 8 teacher asking us to read “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I started it reluctantly but after the first chapter I was hooked!

What is your favourite current children’s book?

I love all of the Pamela Allen books. I think “Ordinary Albert” is one of my favourites. The ending is unexpected and quite funny!

If you were a book character, who would you be?

Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter books. She’s smart, funny, insanely talented at magic, a true friend and a good dancer. She’s the coolest girl in any story she appears in.

What is your one tip for parents?

Turn off the TV!

Teacher Interview – Ms Loredo!!!

This week we find out Ms Loredo’s favourite books and authors!

What was your favourite book as a child?

Dr Seuss – “Oh The Thinks You Can Think”.

What is your favourite current children’s books?

My favourite current author is Shaun Tan, especially “The Lost Thing”.

If you were a book character, who would you be?

The Cat in the Hat. The idea of being a cheeky, fun and smart cat who makes children happy is perfect, especially as a teacher.

What is your tip for parents?

Read and talk about a wide variety of topics, beause it develops your child’s knowledge of the world.

Australian Biography series for kids


There is a great series of books that focus on significant men and women in Australian history. The “Meet…” series are a collection of picture books, and titles include “Meet”: Nellie Melba, Weary Dunlop, Douglas Mawson, Nancy Bird Walton, Don Bradman, Captain Cook, Banjo Paterson, Sidney Nolan, Mary MacKillop.

The books give an overview of the early life, challenges and successes of each iconic Australian. These books are an accessible introduction to biographies, designed for primary school kids (years 3-6), however younger kids will enjoy them if they are interested in the topic.

The books are available from Newcastle and Lake Mac Libraries, online and bookshops.

Steve Backshall on Story Box Library!!!

Last year we published a post about Story Box Library: storybox-library




Well the latest update to the collection is STEVE BACKSHALL!!! You can see Steve read “Pandamonia”written by Chris Owen. Here is a link to the preview:


Story Box Library is a collection of videos of Australian books:

“Watch your favourite Australian stories read by our best storytellers”

Story Box Library can be accessed by members for free from the Newcastle Region library website:

Click this link from your device and make sure “Welcome Newcastle Region Library” comes up. Then enter your library card barcode number.

Otherwise, a family subscription can be purchased for $39.99 per year, or $4.99 per month (no minimum committment)

The videos are great – the reader gives an introduction and shows the book. The illustrations are displayed as the story is read.

Book Review – Elephant and Piggie Series


Mo Willems (author of Don’t let the Pigeon ……. series) has written a series for beginner readers which are HILARIOUS! Little kids will love the humour, and some big kids too! Not only are they funny, the books are written with the purpose of helping kids read and understand vocabulary. Words are repeated and different coloured speech bubbles help kids know which character is talking.we-are-in-a-book

Gerald and Piggie are best friends and the simple stories use repetition, humour
and illustration to engage the reader. My favourite must be “We are in a Book” – the whole family was laughing out loud! Gerald is shocked to discover that he and Piggie are “being read” and the power they have to make the reader say words.

I thoroughly recommend this series for Kindy and Year 1. Older kids will enjoy reading these books to younger siblings.

The series is available from public libraries, bookshops and online at booktopia. The current Book Club catalogue has one book from the series “There is Bird on your Head”.

by Catherine Whittaker