Day 6 School Workshop with Elizabeth Honey at Prahran Library


Elizabeth is a natural public speaker and her rapport with the Year 5 & 6’s of Stonnington Primary was engaging and warm. Conversational and funny, Elizabeth managed to get the children to open right up about what they like about story telling and writing.

Elizabeth talked about her experiences growing up and becoming a writer and what it takes to write a book. She used the analogy of ‘witchcraft’. For a witch to know how to make spells, she needs to understand the ingredients. She needs to learn her craft. And writing is the same; a writer must learn their craft before they can write well.

A collector of words, Elizabeth asked the children what sort of words they like to say, how it feels when they say it.

Partiality, pop, books (‘oo’ words were popular), arresting and quarrel were some of the words the children liked. Growing up, Elizabeth particularly liked the word ‘supreme’. Everything was ‘supreme’, supremely good or supremely bad. I have to admit I’m a big fan of the word ‘vivid’ (it must be the two ‘v’s).

We then launched into some of writing of our own. We were going to write some short poetry called ‘Haiku’. Elizabeth explained this style of poetry is made up of three lines. The first line consists of words with five syllables, the second line has seven syllables and the third line has five syllables.

Elizabeth showed us an image of a palm. It was facing upwards, holding some grains of rice. We were to write out Haiku about this image.

After much brainstorming and concentrating, the children had a chance to read out their poetry. It was fascinating what they wrote. It varied from “Dude, these are my drugs” to more poetic pieces about and hope and humanity.

This is mine…

The offer of seed

An open palm promise

Hope and hunger freed.

Yeah, I know, don’t give up your day job.

Then Elizabeth put up an image of an old man wearing a peaked gap. (He looked rather grumpy).

The children had to name him and make up a sentence he would say. He did look like an old sea dog, so the children came up with some terrific seafaring themed names and sentences like…

“Life on the seven seas is the only life for me…”

“Back in my day…”

“I’m not getting up and giving my seat to you…”

Elizabeth was wonderful with the children and I think they had a terrific time. They thanked her beautifully and I was very impressed with the children from Stonnington Primary School.

Elizabeth showed us how to deal with children with confidence and encouragement and I loved the way she taught them how to write simple but beautiful poetry.

About Elizabeth Honey…

Elizabeth Honey is a writer and illustrator of poetry, picture books and novels for children. Her work is always full of fun, with action packed stories, lively characters and zany illustrations. She is probably best known for her novel ‘45 & 47 Stella Street and everything that happened’ which was a CBCA Honour Book, and since then has written a number of highly entertaining novels, such as ‘Don’t Pat the Wombat’, ‘Fiddle-back’, ‘Remote Man’, ‘What do you think, Feezal?’,‘Cauldron Bay’ and ‘To the Boy in Berlin’. She has also written and illustrated a number of picture books, including ‘The Cherry Dress’ and ‘Not a Nibble’ which was the CBCA Picture Book of the Year.

“My books grow from an idea I find intriguing. I know it’s a good idea when it follows me around like a stray dog that won’t go home.”– Elizabeth Honey

You can read more about Elizabeth and her books at…

Here are some of Elizabeth’s books…that can be bought in any good bookstore…

You can book her from an Author Visit to your school on…







Launch of Literature Alive Festival 2013



On Friday 10th May, I attended the Literature Alive Festival launch at the Prahran Library in funky Greville Street. It was loads of fun with Mr. Basil Varghese, the C.E.O of N.E.E.F (National Education & Employment Foundation) welcoming everyone warmly.

Basil explained the vision of NEEF is to bridge the gap between those who have and those who have not, and how the role of C.L.A.N (the Children’s Literature Australia Network) is to promote children’s literature, particularly to children with limited access to it by providing children’s literature programs to children in disadvantaged schools.

Basil outlined the Literature Alive program over the next two weeks (May 13th to May 25th) that includes a busy schedule of Author/Illustrator workshops in Libraries, exhibitions of Artwork, the ‘Reading Pictures: A panel discussion’ at Toorak/South Yarra Library and the Prahran Market event. He also introduced the mentors and the mentees of the Maurice Saxby Mentorship Program (hey, that’s us! Heather Gallagher, Nadine Cranenburg, Laura Wilson & myself).

The Mayor of Prahran, Mr. Mathew Koce, then officially launched the Literature Alive Festival.

There were two wonderful book launches:

‘Ferret on the Loose’ by Heather Gallagher, published by New Frontier. Heather told us a little bit about how she came to write ‘Ferret on the Loose’ and it was thoroughly entertaining. I spent Mother’s Day reading this book and it’s hilarious. It also touched on some more serious issues relating to bullying and ‘doing the right thing’. There are some great life lessons here. ‘Ferret on the Loose’ is part of the Little Rocket series from New Frontier Publishing and is suitable for 7+ readers. Check it out


Mark Wilson also launched his wonderful new book ‘Little Dolphin’ published by Windy Hollow Books.  This story is delightful and sweet and poignant and the artwork is just dreamy. I recommend ‘Little Dolphin’ as a morning read, not on a Saturday night with a glass wine (ok, Collingwood was getting flogged by Freo; I may have been a little upset to begin with). This is a gorgeous book, another masterpiece in Mark Wilson’s collection of highly acclaimed books


All in all, the launch was a wonderful afternoon. Everyone was warm and friendly, my mentee buddies are lovely and the mentors are open and generous with their time and knowledge. I know we are going to have an awesome two weeks.