To young writers everywhere
looking for your authentic voice
and to create authentic voices
look into herstory for inspirations
listen and observe your
mothers, sisters, daughters, and yourself
whatever gender you are
you can do the following (see poem).
To write with authenticity is
to write with truth
putting aside any
shackles, biases, and oppressions
being honest, courageous,
creative, skilful, and
It’s moving to where there is
finding our voices in all their
winging their ways into
every writing genre;
popular to poetic,
academic to artistic, protesting,
respecting and remembering those
paved the way for us.
(c) June Perkins
To find out more visit the reflection on the panel at
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An award winning poetic celebration and exploration of nature, people and imagination in Far North Queensland.
Encourages children and families everywhere to hunt for their own nature-based or urban poems.
“Luminous and jubilant, Magic Fish Dreaming explores an imaginative world of rainforest and cassowary, the flicker of geckos and the roll of quolls. Whimsical poems and exquisite images invite readers to venture into vibrant, magical places, rich with stories and legends.
Like the work of Michael Rosen and Shirley Hughes, images and words combine to evoke the textures and spirit of landscapes. Here, though, it is a vibrant Australian world readers discover, one alive with the colour and energy of nature and many cultures.”
Felicity Plunkett, Poet and Poetry Editor for University of Queensland Press
17 poems, 48 pages in total, title index, 2 sections, 210mm X 284mm, extensive educational notes and suggested activities available.
Suitable for reading with children all ages and for readers six and up. A treasured book to grow up with and revisit!
Royal Dragonfly Award Winner, Second in Environment, Children’s Poetry, Picture Book for 6 and Over, Book Trailer and Honorable Mention for Cultural Diversity.
Please note Dreaming in the title is based on a poem in the book where the phrase ‘magic fish dreaming,’ is said and not in the context of Australian Indigenous Dreamtime. The author’s cultural background is second generation migrant of Bush Mekeo (PNG Indigenous) and Australian /English.)
Nature art frames are really simple to make, fun to play with and create some wonderful images. They also encourage creativity and fine motor skills in children of all ages and abilities. You just need a recycled piece of cardboard, a pen and some scissors. We hate to waste anything and recycling and reusing materials is one of many small things we can all do to help the environment. So instead of throwing away oldcardboard boxes we like to find ways to use them in crafts and activities.
To make your nature art frame you first need to draw a simple shape or picture onto the cardboard. Your shape or picture should have at least 1- 2 easy to cut out sections that you can then look through. You could draw anything from hearts and triangles to animals,, objects and people.
Sharon Orapeleng is a behavioral change expert and a mental health professional. Through Psyched Solutions Training and Consultancy – Sharon is on a journey to create a much more compassionate community that cares by embedding the African philosophy of ‘Ubuntu’’ – I am Because We Are, in all she does. A renowned speaker and community advocate, Sharon works with workplaces, businesses and communities delivering workshops on mental health awareness and wellbeing as well as facilitating cultural diversity conversations. She also works for the Queensland Government as a strategic policy and…
A recent week of Book Week workshops via zoom, at the Higaturu Oil Palm International School, was wondrous.
Students were willing to imagine and open their eyes to a sense of wonder, to explore other worlds within worlds, from nature, to rivers to the moon and outerspace.
We began with learning about cheeky Cassowaries hungry and looking for food after a cyclone, and imagining what they might say or think, and advanced to humourous dialogues within the river and exploring a sense of wonder, through sensory adventure poems.
Students learnt about the power of working in pairs and in groups and how many voices combined can create, extend and then joyously and confidently perform their creations.
Throughout I used my own illustrated poetry book, Magic Fish Dreaming, as the main mentor text with a storytelling session also of Michelle Worthington’s Book, Possum Games.
Both had kindly been posted and provided to the school by Tina from CYA. This meant we could read together, and as I have dialogue poems and question and answer structures this was fantastic to have each student have the book on the other side of the zoom.
I was impressed by how the students worked with each other on some in the river dialogues and their humour and inventiveness throughout the week began to shine through.
I am delighted the school community (families and staff) gave permission for me to share their work.
More important than products though, is the process of creativity that the children undertook within their classroom. By reflecting on that stories can come from that which you know through your senses and take you to places you might only imagine.
I hope these children, will create many more poems or stories and strengthen and contribute to building a publishing community within Papua New Guinea, beginning from anthologies within their school and moving beyond the anthologies for their communities. Building perhaps collectives for theirs and future generations.
With many thanks to the school, students , staff of the Higaturu Oil Palm International School, and Tina of CYA.
Photographs courtesy of the Higaturu Oil Palm International School, shared with their permission
So, continuing on from my last post on zooming to Higaturu Oil Palm International School, PNG for a most memorable book week, here is more about the classroom itself. This image is what it looked like from the point of view of the students in the main zoom room, before we were allocated to our learning zoom room with the students and their teacher.
So how did we end up with a confident performance of a group poem by the end of book week (despite the challenges of working via zoom and classroom learning space combined) and a wall full of beautiful art and sense poems?
This is where the immense dedication of the teacher, her assistant and children, going with the flow of a physically distant author communicating and coming to terms with being on a large screen, and stuck there, makes a massive difference.
As I communicated, using voice, slide shows, and virtual white boards, Ms Gwendalyn, and Ms Cynthia, her assistant, would further explain it to the students. Zoom can be tricky as I couldn’t walk around the classroom, nor easily read the body language of students, like I normally do. The students could only walk up to the front to ask me questions, and sometimes felt a bit shy of the screen.
Although by the end of the week they knew to keep an eye on the whiteboard for surprises, such as Riddles!
They became mentor texts for the students, to also learn about publishing, illustrating and cover pages.
We had a prior meeting on zoom the week before, with all presenting authors, Tina, Phil, Caroline, Albert and myself, meeting the teachers, and working out how we would proceed. I asked Ms Gwendalyn, to please put stickers on the children with their names, and she sent me a class list as well.
I ran the program by her, to check if it would be helpful for the students, and had a mix of activities to go with the books, such as art, drama, writing, all complementary to the text, as well as readings.
Although I have done many workshops this was my first time doing a sequence for a whole week, and in Papua New Guinea too, as normally I just have had two hour workshops so that was a blessing and a new challenge.
As part of the process we decided that each day it would be helpful for me to email Ms Gwendalyn, and just check in on how she felt the children had responded, as well as observing that during class time myself.
These consultations sometimes led to modifications for the next day which were beneficial for all. Although sometimes the messages took longer to arrive then we anticipated. That’s the internet for you.
The immense benefit of working over a whole week with the students and their teacher was we could use each earlier class as a foundation to the next class and creative task.
We could expand and apply new concepts into their work from previous sessions. The main challenge, was just making sure to go with the flow of what was engaging the students, and extending them to just the right balance.
This meant every now and then, me or Ms Gwendalyn, making on the spot easy to implement decisions to alter previous plans.
By the end of this post series, I’d like to feature some of the work of the students, the school is just doublechecking with their parents that this will be okay as it is my hope to introduce these budding authors to you through their work. Perhaps some of them will choose the pathway of authors, designers, artists or playwrights!
Another amazing thing, was the warmth of the author team and some of the zany things we decided to do, like change our head gear everyday…
I never expected that my first trip back to Papua New Guinea, since I moved to Australia as a one year old, would be in my fifties and via zoom and would be working with writers based in three different countries.
Yet, none of us knows our future, and so it was that the last week my first ever Book Week experience, occurred this way.
I was invited by Tina Marie Clark, to join a CYA team, including her, Albert Nayathi, Phil Kettle, Caroline Evari, (and works from Michelle Worthington and Dannika Patterson) that has been mostly going to the Higaturu Oil Palm International School there in person for the last ten years.
The last two years they have had to conduct the visit via zoom, because of COVID19.
Although I haven’t done Book Week before, I have done several workshops in libraries, environmental centres, and schools, to mentor creatives of all ages from kindergarten through to people all backgrounds in their seventies, in poetry. Something which became such a passion I ended up writing and publishing a poetry book, Magic Fish Dreaming, for children.
I wrote Magic Fish Dreaming, to express a sense of the place I was living in at the time, which was the Cassowary Coast, in Far North Queensland, as well as to demonstrate different poetry techniques which might appeal to children but also extend them. At the time of composing this work I was facilitating workshops in the community and needed to create original materials with a sense of the place I was living in, not just use what was already out there.
Magic Fish Dreaming, represents all the beauty, grandeur, magic, and heartache and I saw whilst living in that area, all captured for families to relive some of that and hopefully fall in love with poetry.
During this visit, I was able to bring all the experiences of the last few years, in designing workshops, as well as my recent enrolment training as a teacher (although for highschool) together into my contemporary practice.
I was delighted to see the effect of the workshops on the students and their teacher and teacher assistant. I can truly say I had as much of a feeling of joy out of this as out of being published.
My heart soared to see them engaged with the activities and WRITING! And finally confidently performing work they had collaborated on composing together.
What did we and the school do during the week to reach this point?
Wonderful anthologies, from Anthology Angels, are produced annually, and proceeds go to a different charity each year.
This year Anthology Angels are ambassadors for Walk for Prems and profits from the anthology will be donated to Life’s Little Treasures Foundation.
I have contributed a ridiculous rhyme this year, inspired by my family’s pet guinea pigs!
This is the third anthology I’ve been part of, and it’s truly a special one to contribute to, especially thinking of the children and families enjoying the books and the charities it supports. Writers and artists contributing have big hearts, as do the anthology angels production team.
Many congratulations to the contributors and to Jen Horn and Kayt Duncan, for the cover and design, and to Michelle Worthington.
I was happy to have some poems accepted for the Australian Fairy Tale Society Ezine, Bold Heroines and Magical Helpers, a short story to the about to be released anthology, South of the Sun and to publish my second collection of poems, Illuminations!
Looking ahead, I’m working on a new collection in which all these worlds begin to collide: fairy tales, music, soul, and the remaking of a world without racism, where picture poetry books might be rewritten and artists are trail blazers in community transformation.