After Yasi, Finding the Smile Within

I recently received a lovely email informing me a Queensland school library had purchased  After Yasi, finding the Smile Within and the teacher librarian wanted to make a pdf of it available to their students and staff.

I was surprised as the book has been gently present online, and only about 50 printed versions of it exist ( it is print on demand).  It was really sad last year when ABC Open, where many of the photographs and stories from the cyclone and cyclone recovery were featured, closed down, and now  the material produced by open producers and contributors is no longer as freely available.

I am so glad I made a book with the help of my friends from the Cassowary Coast. Furthermore, I archived all of my ABC Open and personal blog posts and videos that I could and these are available via my sites.

Interestingly next year cyclone Yasi, is coming up to its ten year anniversary.  Last year I was interviewed for a pod cast about it as another cyclone was on its way, and penned and published a story for children based on the experience which was shared in the Spooktacular Stories.

It was quite an experience, to write a cyclone story for children, which I had wanted to do for sometime.  However, I am sure I needed distance from the event to approach it in a creative and what I hope is an uplifting way.

It seems strangely relevant to think about the resilience the Cassowary Coast Community had to find in its recovery from the cyclone, and perhaps the book will be helpful to anyone struggling with the pandemic.

The people of the Cassowary Coast community despite the heartaches, found its way back to joy and growth and creative expression gave many hope!

You can find out more about After Yasi on my dedicated blog to cyclone yasi and the journey after the cyclone.

For all the followers of the Magic Fish Dreaming blog, poetry, story and art are wonderful ways to deal with anxiety, and stress, and to release grief.  These modes of expression were widely utilised after Yasi, although often there were times when it was hard to write or draw.  That is when dance, music and song often helped!

From Parent Fans

Photo courtesy of parent

Guess what we are reading  before sleep time tonight…

Thank you so much.

To all my fellow parents I highly recommend the book.


(Thank you Johanna for permission to share this.   What an absolutely adorable picture of one of our young readers. 

So happy you are enjoying the book. Just love that background wall! – From June)

Please note for all people  in Australia outside of Queensland we can take direct orders and mail the book out to you.

Just email us at  (and if you are in Queensland and living nowhere near a stockist do contact us as well.)

Magic Fish Dreaming in the Philippines

Nilson and Roseanne read Magic Fish Dreaming
Image courtesy of Mel Irvine

Extract from  The Succesful Delivery of Magic Fish Dreaming by Mel Irvine

Arriving back in Estancia after more than two months in Australia and one of my first visits was to the family of Jerry’s best friend. I had a small bag of gifts from Australia including a Koala plushie and the wonderful Magic Fish Dreaming.

June Perkins, my friend and author of Magic Fish Dreaming arranged almost one year ago to share her wonderful book here with some of the kids and June, if you are reading this, they truly love it. Success!

We drank pepsi and ate little packets of biscuits and the kids looked through their bag of bag of gifts.

“Isda, Isda” (Fish, Fish) sang their squeals of delight.

“Grabi” (Wow) cried out six year old Roseanne and her little brother Nilson (four), turning the pages of wonderful illustrations. What a joy to photograph their candid delight.

To read the rest visit The Successful Delivery of Magic Fish Dreaming

Reading At Riverbend Books


WEDNESDAY 18th January 11am


193 Oxford Street, Bulimba Queensland 4171


Excited to be doing my first reading gig at a bookshop at Riverbend books, a shop I just adore.

We will also  do a creative activity to encourage children and their parents to create their own poems.

This is free but you need to book in at the Riverbend events link  MAGIC FISH DREAMING EVENT

“Help your kids discover the magic of poetry these school holidays at our special kids poetry event!

Magic Fish Dreaming by June Perkins is sure to ignite your young ones imaginations!

On Wednesday January 18th at 11am, June will read us some of her delightful poems, followed by a craft session perfect for kids between the ages of 5 and 9.

This is a free event, but places are limited, so be sure to book and join us for this school holiday treat!”


More Feedback – From Some our French Readers

On a reçu ton livre jeudi par la poste, magnifique ! *
J’ai particulièrement aimé le dessin où figure une bande joyeuse d’enfants, avec un jeune garçon en fauteuil roulant. Il est très rare de voir dans un livre d’enfants ce genre d’insertion, à moins que cela soit un livre pédagogique pour enfant handicapé. Là on a l’impression qu’il se fond naturellement dans la bande, et oui il a un handicap, mais cela ne l’empêche pas d’être joyeux comme les autres, et avec les autres…De même, j’ai beaucoup aimé le dessin avec l’ornythorinque, cet animal si bizarre qui regarde la magnifique et parfaite lune briller dans le ciel…

I have just received the book. Splendid!

I especially love the illustration which depicts a joyful group of children with a young one in a wheelchair.  We seldom see this kind of integration in a children’s book, unless it is an educational book for disabled children. Here, we feel that he is spontaneously included in the group. Yes he has a handicap (a challenge), but yet, that doesn’t prevent him from being joyful like the other children, and with the children…
I also love the illustration with the platypus, this strange animal who looks at this splendid and perfect moon shining in the sky…
*Please note the book is not yet translated – they are reading it in English.

Designer in Focus – Heidi Den Ronden

11224384_10153807348537625_7274146675140316339_n-1So how did you come to be part of the Magic Fish Dreaming team?

I met June Perkins through my involvement in the ABC Open Disaster Project. We kept in contact and she approached me about designing the layout for a children’s book she was working on.

What is your background in design? and can you tell us a little more about Heidi the person and artist

I graduated from Qld College of Art with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in Graphic Design in 1997 and have been working as a graphic designer in one form or another ever since. This is my first children’s book design however. I am also a freelance photographer, writer and I occasionally dabble in drawing. Before I became a designer I wanted to be a fine artist.

What did you find different about a children’s book compared to the previous work that you do?

I normally work on corporate material which does not always give the opportunity to be highly creative (except where I can sneak it in). However given that the text and illustrations themselves were so delightful it was not hard to let the creativity flow!

 What inspired your decisions on the typography and layout for Magic Fish Dreaming?

Definitely the imagery and the words. I visualised each word as a playful, little picture and envisioned how it would bounce across the page, but not detract from the beauty of the illustrations.

I’ve always loved making text flow across curves and shapes so that it becomes an art piece in itself.

 What is your favourite page of the book?

“Beyond Caterpillar Days,” with its combination of the beautiful artwork by Helene and poetry by June, is simply breathtaking.

What where some of the challenges of this book, and how did you overcome these?

I had to ditch some traditional corporate design rules (small typeface, clean, lots of white space) and consider a creative and child specific typographic layout so that the design made the text easier for young children to read.

I had to factor in font choice and size, colour, and page layout with regards to educational and age specific demands,  and consider how all of it would work without taking away from the integrity of the illustrations and text.

Would you like to work on more children’s books?  How can people get in touch with you?

Yes absolutely! I really enjoyed the experience.

People can get in contact via my WordPress site Heidi Den Ronden 


Above is a poem Helene and June shared for the kickstarter and how it changed with design.

Below are some of the layouts before it was designed.



June said this about working with Heidi:
“Heidi Den Ronden was part of a dedicated and delightful team who worked together to produce Magic Fish Dreaming. Her playful designs enhanced the artistic work of Helene Magisson and showed sensitive understanding of my poetry.

Her professionalism and high level communication skills made working with her a rewarding and enriching experience for all in the team.”

Helene had this to say about working with Heidi on the book:

“It has been a great pleasure to work with Heidi on the poetry book Magic Fish Dreaming. She demonstrated an amazing imagination in her work. She was able to enhance each page thanks to her wonderful artistic sensitivity and always with a strong respect to the integrity of the illustrations. It was also very pleasant to communicate with her as she has wonderful and surprising ideas; she is open minded, flexible and available.

She gave a very special and unique touch to the book.”

Magic Fish Dreaming

Magic Fish Dreaming from June Perkins on Vimeo.

Magic Fish Dreaming,  an illustrated in full colour poetry book, 36 pages,  written by June Perkins, is now set to ride a kickstarter wave, to take it from Australia across the ocean into the homes of people in many lands.

Brimming with the themes of nature, family, diversity, childhood and environment, Magic Fish Dreaming is inspired by the North Queensland community, environment, and creatures it shares.  It is beautifully illustrated by the award winning Artist Helene Magisson.

Check out the video for more information.

The Kickstarter has begun !



Working on Some Beautiful Rewards

Dear Supporters,

The team have been working hard on gathering together some rewards we hope all of you will love, hence the delay on launching the actual kickstarter page.

As June’s wonderful kickstarting mentors tell her though, ‘June just launch when it is completely ready and don’t rush.’ Some of our fans have even been lending a hand with feedback on some of the rewards you will see, and we are so grateful to them for their wonderful enthusiasm, and encouraging communications, for this project.

One reward will be some poetry activity sheets and booklets for you to go hunting for poems with. These are being designed with the educational supporters, like teachers, grandparents, and parents in mind and being beta tested for clarity with the major target audience (children!). They are fun and thoughtful extension activities to bring out the inner poet in our fans. Furthermore with the educational material, we are working on a fabulous reward to do a visit to your school or group, in person or by skype (if you are overseas or distant from our local area and can’t provide travel costs.)

These visits will have an imaginative and creative program of activities to foster the love of poetry and art in your students, and are based on June’s extensive workshop experience during the Ripple Project, as well as in community based projects and Helene’s teaching experience from her time in India. They don’t just suit children but can be taken up by other groups wanting to use poetry and art to bring awareness to their cause, such as caring for the environment.  June has experience working with writing groups, Multicultural groups, youth, children from grade one to grade seven, and  Indigenous women’s groups .

Making a poet’s tree – famous poets, local poets, including children

We thank all of our online and real space fans for their patience for the lift off of the campaign, and are so optimistic you will help us go ahead with this project based on your wonderful emails, and support of the facebook space; that space is just so much fun, with nature inspired art, creatures and plants from Australia all featuring in our regular postings.  We’ve had a few great organisations follow the space and are grateful for their support as well in liking our page.

There are some more surprises in store, so watch this space.

And when the kickstarter does launch we will be so rapt with you for sharing the information for this project with all you think will benefit from our product.

Thanks so much to those who are already planning to buy the book to donate to their local school, and to our dear beta testers who are giving super helpful feedback on our educational materials.

We would not have come this far without all of your support, enthusiasm, love, and most of all, belief in our product.

All the best and we’ll be seeing you at lift off time.

The Magic Fish Dreaming Team

See you at the kickstarter campaign page soon!