Wombat Books Blog

Wombat Books blog is the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Aussie kid's books.

Sweet Dreams and Tender Moments

Dream Bird finalhigh text5 24With Mother's Day coming up, we have the perfect book to share with grandmothers, aunts and mothers.

Award-winning author Aleesah Darlison’s latest picture book, The Dream Bird, is sure to be popular at bedtime with both children and adults.

There are few times during the day that offer tenderness and togetherness between parent and child or grandparent and grandchild like bedtime.

Bedtime stories offer respite from the busyness of the day, establish routines and help form unbreakable bonds. They remain a stronghold of cosy memories that carry children into adulthood, and which are passed from generation to generation.

“We all know the importance of reading to children. I can’t tell you the hours and hours of time I’ve spent reading bedtime stories to my brood of four over the years,” Aleesah says. “They’ve loved every minute of that special, shared, quiet time together and so have I.”

Children across the world have struggled to get to bed at one time or another and will relate to the problems of The Dream Bird’s main character and ‘day child’, Dream Bird finalhigh text5 32George.

It’s George’s grandma who comes up with the perfect solution to help him drift off to sleep—the creation of a story about a beautiful Dream Bird who visits children to help them have the most wonderful dreams imaginable.

The Dream Bird will delight readers young and old as George is transported to kingdoms filled with lollies and experiences the joy of leaping alongside snow leopards, among other things.

Emma Middleton’s detailed, lavish illustrations create a magical realism, bringing to life Aleesah’s text and drawing readers into George’s dreams.

“I wanted to create layered illustrations where you could almost see reality merging into the fantastical world,” Emma says.

Give your child sweet dreams and cuddle up with them tonight to share this magical book at bedtime. The Dream Bird also makes the perfect gift for Gran on Mother’s Day.

The Deam Bird is available here for purchase.

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Our Head in the Clouds with Kellie Byrnes

Kellie ByrnesKellie Byrnes is the debut picture book author of Cloud Conductor.

Do you conduct stories in the clouds?

In a figurative sense I certainly do. I think a big element of being a writer is having your "head in the clouds" all the time, daydreaming and thinking about "what if?" I've always been in my head quite a lot, whether pondering life's mysteries, or making up stories, or contemplating what characters might be doing after the story ends. I think daydreaming is a healthy thing and that adults and kids should be encouraged to do it every day! When we let our imaginations run away, we can come up with amazing goals, solve problems, and learn about ourselves.

I also spend a bit of time looking at the clouds and the sky. I love to take in beautiful sunsets or look up at the stars and the moon at night. I'd like to say I look at the sunrise too, but as a night owl, I have to admit, I am rarely awake for them!

The imagination plays a huge part in Cloud Conductor. Why is a child's imagination so important to you personally?

Children have the most amazing imaginations, and it tends to be one of the things adults love most about spending time with Cloud Conductor 03 002 26them. However, sadly, as people get older this way of looking at the world with wonder and creative eyes seems to gradually get pushed down. Even by the time kids are in late primary school, I notice they spend less time imagining.

It's important for adults to encourage children to explore their imaginations and find inventive ways of solving their own problems and seeing the world. I know how much stories, words, and ideas have helped me over the years, and I hate the thought that children may grow up believing they have to leave that behind.

How can we all be cloud conductors?

We can all be cloud conductors by spending more time out in nature. Whether you like to stare up at the sky, walk through a park, garden, hike, meditate outdoors, swim in the ocean etc., letting your imagination wander while you get some fresh air and forget your to-do list can really make a difference. Having a few hours to yourself to go off and pursue an interest or take in the world around you also helps to get your imagination firing.

As adults, we tend to forget how to live in the moment, or just don't do it often. As soon as you build a sandcastle with a child, or play tug-of-war with your dog, for instance, you are back in the present, and can find more joy and appreciation for life. Letting your subconscious mind romp about while your conscious mind is focused on something else is also a wonderful way to solve problems. I see all these activities as another type of cloud conducting, and something anyone can do, at any age.

Cloud Conductor 03 002 20Escapism is very important in Frankie's life. Why is that?

No matter our age, we all need escapism in our lives at some points. Sometimes when things are outside our control, the best thing to do is just escape for a time and leave our troubles behind. In the book, the main character, Frankie, is dealing with an illness and can't do the things she used to love. This is not only incredibly difficult, but isolating. By escaping through her imagination, Frankie can, for a time, feel more free, happy, and connected. She can also use this reprieve from real life to "power up", in a way, like avatars in video games do. She can also use it to help others.

How does it feel to have your first picture book published?

It feels amazing! This is a life-long dream of mine, and I am so excited and grateful that it has finally been realised. I can't wait to read the book to kids and learn what they see in the clouds. I'm sure I will be amazed by their creativity! I also really hope children who are struggling with illness or any other problem in their life find the book a useful tool to remind them of their own power and strength.

 

Cloud Conductor comes out 1 May. To pre-order your copy head to this link.

 

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