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Thank you to all the parents, teachers, librarians and my colleagues, who are passionate about getting children’s books into children’s hands and especially for all the young readers who voted for A is for Australia.

For creators, recognition for our books is a rare gift. Recognition is important. Receiving the Crystal Kite Award and the Hoffman Award are extra, extra special because one is voted by one’s peers and the other by children.

The Crystal Kite Award is a peer-given annual award to recognize books from the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) regional divisions around the world. I share this year’s award for Australia and New Zealand with the extremely talented, Peter Carnavas and his book, Blue Whale Blues.

The Hoffman Award is presented to the highest ranked West Australian author voted by young readers’ organised by WAYRBA (West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award). Young readers were invited to nominate books that they’ve read and enjoyed.

Receiving awards gives creators the inspiration to keep going and the confidence to do what we love.  It is a huge honour which I humbly accept with great pride.IMG_1468

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is excited to announce the winners of the 2016 Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards. Frané Lessac’s A is for Australia (Walker Books) and Peter Carnavas’ Blue Whale Blues (New Frontier) have jointly-won the Australian and New Zealand division of this year’s Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards, presented by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)






The Crystal Kite Awards are given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to recognize great books from the seventy SCBWI regions around the world.  The Awards are presented annually by SCBWI in five continental divisions as well as 10 divisions in the US. For more information about the Crystal Kite Awards, click here.

This was the year to hold a newly hatched baby sea turtle.

Baby turtle The year for my Dad to hear stories.Dad The year to walk the Great Wall of China.Great Wall of China The year to sit in my 1st grade classroom seat again.

Cliffside Park School #3 The year A is for Australia was released.A is for Australia The year to see a giant prawn. Giant prawnThe year to tour Kentucky, Broome, Darwin, Melbourne, New Jersey, Adelaide, Maryland, Sydney, Kalgoorlie, School of the Air and beyond.

Freshwater BaySchool of the Air


The year Midnight was released in the USA. KentuckyThe year one cried seeing the Grand Canyon for the very first time. Grand CanyonThe year to hike the Chiricahua mountains.Chiricahua mountains The year to present at festivals in China, India, Australia and the USA. Booker Festival PuneChengdu, ChinaPrinceton Book FestivalThe year to see baby pandas.IMG_3186

The year to stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. WinslowHappy trails for 2016!

Exciting things are happening in the world of A is for Australia. Since my friends are spread all across the globe, I’ve decided to host an online launch complete with virtual bubbles! Even more exciting, I’ll be giving away three signed limited edition prints from the book. Details on how to win below and on the A is for Australia Facebook page . To join in all the festivities, you need to LIKE the page. PLEASE share so your friends can learn how to win a print too! Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/aisforaustraliaA is for Australia

To CELEBRATE the launch of A is for Australia, I’ll be giving away 3 signed limited edition prints!
Be creative! Use your imagination! Tell your Friends!
AUSTRALIAN Entries – Grab a copy of A is for Australia from your shop or library and take a photo of you, family or friends with the cover at an iconic Australian location or a place depicted in the book. Post the photo on the *A is for Australia* Facebook page.

OVERSEAS Entries – excluding Australia smile emoticon Post a photo of you, family or friends with something that celebrates Australia on the *A is for Australia* Facebook page.
Entries close on Sunday, February 1st 2015 at 11:59 PM AWST – Australian Western Standard Time. Winners will be notified by February 4th, 2015 and announced on the A is for Australia Facebook page.Two Australian based entries and one overseas entry will receive a signed limited edition print from A is for Australia.This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. *Terms and Conditions of giveaway here: http://goo.gl/aXR0ln

Kangaroo and meAustralia is a far cry from New Jersey where I grew up. I’ve always loved to travel and as soon as I could walk, I’d take off on adventures with my little red wagon…collecting rocks and flowers from neighborhood gardens along the way.

Nowadays, I look forward to travelling around Australia. Within a few minutes from my house, I can catch a ferry to Rottnest Island or stroll alongside the Swan River.

RottnestScreen Shot 2014-12-16 at 9.34.31 AM

I often see dolphins, black swans and families catching prawns and crabs. One of my favorite pastimes is walking along the Indian Ocean to Dog Beach, watching dogs of all shaped and sizes having the time of their lives.


The love of Australia is what ultimately drove me to create A is for AUSTRALIA and I was lucky enough to travel to many of the places in the book.

By planeCrocodiles!On the road






My challenge was to represent all the states and to highlight Australia’s diverse and unique landscape. Some destinations were so incredibly iconic: Sydney Harbour, Uluru, and Bondi Beach, which made the decision easy. Some locations were difficult to choose because there were many amazing alternatives! Book Two?



Back in my studio, I sorted through the enormous range of facts, photographs, travel brochures, stacks of research books and many online sources of information. A is for AUSTRALIA is a celebration of Australian people, places and culture. Hopefully children will be intrigued and bug their parents to take them to explore some of the locations in the book!


Now available online and in all good bookstores.

 A for Australia TRAILER.