Tuesday, July 30

15 Books all Children Should Read

I thought I would challenge myself to come up with my top 15 children's books.  It's no mean feat deciding the order of these books since I love them all so much, but I'll give it a go.  This list could easily be pushed to a top 50 in the future, but I think this is a good start for now.  

15.  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

This book is a riotous adventure, and one of the great American novels.  It features many misadventures, all of which are extremely memorable and tinged with humour.  

14.  Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Told by Black Beauty himself, this story is sad but very sweet.  

13.  Watership Down by Richard Adams

Richard Adams once said that he wanted to write a "proper adult book" for children.  This book is an adrenaline-filled adventure, full of gut-wrenching ups and downs.  The maturity of its storytelling would be best appreciated by older readers.  

12.  A Series of Unfortunate Events  by Lemony Snicket

These books are famous for featuring the very unfortunate lives of the Baudelaire orphans.  However, they are not entirely grim and gloomy.  The Baudelaires themselves are endearing heroes that you will cheer for through every misfortune that they encounter in the series.  Also, this adventure is made even more memorable by the cunningly creative narrative voice of Snicket.  

11.  The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

This is my favourite book by E.B. White.  Although it hasn't received the level of fame of Charlotte's Web or Stuart Little, it is equally heartwarming.  Louis has the virtues to make him a truly memorable hero.  

10.  James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

This is my favourite Roald Dahl book.  It's short enough to read in a couple of days, and yet the adventure it offers is big enough to enjoy for a lifetime.  Like all books by Roald Dahl, you will love it for its quirkiness and endless creativity.  

9.  Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Aside from its remarkably imaginative storyline and characters, this book is also beautifully written.  It's descriptions and moving reflections make it so much more than the familiar Disney rendition.  This book is much, much more magical.  

8.  National Velvet by Enid Bagnold

This book has a delightfully eccentric feel.  The home of the dysfunctional Brown family is a great place to escape as each character is quirky and full of life.  I adore it for it's many memorable misadventures.   

7.  The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann

For many years, this was my favourite book.  It has always inspired me with its show of the strength of friendship and courage in the face of huge difficulty.  

6.  The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

From page 1, this book is immediately captivating.  There are moments for crying in mourning and moments for shouting in triumph.  It is an exhaustingly epic tale that you mustn't miss!  Obviously this one is for older readers.  

5.  The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle by Hugh Lofting

I never want this adventure to end.  With unbeatable heroes from the minuscule Jabizri beetle to the marvellous Doctor himself, it is easy to feel like the characters are family.  It's many plot twists and escapades make it a riveting read.  

4.  The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit

This magical adventure is so fresh and original, I never cease to be surprised and amazed by the plot.  E. Nesbit's imagination is boundless.  If you like this, you'll also love her Psammead Trilogy.  

3.  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I received this book on my first birthday and so my battered copy contains many memories for me.  Anne is one of my best friends and role models.  Her story is timeless and wonderful.  

2.  The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Even though I'm new to the world of Harry Potter, it's already affected me so deeply in the short amount of time that it's been a part of my life.  It is the ultimate adventure and every person deserves to be enriched by taking a part in it.  

1.  The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

My favourite series of all times.  I read and re-read these books every year without fail and the characters continue to be some of my closest friends and fellow adventurers.  

So there you have it.  My top 15 children's books.  This may change slightly over the years, but I'm confident that my love for these books will never fade.  

As I look back over this list, I realise how much these books have affected my life, and most importantly, the sort of person that I am today.  The amount of times I've turned to these books for solace, courage, friendship, and a home-away-from-home astounds me.  I believe it wholeheartedly when I say that the reading you do as a child is the most important reading you do in your whole life.  

Monday, July 29

The Magic of "What If?"

What if...?

I never considered myself to be very good at coming up with story ideas.  I could brainstorm for days on end but it always seemed that the really clever plot-twists that I so admired in other stories were out of my reach.  

That is until now.  

There is a technique that people in the creative arts know as the Magic 'If'.  The Magic 'If' is simply asking yourself "what if?"  

This technique may seem waaaay too eaaaasy to possibly make a difference, but I swear, it has opened up a new world of fantastic opportunities!  I never realised how much I was locking myself into a box before.  

Asking "what if?" leads to new questions, which in turn lead to other questions.  Nothing is concreted or locked down in this brainstorming stage, so that all of your ideas are allowed the freedom to develop and soar in your creative mind.  

As opposed to the usual boring dot points that I was normally etch down, I have pages and pages of notes, all asking "what if?"  I am passionate and excited about my ideas, because it feels as though each new question is giving me new opportunities to explore the depths of my imagination.  I am in love with my creativity and extremely positive.  Why?  Because anything if possible when I ask "if"!  

For some, it may help to brainstorm your Magic 'If' ideas in a mind-map or matrix format.  Use it for any and everything.  I'm confident that you'll be pleasantly surprised by the power of your imagination, once you give it this chance for a little more freedom.  Just let it run with you!  It really is magical.  

Thursday, July 25

Start of Second Semester

I apologise for not blogging for a few weeks, but it does mean that I've built up a little inventory of things to tell you about!


I spent my semester holidays sewing a Ms Frizzle dress for my Magic School Bus cosplay, as well as stitching by hand a life-sized plush Liz.  I promise there will be photos once all the little bits and pieces are finished.


I'm now back at uni for my second semester.  I have two creative writing units, Scriptwriting and Short Story, one literature unit, Pop Fiction in Pop Culture, and one drama unit, Performance Innovation. 

Looking at all the assessment information and the list of required readings has made me very excited to get started.  I have plays to go watch, novels to read, stories to write and even submit for publication to  an Australian literary journal.  Even my book list has plenty of pizazz:  Tarzan, The Hobbit, Sin City, Twilight, and Eat, Pray, Love.  

My hope for this semester is that I will be able to stay un-stressed enough so that I can really learn a lot from and enjoy these units.  I'm just looking forward to having these new skills under my belt.  I can feel myself becoming a more refined, yet more adventurous writer as we speak!  

Oh, by the way, a fellow student and friend in my course has also started a blog on Blogger.  Bettiee Tee is a diary and soap box for life issues and self-reflection.  It's inspirational, motivational, and thoroughly thought-provoking.  I definitely encourage you to have a look.  

Bettie Tee Blogspot 

Bettie Tee Official Facebook Page

Well that's it for now, but so much is happening around me that I'm sure I'll have plenty to tell you about in the coming weeks.  Take care for now. 

Monday, July 1

André Kertész - On Reading

I have stumbled across a gem - André Kertész' sumptuous collection of photographs, titled simply On Reading.  It was published in New York in 1971, by Grossman Publishers.    

Have a browse below, and try to just enjoy the whimsical beauty of these photographs.  Looking through them makes me feel infinitely happy.  

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading

André Kertész - On Reading