A Marathon Children's Book Week

by Hazel Edwards

The Australian Children's Book Week is held nationally around the last week in August (16th-23rd in 2003) From a short list promoted earlier in the year, the Children's Book Council judges select books to win or be commended in specific categories such as picture book, junior readers, non fiction and older readers. "Oceans of Stories" was this year's theme and visiting authors and illustrators spoke in schools and libraries to thousands of children.

My YA ( young adult eco thriller) Antarctica's Frozen Chosen fit the theme because it is set in the Great Southern Ocean en route for Antarctica.

It's the kids' questions that make Children's Book Week visits worthwhile. Discussing where you'd look for a lost voice, Michelle in Grade 5, said. "The cat."


"That saying, the cat got your tongue. You need a tongue for a voice."

It was worth the 45 minute drive to Salisbury Downs, navigating with a few false turns in a hire-car, for an 8 am Author Breakfast, to encourage THAT mind!

"Children's Book Week is the authors' speaking marathon," said an author colleague. "In the month before, I get into training."

She's right about the endurance required, but with twenty 45 minute talks in five days to get to the right places interstate, on time, plus hauling books, it's closer to orienteering. Librarians and teachers also require stamina.

My Children's Book Week

Hazel Edwards**Hazel Edwards is the Melbourne-based author of 150 books for adults and children including the classic, There's a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake. Antarctic Writer on Ice is in its fourth reprint, and is available on audio and in Braille, a YA eco-thriller Antarctica's Frozen Chosen (Lothian 2003) and an Antarctic play in Right or Wrong (Phoenix Education) are some of the writing based on her Antarctic Division polar resupply Voyage 5 to Casey Station in 2001. My Dad's Gone to Antarctica,(Lothian 2004) a picture book, is in progress. Recent children's books include Stickybill TV Duckstar The Cyber Farm with Hobbit director Christine Anketell. You can visit her website at hazeledwards.com. Married with two adult children, Hazel's hobbies are swimming, belly dancing and asking questions.

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