Kids’ Big Day Out at the Byron Writers Festival
Exploding chickens (not real ones), stilt walkers, drawings that come to life before your eyes and the chance to meet your favourite authors and illustrators – Kids’ Big Day Out at Byron Writers Festival has got it all and then some! This year, The Farm Byron Bay has come on board as a festival partner to make the day even more fun. Get your hands dirty in the mini-garden pots with Farmer Johnson or get crafty and creative with Trudi from Farm Kids. Every Kids ‘Big Day Out ticket also includes a complimentary tour of The Farm Byron Bay!
To celebrate Kids’ Big Day Out, The Echo enlisted the help of local junior journalists to ask questions and review the books of some of the authors appearing at Kids’ Big Day Out.
Anna Fienberg is the author of many popular and award-winning books for children of all ages, including the Tashi series, Figaro and Rumba, Louis Beside Himself, Number 8 and Horrendo’s Curse, which was an Honour Book in the 2003 CBCA awards.
Who is your favourite character in any of your books? (Morgan, 11)
You know, it’s hard to choose a favourite character from my books. I’ve written more than forty picture books and novels, and inside them there’s a crowd of characters that I’ve come to know and feel for and worry and dream about.
It’s a bit like trying to choose a favourite child – they are all precious, and a part of you – even the wicked ones! Unless you experience real compassion and understanding for your characters, they can’t come alive in your heart, or the heart of the reader.
Tony is an international award-winning illustrator of more than 25 titles. In between drawing stomping dinosaurs and flatulent ninjas Tony is working towards his PhD. He aims to be the first illustrator in Australia to hold the official title ‘Doctor of Silly Drawing’!
When did you realise you were an illustrator and not just a kid drawing pictures? (Ilja, 11)
I am still just a kid doing drawings, I just tell people that I am an illustrator so that they will take me seriously. I think the main difference between doing a drawing and illustrating is that an illustrator is always trying to tell a story with their drawings, while you can sometimes just have fun doing a drawing for the sake of it.
Tristan Bancks is a children’s and teens author with a background in acting and filmmaking. His books include the My Life series, Mac Slater (Australia and US) and Two Wolves (On the Run in the US), a crime-mystery novel for middle-graders. His most recent book is My Life & Other Exploding Chickens, a fourth book of weird-funny-gross, semi-autobiographical short stories.
Why do you write about your personal life? (Tiki, 10)
When a story isn’t working I often realise that it has strayed too far from my own experience. I need to have a personal connection to the story. At first, I avoided writing stories that would reveal too much of myself but when I became braver and put myself into the stories, the books became more honest and I found a lot more readers.