Book Fairy for a Day


18 September was International Hide a Book Day, giving book lovers around the world the opportunity to unselfishly spread the joy of reading by hiding a book in a public spot. Naturally, I didn’t miss the opportunity to don my fairy wings for 24 hours.

I do believe in book fairies. I DO believe in book fairies, I DO!

Having trouble believing Book Fairies exist? Consider this:

  • A logo is sure proof of existence, right?
  • These Book Fairies are tech-savvy: they have a website. If you don’t believe me, click this link> I Believe in Book Fairies. Think about it: How could something unreal have a website with an About page, FAQs, and merch, for goodness sake?
  • And they have regional Facebook pages, like this one in Australia.
  • And if nothing else convinces you that Book Fairies are real, consider this indisputable fact: The Chief Fairy is a lady named Cordelia, which is the most fairy-like name imaginable. Cordelia.

Book Fairies are real—real people who share their love of reading by hiding books in public places for people to find, enjoy, and re-hide. No wings are necessary—just a willingness to part with a favourite book.

Spreading Reading Rainbows Everywhere

The Book Fairies helped Goodreads celebrate their tenth birthday this year. All around the world, bewinged book worms carefully selected and prepared a book to launch into the wilderness on Hide a Book Day. The Book Fairies HQ provided stickers so that when the unsuspecting citizen finds the book, they understand that they are meant to take it home, read it, and then pass it on.

My First Book Fairy Release

After scouring my shelves, I selected  The Ratcatcher’s Daughter  by Pamela Rushby. I thought it would be fitting to pick an Aussie author and a book with local interest. The Ratcatcher’s Daughter is middle-grade historical fiction set in 1900 when the Black Death first came to Queensland. There were subsequent outbreaks of the bubonic plague for the next nine years and then again in 1921 and 1922.

Rushby relates the history through the story of fictional 13-year-old Issie McKelvie, whose dad is the local ratcatcher. She loathes rats and her dad’s pack of yappy dogs. But when dad gets sick, Issie has to step in and do the dirty work to save Brisbane from the vermin that are spreading disease and death.

The Ratcatcher’s Daughter received several awards, including the CBCA Notable Book 2015,  Highly Commended in the Davitt Awards 2015, and being shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards 2014. Pam has published a slew of educational books and commercial fiction. She lives in Queensland and says she gets her best story ideas while swimming laps.

Although it was hard to part with my copy of the book, I was keen for others to read this fascinating slice of Queensland history. I penned a personal note to the finder, tucked it inside, and left the book among the magazines and lifestyle books in a beautiful tea house on the Sunshine Coast. Giving away my book made me happy!

Fairying All Year Long

You don’t have to wait until the next Hide a Book Day to join the book sharing revolution. Join the ranks of fairies, which includes Emma Watson. Visit The Book Fairies’ website, buy some stickers, and start sharing!

Would you consider being a Book Fairy for a day? I’d love to know which book you think is worth sharing, so leave a comment!

#HideABookDay #GoodreadsTurns10 #ibelieveinbookfairies #AustralianBookFairies

Inspiring Aspiring Young Authors

scrabble-931988_640Writing a book is huge undertaking for anyone, let alone for a young person who could be doing almost anything other than slaving over a manuscript.

People of any age can start writing a book. The tricky part is finishing it! Completing a book-writing project demands perseverance. Uncommon grit. Grit is the very same stuff that toughens up rugby players, Japanese ama pearl divers, crocodile wrestlers, and those rent-a-clowns who do back-to-back kiddie birthday parties.

Writers young or old need Grit in mega-doses. It keeps the writer on track when an uninvited download of cool (or not?) ideas threatens to hijack the whole project. Grit galvanises a writer to work the saggy ‘muddle’ into a sleek, taut middle. Grit talks back to self-doubt and puts that bossy-bottom inner critic in its place. Grit hauls the writer down the homestretch to The End.

Exhausting? Yes. Tough? You bet. Rewarding? Like nothing else this side of heaven.

Have you got the necessary grit to start and finish writing a book? Read on for some inspiration.

A Few Famously Young Authors

You may have read some books written by young people without realising it. Do you recognise any of these titles and authors?

  • Mary Shelley was 19 when she wrote Frankenstein (1818).
  • Anne Frank started writing Diary of a Young Girl (1952) on her thirteenth birthday. Read more here.
  • Christopher Paolini started writing Eragon (2002) when he was 15. Originally self-published, the book went on to international acclaim and a series of four books with 35 million copies sold!
  • JJ Halo, the Super-Cool Spyling (2009), was written by an eight-year-old Australian school girl named Miss Juliet Davies. The series includes four books.
  •  A 14-year-old Victorian school girl named Isobelle Carmody began writing a book titled Obernewtyn (1987). The Obernewtyn Chronicles just released its eighth and final episode, The Red Queen (2015). Just a month ago, Isobelle was named Australia’s favourite author!

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 1.00.46 pm   Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 12.58.42 pm   Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 12.58.54 pm   Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 1.00.04 pm

Youth is clearly no obstacle in the publishing world.

Newly Inspiring

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 12.59.20 pmRecently, the Australian publishing world was all abuzz about primary school girl Hannah Chandler who wrote a book when she was eleven. I Don’t Like Cheese (2015) is about a mouse named Mike who thinks he doesn’t like cheese.

Exisle Publishers say, “This delightful picture book explores how even the fussiest eaters can be tempted to try new flavours. And, if you’re anything like Mike, you might find you develop quite a taste for international cuisine along the way!”

Hannah, now twelve, is living the author’s dream life with a few more adventures in the pipeline for Mike the Mouse. She’s been interviewed on the famous book blog, Kids’ Book Review and in newspapers and magazines all over Australia. She now has her own website, and she’s even on YouTube! You can watch her talk about her experience here.

Inspired, Young Writer?

Go for it. Write that book! Pen that poem! Articulate that article! Do whatever it takes for however long it takes to bring your story-baby kicking, screaming, gooing and gahing into the world. You’re never too young to try. Be fortified with a mega-dose of uncommon Grit to achieve your biggest book dreams!

Know of some other books written by young authors? Share them in the comments!

Media Credits

Dream Big, CC.0 Public Domain

Video from Exisle’s YouTube channel

Cover image from Exisle’s Webpage

Other covers from booksellers