"Good Books Change Lives"
Hello. I am Kathy Littlemore and I have had my nose in a book since my first visit to the public library aged two. Good books always topped my preferred Christmas and birthday gift lists. And really, nothing has changed.My love of words lead me first to writing non fiction about travel, photography and fishing. Okay it is debatable whether fishing stories are fiction or non fiction.It was a quantum leap to writing a children’s picture book, but what amazing fun it has been.As a children’s picture book author I am fortunate to influence young and not so young minds with my own creations beginning with ABC Bunyip Saves the Big Black Boogie Swamp.
"Shaped by Global Influences"
People from all around the world have always influenced my thoughts, stretched my imagination and indulged my love of reading, writing, travel and food from a young age. Aerograms arrived regularly from England throughout my childhood, introducing me to the deliciously romantic word, “abroad”, and injected me with the travel bug.Living in the sugar cane growing region of far North Queensland meant my schoolmates were Italian, Greek and Chinese. Some entered school incredibly frightened as they did not speak English. As a young bride, our neighbours were from Finland. Amazing aromas wafted from Marie’s kitchen, but she confided that she had not one word of English when she arrived in Australia.
"Discovers Illiteracy in Outback Australia"
It was not until we were living in the Outback, that I became acutely aware that I had never given a great deal of thought to how our migrants deal with their new lives. My own grandparents had been migrants, so it was an embarrassing revelation. Shamefully, I observed social isolation, loneliness and depression, particularly of migrant women. Our harsh environment seems to have hardened us to the feelings of newcomers.My husband employed professional migrants for their outstanding skills, work ethic and their courage to leave the big cities behind. With them came highly educated wives, floundering in the unknown. My heart went out to them. Together, we explored library shelves, looking for good picture books by Australian authors, the supermarket and life in a small remote town. We became firm friends.
It was also in the Outback that I learned migrants with English as their second language, are not the only ones struggling with the English language. Our mature neighbour was illiterate. And I was asked by the local secondary school to supervise a year 12 exam and read the exam paper to the student as he could not read!Emailing the Prime Minister of the time did not solve the issue so I resolved as a children’s picture book author to write books that bring the joy of reading to reluctant readers while helping migrants understand our quintessential Aussie traits and customs. ABC Bunyip Saves the Big Black Boogie Swamp introduces our Australian monster, the bunyip and is the first in a series of children’s picture books.
Little has changed since the 1960s when John O’Grady captured the essence of our Aussie soul and took a humourous and irreverent poke at the plight of an Italian migrant, Nino Culotta, trying to make sense of our slang, culture and social rituals so he could fit into everyday life in his new home. They’re A Weird Mob still describes us perfectly. My Dad absolutely loved this book.Aimed at a different age group, I hope my children’s picture books make a difference so that today’s migrants find transitioning into the Australian lifestyle somewhat easier than Nino Culotta did. And that Aussie kids learn to love reading, no matter where they came from.
Frequently Asked Questions
A01. No, I am not a schoolteacher, although a long time ago I was a Classical Ballet and Highland Dance teacher. Put simply, I love books, reading and Australia, and understand what big challenges are faced by people learning to read, especially if English is their second language. I just want to make a difference, to make things a little easier for them.
A02. My first book is called ABC Bunyip Saves the Big Black Boogie Swamp. If I knew how many times I would get asked this question I think I would have chosen a different, shorter title. Actually, the working title of the book was The Bunyip Fart! I changed it because my Mum and my husband thought it was too rude!
A03. There are two reasons for this. The letters A-B-C are familiar to new readers, because we all learn our ABCs and the rest of the alphabet as the foundation of the English language. When you are familiar or comfortabe with something, you feel confident. By naming my bunyip, ABC Bunyip I wanted readers to have confidence to open the pages of the book.
The other reason for calling the bunyip ABC is that often books are listed in alphabetical order. I wanted you to be able to find ABC Bunyip Saves the Big Black Boogie Swamp, easily.
A04. Archie was our first boy Dalmatian. He was born white and his spots came later. As a puppy he lived on an island with my husband and myself and our girl Dalmatian called Suzie Q.
Archie liked to paddle in his water bowl. What bad manners! He could run like the wind and loved to swim. Unfortunately he got seasick when he went fishing with us in the big boat. But he loved the wind in his face when we went crabbing in the tiny dinghy.
Archie’s best friend was Raymond, the little black pig who lived across the road. They used to go and wallow in the nearby swamp. I still do not know how or where Archie got out of the yard, to go on these adventures. But he did. When they were done, he would come and stand at the front gate for somebody to let him in! And of course he needed a bath before he could come inside again.
Archie loved to travel. He went in the 4 wheel drive, in boats, in planes and enjoyed caravanning.
Sadly, Archie passed away 11 months before ABC Bunyip Saves the Big Black Boogie Swamp, starring Archie the Dotty Dalmatian Dog, was published.
As to whether I will write a book about Archie … maybe!
A05. ABC Bunyip Saves the Big Black Boogie Swamp – Colour and Read Book 1 and ABC Bunyip and the Motorbike Frogs will be released in late 2019. Fingers crossed!
A06. Yes I am available for author talks and workshops. These can be conducted in person or via Skype or Zoom linkup.
If you would like to book Kathy Littlemore for an author event, please reach out via the Contact Us page with details of your event.
A07. This is a question I get asked a lot and it is a question I hate. My heart races and my voice goes squeaky. I always feel like I am not a real writer, because “No”, I do not write creative fiction every day.
But at some stage of every day, I do write something. It might be affirmations, an ever growing list of things that need doing to publish my next book. Some days it is just the shopping list!
I am envious of writers with the habit of daily writing. It is something I still aspire to.
A08. People are always surprised when I answer No to this question. My time is better spent writing more books.
But please feel free to tell your Facebook friends and your real life friends about ABC Bunyip.