Guest post: Adele Walsh on blogging your way to a dream job

Adele Walsh, aka Snarky Wench, runs the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne.

Adele Walsh, Centre for Youth Literature programmer

Adele’s one of my writing heroes because she used her blogging skills to shift from a career as a schoolteacher to a dream role as champion of youth literature in one of the coolest and most hipsterious* cities on the planet.

After I blogged on the unexpected joys of copywriting, I started to think of other writing careers that don’t focus on the ‘hunched over a desk cranking out a Great Novel’ model, and Adele came to mind.

There’s a lot of waffle written on the Internet about following your heart and living the dream – but Adele really did find a way to turn her passion into her career, using her writing skills as a springboard.

*Yes, hipsterious.

Here’s Adele on ‘how to get your dream job in 10 (easy?) steps’:

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No matter how hard they’re punched: on superheroes and real-world issues

To round off my recent series of posts on comics and education, I’m joined by Professor Mark D. White of CUNY; Master’s student Tom Miller of McMaster University in Canada; Australian critic and screenwriter Martyn Pedler, currently completing an interdiscplinary PhD thesis on superhero stories at the University of Melbourne; and Nick Sousanis, an artist-educator and doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University.
The discussion was prompted by a piece on the Batman: Arkham City computer game on the Overthinking It website.
Batman: Arkham City video game cover 
In it, John Perich argued that ‘Superhero comics are rarely a good medium to talk about real-world issues’:

Nothing about Arkham City is subtle. But then, nothing about superhero comics has ever been subtle.

Whenever superhero comics try to get “edgy” and “real,” they bump against the limits of the genre. Superhero comics are meant to have action and thrills. That’s why people read them. So when a writer introduces a problem in a comics storyline, it has to be a problem that can be solved through thrilling action.

I used the article as a leaping-off point to ask Mark, Tom, Martyn, and Nick whether the need for fisticuffs prevents superhero comics from exploring deeper issues.

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Guest post: Neill Cameron on pirates, dinosaurs and comics in the classroom

Neill Cameron writes and draws for The Phoenix, Britain’s new weekly comic for children, as well as giving illustrated talks and workshops for young comics creators. Neill Cameron giving a comics workshop

When mainstream comic companies sometimes seem to neglect younger readers, it’s exciting to see a publication like The Phoenix aimed at an earlier age range. Neill’s work for the comic includes a gripping pirates-versus-dinosaurs adventure and a series teaching readers ‘How To Make Awesome Comics’.

Neill joins us now as part of my site’s discussion of comics in education, which you can browse via the comicsedu tag.

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My Dinner With Hergé: Raymond Huber and Hugh Todd

This is one in a series of posts supporting my article in the June 18th curriculum supplement to the New Zealand Education Gazette. Find more resources, interviews and features on comics in education via my site’s comicsedu tag.

Today, I’m joined by Raymond Huber and Hugh Todd, lifelong devotees of the iconic boy reporter, Tintin.

Tintin and Snowy

Raymond is a New Zealand children’s author whose novel Wings was a finalist in the 2012 Julius Vogel awards.

Hugh, a fellow Kiwi now based in Australia’s Blue Mountains, is a cartoonist, graphic designer and author of the Scholastic picture book Bring Back the Ball, Daisy Dog.

Raymond and Hugh agreed to discuss the enduring appeal of Europe’s most famous comic book character and his creator, Georges Remi, over an informal “dinner with Hergé”.

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Comics in NZ Education: Guest Post by Raymond Huber

Today as part of our ongoing feature on comics in New Zealand education, we’re joined by the New Zealand children’s author, editor and educator Raymond Huber. You can find out more about him and his great books, including the Ziggy Bee stories, at

Here’s Raymond on ‘Comics in the Classroom.’

The thought of comic books in the classroom is frowned upon by many teachers and parents. Comics still have an image problem with many adults – a mistrust of the comic format based on suspicions about quality, content, and most of all, literary value. There might be a grain of truth in the first two: comics used to be cheaply produced, and they can contain offensive material. Some comics do take the Readers Digest approach to literature, but there are also many that now take the comic form to its own artistic heights, especially comic picture books and graphic novels.

Why use comics in the classroom?

Perhaps the best reason is that children love reading stories in the comic form. Consider the Tintin books, selling over 120 million copies, and public libraries often put a limit on withdrawals of the books. Given a choice in class, many children will grab comic picture books before novels. And most of these readers will be boys – another great reason for using comics in class.

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Guest Post: Lee Castledine on Storytelling for Young Children, Part 1

Today on Books and Adventures, we’re joined by Lee Castledine, an Australian storyteller, youth librarian and secretary of the Australian Storytelling Guild.

I was lucky enough to see Lee’s workshop on storytelling with young children at the Annual Paint the Town REaD Convention this month. Lee demonstrated her accomplishments as a performer, educator and storytelling maven, and today, Saturday 17th September, I’ll be venturing over to the New South Wales Writers’ Centre to see a Storytelling Workshop Day organised by Lee. Therefore I’m very pleased to present a timely guest post from her on Storytelling for Young Children using Props and Audience Participation.

A candle, a book, an apron, a string, a puppet, a piece of paper….Props used in storytelling for young children can be anything the storyteller can think of, that enhances the story.  Some props are useful for encouraging audience participation, and manipulation props enchant the audience.  Not all stories need a prop – sometimes actions are the prop.

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Guest Post: The Physics of Reading by Raymond Huber

Continuing our Kiwi theme, today Books and Adventures is joined by New Zealand author and editor Raymond Huber with a guest post on ‘The Physics of Reading’. A skier, teacher, apiculturist and all-round adventurer, Raymond is currently in Australia promoting his novel for junior readers, Wings.

Wings by Raymond Huber

‘The universe is made of stories, not atoms’ (Muriel Rukeyser). There’s truth in the poet’s words: the universe is only 4% atoms while the rest (mysterious dark stuff) has barely been fathomed. Some scientists believe the universe is geared towards the development of mind – ‘The universe is aboutsomething’ (Paul Davies, physicist) . That’s why I think stories matter.

Consider the mental energy of reading for children. ‘When reading takes place, the brain is forever changed’ (Maryanne Wolf). Reading forges new neural pathways which then become available for innovative thinking. One reason for this is that reading a book encourages the brain to be active in constructing and imagining the story. Imagination is like the electromagnetic force which has infinite range. It’s the force behind the great children’s books. In the Moomin stories for example, Tove Jansson imagines a fantasy world populated with endearing creatures such as brave Moomintroll and the shocking Hattifatteners.




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