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Total Quack Up is out from today

Earlier this year I got to illustrate a story written by Paul Jennings.

Yep, you heard right.

Paul.

Jennings.

Back in May, authors Adrian Beck and Sally Rippin were putting together an anthology of funny short stories written by some of Australia’s best kids’ authors. They were calling it Total Quack Up. All the writers were donating their time, Penguin was publishing it, and all profits were going to Dymocks Children’s Charities. The only thing they didn’t have yet was an illustrator.

I caught up for coffee with Adrian in Melbourne. He explained the project, but he didn’t say who any of the authors were. He said everyone was donating their time, and whoever illustrated it would need to do it quick – they’d only have a month to do 30-40 illustrations including a cover.

I said PLEASE LET ME DO IT PLEASE YES IT SOUNDS AWESOME.

He said, ‘are you sure?’

I said YEP COUNT ME IN ALL GOOD LET’S DO IT PLEASE AWESOME THANKS YES.

So Adrian and Sally and Penguin said okay, and I’m glad they did, because Mr Paul Jennings was one of the authors contributing to the anthology.

So …

… I got to illustrate a Paul Jennings story! OMG!!

I loved reading Paul Jennings’ stories as a kid; I would get chills from the spooky stories, and laugh myself silly at the funny stories. And of course I was glued to the TV whenever Round The Twist came on. So it was a fantastic surprise to find out that Paul was one of the authors in the anthology and that I’d get to illustrate one of his stories.


This is all a very long-winded way of telling you that I’ve illustrated an anthology called Total Quack Up!

It features stories from Paul Jennings, Deborah Abela, Tristan Bancks, Adrian Beck, Jacqueline Harvey, Alex Miles, Oliver Phommavanh, Sally Rippin, R.A. Spratt and Matt Stanton.

It also includes a story written by Ella Wallace (aged 11 and three-quarters), whose story won out over 172 other entries in the Total Quack Up kids writing competition. It is an incredibly funny story and easily my favourite in the whole anthology. Ella is a young writer to watch.

You can buy Total Quack Up from your local Dymocks store or online from the Dymocks website.

Teacher resources for Gastronauts

My new book Gastronauts is out now in bookstores and online.

I’ve pulled together a bunch of free resources for teachers (and interested kids). You can find the full set on my website, but here’s some of my highlights:

Teaching Notes

Heaps of ideas for discussion and links to curriculum.
Download the teaching notes (pdf).

Read a free sample

Read the first 16 pages before you buy the book.
Also great for using to read the start of the book to a class.
Download the free sample (pdf).

‘Make Your Own see-through body’ activity

This is a super fun activity. You need scissors, glue, string and a piece of A3 coloured card – and a print out of the worksheet for each student. (And don’t forget to print the teacher cheat-sheet for you.)
You’ll end up with something that looks like this:

Download worksheet (3 pages, pdf)
Download teacher cheat-sheet (pdf)

Activity sheet

Kids can learn to name and locate various parts of the body.
Download now (pdf)

Colouring-in sheets

– Gastronauts colouring in (cover) –
Download now (pdf)

– Gastronauts colouring in (internal illustration) –
Download now (pdf)


Gastronauts

Buy local – find your closest bookshop

Or order online:
– Booktopia (Australia and NZ only)
Angus and Robertson (Australia only)
QBD (Australia only)
Boffins
Dymocks
Book Depository

Gastronauts is officially released today (and a Dead Bunny is back)

My new book Gastronauts is officially released today!

I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out … though I do wonder if I crossed the grossness threshold with this one.

Here’s the synopsis:

Sally Tinker – the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve – has developed her greatest invention yet. But when Sally’s baby brother Joe swallows it with disastrous (and gaseous) consequences, Sally and her friend Charli must shrink themselves, venture into the very bowels of Joe, and shut down the invention before it’s too late. What could possibly go wrong?

Magpies magazine calls it ‘hilariously funny … it will  be devoured by emerging readers. Perfect for school and public libraries.’ Cheers, Magpies!

You can read a free sample here, and check out some of my favourite images below.


Gastronauts

Buy local – find your closest bookshop

Or order online:
– Booktopia (Australia and NZ only)
Angus and Robertson (Australia only)
QBD (Australia only)
Boffins
Dymocks
Book Depository



P.S. Today is also the official release of the paperback edition of My Dead Bunny!

I was very lucky to get to illustrate this hilarious zombie rabbit tale written by Sigi Cohen. It was shortlisted for Picture Book of the Year by the Children’s Book Council of Australia in 2016, and has a cult following among Australian librarians and upper primary students. (It’s also the only one of my books I’ve ever received parental complaints about).

Now, Bradley the Bunny is back in a bigger format with a brand new cover.

(And for fans of the book, get excited: because a sequel of sorts is in the works! I’m pumped to get started on it).

You can buy the paperback edition of My Dead Bunny from your local bookshop, or online at

Here comes the Gastronauts book tour

My new book Gastronauts is out in bookstores!

Even though the official release date is Oct 1st, there was a sneaky early release, so you can find it across the country and online. If your local bookshop doesn’t have a copy, you can always ask them to order it in.

To celebrate, I’m traveling around WA, NSW and VIC from Sep 26-Oct 14 to do four book launches, a bunch of comic-drawing workshops and a couple of festivals too.

Scroll down for the list of events and dates. For full details, please visit my events page.

See you on the road 🙂

– James


Gastronauts

Buy local – find your closest bookshop

Or order online:
– Booktopia (Australia and NZ only)
Angus and Robertson (Australia only)
QBD (Australia only)
Boffins
Dymocks
Book Depository

 

Gastronauts book launches (WA)

Hi everyone,

it’s almost time to officially launch the latest book in my ‘S.Tinker Inc.’ graphic novel series – it’s called ‘Gastronauts‘!

Here’s the synopsis:

Sally Tinker – the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve – has developed her greatest invention yet. But when Sally’s baby brother Joe swallows it with disastrous (and gaseous) consequences, Sally and her friend Charli must shrink themselves, venture into the very bowels of Joe, and shut down the invention before it’s too late. What could possibly go wrong?

If you’re in my hometown of Perth, there are two book launches: one north of the river and one south. Please come along and spread the word!

Sept 26:  Gastronauts book launch, Fremantle

gastronauts launch bannerCome help me celebrate the release of Gastronauts. The Paper Bird book club kids will preside over proceedings and officially launch the book!

WHEN: Wednesday Sept 26
TIME: 3pm-5pm
WHERE: Paper Bird Children’s Books and Art, 42 Henry St, Fremantle WA
AGES: the book is aimed at 7-10yo (but the whole family is welcome)
COST: FREE
BOOKINGS: essential; click here.

 

Oct 3:  Gastronauts book launch, Perth

This is in fact a group book launch called the ‘Great Big Dark and Spooky Book Read’!

It’s presented by my publisher Fremantle Press, the State Library of Western Australia and AWESOME Arts.

Follow the torchlight to your seat around the ‘campfire’ for a thrilling story time experience with amazing local writers. The Great Big Dark and Spooky Book Read features Gastronauts author and illustrator James Foley (that’s me!), Bush and Beyond  author Cheryl Kickett-Tucker, Off the Track author Cristy Burne, The Hole Story author Kelly Canby, In the Lamplight author Dianne Wolfer, and Ian Mutch, author of More and More and More. From the shadows cast by war to the inside of the human body, from cozy boltholes to the vastness of space, don’t let your fear of the dark discourage you. These fun and exciting stories will light up imaginations of children aged 5 and up!

Each ticket includes your choice of one of the books being launched on the day.

(I don’t mind which book you pick, they’re all good books! But if poo and fart jokes and comics are your thing, then *cough cough* I’d suggest Gastronauts, not biased or anything, of course, ahem).

WHEN: Wednesday Oct 3rd
TIME: 11:15am-12:30pm
WHERE: State Library Theatre, State Library of WA
AGES: 5yo+
COST: $25.20 (includes entry for a family of four, and one copy of a book of your choice); $5.20 for additional tickets
BOOKINGS: essential, click here.


If you can’t make it to a launch, don’t worry: you can already find Gastronauts in lots of bookshops around Australia and online (see links below).

GASTRONAUTS BOOK TOUR – WA, NSW, VIC

Check out my events page for details of my BOOK TOUR!
I’m doing over a dozen events in WA, NSW and VIC between Sep 26-Oct 14.


Buy ‘Gastronauts’

Buy local – find your closest bookshop

Or order online:
– Booktopia (Australia and NZ only)
Angus and Robertson (Australia only)
QBD (Australia only)
Boffins
Dymocks
Book Depository

World Change Challenge 2018

room-to-read-world-change-challenge-2018-1440x546

  • Did you know that there are nearly 800 million people in the world who can’t read?
  • Or that two thirds of those people are women and girls?

That’s why I support the amazing charity Room To Read as a Writer Ambassador.

Room To Read is looking for 50 schools around Australia to support 50 girls in the developing world. Each school needs to raise just $365 – that’s enough to send a girl to school for a year.

Two of the schools I’ve visited this year have already got involved. Maybe your school would like to organise a fundraiser around Book Week?

You can read more about the campaign (including more fundraising ideas) on Tristan Bancks’ website.

rtr_logo_color_large-400px-high

get-active-for-education-room-to-read-tristan-bancks

Events & workshops in July

Hello readers,

This July I’m running some school holiday workshops for kids and teens, and an illustration workshop for adults!

Details below.

July 3, 10-11:  DIY Authors: Make Your Own Zine (8-16yo)

***EDIT: THESE SESSIONS ARE NOW SOLD OUT***

Do you think publishing might be your thing? Why not start now?

Make your own mini-magazine (or ‘zine’) and fill it with your own words and illustrations, guided by a professional writer and illustrator team.

In these creative workshops, learn how to make a zine filled with your stories and illustrations.

You’ll join myself and author Ken Spillman for this workshop. You’ll learn a range of writing forms and illustration techniques, and fill a small booklet (called a ‘zine’) with the work you produce.

Please note that there are two different workshops, divided by age:
– the 8-11yo workshop is one day.
– the 12-16yo workshop is 2 days, and you must attend both sessions.

AGES 8-11: ONE DAY WORKSHOP *** SOLD OUT ***
WHEN: Tues July 3rd
TIME: 9:30am – 12:30pm
WHERE: Scarborough Library, 173 Gildercliffe Street, Scarborough WA

AGES 12-16: TWO DAY WORKSHOP *** SOLD OUT ***
WHEN: Tues July 10th & Wed 11th
TIME: 9:30am – 12:30pm both days
WHERE: Scarborough Library, 173 Gildercliffe Street, Scarborough WA

 

July 4:  Robot Cartooning (for kids, FREE)

Join me for a fun session learning how to draw your own robot characters!

WHEN: Wednesday July 4th
TIMES: 10-11am
WHERE: Armadale Library, Shop 64 / 10 Orchard Avenue, Armadale, WA
AGES: 8-12yo
COST: free!
BOOKINGS: essential; click here.

July 9 – Aug 5 :  Shaun Tan Award for Young Artists exhibition (all ages, FREE)

The City of Subiaco presents the sixteenth annual Shaun Tan Award for Young Artists. This visual art award is open to Western Australian school students in years 1-12, and encourages imagination, innovation and creativity.

I’m one of the judges this year, and I’m so looking forward to seeing the entries!

WHEN: Jul 9 – Aug 5
TIMES: click here for library opening hours
WHERE: Subiaco Library, 237 Rokeby Rd, Subiaco WA
AGES: all ages
COST: free
BOOKINGS: not required

 

July 28:  Picture Book Illustration 101 (for adults)

Have you ever wanted to illustrate a children’s book?
Join me to find out how!
Learn how character design, composition, choice of medium and typography all affect the visual story, and have a go at some drawing yourself.
Get your questions answered on portfolios, submitting to publishers and how the business works.

This workshop includes morning tea.

WHEN: Saturday July 28
TIME: 9am – 12:30pm
WHERE: Paper Bird Children’s Books and Art, Henry St, Fremantle WA
AGES: 16yo +
COST: $55
BOOKINGS: essential; click here.

Competition time!

COMPETITION TIME!

Sally Tinker (the world’s foremost inventor under twelve) and I (some dude) have made ourselves a YouTube channel!

It’s called ‘STinker Tube’ and it’s where you’ll find funny extra stuff to go with the STinker Inc graphic novels.

If you subscribe to our channel before June 15th, you’ll go in the draw to win the first ever copy of the next STinker Inc graphic novel, GASTRONAUTS!

You can watch our first video below – but don’t forget, you need to subscribe to the channel to go in the draw. To do that, head over to see the video at Youtube by clicking here , then click the subscribe button.

Good luck!

– James

Give your kids Gastro this October!

Hello! I haven’t posted in a while, as things have been very busy at home – my wife and I now have a beautiful 5-month old baby. AND I’ve been working on a new book, which just went off to print today!

GASTRONAUTS is the third graphic novel in the S.Tinker Inc. series, featuring the irrepressible Sally Tinker. She’s the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, and there’s no problem she can’t solve. Unfortunately there’s no problem her inventions can’t cause, either; she’s already built a robot that went completely out of control, and created a giant dung beetle that terrorised her town. In this new story the problem is a lot smaller, in that her baby brother Joe has swallowed a teeny-tiny invention.  Sally and her friend Charli must shrink themselves and venture into the very bowels of Joe to shut down the swallowed invention before it causes some unintended (and very gaseous) consequences.

Gastronauts will be out in bookshops and online on October 1st, 2018. Your kids have probably given you gastro a few times, so now you can return the favour 😉

And here’s the cover! I’m so happy with how it turned out. Big thanks to the awesome team at Fremantle Press for being wonderful, as always.

If you’re super keen to grab a copy and don’t want to forget or miss out, you can pre-order now at Booktopia.

I’ll do some more posts the closer we get to the book birthday.

And FYI, there will be launches in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, so stay tuned for details!

Thanks for reading,

James

 

Free family event: Backyard Book Fair

Hi everyone,

I’m going to be at a free family event this Saturday December 2nd. There will be kids activities, storytelling and book signings, plus a Christmas gift stall. PLUS free  cupcakes! It’s going to be awesome. Details below. Hope to see you there.

– James

Dec 2:  Backyard Book Fair (for families)

Free fun for kids and their carers. Be entertained, write and draw with Western Australian children’s authors and illustrators. Purchase signed Christmas gifts and meet your favourite local book creators including Aśka , Cristy Burne, Kelly Canby, Frané Lessac, Meg McKinlay, Teena Raffa-Mulligan and Dianne Wolfer – plus some guy called James Foley! Authors and illustrators will be available for book signings too. All materials for activities and a scrummy morning tea will be provided. Suitable for ages 10 and below, but everyone is welcome!

Free event. Registration required. Places are limited.

Presented in partnership with The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (WA).

WHEN: Saturday Dec 2
TIMES: 10:00am – 12:30pm (see below for program)
WHERE: State Library of Western Australia (Theatre), 25 Francis St, Perth, WA
AGES: 10yo and below
COST: free, but bookings are essential: click here to register.