photo taken by Heidi Den Ronden

Thanks so much for dropping by the blog. Be sure to grab a cuppa tea (or coffee or water) and read. My blogger manifesto is HERE.

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For Our Children – The Illustrative World of Helene Magisson

This blog originally appeared on Magic Fish Dreaming.  Visit the blog to read other interesting posts about the project.

Join the facebook page or blog to be informed about the kickstarter.

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For Our Children

Helene Magisson is a Children’s book illustrator, who graduated from the painting restoration school “Art et Avenir”, Paris (France).

She was also trained in the art of medieval illumination, exhibiting her work in Europe and teaching the history and techniques of medieval miniature in primary and high schools, both in France and in India, where she lived for a few years.

When Helene settled down in Australia, she decided to start a new career in children’s book illustration. Her numerous trips in Europe and Asia, as well as her childhood spent in Africa inspire and enrich her work. She believes that travelling is a fantastic source of inspiration.

Helene was awarded the first prize in the illustration category at the 2013 CYA conference. She has illustrated her first book, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco.

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Helene in India

How did you come to work on the Magic Fish Dreaming Project?

One day, I got a message from June Perkins. A long message describing her project with precision. Her approach was clear, smart, graceful and engaging.

She was talking about poetry, places of Far North Queensland, about multiculturalism, team work, and respect. It immediately resonated to me.

So I wanted to know more about her, who she was, and I discovered an incredibly creative and talented woman. I felt that this project could take me into a new world like a door opening to a part of Australia which I was thrilled to discover,  through June’s eyes and words.

I had no doubt about the project, no hesitation. It was like something absolutely natural.

Then she sent me her manuscript, and I had this wonderful feeling when each poem suddenly sparkled in my mind. My imagination was flying far away.

The connection was done straight from the first poem.

What appeals to you about this project?


Many things appeal to me.

I always wanted to illustrate poetry for children because there is no limit for the imagination. It is playing with words and images. I think it is a fantastic way to make the children aware of the beauty of the language and the words.

And I love June’s poems. They are so rich – with a mix of humour, gentleness, mystery, depth and a lot of love and admiration for the Far North Queensland environment. I also can feel the soul of a country in it. There is the mystery of a tree, the beauty of a majestic bird, many strange animals, and also children from different communities.


When June approached me I really liked the fact that she highlighted one of my illustrations I called “For our Children”. It is an illustration I did a little bit after the terrorist attack in France.

There are nine children coming from all over the world (India, Pakistan, France, Ireland, Australia, Kenya…), children I have met in the different countries I have been living in or visited, and they are altogether, smiling, teasing, hugging. There are in peace and happy.

June liked it for its multicultural dimension. She wanted to highlight that in the project and that really touched me.

I love the idea to mix Aboriginal, Italian, Torres Strait, English,  and Australian children.

It is poetry for all and everyone in a beautiful and peaceful environment.

I feel so fortunate that this project came to me.

What kinds of things did you do or are you doing in illustrating the poetry text for June?


I ask June to tell me more about the poem I start working on. What is behind the text, and how she came to it. She also sends me some photos (she is an incredibly talented photographer too). I collect a lot of ideas from them.

In her photos, she sometimes focuses on a detail, a beautiful detail seen from another point of view. I also see that in her poetry, and I try to transmit this idea in my illustrations.

Then I work on a few ideas, keeping in mind the authenticity of the Queensland environment but then I try to “translate it” in a way to appeal children with the choice of the colours, adding amusing details, hiding animals.

I propose a few roughs and we decide altogether (including June’s editor Matilda Elliot) which one will work the best before I start working with colours.

What is your background with working with understanding illustration that is appealing to an audience of children and their families ?


I studied restoration and history of art and worked as a painting restorer for a few year, this gave me a strong background in my art work but there was no place for creativity.

I think I always loved children’s books. It started from my childhood in Africa when my mum was reading to us all the Andersen, Grimm and Perrault’s tales, even a little mongoose was coming very often to listen.

for June (2)So I did the same for my children when they were still small, reading all sorts of stories at bed time. I wanted them to be touched by the story but also to be open and sensitive to the quality of the illustrations. And there are so many incredible books that inspired me to pursue this dream,

Also when I decided to illustrate children’s books I spent many hours reading and looking at picture books because I wanted to understand how the illustrations process was working page after page and how to create an interesting relation between the text and the illustration. The more I discovered, the more my passion grew.

And when I felt ready, I attended the CYA competition in 2013 and was delighted to win First prize in the illustration category.

A bit later, I illustrated the beautiful and very well-known classical tale “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams Bianco, published by New Frontier. And I am excited that next year three more books I have illustrated will hit the shelves, including with the help of all our supporters, Magic Fish Dreaming.


You can find out more on Helene’s work here:

Helene Magisson Facebook
Helene’s Website




Brisbane’s Hogswatch in July

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Daughter about to wield an Axe (it is of the rubbery variety of course, no real axes)

On the weekend the family headed off to our First Hogswatch in July.  What’s that I hear you ask?

It’s an annual festive village fair run by Brisbane Arts Theatre (since 2013) based upon the Discword novels  of Terry Pratchett.

This year they used the Pozible Platform to raise some funds to hire a petting zoo, trophies for prizes (hammer throwing,cabbage throwing, costume and obstacle race).  It’s great that they did because it didn’t cost anything to enter the fair, watch the Morris Dancing or enter any of the competitions.

They were also sponsored by a few organisations, and I just loved that one of the sponsors was a Funeral place! Classic and in keeping with the novels.

Brisbane Arts Theatre is Brisbane’s home of the performing arts, with a long history of staging adaptions of Sir Terry Pratchett’s cult Discworld novels.  Later in the year they are staging Mort (22nd August -3rd October).

These novels are set in an alternative reality where the world is flat, resting on the shoulders of four cosmic sized elephants standing on the back of an impossibly large turtle swimming through space.

The absolute highlight for my children was the Weefreeman signing them up for the axe throwing competition.  My youngest ended up winning the junior section in a play off of a tied place. Exciting stuff.

As for my daughter she loved the steam punk inspired clothes and jewelry and enjoyed buying up at some of the stalls (goggles was the main thing she acquired).

We didn’t stay for the whole day, but there was something for every age and the program ran from 10am until 4pm.  With crafts, obstacle races for Witches and Wizards, a costume competition, photo booths and a tribute book to the dear Sir Terry Pratchett.

Before we left we took our daughter to have a photograph with Mort.  She wore her brand new goggles! A print of this is on the way in the mail.

(I heard there are Steam Punk Morning Teas in Town. Anyone with more details please let me know.)


In Character


My son with the Weefreeman


He won!



Morris Dancing




Cake Stall

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Wizard Trophy

You can find out more at their facebook and website.

Mort is on 22nd August to the 3rd of October.


Life Stories


Another one of my projects. This one is in redrafting phase. You can follow the journey at my Follow the Crow Song blog.

If you have any suggestions of great memoirs to read please let me know.


Pictured with my Mum and Daughter.

I am working on a memoir.
I am pleased to say that it is progressing, at last, due to the invaluable feedback from beta readers on the latest draft.
Right now I am writing a detailed outline and selecting poetry to open the chapters.
It is so much fun to gather all the memories together ready to select the ones I think readers will gain or be the most moved by reading. My goal is to select around 25 scenes from this outline to build the memoir.
Looking at the nearly 7000 word outline I am beginning to realise I might have to write two books or a book and several articles or stories.
Some of the pieces here are first drafts, fragments, memory flashbacks, and meditations.
I use them as a resource for constructing longer pieces that may be included in the memoirs or creative non-fiction articles. Some of them have been blogged at ABC Open 500 words and other places too.
I ask only that readers respect my copyright and if they feel moved leave genuine and sincere feedback.
June Perkins 24/07/2015



Originally posted on Following the Crow Song:

threegenerationscloser2 Pictured with my Mum and Daughter.


I am working on a memoir.

I am pleased to say that it is progressing, at last, due to the invaluable feedback from beta readers on the atest draft.

Right now I am writing a detailed outline and selecting poetry to open the chapters.

It is so much fun to gather all the memories together ready to select the ones I think readers will gain or be the most moved by reading.  My goal is to select around 25 scenes from this outline to build the memoir.

Looking at the nearly 7000 word outline I am beginning to realise I might have to write two books or a book and several articles or stories.

Some of the pieces here are first drafts, fragments, memory flashbacks, and meditations.

I use them as a resource for constructing longer pieces that may be included in the…

View original 41 more words

How many Palms can you name?


Latest over at the Magic Fish Dreaming Blog.

Originally posted on Magic Fish Dreaming:

licualablog1 Licuala Fan Palm

When our family first moved to Far North Queensland I had only ever really thought about one kind of palm tree, the coconut palm, so often portrayed in movies of desert islands.

But I was soon to become familiar with the Licuala Fan Palm. This palm is an integral part of the environment that inspired much of the poetry of Magic Fish Dreaming.  It is distinctive and common in the Cassowary Coastal area.

There is a licuala Fan Palm walk between Tully and Mission Beach. On it you may come across the Ulysses Butterfly, Green Tree Frog, Scrub Turkeys or Wallabies and sometimes if you are lucky a Cassowary (we have done this.)

Mission Beach has over 50% of the remaining fan palm forests left in the world. These palms are incredibly resilient to cyclones.

How many variety of palm trees can you name?

To find out more…

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Sneak Peek of the Teacher Notes: Magic Fish Dreaming



This is a brief update on the Magic Fish Dreaming Project.

Just letting you know the teacher/parent notes are nearly complete. You can view a sample over at the project blog.

Some brilliant supporters are sharing the blog and facebook links, or are planning to share the kickstarter link far and wide when we have lift off, including some lovely people from the area where the poetry is set.

Come and join us on the blog or at the facebook space so you can cheer us on when the campaign begins.
Magic Fish Dreaming FACEBOOK
Magic Fish Dreaming BLOG

For the Kickstarter I am editing the video trailer script today and drafting the rewards and details page to see what other information I need to complete it. I’m reading notes from Mira and Jed my kickstarter mentors.

And on another note today is very cold for Brisbane, so I am all rugged up remembering warmer days in the tropics hoping they might help keep me warm.

Originally posted on Magic Fish Dreaming:

treefrog Green Tree Frog – one of the many creatures mentioned in Magic Fish Dreaming


Suggested Activities

Magic Fish Dreaming enhances the study of the natural world, encourages the exploration of poetry techniques,  inspires movement and acting and interests its readers in specific animals and habitat including, the beach, lagoons, rainforests and farms of North Queensland and Australia.

Its poems encourage readers to, explore concepts of size and discuss ecology and the theme of belonging to and caring for the land, community and friends. Most of all it’s full of poetry to inspire the imagination, creative thinking and the building of a relationship with the natural world.

Hunting for a Poem

This poem is about looking for things to inspire poems.

Ask children:
1. Have you read or had poems read you?
2. What is a poem?
3. How could you hunt for one?

1.Natural Sciences and Language Activity

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