Pixi’s Book of Circus

I have known Pixi, ever since we met at a Writing Group in Wollongong. She once kindly gave my family tickets to go to see Circus Oz as well when we last caught up in Brisbane over ten years ago! I was delighted to hear she has recently published a book on circus especially for children, but attractive for all ages.  Pixi has lived and studied circus, and her book is written from a true first hand and an academic researched understanding of what circus actually is.

Pixi was born in Perth and studied classical ballet.   She worked on circuses in Germany and England, flying trapeze, aerial ballet, riding elephants. Back in Australia she married a fellow-performer on Swiss Circus Royale in the “big top”. A founding member of Circus Oz, Associate Artistic Director for the first three years of The Flying Fruit Fly Circus.   She has an associate Degree in Visual Art at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), BA (1st Class Hons. Writing) and a Masters at Edith Cowan University. She self-published Bunty Armitage – Circus Girl (2014); Tempo – a circus romance (2015) both on Lulu.com; A Book of Circus (2017) and you can order on FB.  She is the Oceania Co-ordinator, World Circus Day and Co-organiser, Australian Circus Festival.

 

1.What is your earliest memory of circus? 

Seeing Bullen Bros Circus or Ashton’s Circus, or possibly Wirth’s Circus (can’t remember which but saw them all) in early 1950s in Perth. It always rained when the circus came! My main memory, is of massed girls spinning in the air, the sound of the circus band, andthe evocative smell of exotic animals.

 

2.When and why did you begin to write this circus book?

It grew out of another project, a serious, slightly academic picture book on the history of Australian Circus. I felt it was important to share the important cultural aspects of circus in the colonies and in the present day; most people have no idea of this rich, vibrant history.

 

3.Why did you pick the style of the book? And how would you describe it?

This is a picture book using real photographic images of historic and contemporary circuses and performers. The use of drawn or painted illustrations was not a consideration as too much of “circus” is presented as fantasy while it is, in fact, gutsy and earthy and real.

 

4.Why did you independently publish your book?

I’ve been submitting unsuccessfully to publishers and agents for quite some time, even though I had a Second and a Highly Commended from the Children’s Book Council of NSW “Frustrated Writers’ Awards” which ultimately led nowhere, so decided a few years ago that I just better do it myself as I can’t seem to get past the gate-keepers of the book publishing establishment.

 

5.Who is your main interested audience for this book?  Why?

The Book of Circus is designed for young circus audience members, circus fans and collectors of circus books; it has eye-appeal for children (target audience) and grandmas who buy treats at the circus. For adults it  contains information about general circus history and some facts about circus animals. It is a resource for schools, libraries and other interested parties with listings for all the travelling circuses in Australia, circus schools, circus shows and circus equipment suppliers.

 

6.What five words would your use to describe this book?

Colourful; fun; entertaining; affordable; informative.

 

7.Share  your favourite short excerpt from the book.

Given the current (and puzzling) hysteria surrounding clowns, I’m quite pleased with my explanation aimed at young children in an endeavor to normalize our clown colleagues:

Clowns are ordinary people wearing face paint and funny clothes”.

 

8.What is your favourite image in this book?  Why?

I love them all, which is why they’re in the book, but I have to admit to particularly loving “l is for lion” – young Cassius West from Stardust Circus with his favourite lion cub, just beautiful. This family of animal trainers, acrobats, aerialists and circus proprietors shares a special affinity with the Big Cats.

 

9.What advice would you give to anyone wanting to go into circus work?

Aspiring circus performers and workers need to understand that it is a way of life, not just a job, whether you are an artiste, an animal handler, the fairy-floss maker, or the on-site school teacher. Rather like farming, really, in many ways: the weather, the outdoor aspects, the animals, the constant harassment by animal activists, but with the bonus of constantly changing scenery! So if you chose this path you have to be committed 100% to 24 hour days, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year. Hard work? Yes, of course, but more rewarding than you could ever imagine.

 

10. What advice would you give to new writers when picking a topic to write about?

Let the topic pick you. I never meant to write about circus, but it just keeps happening, ha, ha!

 

 

How to get hold of the book

Pixi is now taking orders for A BOOK OF CIRCUS.  $15 plus postage. VIA email:  sumarapixi@hotmail.com

You can find out about her other circus books via Lulu

More information about Pixi is HERE

 

Tempo on Lulu

Thanks so much for appearing on the blog Pixi!  May you write many more books of circus!

 

 

Ten Things About Poetry and Me: Nadine Cranenburgh

Ripple Poetry

1.  What is your earliest memory of poetry?
The earliest poems I remember hearing were ‘Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace’ by AA Milne, and  The Swing, ‘Bed in Summer’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. I enjoyed imagining myself as a soldier in a beefeater hat and hearing words about playing in the park and going to bed in daylight as they were things I actually did! I must have been very young (under five) when my mum read them to me, and they were early influences when I began writing poetry for children.


2. When and why did you begin to write poetry for children?
When I had kids! At first I didn’t write anything down, I made verses up and recited them aloud to entertain and occupy my sons when they were babies and toddlers. Not surprisingly, the first poems I thought up were about them. When I was…

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Freedom For Every Child

Magic Fish Dreaming

From the Perkins Family Archive

I wish for every child in the world, freedom from war, freedom from hunger, free education, and someone who cares for them and loves to read them poetry.

Thanks so much to the following people for their much valued and precious feedback on Magic Fish Dreaming.

Thank you to the Children’s Book Academy for their recent interview.

Thank you to the Sandcliffe Writers Festival for giving me a voice. And everyone who stopped to look at my book and those of other presenters on the table at the Bracken Ridge Library.

All the people who helped make this book delight in knowing how young readers are responding to the art and the stories and I do pass your messages on to Helene Magisson our illustrator as well.

It gives me hope!

I have begun work in earnest on a sequel to Magic Fish Dreaming.  …

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Riverbend Books Event – 18th January 2017

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It was a magical day of discovering and hunting for poems at Riverbend bookshop.

Vicky from Riverbend books gave a warm introduction, and shared that our book was crowd funded, beautifully done, and well supported by the local community.

I let our audience know where the book was set, but think maybe next time I might need a compass for this.

I found out that nearly all our audience loved fishing! Which is great as we have two poems on fishing in the book. I read ‘Wishing for a Fish’.

It was lovely to hear some laughter when ‘Discovering Magic’ was read! To have the jokes of this poem appreciated was awesome.

When I asked them what they would wish from a fairy’s tooth, one child said she would love to fly.

The perfect opportunity to read a poem about birds next. I chose ‘Tawny.’

The audience loved nature, and knew a lot about cassowaries and Tawny Frogmouths, and maybe some learnt about the Tasmanian Tiger, or Thylacine and quolls for the first time.

Some had Tawnys in their back yard and others had been on nocturnal walks to see them. We could have talked all day about Tawny, but just one more poem – on ‘Hunting for Poems’ and time to go hunt for some of our own. Time to use the imagination we use when playing games of deciding what a cloud might be when it forms a shape in the sky.

Thanks so much to Vicky at Riverbend for preparing the workshop space for us and for photocopying the education materials that I had developed. And thanks to all our enthusiastic participants.

It was lovely to have a bit of a chat with children, parents and grandparents and to sign books for some of our lovely guests. It means a lot when people buy your book!

The children loved Helene’s illustrations and I told them I would pass this message on to Helene Magisson, who would have just loved this adorable audience.

Well done to all our young poets!

(Thanks for the kind permission of our participants to share photographs of our first event for the year. Thanks to my daughter Sheridan and Vicky from Riverbend for the photography and helping us pack up afterwards)

From America

Our latest dear little fan!

Magic Fish Dreaming

americanfan

“Thank you  for sending your beautiful new children’s book “Magic Fish Dreaming” all the way from Australia, signed by you and the illustrator. She said “oooooh,” which means five star review from her.  This book was lovely. The poems and the illustrations were beautiful. She was ooohing at the picture where the children are sitting under the moon and at the Tawny Frogmouth especially.

*Thanks for permission from this little one’s mum to share this picture.

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