Visit our website!

For more information about Interactive Publications (IP) Pty Ltd, visit our website or contact us at

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

'Yellowcake Summer' reviewed as "sharp writing, black humour"

 Yellowcake Summer, the sequel to Yellowcake Springs and the winner of IP Rolling Picks 2013 award for Best Fiction, has been reviewed as sharp writing with plenty of black humour.

Yellowcake Summer by Guy Salvidge

"Rated 4 of 5 stars.
This is a very potent sequel. By nature, it's very difficult for sequels to have the same power to surprise and amaze as their predecessor, but this one comes close -- and better yet, isn't a letdown in any way. One could read them out of order, but in my view the payoff is much greater by reading Yellowcake Springs first.
The vision that Salvidge has established of the future is consistent (and consistently grim). The adventure (especially of Rion) is entertaining, and the writing is again very sharp. What struck me here more than in "Springs" was the sense of black humor.
Sure, Salvidge is standing on the shoulders of Huxley, Orwell, et al. -- but he deserves to stand in their company."
- Rory Costello

'Granny Rags' wows critics at Reading Time

Granny Rags by Janet Reid

"This junior family thriller that embodies a not-so-fearsome witch, bullyboys, petty crooks and a mystery to be solved, moves at an un-put-down-able pace. This is just the right sort of book to help establish the 'reading bug'.
Tim Trickett is a new boy at a small rural school and prey to the bullyboys because of his diffidence socially and physically. He also has an over-protective mother and a physical ailment that he seeks to keep secret.
Fortunately for him, before the term begins he meets Lockie, an outgoing, broadly spoken boy from the neighbourhood who acts as a social buffer for Tim. Lockie's family is well-grounded working class; Tim's father is a DON, Director of Nursing at the local hospital. This itself gives grist to the bullies, who relentlessly present Tim the challenging initiation test that involves him facing up to the reclusive Granny Rags, the local 'witch'.

Tim, urged on by Lockie, not only passes that test, but also perceives that there is another face to Granny Rags. Moreover, the two boys become aware of threats to the old lady by local crooks. Old mysteries buried in the past come to light when the Schoolmaster sets the class ferreting out local history.

The plot moves rapidly, yet never loses its grounding in social reality. There is freshness in the references not only to the Harry Potter books, but sly digs at prevailing adult tastes. There is much merit in this seemingly easy to read story of small town country life."

- MS, Reading Time

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Shadows in Paradise interviewed by Redland Times

"Redland Bay's Carolann Dowding has written a detailed account of her search through adoption secrecy and bureaucracy for her biological family."

Carolann Dowding, author of Shadows in Paradise, recently starred in a feature article by Lyn Uhlmann in the Southern Bay News (syndicated through the Redland Times / Bayside Bulletin).

Go Carolann!

Read the full article here.

Shadows in Paradise by Carolann Dowding

Shadows in Paradise details Carolann's 20-year search for her biological family. Although she loved her adoptive family and had a happy upbringing, she always felt like something was missing. She needed to know the truth.

She persevered through red tape to find her biological mother and then, with the help of a private investigator, followed the clues leading to her biological father. Carolann's story is one of hope and never giving up.

Media attention for two wave-making books: magical realism novel and child abuse legal battle memoir

Blood by Peter Kay
Blood was recently featured in The Mercury Saturday Magazine. Blood, written by Tasmanian local Peter Kay, is a magical realism novel involving time travel, romance, adventure, and the WWII bombing of Darwin.

Blood has also been featured in The Sunday Tasmanian, The Saturday Tasmanian, CQU News and the University of Canberra Monitor.

Sexual Abuse Survivor's Handbook by John Saunders
Sexual Abuse Survivor's Handbook by John Saunders has also been making waves. Read the feature article in the Northern Star here.

Sexual Abuse Survivor's Handbook has previously been mentioned in NSW Parliament, featured in interviews on ABC Radio, and has been the star of several public forums for child abuse survivors.

For details about a forum near you, contact us at

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Review of The Smallest Carbon Footprint in the Land

For teachers and librarians looking for books to address the sustainability theme in the National Curriculum, The Smallest Carbon Footprint is a collection of stories that certainly fits the bill!

A prince wants to marry the girl with the smallest carbon footprint in the land, and he has her diamond slipper to ensure he finds the right girl; Chicken Licken warns everyone that the sea is rising while Foxy Loxy tries to trick them; Cool Girl learns how to grow organic vegetables from the Sensational Seven…this is a collection of some traditional fairy tales each with a very modern twist designed to spread the sustainability, eco-friendly message.

This is an engaging way to introduce students to the sustainability cross-curriculum priority as embedded in the stories are new vocabulary and explanations for terms that even young students are encountering. They can build on their familiarity with Goldilocks, Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin, Little Red Riding Hood and so on and enjoy a 21st century story that will make them think. Teachers will appreciate having a resource that helps them introduce complex concepts in a way that is enjoyable, makes sense and sets a great platform for discussion, as well as comparing the new with the old.

Not only does the collection make a good read-aloud inspiring discussion, but with short stories and intriguing monochrome illustrations it is a great stepping stone between picture book and novel for the newly-independent reader to read alone.

An unusual but worthwhile book to add to your collection.

Barbara Braxton
Teacher Librarian
M.Ed.(TL), M.App.Sci.(TL), M.I.S. (Children's Services)
Together, we learn from each other

Review of Bringing Down the Wall

Just in, a terrific review of Bringing Down the Wall, sent in by Barbara Braxton...

Once, Joshua was very close to his grandfather but since his grandmother got really sick and died, he hasn’t seen him because his mother will not let him.  Joshua suspects it has something to do with his grandfather’s new wife, but eventually the tug of family overcomes him and he sets out on his own to visit him secretly. Timidly he approaches the house and knocks, and is greeted by Riva who tries to persuade him to ring his mum while they wait for Grandpa to come home with ice cream.  But Josh wants to see his grandpa first and when he arrives, they sit down and Grandpa tells him a story from his childhood about little boys not being able to make a difference.

But Joshua disagrees – he thinks they can and he thinks he is. 

That’s not the only lesson Joshua learns that day in a sensitive portrayal of a situation of a family’s rift that is all too common.  For not only does Joshua learn that just one person can take the step to healing, he also has his grandfather’s wisdom of knowing why the rift has occurred and there is understanding rather than blame. Sometimes time can heal, but sometimes it can create a gap too wide to cross. His may not be the only heart healed today.

The soft muted tones that Sona Babajanyan has used in the illustrations echo the poignancy of this story that explores topics that are common in our students’ lives but not necessarily written about in books. The ache between grandchild and grandparent and vice versa is tangible, and there’s always a piece of you missing when one is removed through divorce or death.  Too many years can be lost if there is no reconciliation and Joshua may prove inspirational to some. This is fiction mirroring real life. Sometimes all it takes is the courage to pick up the phone. Little people CAN make a difference, indeed.

Barbara Braxton
Teacher Librarian
M.Ed.(TL), M.App.Sci.(TL), M.I.S. (Children's Services)
Together, we learn from each other

Friday, 29 November 2013

Review of No Matter Who We're With

No Matter Who We’re With
Robert Vescio
Cheri Scholten

IP Kidz, 2013
Hbk, RRP $A 26.00
Ebk RRP $8.00

This is a sensitive story about two children who are dealing with an issue that so many of our students do – their parents are separated and they spend time living at both houses.  Even though they do different things with each parent, like growing their own vegetables in mum’s splendiferous garden or helping dad make Spaghetti Bolognese, there’s a joy that shines through and the most important message that regardless of who they’re with they know they are loved and that will never change.

Cheri Scholten’s colourful illustrations are the perfect accompaniment as they manage to portray the fun and joy and love the children have, reaffirming and reassuring the young reader that even monumental events like your parents separating can be overcome.

So many children struggle with their parents’ separation, and often blame themselves.  They believe that if they had been better, then their parents would not have split. And then, on top of that guilt, comes the perceived difficulties of spending time with both parents which often leaves them confused and conflicted. The beauty of this book is that it demonstrates that they can have fun with both parents and celebrate the spontaneity and pleasures of childhood, making the most of what is rather than regretting what was or what should be.  It’s a book that needs to be in the library’s collection so that our young readers can read about other children just like them, which in itself, can be a powerful healer. It might even be the catalyst for getting a troubled child to write their own story about the good things they do with each parent and realise that they are loved by both and that won’t change, no matter what.

Barbara Braxton
Teacher Librarian
M.Ed.(TL), M.App.Sci.(TL), M.I.S. (Children's Services)
Together, we learn from each other

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Help My Planets out on MakeItHappen

MakeItHappen has posted My Planets Reunion Memoir as an idea that might get a micro grant to enable me to present it at an international conference in Banff, Canada next May. Please connect to the page and "like" the idea to give it the best chance of being funded (costs you nothing):
MakeItHappen is the site of, a philanthropic organisation dedicated to assisting creatives to share ideas and experiences with Jewish content. The organisation provides grants of $1,000 - $5,000 annually to "make it happen" for projects they are enthused about.
The conference David has been invited to is that of the IABA (International Autobiography and Biography Association). In 2014, it will be hosted by the University of Alberta (where David completed his Master's degree) and located at the Banff Centre for the Arts, where My Planets was composed in 2012. Talk about the stars coinciding!
The presentation will showcase the project by showing segments from the online site and also promote discussion about how digital media can be used to enhance memoir.
Once again, please click on the link above and "like" the idea to MakeItHappen.

Friday, 22 November 2013

A poem about leeches

This is for Anne Morgan, on Bruny Island, who asked to see my poem about leeches, which appeared in The Cave After Saltwater Tide, p. 97 (Penguin, 1994). Happy to oblige, Anne!

Snakes and Leeches

she’s an islander
she teases leeches 
cuddles tiger snakes
at low tide or when 
she’s between men

i’m not an islander
though i’ve assaulted 
leeches with salt before
and tapped tiger snakes
moulting behind glass

i bring no frills free
running table salt
for the leeches
i have an eye for snakes
i have an eye for her

there’s a snake dead
at the head of the track
will ours be a one day
stand?  she flicks it away
like unwashed foreskin

my boot barely misses
the first tiger branch
yellow belly hissing off
through the undergrowth
‘hello stranger’ she croons

like a marianne faithful
and i nearly bite her tongue
when i see the first leeches 
maggot up my laces i spill
over-salt my haste 

‘for every snake you see’
she says ‘a hundred more
are coiling in the bush
with their scaley lovers
but no French champagne!’

when we’ve finished
with rainforest we wash off 
our sweat in a tidal pool
and her sock’s all bloody

with the dark love of leeches

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Latest reviews of I Love You Book and Sawdust

This week we feature the latest reviews of our titles I Love You Book by Libby Hathorn and Heath McKenzie and Sawdust by Deborah Kay with Barry Levy.

I Love You Book is a charming picture book about the reasons why children (and adults!) love reading stories in books. It was inspired by a play that Hathorn's adult students in PNG put on to celebrate their excitement over learning to read for the first time. A great Christmas present for young children!

Sawdust is a moving memoir of child abuse that ends not with a broken victim but with a brave woman who has transcended her past and now urges us to protect future generations. It was launched by Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale for National Child Protection Week (October). A gift to make you think.

I Love You Book:

"The inspiration for this book could have been the sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning which begins “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…” because it is an ode to the pleasures and delights of the book – its sights, sounds, smells and the remarkable places it encourages our imagination to visit and the amazing creatures we meet when we get there.

From the “rustle-bustle” of the pages to the “dots and commas, question marks Performing every page” to the “happily-ever-afters, packed-to-the-rafters”, this is an enthusiastic, energetic romp that reaffirms the joy that reading provides and why books are here to stay because they are the perfect format. On each page, illustrator Heath McKenzie has created fantastic artworks (hand-drawn using a digital tablet) which match the energy of the text and help us recall some of the most magic moments in our reading lives. And even if we haven’t yet met the centipede being rude or visited those lands at the top of the tree, it inspires us to find those books so we can.

We ask our students to express why they love books, not just as an exploration of the senses but also as a way of having them recommend books to others. Which books make you “dreamy and sometimes quiet and slow”, and which books make you want to “go, get up and go!”? Similarly, how do those “short-long words” make the story move, and what role do those dots and commas have?

If you’re planning to start 2014 off with a focus on reading and books and the pleasures the children are going to be in for as the year with you progresses, this is a must-have."
- Barbara BraxtonThe Bottom Shelf, OZTLNet (Australian Teacher Librarian Network)


"This book is an excellent read - such a tough and terrible subject told with such optimism and hope. It helped me to understand how a young child normalises this situation. Deborah Kay is an amazing woman and so brave to tell her story. Her own children should be very proud of her. Well done!"
- Judy White, reader

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Commentary on latest US court ruling for Google Books

The American Authors Guild seems intent on throwing good money after bad by pursuing Google for publishing excerpts from digitised books and then making them available on Google Books. In the latest court decision in the ongoing battle, a US court has ruled that Google Books is operating within the constraints of "fair use" in publishing extracts from whole books.

I've never understood the problem. IP signed up for Google Books back in the days before Google sold books because we saw the site as offering our titles greater discoverability amidst the millions of titles published each year. We never saw it as an infringement of copyright, although I can understand the objection of authors who never volunteered to have their work posted this way.

We routinely offer a link from the dedicated mini-sites for our books to the Google Books page featuring the title. This allows us to provide a short sample on our site, then give people the option to connect to Google Books to read a longer sample. Our Store is always the top link on the Google page for people who decide to buy the book in print or digitised version.

Surely, posting 15% of a work does not constitute piracy, especially since authors and publishers can choose to opt out of Google Books in part or in whole. These days, when authors offer their ENTIRE books for free on Amazon, that is a greater potential threat to their copyright if the freebie is then passed on.

Google Books is all about discoverability and enticing people to buy your work after sampling it. To see how it works, have a look at The Snow In Us (2nd edition)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

IP eNews 60 (our last newsletter) is online!

Our last ever issue of IP eNews is now online, so please check it out if you haven't already: IP eNews 60

We've enjoyed the 15 years that eNews has been online and were pleased that the National Library has been archiving it as 'a significant cultural feature' almost from the start. The newsletter evolved over the years, reflecting the growth of IP, adding columns on imprints like IP Kidz as they came on stream, as well as fascinating interviews with our authors.

The only problem was that it was a quarterly. In the early days that was fine, but recently we've had so much news to share that we've increasingly relied on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for posting breaking news and events. eNews became more of a summary of information that had already been released on our social media sites, so readers would likely skim over much of the content.

The big advantage of newsletters, though, is covering issues in greater depth than the "grabs" one expects from Twitter and even Facebook. So we're hoping this new blog will be a more efficient and timely replacement for eNews, however sad we are to see it go!

And we also hope that you will "write back" to us in response to our postings, even prompting us for postings that you would like to see here. Here's your chance to shape the direction of our blog at the outset, so do let us know!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Welcome to Interactive Publications Australia's Blog!

From 2014, we'll post items here that hopefully will interest you about IP, Australia's most innovative independent publisher.

Our blog will replace IP eNews, which we wound up after its 60th issue, 15 years after it went to air. eNews was a quarterly and had an engaging mix of news, interviews, how-tos and editorials. But we think it's time for a more immediate means of communicating with you. So this blog will coordinate with our Facebook and Twitter sites, providing more depth. And of course it will be easier for you to chat with us here, and at length. We're looking forward to 2014, and beyond!