'The Chaos Before Christmas' - Written by Sarina Dickson, Illustrated by Lily Emo
So excited to share the cover of my latest picture book - 'The Chaos Before Christmas'. Award-winning illustrator (her last book was Margaret Mahy's The Boy Who Made Things Up!) has done an amazing job of bringing Elroy McChristmas' story and world to life.
'Tis the run up to Christmas
and there is so much to do!
At Elf School we are learning
how we can help too.
Elroy McChristmas and his friends are about to sit their final test before Santa decides the best job for each elf. But when it's time to show off their skills, the classroom erupts into chaos! Can Elroy and his classmates restore calm before Santa arrives?
You can pre-order it here or buy it in all good bookshops from 27.09.22.
Hilary Jean Tapper and I, along with Hachette's Product and Publishing Manager Alison Shucksmith had a wonderful morning at the WORD festival's Great Story Hunt event at Tūranga library this morning. Lots of book chat, lots of happy kids and and cheeky kea!
Hilary and I a are both so grateful to the amazing on-going support from our published, Hachette Aoteotaroa, NZ. The WORD volunteers and the library staff took such good care of us and made the event a breeze.
It was such a honour and a pleasure to be the editor of the School for Young Writers' magazine. Issue 58's theme was 'Food for Thought' and the submissions certainly delivered. It was a tough gig deciding on the final cut of approximately 50 outstanding pieces out of the hundreds sent in for consideration.
Issue 58 was a snapshot of what is currently on our young writer’s minds. They’re thinking a lot about connection, change, relationships, their own place in the world and food!
Writing is a wonderful vehicle for self-discovery, and for understanding others. By knowing the stories of those around us we can more easily bridge the gaps between us. Our young writers are learning the power of writing in expressing their own ideas and emotions, in ways that can be understood by others.
Submissions are now open for Issue 59 - 'It's Only Natural'. For more info visit
'A Stick and a Stone' is taking our cheeky kea and our beautiful alpine landscape on another adventure! Hitting stores in Canada and the USA in August. Available for preorder now, at Barnes and Noble and Indigo Canada, and in stores soon.
'A Stick and a Stone' in Turkey!
‘A Stick and a Stone’ has become ‘Great Camping Adventure’ in a Turkish translation by Ulker Yoldirimcan. A long way for our cheeky kea to travel!
Life Education Trust's mission is 'Teaching tamariki and rangatahi knowledge to make informed choices about their health, respect others and learn to appreciate their uniqueness.' This week Life Education Trust Hamilton's educator Amy has selected 'Rising Tide' as their book of the week. Her review is below. Thanks Amy & Harold!
Anyone can access 'Rising Tide' for free via The Worry Bug website. There is a downloadable ebook and audio book version in english and te reo, with notes for parents, teachers and therapists.
Rising Tide is a junior chapter book that tells the story of a young boy named Ari and his family. Ari finds school very challenging and this story introduces themes of inter-generational Dyslexia and learning difficulties, shame, secrets and worries. The story is told from a strength-based perspective and highlights all the things that are amazing about Ari, his Dad and his Koro. It shows how overwhelming Ari finds the one quality about himself that he doesn’t feel so good about and how big his worries related to this can get. Sharing Ari’s thoughts and feelings, the author shows us he faces challenges to develop his resilience and emotional intelligence. A dangerous flash flood presents an opportunity for Ari’s family to work together and in doing so they build the trust needed to finally let all their shameful family secrets out in the open. Ari feels so much less worried once he realises that he’s not the only one who’s experienced these struggles…..
Like other Sarina Dickson books, Rising Tide has a comprehensive section at the end that provides support for teachers and families. There are lesson plans related to the book, thorough explanations of the thought-traps presented in the story with strategies to overcome these and suggestions for family exercises that work on building healthy minds together as a whaanau.
I'm very excited to share that I will be the editor for issues 58 & 59 of 'Write On', the magazine of the @schoolforyoungwriters. Looking forward to diving in to new themes and competitions and reading lots and lots of work by talented young writers. Check out the website for info on how to submit, and lots of classes for young writers to attend in Christchurch and via zoom.
Raising Literacy Australia Selects 'A Stick and a Stone' as their Jan'22 Featured Story
Raising Literacy Australia (RLA) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to enriching children’s lives through literacy. They promote and help to develop early childhood literacy right across Australia by supporting families to read, talk, play, and sing with their children from birth through universal and targeted programs.
So I was thrilled when they chose 'A Stick and a Stone' as their featured book for preschoolers for January 2022.
They said 'A Stick and a Stone' is a joyous celebration of getting a lot out of the natural environment whilst being with families and friends. Whilst exploring the great outdoors these friends discover a wide variety of treasures and overcome a tricky problem. Utilising the resources at hand, working together, enjoying nature and being together are all key themes of this beautifully illustrated book.'
Visit their site to find Activity Time ideas and Learning Time ideas with ECE curriculum links and resources.
What a Year 2021 Has Been
At the end of 2020 I was dreaming of ways I could continue to hone my skills in creative writing for children and to design myself a 'writerly life'. This is also my dream for 2022. In amongst some really difficult family times this year, covid and a temporary move to Lincoln while we rebuild our house in Addington there have been some stand out writing moments for me during 2021.
I loved teaching Year 3-8 students at several Christchurch primary schools through 'The School For Young Writers' and look forward to more teaching opportunities in 2022.
Publication of 'A Stick and a Stone'
Publication of 'The Fairies Night Before Christmas'
The Fairies becoming a number 1 bestseller and staying in the top ten chart for several weeks.
Inclusion of both titles in several 'best of' and 'recommended for Christmas' lists
The opening of the Smith & Caughey Christmas windows featuring our fairies and the subsequent top 5 listing for the display in an international best Christmas windows list.
2022 is looking to be just as exciting with my next PB due out in September and three more under contract for 2023. There's a few more highlights that are still under wraps for now but I look forward to sharing them with you in the new year. I'm so grateful for all the support from readers, librarians, booksellers and especially the team at Hachette and Sarah and Hilary. This year really has been a dream come true.
Christmas Reads from The Sapling
So chuffed to be included in The Sapling's list of Top Recommendations for the 2021 Holiday Season. Editors Sarah and Briar said:
A Stick And A Stone. For littlies who go on bush walks.
This story has a lovely rhythm and is a great read-aloud. A family group are wandering through the bush, when a kea steals one of their hats! They find that tricky kea and come together again.
Sarina Dickson is a writer, artist and educator based in Christchurch, New Zealand.