I love picture books. I've got my old favourites and there's no end to discovering amazing new books. I love reading them with my kids but sometimes I read them to myself. When my sister comes over we always talk about the latest picture books we've read.
A few years ago I had an idea for a picture book. I wrote my story and enrolled in a short course in writing for children. The course was great! It got me so inspired that I couldn't sleep with all the ideas bursting out of my brain. During the course, my daughter was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. This added more emotion to my writing. It's not always easy being a Mum, but writing stories helps me cope with some of the things I find hardest. By the end of the writing course, I was addicted.
I began a picture book writers' group at NSW Writers' Centre and made friends with other writers. I love sharing stories with my friends in the group and getting feedback on my writing. Working out how to improve a picture book manuscript is like doing a puzzle - more fun than a cryptic crossword. I've accidentally written a chapter book too. It's about Asperger's.
Topics I'm writing about include monsters, robots, chocolate, snails, superheroes, waterfights, princesses, trolls, goats, babushka dolls, tantrums, Christmas, frogs, pirates, Jesus, smiles, bedtime, Easter, tigers, dangerous Australian animals, cake and more robots. Most of my stories have a Mum in them. The stories are also about love, forgiveness, humility, bravery and enjoying each other.
I studied Early Childhood Education at uni and did fantastic subjects such as Play, Music and Maths and Science (which was similar to play!). My favourite subject was children's literature. I remembered my childhood books like old friends and met wonderful new books.
For a while I reviewed picture books for the CBCA magazine, Reading Time. This meant I got a parcel to open once every few months, and I love getting parcels. I got to write up what I thought of the books and I even got to keep them. Then I got another parcel - the magazine! It has articles about authors and a review of every new children's book. I don't do the reviewing any more, but I still love discovering all the latest books in Reading Time.
I met these books at uni.
Since uni I have worked as a preschool teacher where I fell in love with all the books which are perfect for reading to a group. Now that I have my kids, I've fallen in love with all the picture books which are perfect for reading with my own children.
This website is mostly about picture books, but there are other things I love too. I'm a Jesus person (otherwise known as Christian) and that's more important than anything to me.
I realise most people think that's weird, so I'll explain a little. Jesus said that he is the only way to God, which is a shocking thing to say, unless it's the reality. I'm 100% convinced by Jesus, mostly because he kept saying he was going to die and come back to life and then he did. That's enough to win me over on its own, but then there's also the thought that he would love someone like me enough to die for me - amazing!
I love telling people about Jesus, so I run a kids' music group at my church and SRE classes at my kids' primary school.
My other love is my family. That's no surprise. Being a mum and wife and caring for my family is even more important to me than picture books. I mean, much more important. I dream of having my picture books illustrated by my kids when they grow up, because they are all artistic. I love their drawings.
Penelope Jane Morrison
Sutherland Hospital, NSW, Australia
I grew up around Toongabbie/Blacktown in the western suburbs of Sydney - that's right, I'm a westie! I lived with my Mum, Dad, younger sister and brother.
Purple, but not just any purple. I'm not into violet or greyish purple. I'm happy with indigo or cornflower blue. The type of purple which makes people say, 'Is this blue? or purple?'
I live in Sydney, on the Northern Beaches.
My husband is a jazz musician. Our kids' initials are J, A, Z, but that's just a co-incidence. We have a daugher and 2 sons. Our daughter has Asperger's. All our kids love drawing.
Update: It's no longer called Asperger's Syndrome. My daughter and one son are now diagnosed with mild autism, level one.
Babuska dolls, lego, rainbows, chocolate, red jackets, chilli chips, red shoes, picture books. These are a few of my favourite things.
Mangoes, passionfruit, pineapple, over-ripe bananas, under-ripe bananas, homework,
bruised bananas, artificial additives, getting the hiccups, anchovies, having an idea for a story in the middle of the night which keeps me awake for hours and then I'm a grumpy Mum for the whole next day.
Best book of all time
The Bible. I read it every day.