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And perhaps most importantly, I came away with the crazy idea that maybe I could write them myself!

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And now, only last week in fact, I have just released my first book, Diary of a Penguin-napper. And they all had a slightly different take on it. I also find the newspaper to be a great source of story ideas. I usually find great inspiration in the short sentence articles that fill the sides or bottoms of pages. I find they are often on really unusual topics and you are only given a snippet of information to get you started. Then, it is up to you as a writer to fill in the gaps! I also like the challenge of writing for children.

People always think it is easier because the books are shorter or the plots can be less complex, but let me tell you, they are a tough crowd!

diary of a penguin-napper

Well, apart from the bright yellow cover, I think there are two things that really make it stand out in the sea of middle grade fiction out there. The first is that it is based on a story that a lot of people have heard of already — that of a boy stealing a penguin from a zoo on a school trip. The second thing that I think makes Diary of a Penguin-napper really exciting is that it is funny. As a teacher and librarian, I know how much children and their parents love books that make them laugh. There are a lot of funny male writers — Roald Dahl, David Walliams, Andy Griffiths, to name but a few — but not nearly as many well known females.

It is great to have a captive audience to test out story ideas on and to have some time in school holidays to get cracking with writing. I just need to refine my corny jokes!


I absolutely love the cover design for this book! I think it both captures the spirit of the story, plus it both fits well with the middle grade fiction genre and yet stands out because of the bold use of yellow. When I decided to go ahead and print the book myself, I really wanted to produce a professional looking product and part of that was having an experienced cover designer create the cover.

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Andrew Brown of Design for Writers had designed a number of covers for other books that I had read or come across, so I got in touch with him. He was absolutely fantastic to work with — very patient and very receptive to feedback. It is also flying off the shelves or should that be waddling? Be sure to join her to enter the draw to win a free copy of Diary of a Penguin-napper! Aww, I loved how you had the kids give their opinions and listed them by age. That was very sweet. That looks great fun — I heard the myth for the first time only this month, but love the idea that the penguin has been escaping for decades!

Are they all like that?!

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Haha luckily it is a great read for both mu and my daughters! You are commenting using your WordPress.

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Diary of a Penguin-napper Teaching Sequence

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. I asked Sally a bit about herself and the book… Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

ISBN 13: 9780987416308

It seems no one else can open them either. Too bad. I was looking forward to seeing them. Thanks to the judges and to everyone involved for running this contest. Your email address will not be published. Come to our Free Online Conference. Twitter Facebook Podcast. The best cover art award is given to those whose book covers are graced with wonderful cover art.

The best cover layout award is given to those who took great care in designing a book cover. The best book cover award is given to someone who did everything right. More to Explore. She also shares top tips on routes into audio.

Sally Harris reads from Diary of a Penguin-napper

But all the links to the images are broken. It might be nice to see them…. It may have been better to post the covers as pdf files. Congratualtions to all. Leave a Reply Cancel comment reply Your email address will not be published. This site uses cookies: Find out more.