‘All I Want for Christmas is Rain’ – a CBCA 2017 Notable Book!

I was thrilled to learn that ‘All I Want for Christmas is Rain’, illustrated by Megan Forward and published by New Frontier Publishing, is a 2017 Children’s Book Council of Australia 2017 Notable Book in the Early Childhood category.

I was in some very talented company and I am truly humbled by this. I am very proud of the book.

Thank you Children’s Book Council of Australia – this means a lot to me.

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‘Romancing the Stars’ – 23 February 2017

I had a great time at the Book Links (Qld) ‘Romancing the Stars’ event on 23 February 2017. It was great to see so much local writing and illustrating talent. It was also wonderful to catch up with the fabulous Megan Forward (my illustrator for ‘All I Want for Christmas is Rain’). And I was thrilled to meet Amanda Francey - an illustrator whose work I really admire (and who I would love to work with one day!).

Thanks to Book Links (Qld) for inviting me – I had a great night! I would recommend the event for anyone interested in children’s literature.

megan and I

Megan and I

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More wonderful feedback on ‘All I Want for Christmas is Rain’

Today I received this wonderful feedback from a colleague from my last office on my new book All I Want for Christmas is Rain. It meant so much to me to think that my book helped someone relive memories of their childhood and family. I may have gotten a wee bit emotional. It is feedback like this that makes me so proud of this book. Part of me feels like this is a little bit of a thank you to Australia for giving me such a great life since I moved here in 2000 (from Canada). Thank you!

‘Hi Cori! How are you? Congratulations on your latest book! We were at our library recently and Madeline found it in the new release section so we’ve been enjoying it at home. After we returned it I went hunting for it but our local book shop had sold out. Then I saw my mum today who told me how excited she was to find the most beautiful Christmas story for our kids and my sisters twins. She said she was so excited when she saw it as it reminded her of her dad who grew up on a drought affected farm in the Malley, Victoria and he would tell us as a boy he only ever wanted rain from Santa . So I asked mum if it was your book and turns out she bought the last 4 copies from the store. She says to say she loved it and it brought back memories of her dad and her own childhood on farms. And it reminded her of an Australian movie we liked as kids called Bushfire Moon. Mum was thrilled I knew you as she wanted to pass on her congratulations and thanks for such a beautiful book (as do I). We also regularly enjoy your other books too. Madeline always pulls out Fearless with Dad any time Tim returns from a long work trip and has him read it over and over for days.’

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Lovely feedback on All I Want for Christmas is Rain

A lovely lady emailed me this feedback on All I Want for Christmas is Rain yesterday and it really made my day. I was so hoping that my book would make it out to where it was needed – to the drought affected farmers and their kids. And, at least in some small way, it is! This is great and it just makes me so happy. I really hope that the kids (and their parents) that receive it like it – that is the real test! Would love to hear more feedback.

“Hi Cori, I just wanted to tell you how wonderful I think your book is. We have been fundraising for farmers suffering from the drought and I am sending out your book in my most recent care pack for the kids for Christmas. I am working with a group of people called Rural Assist. We introduced a cookbook initially and then later a calendar to help raise the money. So far we have raised almost $40,000 which we have used towards paying down farmers debt by helping pay for feed bills, power bills or sometimes just a new pair of boots. Where ever there is a need, we chip in and do what we can. I have only just discovered your beautiful book and found it at a little cafe in Dayboro but I have looked into stockists already to purchase more copies as the need arises. I can’t wait for the feedback on it as I am sure that it will be a most loved and cherished book by the children that we support who will certainly relate to it. Have a lovely evening.Here is hoping that it is a good omen and they have rain soon. Thank you for directing some much needed focus back on our farmers. Have a lovely Christmas x”

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Good Times! indeed: The Monkees concert – Brisbane 2 December 2016 – QPAC

Okay, so this is a site about my picture books and other things related to kid’s picture books but I am stepping out of that realm for this post. One week ago I went to the Monkees concert in Brisbane. I bought the front row ticket at the pre-sale ages ago. I was so stoked to get a front row ticket – I didn’t care how much it cost. I also didn’t care that no one wanted to go with me or that people teased me about going. There were all the predictable age-related taunts regarding the band AND audience (to which I replied ‘I don’t care what you say, I am going to be with my people’). Fortunately, I don’t care about what people think of me and so I proudly purchased my solo ticket and waited (I’m also an only child and am cool with my own company). But in the meantime, I had the new Monkees album, Good Times!, to keep me going (along with all the other albums). And gosh is it a great album – my favourite album of the last 20 years, easily. It makes me happy and it warms my heart. For me, Good Times! is like a beautiful handmade quilt – it is complex, warm, rich and soulful. It is full of spirit. It is comforting. I love it. My 6 year old son loves it too, which makes me love it even more. We sing along to it together. I also bought the BluRay box set of the TV show – oh man it looks great (so much better than I remember from my old VCR cassettes…remember those?).

Anyway, eventually the year slipped away and the concert night arrived. It had been a big day – I had been at a pub all day for my office Christmas party (I am always a stayer – I stayed as long as I could before I had to go to the concert). I hopped in an Uber and crossed a very busy Friday night Brisbane. The first thing I noticed at QPAC was the demographic – there were kids and older people and everyone in between. Everyone looked super happy.

Speaking of happiness – and stepping away from the concert for a moment – the Monkees represent this to me. I am 37 so I wasn’t around for the first wave of Monkeemania but I did watch them (and tape them meticulously on VCR cassettes) when I was a kid and as a teenager I remained devoted to them. I loved the music, the characters, the aesthetic and the comedy in the Monkees TV show. I was raised by hippies and I tend to live in the past. It has actually been a lifelong dream of mine to see the Monkees live but, for one reason or another, it just never happened. Until 2 December 2016.

I took my seat – front row, extreme right – right near Peter Tork’s keyboard and a big stack of speakers. I was amused to see that the person sitting next to me was younger than me, probably by about 15 years! Take that haters! The concert started a little after 8:00pm with the Monkees theme song and opening credits playing on the big screen at the back of the stage. And then Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork took to the stage (Davy Jones passed away in 2012 and Papa Nez doesn’t tour anymore) and my dream was coming true! Here were my two favourite Monkees right in front of me singing ‘Listen to the Band’. I was in pure heaven.

And the hits just rolled on. Peter and Micky sang, played their respective instruments, bantered, joked, sauntered and had the whole audience captivated. Here’s the thing: I have been to a LOT of concerts in my 37 years. This was hands down the best. Let’s remember how the Monkees were formed and that 2016 is their 50th anniversary. Just think about those two things for a minute. Over the past week I have been wondering why? Why was this the best concert I have been to? Why have I been thinking about it so fondly for the past week. Well, to start with there was just something magical about it. It was bursting at the seams with heart, soul and that special something that is hard to express in words. That certain something. Micky and Peter (and their fabulous band) were so generous with their hearts and spirits … of course, it wasn’t a free concert and people expect to be entertained but this was more than that. There was a generosity of spirit (both from the Monkees, their band AND the audience) that I have never witnessed at any concert before. It is pretty ironic to me that a band that was formed for a TV show 50 years ago managed to put on a concert that was so full of genuine musicianship, spirit and camaraderie – it quite simply could not be faked.

At one point Peter talked about how their feelings were hurt when people were saying (years ago) that they weren’t ‘real’ musicians. I can understand why they were upset. Micky and Peter are both so talented on their respective instruments and Micky’s voice is so darn good. These guys are obviously in great shape.

Song highlights? Randy Scouse Git, Goin Down (FAB U LOUS), Oh My My (seriously good), D.W. Washburn, Daydream Believer (sigh…), I’m a Believer (danced to that one), Me & Magdalena, You Bring the Summer, Auntie Grizelda (Peter rocks) … oh and all the rest.They played 30 songs and each was fabulous – they played the hits and I could sing along to each song. Thank you for that. When Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow came on, I thought ‘I don’t want this to end…I don’t want tomorrow to come!’. I marvelled at Micky and Peter up there in front of me displaying better showmanship and stage presence than performers half their age or younger. There was no precious behaviour either – want to take photos? No problem. Snap away. The multi media aspect of the show (with clips from the show and videos featuring Davy) being shown during the show added to the experience in a very tasteful way.

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At one point I turned around and looked at the whole audience (remember I was front row). The smiles and warm-hearted faces of all the people of all ages were so beautiful. These were my people.

This was the perfect concert. And I was at it. As the concert ended (with me dancing to I’m a Believer) I was speechless. Wow. What a night. This review in the Australian was spot on.

2016 has been, in a lot of ways, a pretty dark, crappy year. The US election saddened and shocked me to my very core (remember: I am Canadian). Plus two of my idols died: Prince and David Bowie. Plus all the other stress and messes going on around the world. On a personal and professional level, 2016 was very rewarding though and alongside the good parts of 2016 I had Good Times! to celebrate with. And I was able to close out 2016 on a huge high having seen two guys who I have loved since I was a kid. And for 2.5 hours on Friday night at QPAC no one had any dark thoughts, there was no sadness, there was no stress, there was no negativity – there was just a whole lotta love, peace and happiness. What a gift.

I even contemplated taking my son (who was a bit miffed that I didn’t take him) and husband to the Gold Coast show next Friday but, you know, being an author and public servant is… well… not super lucrative. But I will always have my memory from Friday night and I will cherish it forever.

So, thank you to you Peter and Micky (and Mike and Davy). You have given me a lot of happiness throughout the years and I am so glad to have been able to finally see you live. I know I witnessed something unique and special last Friday night in Brisbane. I desperately hope that you tour Australia again; I hope I get to have that feeling again.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the Good Times. You guys rock.

Peace and love, Cori Brooke xo

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All I Want for Christmas is Rain

I can’t believe it is already December! Where did 2016 go? With a hot Australian Christmas just around the corner (it is already hot!), my new book All I Want for Christmas is Rain is on topic! I have been getting some fabulous feedback on my book, which is so lovely. I am really proud of this book. The brief from my publisher New Frontier was to write a Christmas book. My mission was clear: I wanted to write a book that was educational, very Australian and not about the commercial side of Christmas. I also wanted to touch Australian farmers because I have so much respect for them. And so the manuscript for All I Want for Christmas is Rain was born. New Frontier loved it and, lucky for me, they chose the fabulous Megan Forward to illustrate it for me.

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And it has been getting some great press…

Read an article by the Rural Weekly about my new book here.

Megan Daley from Children’s Book Daily reviewed my book on Sarah Howells’ ABC show on 29 November 2016. You can listen to the audio here. My book is discussed first. I cried listening to this review – it meant so much to me. Thank you to Megan Daley for the review.

If you would like to find out how to get a copy of my book, contact me by email: cori@coribrooke.com.au

If you have read All I Want for Christmas is Rain and have feedback, please get in touch with me via Twitter, Facebook or email.

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All I Want For Christmas is Rain is out now! Let it rain!

It is hard to believe it is already November! And with November brings the release of my third book, All I Want For Christmas is Rain. You can buy it in hard cover now from New Frontier. You can watch a video of Megan and I talking about the book here.

Here I am with my advance copy – Megan’s illustrations really hit the mark and I hope that all Australians love this book. Australia is my adopted country and this book is my thank you to Australia. I am very proud of this book – I hope you love it. Thank you to New Frontier for publishing this book, to Megan Forward for her beautiful perfect illustrations and to those people that helped make this happen with photographs of cattle properties.

I wish you all a very happy, wet and rainy Christmas! xo Cori

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I will be participating in the BIG DRAW – 20 Aug 11.30am

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Australia: Story Country!

Saturday – 20 August 2016, between 10:00am and 1:00pm

I am very excited to have been invited to participate in the BIG DRAW! Join Giuseppe and I at 11.30am… and the Queensland Branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, local children’s authors and illustrators, and members of the Brisbane Illustrators Group and Write Links at the State Library of Queensland for a series of specially curated activities for children, young people and their families to celebrate the beginning of 2016 Book Week.

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In the Knowledge Walk, help us create characters and images for two stories written especially for the occasion by Queensland writers. Children will learn about character development and elements of story creation, as well as learning and practising sketching, drawing, colouring, and painting.

Join in the fun with storytelling sessions by local picture book authors and illustrators who will be discussing the stories behind the stories, teaching children about how books are developed and put together.

 There will be illustrators from the storytelling sessions demonstrating their skills using both traditional and digital methods. Watch them demonstrate how they developed their characters from the stories that will share in the storytelling sessions. Children will learn about the illustration process; the tools and techniques illustrators use; and the process of book creation.

The BIG draw is proudly presented by the Queensland Branch of the Childrens Book Council of Australia, in partnership with the State Library of Queensland and Book Links (QLD) Inc.

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New picture book coming December 2016

I am very excited to give you a sneak peak of my next picture book, All I Want for Christmas is Rain!

The illustrations look amazing thanks to the ultra fabulous Megan Forward!

Cover_All I Want For Christmas Is Rain

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Pretty much why I wrote ‘Fearless with Dad’…

Here is a fabulous article by Rosie Writes called Dumb-ass stuff we need to stop saying to Dads. I wrote Fearless with Dad because I didn’t/don’t like how Dads are mainly portrayed in the media and this piece nicely captures how I feel.

Read it.

Take note.

And never call a Dad a babysitter. He is a ‘parent’.

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