From a slush pile reader to a judge for a major literary award

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) is the peak body for children’s literature in Australia. The CBCA is a volunteer-run not-for-profit organization and has held its annual book awards since 1946. The Book of the Year Award celebrates high literary and artistic merit in children’s books.

CBCA book week — held in August, is a celebration of children’s books in schools and public libraries across Australia. Book week is timed to coincide with the announcement of the Book of the Year Awards.

As a librarian being a CBCA judge has always been a bucket list item. When my application…


Reader, writer, storyteller

Photo taken in 1975

Unofficial Bits and Pieces

Quick Quirky Facts (also known as the good stuff!)
I don’t have a dominant hand, nor am I ambidextrous. Instead, I have what is called “mixed hand.” I am naturally left-handed but was forced in primary school to use my right hand. I use my right hand for handwriting and other fine motor skills, but I can do all other tasks equally well with both hands. I don’t have a backhand for tennis or squash, but switch the racket between hands.

I like my music unusual, in makeup with a side dash of Al. Which is code for Cyndi Lauper…


A picture book by Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise

Cover of Stay: a Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List
Cover of Stay: a Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List
Cover Image of Stay: a Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List

Stay: a Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List was a book I had to read. I’d given my Blue Heeler, Pepsi Parsons, a bucket list in October 2018. Pepsi was in palliative care due to canine cancer. I’d considered using her bucket list as the basis for another book about Pepsi. Instead of featuring her shenanigans, this new book would focus on the joys that a bucket list can bring a dog.

But those ideas faded after I read Stay: a Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List. This book already encompasses the emotions and joys that I planned to write.


Until stolen minutes were no longer enough.

Photo by Shannon Pitter on Unsplash

The judgments started the moment I announced I was pregnant. They came from family and friends. They came from a place of fear and concern.

I can’t say I’m pleased.
You’re digging your own grave.
What a selfish thing to do.

My pregnancy progressed without incident, and when Jarryn was born, a collective sigh of relief descended. The end of my pregnancy seen as a sign that the Grim Reaper had strolled past without glancing sideways at me.

But I knew better.

In 1995 postnatal statistics indicated women with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) were unlikely to survive the toddler years. These…


A look at “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” and a theory (contains spoilers)

Image by not known none from Pixabay

When visiting President Snow’s past, it would be logical to assume that Suzanne Collins was heading directly to a classical trope. But eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is not a sweet innocent kid. There are no extenuating circumstances that force Snow to become a ruthless President. It is to her credit that Collins never tried to frame Snow as a hero or a victim. Snow’s sadistic nature is purely a product of privileged entitlement.

Even from the start, Snow evokes no sympathy. He is entitled and indulgent. Yes, he has his own sob story, but it hasn’t broken him. Instead, it’s shaped…


Four of my favorites that showcase the genre

Image by Rogier Hoekstra from Pixabay

Fairy tales conjure images of the big bad wolf, of princesses who need rescuing, and of course, a charming prince. Fairy tales all have a moral message. Many fairy tales have become bedtime favorites. Fairy tales have a long oral tradition before they were collected and printed. Today’s children are more familiar with Disney versions of fairy tales over the original stories. This familiarity is mainly due to the prolific nature of the Disney movies and their spin-off merchandise.

Fractured Fairy Tales Take the Moral Lesson From the Original Fairy Tale and Twist It

In many fractured fairy tales, the girls are no longer damsels in distress waiting for a charming prince to rescue them…


I was concerned for his welfare, but it backfired

Husky peering through a fence
Husky peering through a fence
Image by Yumitra Kannan from Pixabay

The Husky on First Avenue never really liked me. The first time I, Rotto, walked past, he was angry. He woofed rather aggressively — something about how this was HIS street.

Okay, I admit it, I was a little bold the next time I walked down First Avenue. I woofed right back. I told him I was just walking on the footpath, thank you very much. But he wouldn’t listen. He was too busy telling me off.

My people were trying hard to train me. They said I should ignore the other dogs that woofed at me when I was…


At least twelve dogs were on board the Titanic — some of them made it home

Image by Arnold van den Heever from Pixabay

Titanic, It’s a bold word for a grand ship. But the ‘unsinkable’ ship now rests on the ocean floor. Titanic’s maiden journey ended unforgettably. With 2,435 passengers and a crew of around 900 people, some loss of life as the ship slowly sunk could be expected. But not on the scale in which it occurred. In part, the low number of survivors was due to a shortage of lifeboats. The problem was also compounded by a failure to fill the lifeboats as they pushed off from the ship.

Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Carpathia rescued 705 people from the Titanic’s lifeboats…

Sandi Parsons

Sandi Parsons lives and breathes stories as a reader, writer, and storyteller. Newsletter subscribers receive my free ebook The Last Walk → bit.ly/3t0ZaG8

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