Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I've spent today between power outages (Urgh!) trying to transfer a sound file I created by reading an excerpt from my Children's Picture Book - Connie and the Pigeons.

Here is the moment of truth!!

Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work the way I wanted it to, so instead, here is my fall back method of sharing a sound file. (Sorry, but I think readers have to download it.)

Access the audio clip by clicking this link:

Sunday, February 22, 2009


shadows breathe
across the lake,
the foothills
pale in distance,
the soft night air
conspires now
to soothe
the blackened trees
by the blaze
that all day
wept …
… with heat
and smoke
and flame.

Like statues
made of darkness
beneath the sky
trees stand
mabel kaplan 1984

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


About the Story:
This is the story the way
it was for Connie, from
her heyday as Australia's
Queen of the Air to her
abandonment in an
aeroplane graveyard in
Tucson, Arizona. Where,
in becoming a home to
hundreds of pigeons, she
was saved from demolition,
restored and returned to
Australia in 1997.

As she watched the pigeons swooping
and chasing each other through the sky,
Connie remembered …
she wanted to fly.

Long time Girrawheen resident, Mabel Kaplan, well-known for her oral storytelling performances in schools and libraries around the suburbs, has published a Children’s Picture Book. Connie and the Pigeons celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first long distance passenger flight from Sydney to London on December 1, 1947 by a Lockheed Constellation L749 (affectionately known in aviation circles as Connie). Iin the early 90s, Connie is rediscovered by two Australian air buffs who restore her; and, in 1997 bring her back to Australia. Today she regularly flies in air shows around the country. The book is delightfully illustrated by friend and fellow writer, Kelli Hainke of South Lake - a primary school teacher and student of interior design. Connie and the Pigeons was officially launched on Wednesday, 12 December, 2007 at Our Lady of Mercy Primary School, Hudson Avenue Girrawheen, Western Australia where Mabel has been their volunteer Storyteller-in-Residence one day a week for the past six years. The book is suitable for 5-9 year olds and is available for sale at a cost of $16.99 from Westbooks, Victoria Park WA or by direct mail from the author.
Enquires: 9342 7150 OR email:

‘This title will be a welcome addition to our collection.’
Laurie Allen, Librarian Collection Development,
State Library of Western Australia

‘Congratulations to you and Kelli for creating such an interesting picture book - it looks great, it reads well out loud and it's a wonderful story made even better by the fact that it's based on Australian history.’

Heather Cooper, Westbooks,
Victoria Park, Western Australia

Connie and the Pigeons is a particularly engaging story with obvious historical relevance for the aircraft and its journey’
Philip Capps, Manager Inflight Product Development,
Qantas Airways Ltd

My passion is oral storytelling with any age group and writing for younger children. I also enjoy writing short fiction for older age groups - especially historical fiction (for which I've won a few awards).

Imagine if you will an image of the book cover right here! A smiling aeroplance with pigeons sitting on its wings I'd really love to be able to market my children's stories to a publisher. Last year I self published a picture book: Connie and the Pigeons. I found that a very interesting and useful experience but not one that I can afford to repeat. Nonetheless, my book has sold quite well, I think. 400 copies in twelve months.

I completed an e-course on Writing for Children over the November-January period. I learned a lot I didn't previously know about, not so much on the writing side, but more importantly about how to find publishers - including kids' magazines. I've got two confirmed offers to publish some children's stories in September from Magazine editors - and I've started to prepare manuscripts for the emerging reader market. So this could be an exciting year.

Last weekend I was invited to conduct a storytelling elective as part of a Children's Workers' Training Day.The numbers were mind boggling! The organizers began with an expectation of 100-150 participants all told. By the actual day there were over 400 - and by the time they reached 430 they had to close off and put people on 'wait' lists. The numbers for my elective started at 25-30 and grew each day until it was 150. At which point the organisers decided to have two sessions. Even with 75 I had to rethink my strategy several times to cope with that number in a fairly confined space. I began with telling 'The Freedom Bird' (a story I'd found two versions of: one by David Holt and another by Elizabeth Gibson - I took what I liked best from each and then revamped it until it was my kind of story and added a piƱata that was split open at the end of the story to release an origami freedom bird for each of the participants to catch, take home and release.

The other thing I greatly enjoy is editing other people's writing. I've recently completed edits of two 100.000+ word novels. It's been a great experience. I am in awe of writers who can create that size manuscript - and maintain coherent thread between all the intricacies of plot and subplots.

Well, I'm done for now. It'll be interesting to see what the total blog looks like and whether anyone will read it.Bye for now!