All posts by Yvonne Mes

About Yvonne Mes

Children's Writer and Illustrator

Free Book Week Celebrations with Book Celebrities for Children and Young Adults



The Book Week Celebrations are going to be amazing this year! Brisbane will be hosting the Book of the Year Awards and all the talent is going to be in town for it!

Book Links Queensland  is partnering with The Children’s Book Council Australia, Queensland Branch and the State Library of Queensland to create a day full of events for children and young people.

On Saturday 18th August  Book Week celebrations for children and YA will take place at the Queensland State Library on Southbank from 10:00am – 2:00pm.

All sessions are free.


Be aware sessions are running concurrently and may need to be booked! Choices can be tough!

Here is an overview of the day:

10:30 – 11:30am

Authentic Teen Voices A YA Panel featuring authors Charlie Archbold, Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood. Chaired by CBCA (Qld President) Trish Buckley.

Take Three Collage

Mallee Boys Collage

How do authors create authentic teen voices? What does that even mean? Join four CBCA award winning young adult novelists as they discuss their processes for developing a realistic character. The panel discussion will conclude with time at the end for audience questions.


This session is aimed at a teen audience but others with an interest in YA literature are welcome to attend. Bookings



How to Journal like a Genius – A writing journal is like a small bird’s nest, an important place where tiny ideas grow and hatch. Discover the way keeping a journal can help a writer welcome crackling ideas and fresh new ways of seeing the world! Come along for a fun and interactive session with Lisa Shanahan, author of The Grand, Genius Summer of Henry Hoobler, suitable for children aged 8-12 years.

genius shanahan

10:00 and 11:20am

Join Ronojoy Ghosh illustrator of I’m an Australian Too by Mem Fox.

Im an Australian Too _ Ronojoy

10:40 and 12:00

Put on your pilot clothes and have your photo taken with Prue Mason.

Amazing Australians in Their Flying Machines With Prue and Kerry Mason

Meet two real-life pilots – Kerry and Prue. Kerry is a captain for Virgin Airlines and has been flying for over 50 years. Prue flies vintage aeroplanes for fun and is a member of the Australian Women Pilot’s Association. Anything you want to know about aeroplanes and flying they will be able to find the answer for you.

Fact: 120 years ago there were no aeroplanes in Australia or the world. Now in Australia there are more than 20,000 aircraft.

See for yourself how many aeroplanes are flying around Australia and the world in real time with the Radar 24 app.
Learn how to master the art of making your own paper Galaxy Fighter or Stealth Invader.
You too can be an Amazing Australian in a Flying Machine. Dress up like a pilot in the old days or become a modern day airline captain. Grab a selfie to show your friends that flying is fun!

Prue Mason Flying Machines

10:40 and 12:00

A giant book of Rodney Loses It will be read to the crowds with Christina Krebs. Learn how to draw Rodney!

Christina Krebbs Rodney Collage

11:20 and 12:40pm

Meet Peter Carnavas author and illustrator of The Elephant.

Carnavas Elephant


Hark! It’s Storytime! Discover the glorious fun and magic of picture books! Join award-winning author Lisa Shanahan, for an energetic, interactive story time session, exploring Hark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee and Bear and Chook by the Sea, suitable for younger children aged 5-8 years.

shanahan pbs


Come and meet Patrick Guest author of Second Sky

Guest Second Sky


Book Week activities for Find Your Treasure

10:00 – 2:00pm

Book readings, book signings and hands on activities. The Library Bookshop will be open the whole day!

Please spread the word! Share on social media with your friends! You don’t want to miss this meeting our Aussie Book Celebs!

For more information about the official announcement of the CBCA Book Week Awards or how to tune in for a live streaming, check for details.


Write Links’ Mini Fest is A GO!

Join award winning and multi-published children’s and YA authors and illustrators Peter Carnavas, Isobelle Carmody and Dave Lowe for a day of master classes on Saturday the 11th of August at the State Library on South Bank.

Learn from these talented authors and illustrators, get your questions answered and your books signed.

These master classes will be especially of interest to emerging and experienced children’s and YA writers, but newbies and lovers of children’s literature are also welcome.

Planned by authors for authors, Write Links members and YA and Children’s Book Authors Hayley Jackson and Charlotte Barkla with assistance of children’s author and illustrator and Write Links Coordinator Yvonne Mes have been planning this amazing event and they know just what you are looking for!

They have aimed to give you a well-rounded day which looks at everything from picture books to writing for Young Adults and to go beyond the basics.

The presenters have been selected based on their engaging and informative presentation styles and their expertise in their areas.

This event would not be possible without the support from Book Links.

Booking Button Book Your Tickets Here!

7.45am – Registration and Networking
8.15am – Welcome
8.30 am- 10.30am Peter Carnavas, Picture Book and Junior Fiction Author and Illustrator talks about picture book writing and illustrating.
Morning Tea and Book Signing
11am – 1pm Isobelle Carmody, YA and Children’s Writer will look at developing an authentic voice across a novel, creating diverse characters and developing strong character arcs.
Lunch and Book Signing
2.30pm – 4.30pm Dave Lowe, Junior Novel Author will focus on instilling humour into your story and structuring your junior fiction novel.
Book Signing

Please note that morning tea and lunch are not included. You can purchase food and drinks from the  Bookshop Cafe and Whale Mall Cafe.
Book signings will take place in the Library Bookshop across from Room 1B.

Full Day $60.00 for Book Links/ Write Links Members and students
Full Day $80.00 non members

Room 1B, State Library of Queensland
Cultural Precinct
Stanley Place, South Brisbane, Qld 4101

Peter Carnavas 

Peter Carnavas

Peter creates picture books for children and grown-ups to enjoy. He writes simple yet poignant tales, accompanied by whimsical illustrations, which combine to create layers of meaning for the reader. His books include Jessica’s Box, Last Tree in the City, The Great Expedition and his latest picture book, The Children Who Loved Books, a warm and moving celebration of books and the ways in which they bring us together. He has also collaborated with Pat Flynn on My Totally Awesome Story, an action-packed comedy that manages to make kids laugh and learn how to write stories at the same time.
Peter’s presentations involve cartooning, storytelling tips, illustration techniques, hands-on fun and lots of audience participation. With a background in primary school teaching, Peter has a natural rapport with children and loves showing them how they can create stories and illustrations themselves.
Peter’s work has been nominated for many awards, including the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award, The Children’s Book Council of Australia Crichton Award and Speech Pathology Australia’s Book of the Year Award. His books have been translated into many languages.
Peter was honoured to be a National Year of Reading Ambassador in 2012 and continues his role as a Love2Read National Ambassador in 2013.


Isobelle Carmody

Isobelle Carmody is one of Australia’s most highly acclaimed authors of fantasy. At fourteen, she began Obernewtyn, the first book in her much-loved Obernewtyn Chronicles, and has since written many works in this genre. Her novel The Gathering was joint winner of the 1993 Children’s Literature Peace Prize and the 1994 CBCA Book of the Year Award, and Greylands was joint winner of the 1997 Aurealis Award for Excellence in Speculative Fiction (Young Adult category), and was named a White Raven at the 1998 Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
Isobelle’s work for younger readers includes her two series, The Legend of Little Fur, and The Kingdom of the Lost, the first book of which, The Red Wind, won the CBCA Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers in 2011. She has also written several picture books as well as collections of short stories for children, young adults and adults.


Dave Lowe

Dave is a Brisbane-based author of twelve acclaimed books aimed at children between 7 and 11.

The ‘Stinky and Jinks’ books, illustrated by Mark Chambers, follow the exciting adventures of a boy and his genius hamster. The first book, My Hamster is a Genius, was highly commended at the prestigious Sheffield Book Awards in the UK in 2013 (second only to Tom Gates) and the series (six books) has already been translated into six languages, and has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide.

Dave is also the author of two ‘Squirrel Boy’ books, illustrated by Cate James, about a new kind of superhero, and his 73 year-old sidekick, Mrs Onions. The first book, Squirrel Boy vs The Bogeyman, won a Lancashire Fantastic Book award in 2016.   Winner of Teach Primary Book Award 2018 – UK

What are you waiting for? Book your ticket now!

The Narelle Oliver Lecture with Morris Gleitzman

Australian Children’s Laureate for 2018-2019, Morris Gleitzman, presented the Book Links Annual Narelle Oliver Lecture on 14th June, 2018, at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School.

Morris Gleitzman Lecture
Morris Gleitzman

Book Links President and children’s author Yvonne Mes introduced the lecture and Megan Daley, a passionate children’s literature advocate and award-winning teacher librarian,  who shared her personal and rich memories of her dear friend and colleague, the talented author-illustrator-artist, Narelle Oliver.

Megan and Yvonne
Megan Daley and Yvonne Mes

From the Narelle Oliver exhibition ‘I want to be in a book’, audience members were immersed in a recreation of Narelle’s home studio and her stunning illustrative artwork. It was the perfect setting to honour Narelle and her contribution to children’s literature.

The Annual Narelle Oliver Lecture aims to raise the profile of children’s literature, to stimulate discussion and disseminate the results of current research on children’s literature. There was no better introduction to this than Morris Gleitzman’s lecture theme, ‘young people need stories more than ever’.

As an author of nearly 40 books for young people, published in around 20 countries, Morris has won numerous awards for his work both nationally and internationally. Some of his titles include Two Weeks with the Queen, Grace, Doubting Thomas, Bumface, Give Peas A Chance, Extra Time, Loyal Creatures, Snot Chocolate and the series Once, Then, Now, After, Soon and Maybe.

Moris Gleitzman Lecture 2018

Morris commenced his lecture with an invitation of imaginings –  to firstly imagine living as an 11 year old in Australia and to consider whether this 11 year old could share the same dreams and aspirations of their parents and grandparents. Morris highlighted how young people today face unprecedented challenges as they take over a world that is worse than previous generations – a world that feels more unsafe and uncertain with the consequences of climate change, wars, terrorism and a breakdown in human compassion and respect.

Morris discussed ‘the surface imperative in which we live’, where the modern human condition is one that glances at the surface and makes some sort of judgement based simply on the physicality of others. In a culture with glittering, fascinating surfaces full of promise and hope there is no depth and our trust in truth is waning.

It is within this backdrop, that Morris discussed how young people need stories more urgently than ever. Stories to help equip, support and inspire them as they face huge challenges in their lives. He highlighted how it is in stories that children embark on a journey with their characters who they connect with and form a relationship. These characters can teach children bravery, honesty, team work, empathy, problem-solving, resilience and how to deal with enemies.

In understanding how stories transport children into a world where they too can learn to marshal their resources, we understand how important this imaginative journey is to their developmental. Morris emphasised that as guardians we need to take these stories to where they belong, at the centre of children’s lives.

He also delighted us with his own stories, such as his ‘Book at bedtime’ promotional tour where Morris toured around Australia in his pyjamas for five weeks. In one country town, he had to rush straight from a book signing in his pyjamas to the only restaurant in town before it closed for dinner. In illustrating the surface imperative, he quoted the thoughts of the other restaurant goers, ‘isn’t that nice they let him out for the night.’

We too were grateful that ‘they let him out for the night’.  Throughout Morris’ lecture we came to understand why now more than ever, children and young people need ‘stories to delight, stories to beguile, stories to inspire, stories to move deeply.

Story by Liane McDermott, aspiring author and grateful member of Book Links and Write Links. 

Morris Gleitzman Lecture 2018 Rebecca
Jessica Lim and Rebecca Sheraton
Morris Gleitzman Lecture 2018 Pamela
Pamela and Peter Rushby
Morris Gleitzman Lecture 2018 Hannah
Yvonne Mes, Morris Gleitzman and Hannah Klokman
Morris Gleitzman Lecture 2018 Dimity
Dimity Powell and Norah Colvin



Lecture Morris Gleitzman 2018


Writing history with Jackie French

Jackie French 3 2018

The room was buzzing with anticipation. Jackie French, National Patron of Book Links, is always a passionate and inspiring speaker. Today she was talking to a small group of writers about Writing History, in particular for children.

Through reading historical fiction, children can experience life as every character in the story. Jackie feels this can only happen in books not TV. Through well written books you can experience the smell and taste of the era.


Jackie talked about children’s ability to self-sensor or gloss over challenging events. The sensitive author provides a way for children to hold anguish and terror at arm’s length. Children understand that bad things do happen and they must know how to deal with them. This understanding gives children hope that they can also overcome the struggles they are experiencing or that they feel might be ahead of them.


Jackie passionately believes that historical fiction matters because things change. One day things won’t be the same. Children can learn not to be frightened of change. The author can create a safe place for them to examine what happened in the past. They need to know what has happened because by understanding what has happened we learn how to stop the future ogre’s destroying people and civilisation.


As writers, Jackie told us the depth of knowledge required to write historical fiction is substantial. If you need to research for a book then you are not ready to write it because you don’t know what you need to know.


To overcome this, she suggested we

  • keep it small – set it over a day or like Jackie did in Hitler’s Daughter, at the end of the war when the concentration camps were no longer so strictly run so she didn’t need to know the exact routines.
  • just write about the bits you know
  • only include a few settings, characters, places, themes and time
  • include a new arrival who asks questions as a way to share information


Check your primary sources and make sure you have 3 substantiated reports that agree

  • firsthand accounts
  • maps
  • paintings
  • letters
  • newspapers
  • memories and diaries


Through reading historical fiction children learn that the past was not ea

Jackie donated her time to Book Links. Funds go to writing workshops for children.
Jackie donated her time to Book Links. Funds go to writing workshops for children. Jackie and Book Links President Yvonne Mes and the donation Bunyip.

sy. They may also feel the present is not easy and may be unsure about their future. This understanding gives children the courage to survive all the things to come, to face and take on the challenges in our imperfect world.


We passed up on the opportunity to ask questions just to get a few more minutes of listening to Jackie. I have to admit to shedding a few tears at the stories she told of the bravery and sacrifice of people that she had uncovered in her passionate uncovering of memoirs and secrets.

There is also a light-hearted side to Jackie as you will discover if you follow her on Instagram and enjoy her ‘witty ditties’ about the wombats that frequent her carrot filled garden.Lucy and Jackie FrenchStory by Lucy McGinley