EMPOWERING CHILDREN THROUGH STORY
The Child Writes titles fly with Jetstar as a regular in their inflight entertainment offering. Boogie Books is the largest publisher of children’s books by children in the world, with the titles all available via Amazon. Additionally, Emma ensures the authors donate copies of their books to places where children are in crisis – and to date, books have landed with Ronald McDonald House, children’s wards in hospitals in the authors home towns and in the capital cities, as well as the National Library of Australia, and state libraries in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
Believing everyone has the right to see their words in print has become a slight obsession for Emma. This has inspired her latest publishing project - the 'how to' guide for inspiring writers. Child Writes: Creating a Children's Picture book is Child's Play, was published in May 2012 and it won a GOLD Best Non-Fiction Adult eBook at the 2012 IPPY Awards. Emma was a finalist in the 2014 Condamine Alliance Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Cultural Heritage and a Finalist in the 2012 QRRRWN Strong Leadership Awards.
Her latest children's picture book, Imagine, illustrated by Ester De Boer has just won a GOLD Best Children's Illustrated eBook at the 2015 IPPY Awards in New York, USA and one of the illustrations 'Lyrebird' was selected for exhibition in the Book Illustrated Gallery, for the Asian Festival for Children's Content in Singapore.
She is a regular on ABC South East Queensland, with a monthly book review with Belinda Sanders and often, happily, fulfills the role as guest judge for painting competitions and book week festivals – whatever she is asked to do!
Since early childhood Ester has been an obsessive doodler. She still has her old school reports with angry comments such as “it is impossible to read Ester's work as it is covered in scribbles!”
Growing up in Townsville, North Queensland, her imagination went wild with Enid Blyton's “The Magic Faraway Tree” and she is happily obsessed over the details of the illustrations in the comic books “Tintin” and “Asterix and Obelix”, as well as the dark, elegant line work of Victorian illustrators such as Arthur Rackham. Now, as a primary school teacher, she is not sure who is more excited during story time, the kids or herself!
Ester completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (drawing and printmaking) at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba in 2008, where she passed with distinction and recently did a short course at the Centre for Adult Education in Melbourne in Children's Book Illustration. She has exhibited drawings in various shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Toowoomba, and have won a number of awards, including finalist in the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing (2010), 2nd place in the Scots PGC Art Prize (2011) and finalist in Works on Paper at Brunswick Street Gallery 2009. Whilst the award winning Imagine is her first published book, Ester has illustrated for a number of private commissions, including Filthy Fox by Matthew Yarsley for Blurb, and a series of comical cartoons for workplace training manuals 'Diversity in the Workplace and Solving People Problems' (eBook) for Advance Books.
“The children’s picture book Imagine, cleverly written by Emma Mactaggart and wonderfully illustrated by Ester Do Boer, explores the world of imagination, not by going through portals or in a fantasy land but by sitting and thinking. Throughout the book, Imagine, questions are asked. By asking questions throughout the book the author has engaged the reader and opened up their mind to the possibilities. Imagine allows children to use their imagination anywhere and anytime. And as the book states in the end, ” I’m handing over, it is your turn now…….” giving children the tools and license to use their imagination. Emma’s book Imagine, exposes children to the world of creativity, exploring things that couldn’t possibly happen, but that it is okay. She turns living animals into non-living objects. There is no wrong answer when it comes to using your imagination.
I often do not spend a lot of time critiquing the illustrations in a children’s book. My own art skills leave a lot to be desired and I would often ask students to draw on the ‘chalkboard’ for me. I think the illustrations in Imagine, are amazing, they are bright, intricate and full of fun. However, as I am uneducated in this area, I was rapt to hear professionals in the industry agreeing with me. Ester De Boer won Gold in the 2015 IPPY Awards for Best Children’s Illustrations e-book and in the Book Illustration Gallery an illustration from Imagine, is displayed in the Asia Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore.”
Review by ABCJenny
“A wild free-fall into imagination's possibilities. Imagine... for instance, if a cheetah was a bike and a bike was a cheetah. What fun this book is, throwing out extreme fun and hilarious ideas. After all these supra-metaphoric prompts to the imagination, the child reader is ready for the final challenge: to go out and do likewise. Nifty! (review published in Goodreads)”
“Imagine, Emma Mctaggart (author), Ester De Boer (illus.), Boogie Books, 2015.
What would you do in your most fantastical of daydreams? Totally let your imagination run free…where would you go? In Emma Mactaggart and Ester De Boer’s explosive ‘Imagine’, we are taken on a zoo adventure wilder than you could ever devise!
Utterly ridiculous! Absolutely preposterous! So much fun! We are given a little taste of individual children brainstorming their interactions with animals in the most unusual, extraordinary ways. From tall giraffe high-chairs, to bathing in a hippo, riding in an elephant car, using an ostrich as a broom, and speeding along on a cheetah bike. Now children, don’t frighten those animals with those rip-roaring imaginations!
Imagine pic With its lyrical rhythm and fast-paced flow, Emma Mactaggart has created an energetic and delightful story to engage all the senses. The equally exuberant illustrations by Ester De Boer add an extra dimension to the text with their colourful watercolours, movement and intricate details. The result of the pair’s collaboration is ”magical”. As Emma describes, “On one hand, a great deal of trust has be to shown as you are trusting another person to interpret your words. It is super important to pick the right person who has the right style for what you envisage. Even though Ester had never illustrated a book before, I knew her drawing skills were masterful, her sense of imagination was extraordinary and she has a wicked sense of humour!”
The repetitive theme and sentence structure, along with the interactive nature of the story will be sure to hook its readers along for the ride. ‘Imagine’ is creative and refreshing, perfect for children of primary school age to delve in to again and again.
Head-shot_Emma Mactaggart‘Imagine’ is a book that certainly encourages readers to open their minds and test logic, but it also empowers emotive and coginitive control. It has been found by scientist J.L. Singer that daydreaming benefits a healthy mental life by driving creative thought, ambitiousness, the development of social skills, and as a form of meditation (brainpickings.org). When asked for her thoughts, author Emma Mactaggart believes that “Daydreaming is the ultimate right brain activity. We float into a space which allows the ‘flash’ of an idea to pop up. It is a homework item for the Child Writes children for exactly this reason. Daydreaming needs two things – permission from those around you and permission for yourself to drift.”
Child Writes pic Award-winning independent publisher and author, Emma Mactaggart is an inspirational literacy advocate for young people, establishing the Child Writes program which enables students to create and publish their own books. She is the author of ‘Child Writes: Creating a Children’s Picture Book is Child’s Play’, which is a valuable resource for aspiring children’s writers and artists.”
Children in preschool and Year One have responded wonderfully to the book, which has sparked much conversation as they let their imaginations 'explode'! 'The book 'Imagine' was the best book that we have ever heard! (Emily, age 7) 'We liked the colourful drawings very much,' (Caitln, age 6) and 'I liked the book 'Imagine', especially imagine if an elephant was a car and a car was an elephant! (Riley, age 6)
YEAR ONE STUDENTS