Archive for June, 2011

War Horse movie trailer

War Horse is Michael Morpurgo’s amazing story about a boy who sets out on a journey to rescue his horse from the battlefields of  World War I.  You have to wait until December 29th 2011 to watch the movie, but you can get the book from your library now so that you can read it before you watch it.

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The secret to my success

Hi again … for the very last time!

I just realised, right at this very moment, that today is the last day of June! Which means it’s the last day I’m the Star Author. That’s not fair! How come I get one of the months with a missing day?

Never mind. It’s been fun. Hope you’ve enjoyed my posts. If there’s anything you want to ask me after today, or want to keep up-to-date with my new books and stuff, you can still contact me through my website – or you could join my Facebook  fan page – Kyle Mewburn children’s writer.

But now I’ve come to my last post, I guess there’s only one thing left to write about – What is the secret of my success?

Well, lots of writers will tell you the secret of success is perseverance or stick-at-it-ness. No matter how many rejections you get (and you WILL get rejections – I keep all mine in a giant box in the basement), you have to keep trying and keep writing. The main thing is not to take rejections to heart. It doesn’t necessarily mean your story is bad, it just means the person who read it didn’t think it was right for them. BUT you should also try to listen to any reasons people might give for not liking your story. Even if you don’t always agree, you can always learn something from criticism.

Some writers will tell the secret to success is to READ READ READ. The more we read, the better understanding we have of how a good story works. But you have to read with a writer’s brain, really. Don’t just read the story, keep asking yourself questions – like why do I like this paragraph so much? Why does this scene make my hair stand on end? Why did I get bored in the middle of the story? Once you start to understand how other writers work their magic, you can try to use the same techniques in your own writing.

Other writers might tell you the secret to success is more about figuring out the type of story you are really meant to write. Sometimes the kind of stories we write aren’t the stories we SHOULD be writing. (If that makes sense?) Often when we start writing, we want to write the kind of stories we like to read. When I started I wanted to write adult stories. Publishers always said my writing was good, but they never published my story. Luckily I wasn’t pig-headed enough to think I knew better than the publishers. So I didn’t keep writing the same kind of stories, I kept trying out totally different stories. I wrote a science fiction novel, then a “literary” novel, then a sort of non-fiction story, then a historical drama before finally trying to write a story for kids. I was as surprised as anyone when the publishers wanted my story! And even today, when I think about it, I’m very surprised to discover I’m pretty good at writing stories for kids. I never dreamed that’s what I’d be doing!

Anyway, my time as Star Author is rapidly ending and an exciting new Star Author is banging on my door, anxious for their turn. So I better hurry and finish. It’s been great fun. And thanks to the amazing Zac for making this blog such an exciting place to hang out!!

OK, so the real secret to my success is ……………………………….

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Horrid Henry

Room 2 at Phillipstown School read a Horrid Henry book for the first time today.  Here’s what some of the children thought:

I thought it was funny – Katarina

It was embarassing to what happened to Henry – Myka

The vegetable story was disgusting! – Aira

We all liked the book and can’t wait to read more.

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Happy Moooooooooooooo-nday!

Hi again!

Well, I don’t normally like Monday mornings much. Do you? But I’m liking this Monday, because I arrived in my office to find the drawings for my next picture book sitting in my Inbox. The book’s called Mooncow, and the amazingly beautiful illustrations are by Deidre Copeland who lives in Cromwell. Deidre has drawn the MOST BEAUTIFUL cow IN THE WORLD. At least I think so. What do YOU think? Have a look and let me know.

I like cows. Even though they’re pretty clumsy sometimes. And Icertainly DON’T like them when they walk across my creek and start trampling my vege garden! My wife, Marion, thinks cows are her favourite animals. She even likes it when they lick her hand, too. But I think that’s totally gross!! What’s YOUR favourite animal? I think mine’s a kangaroo. It would be great to be able to hop a long way and carry all your stuff in a pouch on your belly. Hmmm, but it might all start falling out if you jumped really fast. I wonder what kangaroos keep in their pouches? Maybe a mobile phone and an iPod. Any ideas what you might find in a kangaroo’s pouch … especially if it was an imaginary kangaroo.

Anyway, my story, Mooncow is about a cow called Milly who wants to be friends with the moon because she thinks they are very similar. Like Milly is big and round and pale, and so is the moon. And Milly is a bit lonely, too, just like the moon. (Or at least she imagines it must be pretty lonely floating in the sky.) So Milly tries to get the moon to like her by keeping it company, and talking to it, and even juggling cowpats to entertain the moon. And it seems to be working, too, because the moon is getting closer, and closer each night …

OK, I won’t tell you what happens. The book will be in the shops in November, I think. In the meantime, let me know what your favourite animal is, and I might just write a story about it. If I DO, I might even name it after YOU!!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a new story to read, check out my brand new FaBo mystery story (and a couple of cool stories by this week’s winners) at  This week the challenge is to write a thriller with a clone as the main character! Hmmm, not sure if I’d like to have a clone. Though it might be useful if I have to do something boring, then I could send my clone along instead. And ideas what you’d do if YOU had a clone? Or 10 clones??

Have a lovely Mooooooo-nday!


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Winners of the June Star Author Competition

Thanks to everyone who entered the June Star Author Competition.  You all had lots of interesting ideas about what you would do if you saw a big red button that said DO NOT PUSH.  Kyle Mewburn judged the competition and here’s who he chose as the winners:

  • Aliyah – I liked Aliyah’s idea that a dragon would appear and she’d panic so much she’d end up pushing another button and ANOTHER dragon would turn up.  That sounds very scary and SUPER exciting.
  • Alana – And I liked Alara saying if she saw a big red button she “would so push it!” She sounds like she’d make a great hero for one of my stories!

Congratulations!  You both win a copy of Do Not Push by Kyle Mewburn.

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Mystery week at FaBo

Hi again!

By the way, has anyone written a story for FaBo this week? I hope so, because I’m the judge this week. If not, there’s still time. You’ve got until 5 o’clock tonight. Check out the details etc at –  

This week’s challenge was to write a mystery story. I used to read loads of mystery stories when I was younger. But I haven’t read any for a long time. And I’ve certainly never WRITTEN a mystery story before. It was very difficult coming up with an idea. I finished my story last night, and you can read it next week when I post it on the blog along with the winning story (or stories …) I’m also going to give an extra prize this week for the funniest sentence or word or simile. I’m allowed to do that because I’m the judge! hehehehehehe

OK, I hope to read some exciting entries from Christchurch this week. Now I SERIOUSLY need to do some proper writing…


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The dinosaurs are coming!!

Hi again!

This morning I was walking to work and saw a poster for the amazing “Walking with Dinosaurs” show that’s visiting New Zealand. They’ve got lots of life-size robot dinosaurs. WOW! It would be so amazing to see that. But unfortunately it’s in Auckland. That’s too far to go, even to see a dinosaur.

But seeing that poster made me remember when I was in North Dakota in the United States last year and got to PAT A REAL DINOSAUR!! OK, it wasn’t an alive dinosaur. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to pat a live dinosaur. Would you? Hmmm, maybe I would pat a microceratops or something really tiny… Anyway, the dinosaur I patted was the only mummified dinosaur in THE WORLD!! They found it a few years ago just inside the border. It had been caught in a mudslide and was buried for millions of years. But because the mud stopped the air getting to it (or something), the dinosaur got turned into a mummy. The only problem is, the mud slowly turned to rock, so the dinosaur is locked inside a giant boulder. Experts at the museum put the whole boulder through all sorts of special scanners and managed to see inside. They were very surprised to find they could see EVERYTHING like its organs and bones and everything else. That’s how they know what sort of dinosaur it is, and exactly what it looked like.

Dinosaur experts all around the world are very excited. Because nobody has ever been able to look inside a dinsoaur before. Now a team of people with tiny drills is slowly uncovering the dinosaur. They have been working for four years, but have only uncovered a small bit so far. It’s slow work because they have to be very careful not to damage anything.

Anyway, while I was in North Dakota, I met someone who was working at the museum, and he took me into the basement and let me pat the dinosaur’s scales. I was very surprised that the scales were so small. The dinosaur was at least 4 metres long, but its scales were smaller than my thumbnails. It was very exciting!!! And I started to imagine what it would be like to live when the dinosaurs were everywhere. It would be very scary, I think, but very exciting, too. What do YOU think it would be like?

That made me think about writing a book about dinosaurs. I didn’t want to write a true story, because that would mean researching all about dinosaurs and what it was like at that time. And I HATE research. I don’t read non-ficiton unless I really have to!! So I decided to write a funny and very GROSS story instead. I also decided it would be funny if dinosaurs and people lived together.

So my idea was to write about a boy called Arg who has a much bigger brain than the other cave people. He feels a bit lonely sometimes because there’s nobody to talk to that understands him. But one day he meets a talking T-rex called Skeet. When Skeet tells Arg the dinosaurs are becoming extinct, Arg decides to help save them. The story was so exciting, I couldn’t stop writing them. So now I’ve written FOUR books in a new series callled DINOSAUR RESCUE. The first book is called T-wreckasaurus, and is coming out in August. I think the stories are very exciting, and they have lots of totallly GROSS things happening. There’s also a lot of poo, vomit and snot … oh, and Arg’s mum likes pipcking her nose and eating it, too.

I was very lucky that the amazingly talented illustrator Donovan Bixley wanted to draw pictures for the series. He is a total dinosaur NUT!! Every page has got amazing cartoons, and there’s lots of really useful information about brontosaurus poo and stuff.

What’s YOUR favourite dinosaur? If you let me know, and tell me why, I’ll get Donovan to draw it in the next book! Wouldn’t that be cool?

OK, enough dinosaur talk. I better do some proper writing.


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My sister Jody by Jacqueline Wilson

My sister Jodie  is about two sisters called Pearl and Jodie whose parents get a new job and have to move schools.  Pearl used to have no friends at all but here she has got a few. Jodie used to have lots of friends but now has none and everyone teases her by her red hair and three earrings on her ears. One day they have a thing that’s like a party with fireworks and everything Jodie goes to a tower and tries to scare people like she’s a ghost but Jodie  falls a long fall and breaks alot of bones and sadly….I dont want to spoil to much of it. But will pearl be able to do it?

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Writing an exciting narrative

Hi again!

So did anyone notice last night was the longest night of the year? I didn’t. I went to bed very early and slept right through until 7.30 this morning.  I love sleeping. It’s my third favourite thing after eating and writing. What’s YOUR favourite thing?

Speaking of writing, Alara asked yesterday if I could give some tips on writing a professional narrative. So here are my top tips.

  1. Start off with a BANG!! The library is full of books. (If you haven’t noticed!) So, as a writer, you have to hook your reader from the first few lines. Your story might be the most exciting story in the world, but if the first page isn’t exciting, only your mother or teacher will keep reading. So before you start writing, you have to figure out the most exciting starting point for your story. Writing the first few lines is usually the hardest part.
  2. And then … While writing your story, keep asking yourself “and then what happens?” Once you think you know what’s going to happen, stop for a second and ask yourself – “Is that really the most exciting thing that can happen?” or “Is that the best thing that can happen to make my story the best story it can be?” When I’m writing, I have hundreds of ideas whizzing around in my head. The hard part is choosing which one of my ideas is the best idea for my story. Like when I was writing DO NOT PUSH, I didn’t know what was going to happen when Cam pushed the button. All I knew was he WAS going to push the button. Anything could have happened, really. And I could probably write a thousand different stories about it. (Especially if I stole some of YOUR ideas! hehehehehehe) But in the end I had to choose just ONE idea – the idea I thought would make the best story.
  3. Remember your characters are NOT ZOMBIES! I bet you can all write amazingly exciting stories with lots of action. But to make your story even better, try to remember that your characters are always THINKING and FEELING. Every time something happens, ask yourself  – “What is my character thinking or feeling?” The readers don’t need to know everything your character thinks and feels, but YOU DO! By adding a thought or feeling sometimes, the reader gets to know your character a bit better. And the more your readers like your characters, or understand them, the more likely they’ll not only finish your story, but like your story!
  4. Learn to be a reader! I don’t read boring books. Or books that are badly written. I bet YOU don’t either. And when I write a story, I always think MY stories are brilliant!! Even when they’re not. So I have to put my story away a while then read it again, this time pretending I DIDN’T write it. I pretend I just found the story lying around and don’t know who wrote it. Is it a story worth reading? As I read my story, I try to be super-critical. I try to find every mistake, every bad sentence and every bit that isn’t totally exciting. Then I go back and re-write my story.
  5. Re-write!! Re-write! Re-write! Keep writing your story until it’s as good as you can make it.

Oh, and there’s one more important tip – MAKE SURE YOU FINISH!! Once you start a story, you have to finish it!

OK, so those are a few of my tips. Every writer has their own tips, and their own way of writing. In the end, you have to figure out how YOU write best. Good luck!


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The story behind Michael Morpurgo’s Shadow

Now that you know all about the story, reserve a copy of Shadow at your library.  If you’ve read Shadow, you already know what an amazing story it is and that Michael Morpurgo is a brilliant author.

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Star Guest – Susan Brocker talks about The Wolf in the Wardrobe

As a writer, I’m often asked where I get the ideas for my stories. The idea for The Wolf in the Wardrobe came from our very special pet dog called Yogi.

My dog Yogi

Now Yogi is a real character. He is a long-haired German shepherd, an impressive looking boy with a shaggy coat and thick mane. Yogi loves playing with kids and near us live four boys who often hang over our fence calling out, where’s the wolf today. Can we play with the wolf? And they’re right; he really does look like a wolf!

So this got me thinking, what if Yogi was really a wolf and not a dog? Imagine the troubles that could bring! So gradually, the idea for a story unfolded of a cheeky boy called Finn who finds an injured wolf who has escaped from a circus. Finn has always wanted a dog of his own, so he decides to smuggle the wolf home and keep her hidden in his wardrobe. But not all goes according to plan. A quirky story of intrigue and adventure unfolds as Finn battles to save Lupa the wolf from the clutches of a creepy clown.

I loved writing this story. It was a lot of fun, especially the bits I wrote about Finn’s wonderful and funny Nana. I also learnt a great deal about wolves and the conservation efforts to save them in the wild. For instance, did you know that wolves now run free in Yellowstone National Park in the United States, and you can visit them there and see them if you’re lucky. I was lucky enough to go there last year just after I finished the book and met lots of amazing wolves. Many of them are rescued wolves like Lupa who now live in sanctuaries where they are safe from poachers and hunters.

I hope you enjoy The Wolf in the Wardrobe as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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Lola Rose by Jacqueline Wilson

Lola Rose is a great book about two kids- Jayni and Kenny. They are forced to move away from their father. They have to change their names so Jayni becomes the new glamorous Lola Rose!

They find their Auntie Barbara and she helps them. But things change when their mother has to go to hospital.

Find out in the book of Lola Rose!

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

If you have not read this book I think you should read this as it is a really funny book.  It is about a wimpy kid that has a wimpy life.  His name is Greg.  His mum gave him a diary for him to write his feelings in it.  His family treats him like a baby except for his brother Rodrick.   He pulls all sorts of pranks on him and then Greg will pull the pranks on his friend Rowley.  If you want to learn more get a book and read it for yourself.

From Emile

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Setting sail!

Hi again from a very, very, VERY drizzly miserable Dunedin! I don’t actually mind the rain, because I don’t have to leave the house all day (or all week, even) if I don’t want to. That’s one of the best things about being a writer. The OTHER best thing, which is actually a million times better is having a new book published!!

I’ve been very lucky getting my stories published, I must say. This year I’ve got TEN books coming out. On Thursday night we had a very nice party at the Teacher’s College in Dunedin to launch my latest two new books – Hester & Lester and DO NOT PUSH! Zac has already told you all about my DO NOT PUSH book. But I’d still be very interested to hear what YOU think might happen if you pushed a big red button that said DO NOT PUSH.

My other book is called Hester & Lester. It’s about a big sister trying to make her little brother happy using her imagination. They build a castle out of things they find in the forest, then make a moat and find a platoon of soldiers in dashing suits of armour (who are snails, really). When I was growing up, my little sister and I were always building cubby-houses out of all sorts of stuff. We’d pretend they were castles or secret hideaways and we’d have battles in the back yard. Because I was the older brother, I always had to come up with ideas for our games. Sometimes it was hard thinking of new games all the time. But I could always think of something new and exciting. That’s what I do today, too.  Except now I write down my stories … and I don’t build castles anymore.

Do you have a little brother or sister? If you do, who comes up with the best ideas? What sort of games do you play? Let me know and I might use one of them in a story.

OK, I better get back to work. Until next time, have an imagination-filled day!!


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Sabotage By Sharon Holt

When Rene, Lisette’s brother visits Rowan in Auckland, things get a bit complicated. Rowan’s friend Alex and his family are in to Greenpeace big time! One day Rowan and Alex find out that a crew member from the Greenpeace ship was killed and with the sad news was the remaining ruins of the dearly beloved ship, Rainbow Warrior. When Rowan and Alex see Rene again with an odd looking French woman, Rene pretends that he didn’t know them and just walked away with a parcel from the lady. Things get even worse than it already was, when the bombed ship was blamed on the French Secret Service. By now Rowan and Alex were feeling very suspicious. Why did Rene completely ignore them? Is Rene really everything he claims to be? Why can’t I tell you the whole story? Because you need to race off to your nearest library and get the book NOW!!!!!!!

By Anne

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Abandon Ship By Shirley Corlett

Debbie always names her diaries and her diary for 1968  was called Julie. Debbie loves reading and when her grandma gave her Debbie’s great great great great grandfather’s diary she was inspired by his life story. while she was reading his diary she found out that he worked in a ship and he looked after the sick children. He also drowned and died on that ship which Debbie as very sad to know. Debbie often had dreams during the night but as much as she tried she could never remember them! Suddenly she had vivid dreams of her great great great great grandfather and they even kept glued to her mind when she woke up in the morning. It was such a coincidence when she was booked to sail on the wahine and her dreams became clearer than ever. Debbie soon figured that her great great great great grandfather was definitely trying to tell her something but what was it and plus what could possibly go wrong?

By Anne

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Do Not Push by Kyle Mewburn

If you found a big, red button in the middle of a forest, would you push it? Even if it said DO NOT PUSH?

Cam likes to explore the forest behind his house.  He feels like it might change and move around when he’s not looking because there’s always something new to explore.  One day, he decides to check out the pond to see if the tadpoles have legs yet, but he falls down a bank and finds himself in a gully surrounded by steep cliffs.  One of the cliffs is covered in vines, but he notices that there is a large, red button behind the vines, with the words DO NOT PUSH written underneath.  Cam doesn’t think anyone will notice if he pushes the button and he doesn’t think anything has happened.  As he turns to leave he sees a green lever that says PLEASE PULL, but he leaves it and runs home.  When he gets home, he realises that something strange has happened, all because he pushed the button.  Suddenly there are no rules and everyone is acting really weird.

Do Not Push is the hilarious new book by our June Star Author, Kyle Mewburn.  He shows you that a world without rules would be fun but also a little embarrassing.  Who really wants to see their mum sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor in her pajamas, eating icecream with her hands?   I also really liked Sarah N. Anderson’s illustrations, especially the one of Cam when he’s in town watching all the chaos.  If you like short and funny stories, Do Not Push is perfect.  Recommended for 7+   8 out of 10


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My Story – Poor Man’s Gold The Diary of Reuben Radcliffe, Northland,1899-1900

This is a Diary of Reuben Radcliffe. His dad owns a store in a small town of  Waipapa. Reuben’s Family is poor, they don’t have any money and only a little bit of  food. When the bank forecloses on a loan, Reuben and his family are forced to leave their home and live in a tent. Reuben has 2 siblings, 1 sister called Olivia and 1 brother called Walter. Reuben has to leave his School and find work.

I think this book  is great and interesting.  You guys should read it if you want to figure out what’s going to happen next. There are more in the series and I would love to read them all.

From Rhoda

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Geronimo’s Valentine by Geronimo Stilton Geronimo

Geronimo Stilton is a rodent who works at most famous rodent’s gazette in all of mouse island. It’s valentines day and he’s going on a date with Petunia Pretty Paws but he mucks it up big time. He gets to solve a hard mystery in the book and has to eat 100 cheesecakes.  After he had finished he went hospital. Does he hate cheesecakes now? You’ll have to find out. Be a detective like Geronimo and go find the rest of the series it will make you feel cheesy inside.

From Holly

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Spelling B and the Missing of the Magic by Lexi Connor

I think this book is interesting because I like stories with secrets.  It’s about a girl called B who is a witch and can’t find her magic.  B goes to a normal school with her friend George. Her family has magic and use it all the time especially her mum who cooks and cleans with her magic. Throughout the book it was really exciting how B figures out what happened to her magic and what type of magic she has.

By Lily

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