Any book by Kylie Howarth is a HOT favourite here with Miss 7 and Mr 5. Her Fish Kid chapter book series has been on our bedtime rotation with each release. My kids love how the narrative is infused with loads of facts about marine life. I appreciate the subtle themes of sustainability and looking after the ecosystems that we impose ourselves upon. The latest release, Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo, caused quite a stir here as turtles are a firm aquatic favourite at our place. We read/sped through it at torpedo speed. It got 5 stars from all readers, young and middle-aged.
Let me put my Teacher Hat on and say that I think the Fish Kid series would be A-Grade FAB for whole class read-alouds for years 2 through 4. (Head to Kylie’s website for some great Teacher’s Notes to accompany the Fish Kid series.)
Knowing that I love a good READ + CREATE, Kylie has shared a sweet creative activity to team with Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo. I loved reading about Kylie’s creative process and the people and places that inspire her. It is so obvious that the Great Outdoors influences Kylie’s work.
Meet Kylie Howarth!
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I am … Kylie Howarth, a children’s book author and illustrator and Mum to two wonderful boys. We have lots of backyard art sessions where the kids and I get messy dipping flowers, sticks, leaves, seaweed (basically anything we can find) in paint and then splat it on paper. I scan these paintings and use them as backgrounds and textures in my book illustrations.
I find inspiration … In the ocean – most of my books have an ocean theme. My family and I spend a lot of time boating and snorkeling. We are very fortunate to live 30 minutes by boat to Rottnest Island, and once a year we drive 14 hours to holiday on the Ningaloo reef.
I did my advanced scuba diving license 13 years ago in Dahab, Egypt. The marine life in the Red Sea was incredible and being able to stay under water for forty five minutes at a time, opened my eyes to a whole new world. I then dived with hammerhead sharks in the Galápagos Islands, and met many other amazing creatures including marine iguanas, which inspired my Fish Kid chapter book series.
I am excited about … The recent release of book three in my chapter book series – Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo. It’s just hit the shelves, and I’m really keen to hear back from all the kids who have been asking for it for the past year.
I’m also very excited to be visiting Broome this year as their guest author for CBCA Book Week.
When I’m in a creative slump, I …Go outside. If I’m struggling with a plot or something like that, I often go for a beach walk or take my lovely pooch (Indie) for a walk through the bush. The combination of fresh air, time to think and being out in nature usually always does the trick.
Once I was brainstorming picture book ideas, but nothing came to me while sitting at my desk. So I rode my bike down to the beach and sat there drawing everything I saw in my sketch book, hoping to find a spark of an idea. After a while, I reached for my snacks … but soon realised they were gone! Someone had been sneaking up behind my back and pinching them! That’s when I saw the cheeky seagull that inspired my picture book, ‘Chip.’
I’m really proud of … My son. He is dyslexic and has to work really hard at learning to read. It’s been quite a struggle for him, and there were once many tears over his reading homework. But he didn’t give up and now always tries best. He knows it’s harder for him than most kids, but he remains upbeat and positive. He loves books, so I’m also really proud of my husband and I for fostering a love of books in him, despite the hurdles, which could easily make him hate them.
I’m also really proud of the Fish Kid series, as I’ve been receiving emails from parents (who say their children are reluctant readers) thanking me for writing the books that made all the difference to their child’s reading journey. I tear up every time I read one of these letters because I know the struggle they’ve been through and how wonderful it is when your child finally finds the book they love and won’t put down.
Someone once told me … To trust in the creative process. I remind myself of this during the down days, when what I’m working on, just isn’t working. Even the most successful creatives doubt themselves at some stage during every project. You just have to back yourself, keep going and eventually you’ll find that creative high again
My advice to you is …Involve kids in your creative process. Mine always surprise me and often take the activity off in a direction I’d never have thought of. The textures they create are always so energetic and expressive.
You can find me …
On my website at www.kyliehowarth.com