Inspiration, Courage & Self-belief
Paper Magic is a book about finding courage, facing challenges and overcoming self-doubt. It is about the power of friendship and discovering you don't need magic to be worthwhile.
Marina needs a wheelchair to get around. Her legs might not work but she has clever hands.
Marina spends her days staring out at the park from her bedroom window. The park calls to her. It tugs at a place deep in her chest but the thought of meeting the children who play there sends her into a breathless panic. On the last day of the holidays, before starting at a new school, Nana arrives with a magical gift to change Marina’s life.
When Marina discovers she can breathe life into the origami figures she creates from Nana's magic paper, it gives her the courage to go out and explore the park.
Marina meets some amazing people on her magical adventure.
Why don't you go on the adventure with her?
About the Author
Here is the short and long of it.
I make up stuff, I’m arty and I’m a bit of a nerd.
That’s the short version.
I love telling stories. One of those stories starts with "No, when I was in the Wiggles they already had a Jeff so I had to use my middle name..." I regularly have whole bunches of kids in the school where I work believing I was once Eddie the Evil Wiggle and was sacked from the show after some parents complained that there shouldn't be an evil Wiggle. I use this story to demonstrate how a storyteller can make the most unlikely events (and if you have ever heard me sing you would understand just how unlikely this is) seem believable. Writing stories down for others to read and enjoy is one of the most special thing anyone can hope to do.
I think drawing and painting comes a close second. I have been an artist for a long time but I have only recently started doing illustrations for children’s books. You might think being an artist and illustrator is basically the same thing but it’s not. Illustrating, like writing is all about telling a story. I have been lucky enough to find a publisher who has allowed me to not only create the illustrations for my upcoming book Paper Magic, but also let me design the cover art for the book too. Usually the writer gets very little say in a books artwork.
Now for the nerdy bit.
I love reading books, especially children’s books. I’m a Whovian, a Trekky, I love Star Wars and any other science fiction or fantasy shows out there. I will jump at any chance to dress-up, sometimes as a medieval soldier, Scoobie Doo or Doctor Who (the Tom Baker one, mainly because I discovered I have a large, somewhat bent Tom Bakerish nose. He’s the one with the long scarf). I even built a TARDIS to take to school for this year’s Book Week parade. I tell really bad Dad jokes and I’m often an embarrassment to my children. I live in Bathurst with my Mad-Cat-Lady wife and seven and a half cats.
Unfortunately I have to spend a lot of time pretending to be grown-up so I won’t get sacked from my non-writing jobs.
The Inspiration For Paper Magic
In 1998, my son came home from school and I watched him scooting around the lounge room on his hands, dragging his legs behind him. It turned out, one of his year 2 classmates was a young girl with Spina Bifida, a spinal cord disorder. I got to know Sarah during that year and she was one of the most inspirational kids I have ever met. Nothing was too hard for her. She competed at the sports carnivals, tried everything the other kids did and her greatest desire at the time was to get a wheelchair with slanty wheels so she could go fast.
I decided back then, I wanted to write a book about a character just like Sarah. I tried several times over the years but the stories didn't work.
One day I saw John from Play School tell a story using an origami boat as a prop. When I joined the two ideas together in 2009, Marina Mack and the Magic Paper was born. It started off as a picture book idea with too many words. I entered the story in the Charlotte Duncan Award. It made the short list, but didn't win.
The next inspirational thing to happen was that Sandy Fussell, - (Polar Boy, Jaguar Warrior and the Samurai Kids series) - one of my favourite children's authors, offered to help me expand the story into a chapter book.
Not only did Sandy's mentorship make Paper Magic a book worthy of Sarah and other people who deal with disabilities on a daily basis, it made me a better writer.
I found this video quite a while after writing Paper Magic. Abigail is an amazing young girl with an indomitable spirit. She has the same spirit and stubborn determination as the girl who inspired the character of Marina. There is no goal too high!
You can do anything you put your mind to.
Paralympian and wheelchair marathon athlete, Kurt Fearnley is the most inspirational person I have ever met. He has a resilience and self-belief that is inspiring.
"I know that I can do absolutely anything on the planet. If someone sets something down in front of me, it's just a matter of figuring out how to do it."
Kurt Fearnley proves nothing is beyond him. Walking the Kakoda Track is a challenge many able bodied people would baulk at.
This is Paper Magic converted into a flower shaped word cloud.