Tag Archives: Children’s Picture Books

Ewes in the News

Annabel, the sheep with ADHD, has made it onto TV!
Here’s the Youtube video:

Annabel’s Dance‘, by Diane Jackson Hill and Lois Bury, Wombat Books, features in  reading@home – episode 8, Channel9GO . The Queensland Department of Education have produced a beautiful reading of the much-loved picture book, a character analysis and a craft activity.

Author Diane Jackson Hill gives some back-story:

Annabel’s Dance was based on two stories. One was about how a possibly annoying characteristic in a child/adult could actually be an exceptional and envied gift. Many admired people who have done great things to help our world, have been reported to have characteristics associated with ADHD or Aspergers which were difficult to deal with in childhood.

The other was about some recently found sheep that escaped shearing and ended up with 6-7 years wool growth. The first was ‘Shrek’ in New Zealand. He became very famous – having his wool shorn on an iceberg that happened to be floating past the country at the time. He was taken there by helicopter and had a special heated blanket and ice-pick booties fitted to his hooves to walk on the ice! A huge amount of $$$ for disadvantaged kids was raised by this adventure. ‘I wanted to add that to my story, but my editor said no-one would ever believe me,’ Diane said.

There’s been multiple sheep found since. Sheila and Prickles in Tasmania and Chris in New South Wales who holds the record of carrying over 40kg of wool. The latest has been a sheep found in England where a mouthful of wool actually was so unappealing to wolves, they left him alone.

Annabel’s Dance’ published by Wombat Books, is available from your favourite bookstore or signed copies from this site.

Another Annabel Discovered!

Prickles the sheep
Another real-life sheep found with 7 years wool after fleeing bushfires.

Annabel’s Dance is based on the author’s grand-daughter whose ADHD diagnosis inspired a lots of research to cope with her behaviour. At the same time, a sheep was found in New Zealand with 5 years of wool.

‘Hmmmm, that sheep could possibly have ADHD,’ Diane thought. And so Annabel’s story was born. The mob find her characteristics really annoying at first, but then realise those same characteristics get her ahead in life. Sound familiar?

A story about being comfortable in your own skin (wool) and making the most of your opportunities.

No mention of ADHD, but gives inspiration and understanding to kids, peers, parents and teachers.

Signed copies and home study notes are available HERE.


Prickles the sheep returns home
Rescued, loaded and headed for the shearing shed

Prickles the sheep returns home to Dunalley farm after fleeing 2013 bushfires

Windcatcher Launch

Di Jackson Hill, Craig Smith & Paul Jennings
Diane and Craig with guest of honour – Paul Jennings! Customs House Gallery exhibition of Craig’s originals shown in background.

When Windcatcher was launched at Blarney Books in Port Fairy, early October, I thought perhaps I’d written a history book. The shearwaters (mutton birds) should have returned 2 weeks prior – but there was no sign of them.

They’ve never, ever been late before – always arriving within a day or two of September 22. Everyone was really worried and no-one knew what had happened. But, the birds did arrive home – on the night of the launch!! It had nothing to do with the launch of our book of course, but it makes a good story! Only half the usual 30,000 birds arrived back though. Sadly, it’s since been discovered, the others suffered a ‘wreck’ (massed demise) off the coast of Canada at the beginning of their flight back.

Windcatcher. Migration of the Short-tailed Shearwater – by Diane Jackson Hill Illustrated: Craig Smith Published: CSIRO


Ukes of a Feather
Queenscliff’s ‘Ukes of a Feather’ performed wind themed songs
Craig Smith
Craig Smith gave insights into his illustrations

Environmental Literature Award for ‘Chooks in Dinner Suits’

Craig Smith and I were honoured to accept the 2017 Environmental Award for Children’s Literature – picture fiction. Thankyou to Museum Victoria for believing in the story and to The Wilderness Society for helping us spread the story further than we ever hoped or imagined. Congratulations to the people of Warrnambool, on the success of this incredible project.

Diane Jackson and Craig Smith

Baby Band – A musical picture book for Early Childhood

Picture book No 4 – BABY BAND – has just arrived!!

It’s stunning!!! Thanks to New Frontier and Giuseppe Poli for making it happen and Meredith Costain and Karen Tayleur for help along the way. Still can’t quite believe it all – pinch! pinch!

On a normal day, a baby creates mayhem in an apartment block. Diane’s words express her passion for music and its ability to bring people together in joyous celebration. Giuseppe’s illustrations transform an apartment block into a vibrant community.


Chooks In Dinner Suits wins 2 Notables in CBCA Book of the Year

Chooks In Dinner Suits

‘Chooks In Dinner Suits’ has Notables in 2 categories of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2017.
I’m thrilled and honoured. This means it is in the longlist from which the shortlist and winners are chosen.

Thank you, Museum Victoria, for believing in me and this story. Thank you, Craig Smith, for making the story live, through your wonderful illustration. Thanks to Swampy Marsh, Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare, Warrnambool Books and Flagstaff Hill for their ongoing support and encouragement.

And congratulations to the wonderful team of children’s writers I am so happy and proud to be part of.