H. Hayek is the second-youngest of seven children, born to Lebanese-Australian parents. She was born in Adelaide, grew up in Perth and now lives in Melbourne. She struggled with reading and writing through her earliest years at school, but knew from the time she was a little girl that she wanted to work with words. H. Hayek enjoys exploring themes of identity - what it means to be Australian, Muslim, and Lebanese. She also enjoys being a little bit mischievous. Her debut children's novel is Huda and Me.
Find out more about H. Hayek here:
Mum is going to kill me!
You see, a few weeks ago, my friend Hamish went to Indonesia and asked me to look after his boa constrictor, Jingles. I have always had a fascination with reptiles, particularly snakes, so I was ecstatic to take on the challenge.
Unfortunately, my parents were NEVER going to let me keep a snake so it was vital I hide him. Because I’m generally a neat character, my parents don’t come into my room much, so it's the best place to hide Jingles.
So far I’ve concealed Jingles effectively, but today when I get home from school… Jingles isn’t there. Desperately I hunt for him in all his favourite hiding places. He isn’t in any of them…not even the undies drawer.
My secret is up. I am going to have to tell mum everything. Slowly, I trudge out of my room and into the kitchen. I swear I will be sick at any moment. The weight of my guilt drags me down.
Mum is doing the dishes in the kitchen, but looks up when I enter the room.
“What have you done Xavier?” she asks, as though she doesn’t really want to know the answer to that question. I decide to say it quickly, to get it over with,
“Hamish gave me his snake Jingles to look after while he’s away in Indonesia for a few months and I managed to keep him safe for a while, but now he’s gone missing,” I say, stumbling over my words. Fury radiates off my mother in huge waves. She is like a volcano about to erupt.
“Xavier Walker,” she says, in a dangerously low voice. “Do you mean to tell me that you have been keeping a snake in your room without I or your father knowing and you have now lost that snake, because of your carelessness?”
Trembling, I decide not to answer, and just focus on enjoying the last few moments of my life.
Suddenly, a scream pierces the air. Mum and I both sprint into the lounge room, to find my sister Chloe standing on the couch and looking petrified. I let out a yell of joy, because the thing my sister is screaming at is something long and green and scaly.
Joyously, I put the snake around my shoulders, and look at my family sheepishly.
“Well, I guess I’ll just go and feed Jingles.” Before anyone can do anything, I run into my room, slam the door, lock it and begin looking up ways to post snakes to Indonesia.
My mum and sister pound on my bedroom door. Just as my door is about to break, I jump out the window and run next door to where our neighbour Anne lives. I put Jingles around her neck, “Thanks Anne” run home, sit at my desk and try to act casually. Finally, the door gives way and my mum and sister stand there, glaring at me.
I’m in SO much trouble.
Kate recommends Tomorrow Girl: A Tale of Mindfulness by Vikki Conley and Penelope Pratley, published by EK Books.
Hello Baby by Shelly Unwin, published by Allen and Unwin
Little Gem by Anna Zobel published by Penguin Random House
Liz recommends Heroes of the Secret Underground by Susanne Gervay, published by HarperCollins.
Paws written by Kate Foster, published by Walker Books.
The Bird in the Herd written by Kat Apel, illustrated by Renee Treml and published by UQP.
Nat recommends Footprints on the Moon by Lorraine Marwood, published by UQP.
Move That Mountain by Kate & Jol Temple, illustrated by Terri Rose Baynton & published by Scholastic.
This episode, Liz gives a shoutout to an excellent new initiative by South Australian kids' book author and poet, Alys Jackson. She is the Project Coordinator based at the University of Adelaide.
Alys is helping to establish a student-led Book Club which will be piloted within Adelaide primary schools later this year. The aim is to provide a safe place where kids can chat about stories and try activities that expand on and explore new ideas, concepts and experiences.
And right now, Alys is looking for picture book donations. Anyone who might be interested in donating can contact via email - firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find out more about Alys and her picture books at alysjackson.com
First up is Shelly Unwin’s book launch for Hello Baby, which is a rolling book launch held at the Lindfield Learning Hub on 24th April anytime between 10:30am and 2:30pm. Get along and grab your copy of this gorgeous new picture book!
Then of course, the 2021 Sydney Writers' Festival kicks off! If you haven’t locked in all the amazing events you want to check out, then head to swf.org.au to see the full program.
This episode, thanks to our friends at Allen and Unwin, you could win a copy of Huda and Me by today's special guest H. Hayek, plus a copy of A Class Full of Lizards: The Grade Six Survival Guide 2 by Alison Hart.
Head to our WIN page and simply tell us a place you'd love to travel, no parents allowed!
Enter your answer (or ask a parent to) by 5pm Tuesday 18th May to be in the running.
To illustrators Ramona Davey and Marianne Khoo for all our wonderful One More Page images.
And to our sound editor Adam Orlowski for his wonderful audio genius - check out his other work at www.aosd.tk
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