Jane Godwin is an Australian children’s book publisher, and also the highly acclaimed author of over twenty-five books for children, across all styles and ages. Her work is published internationally and she has received many commendations.
Jane’s most recent novel is Falling From Grace, and her most recent picture books are Go Go and the Silver Shoes, illustrated by Anna Walker, The Silver Sea, with Alison Lester and the patients at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, and Watch This!, a dynamic photographic book created with designer Beci Orpin and photographer Hilary Walker. Jane’s new novel for teenagers, As Happy as Here, will be published by Hachette in August 2019.
Anna Walker and Jane have created six bestselling picture books together – Little Cat and the Big Red Bus, All Through the Year, Today We Have No Plans, Starting School, What Do You Wish For? and Go Go and the Silver Shoes.
Jane writes her own books but much of her time is spent in encouraging and supporting authors with whom she works. Jane was the Children’s Publisher at Penguin Books Australia for many years and worked with authors and illustrators including Alison Lester, Paul Jennings, Graeme Base, Ursula Dubosarsky, Terry Denton, Margaret Wild, Sofie Laguna, Freya Blackwood, Andrew Joyner, Marc Martin and many more. Along with her friend Davina Bell, Jane is the creator of Our Australian Girl, a highly successful series of quality historical fiction for middle readers. Jane has produced books for a wide range of readers, from very young children through to Young Adult and crossover titles.
Jane spends as much time as she can working with young people in schools and communities, running various literature and writing programs, making books and encouraging students in their own creative ventures. She is dedicated to pursuing quality and enriching reading and writing experiences for young people, whether it’s as a writer, a publisher or a speaker/facilitator in schools.
Jane lives in Melbourne with her partner, Michael. Their children are Lizzie, an interior designer who also experiments with graphic design, illustration and animation, and Wil, who is the songwriter and lead singer of Melbourne band The Smith Street Band.
Early Primary (Prep – Year 2)
A fun and interactive session where Jane shares several of her many picture books with the children. Jane shares the stories then talks about how each story came about, encouraging the students to share their own ideas and explore similar techniques when they write stories. Jane also takes the children through the process of making a picture book, from initial idea, rough drafts, storyboarding and rough illustration, through to final illustrations and printing etc. This session can also include a drawing/story start activity with the children. Teachers can also request for Jane to focus on a particular book if the children have been exploring that one in the classroom.
Early Primary/Middle Primary
You Can Make a Picture Book!
A fun and hands-on workshop where each child creates their own small picture book. Jane starts by sharing some of her picture books and demonstrating the importance and power of narrative. Jane also shows children the process of making a picture book from first idea to finished product. Then each child creates a storyboard and in turn applies this to their very own book. Jane uses cues and images to help the children understand story structure and then apply it to their own mini book.
This workshop introduces the notion of narrative in a concrete, fun and interactive way.
Middle Primary (Years 3 – 4)
5 Steps to a Great Story
An interactive talk that also includes some simple, quick and fun writing activities. Jane talks about different ways we can develop an idea, demonstrating this using the students’ contributions and also examples from her own books. This is used as a springboard for some three-minute writing activities that the students can build on later if they wish to create their own story. Jane then talks about the writing process – planning, drafting, language, character and plot – and gives the students tips from her own experience as a writer and publisher. Explaining the writing process in 5 straightforward steps allows students to feel equipped to tackle – and master! – narrative writing.
Upper Primary (Years 5 – 6)
5 Steps to a Great Story (more advanced for the older students)
An interactive talk that includes writing activities and brainstorming of story ideas. Initial discussion with the group about ideas and how we develop them dovetails into a series of quick and fun writing activities that even the most reluctant writer will get involved in. From here, Jane talks about the writing process – planning, drafting, language, character and plot – drawing on her experience as both a publisher and writer, and using examples from her own work and the activities that the students have done. The aim is for students to feel more confident as writers, to have a straightforward set of steps to follow in their narrative writing, and to enjoy the writing activities and be keen to further develop the stories they start in the session.
Lower Secondary (Years 7 – 9)
Ten Tips for Creative Writing
An interactive session with lots of hands-on writing activities and tailored to 90 minutes or 2 hours. Jane takes the group through her ten tips, demonstrating each one with examples of her own work and that of the students. Fun and informative, this session serves as a springboard for students to complete their own piece of work. The tips can be applied to both narrative and persuasive writing. They cover aspects of writing such as generating ideas, planning and structuring your work, using language effectively, and reviewing/editing your writing.
Masterclass for talented writers/highly able students
(can be run for upper primary or lower secondary school students)
An interactive workshop that can be tailored to either two or three hours (or it can be run as 1, 2, or 3 sessions). Jane works with the students on story shape, structure, and language – giving them strategies and techniques to take their writing to the next level. Through various engaging exercises, students are encouraged to look at the mechanics of their writing in order to understand the process more thoroughly and therefore spot weaknesses and know how to fix them. The most helpful approach to editing and reviewing one’s work is also explored. Often highly able and/or very keen writers don’t approach creative writing in a straightforward way – this masterclass helps them to unpack and examine their individual approach so that they feel equipped and confident to take their writing to the next level.
PD sessions for teachers
The power of the picture book
‘A picture book is text, illustrations, total design; an item of manufacture and a commercial product; a social, cultural, historical document; and, foremost, an experience for a child. As an art form it hinges on the interdependence of pictures and words, on the simultaneous display of two facing pages, and on the drama of the turning of the page.
On its own terms its possibilities are limitless.’
American Picture Books, from Noah’s Ark to The Beast Within
A stimulating and interactive session exploring picture books from every angle – the range of books in this genre, how they’re made, what they can represent, and the many opportunities they bring to a classroom, be it with 5 year olds or 15 year olds. Drawing on her experience as both a publisher and a writer, and using examples from picture books from around the world, Jane explores the power of this art form to enlighten, entertain, inspire and educate.
Other workshops Jane can run:
A session for Year 7 or Year 8 students studying the novel Falling from Grace
Or she can tailor a program to your needs!