16th November 2017
Written by Nicole Madigan
Released: 15th July 2017
Book title: Ballerina Monkey
Author: Nicole Madigan
Publisher: blOOturtle Publishing
Distributor: blOOturtle Publishing
Australian RRP: $19.95
New Zealand RRP: $21.95
Intended Audience: Children aged 4 to 8
Dimensions: 297x210mm, 32pp
Tell us about yourself
I am a journalist, writer and children's author, with a passion for words and a thirst for information. I have three children aged 3, 7 and 8 - the birth of my first promptly jump-starting my passion for children's literature. It is a dream come true to be releasing my second children's picture book.
What is your book about?
Ballerina Monkey tells the story of Malik, the little monkey who loves to dance - if only he knew how! When he plucks up the courage to ask the flamingos to teach him their special ballet, the rest of the monkey tribe laugh and call him names. Through perseverance and determination, Malik learns the importance of following your dreams and being true to yourself.
Who is your target audience for this book?
Children aged 4 to 8
What aspects did you find challenging about this book?
Doing justice to Malik's character, his feelings, and the difficulty of his situation. Even as adults, being true to oneself in the face of outside pressures can be immensely challenging. As a child, the opinions of others carry so much weight, and being able to shoulder that weight takes courage. I didn't want to trivialise that.
What does your book offer the reader that differs from others covering similar subjects?
In Malik's situation, not only has he decided to pursue an interest that results in others making fun of him, but in the beginning of the story, he's actually not very good at it. So he's not only learning resilience, but also determination and perseverance. I also felt it was important to acknowledge his similarities with the other monkeys, in addition to his differences. Outside of the story itself, Ballerina Monkey offers spectacular illustrations and eco-friendly paper (and production)!
How did the idea for this book come about?
I was first inspired to write Ballerina Monkey when my biggest boy was just 4. At that time, he’d developed a set of interests outside what was considered typical for a little boy. He had an enviable collection of My Little Ponies, baby dolls and adored all things sparkly… but there was also his planes, trucks and cars. My aim was to write something that encouraged children to have the courage to be true to themselves.
Funnily enough, the son that inspired the story has since done a complete 180. He’s now obsessed with sports – AFL to be precise, and refuses to step foot near anything resembling pink. And that's perfectly okay too! It’s my younger son, my middle child, who is now more closely aligned with Ballerina Monkey’s protagonist, Malik.
A sensitive little soul, my middle boy is not remotely interested in sports, prefers dance and imaginative play and computers, though his interests change by the day. My darling daughter is also a mixed bag, a girly-girl and a tom-boy all rolled into one.
Regardless, my wish for my children is that they always be true to themselves, whatever that may be. I strive to do the same, which is why the story of Ballerina Monkey is so dear to me.
Find out more about Nicole Madigan
Publisher's website: blooturtle.com
Nicole Madigan is a Brisbane based writer and widely published journalist with more than 15 years in the media and communications industries.
Having always been an avid reader and lover of words, Nicole’s writing career began as a newspaper journalist, where she spent several years before switching mediums. After several years as an on-air television reporter, Nicole embarked on a career as a freelance journalist and feature writer, enabling her to work around her growing family, while writing for a wide variety of high profile publications.
Since the arrival of her first child (she now has three!), Nicole’s love of children’s literature has continued to grow, as has her belief that reading to your child is one of the most precious gifts you can give them.
Nicole is the author of Darcy and the Dinosaurs and Ballerina Monkey.