Home' Aurora : Aurora October 2013 Contents Meet
and his friends
Giant spiders making peanut butter
sandwiches...An Outer Space Cheese
Grating Cowboy from the planet that orbits
the star Gamma Cephei...the Great Poo
Attack. Welcome to the imaginative world
of Rob Towner.
This year's Book Week theme was 'Across
the Universe' which enabled children to
dress up in fancy outer space costumes.
St Dominic's Centre for Hearing Impaired
Children, Mayfield, hosted an exciting event
with the launch of Animal Friends: Floating
Orange Cubes by Rob Towner.
How does one begin writing children's
books? Rob was working in the US at a
summer camp teaching groups lifesaving,
rock climbing and archery skills. When it
was time to rotate between groups and
work with the story-telling lot he was really
tested -- kids' play was a breeze!
He made the yarns up as he went along
and after three days, kids ditched the
sport and Rob's story-telling group was
the place to be. When he returned home
to Sydney he was out in the surf when a
spark planted a seed. He set up a blog;
wrote short stories on demand and learned
how to publish via the internet. Rob is a
digital marketing manager so he enjoyed
the online learning experience.
In a short space of time in his writing
career Rob's third book Romy's Garden
Adventures: Christmas City became the
number one downloaded children's book
on Amazon. This didn't, however, make
him rich or famous, as money earned rarely
equates to time spent.
Like any good author, Rob was aware
of what others were writing and applied
to join 'Books In Homes Australia', an
organisation that provides books to
children living in remote and low socio-
economic circumstances with the aim of
ensuring crucial early literacy engagement
and the development of reading skills.
This move led Rob to St Dominic's -- the
first school he was assigned and the
inspiration for his latest book. He poured
his heart and soul into the book as the
13,000 words were rewritten so many
times, but the fun he had at St Dominic's
was the driving force behind getting the
Rob was going to illustrate the book
himself but he loved kids' ability to draw.
There are no rules -- they simply like to be
natural yet different. So the St Dominic's
illustration group was born. In his humble
way Rob believes, "The drawings far
outshine any of the writing."
The cover of the book depicts Colonel
Mustard the Sausage Dog and Pengita
the Penguin, drawn by Zoe, and there is
no text on the cover. Rob hopes kids will
be captivated by the drawing and want to
pick up and read the book to discover the
mystery behind the illustration.
Where do the characters come from? Rob
explains they are all people he knows. Just
who might Carter the Spider, and Riley and
the Snail, co-hosts of AF Radio Classics
Hits, remind you of?
Rob is now a proud Novocastrian and
his brother Andrew, who is studying film
writing and screen plays, edits the books.
In his spare time he is secretary of the
Newcastle sub-branch of the Children's
Book Council of Australia.
Although he plans to rest his creative juices
for a few months, the St Dominic's artists
can proudly display their Certificates of
Contribution or drop into their library to
enjoy one of the copies Rob signed and
donated to the school.
You may wish to visit http://robt.info/.
An outer space cheese grating cowboy (aka Rob Towner) with St Dominic's
student Aiden Hopkins. Underneath text is the cover of Rob Towner's
Animal Friends: Floating Orange Cubes.
BY HELENE O'NEILL
The local author of a children's book turned to the students of St Dominic's
Centre for Hearing Impaired Children to illustrate his story, and couldn't be
happier with the result. Helene O'Neill explains.
Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
ASSEMBLY OF CATHOLIC
Please join our quarterly luncheons of
Catholic Business minds and Church Leaders
FR FRANK BRENNAN SJ
" ...that meddling priest."
The Assembly meets quarterly over lunch in a relaxed setting in the CBD. All luncheons
begin at noon and have a firm ending time of 2pm. Guest speaker for 21 November
luncheon is Fr Frank Brennan, a Jesuit Priest, professor of law at Australian Catholic
University; Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University College of Law and
National Centre for Indigenous Studies and a fierce advocate for the rights of refugees.
The National Trust classified him as a Living National Treasure at the same time that
Paul Keating labelled him as "that meddling priest".
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