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Dear Mem Fox, I Have Read All Your Books Even the Pathetic Ones: And Other Incidents in the Life of a Children’s Book Author

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The internationally acclaimed children’s book writer, on herself and on the art of writing and publishing children’s books.


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The internationally acclaimed children’s book writer, on herself and on the art of writing and publishing children’s books.

30 review for Dear Mem Fox, I Have Read All Your Books Even the Pathetic Ones: And Other Incidents in the Life of a Children’s Book Author

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    If you love Mem ... and you love Mem's books ... then you will absolutely love this book about Mem AND her books! If you love Mem ... and you love Mem's books ... then you will absolutely love this book about Mem AND her books!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Worrell

    A delight to read, it's also nice to see stories of successful authors who don't follow the "rules" you so often hear. She also hates to outline, doesn't write every day, and often feels the crush of impostor syndrome. I've only read about a third of her output and now I want to find the articles mentioned in this book and catch up with the rest of her fiction. A delight to read, it's also nice to see stories of successful authors who don't follow the "rules" you so often hear. She also hates to outline, doesn't write every day, and often feels the crush of impostor syndrome. I've only read about a third of her output and now I want to find the articles mentioned in this book and catch up with the rest of her fiction.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joyce Ellis

    Having met and taken a class with the delightful Australian children's writer Mem Fox at a conference, summer 2019, I was delighted to find and read her memoir--published in 1990. I haven't read ALL her books yet, but I've read a great many of them and have posted some reviews here on Goodreads. What a warm and personal--even vulnerable--account of her personal life (including a scary cancer battle) as well as her yo-yo writing and teaching career. Her personality bubbles through every page, and Having met and taken a class with the delightful Australian children's writer Mem Fox at a conference, summer 2019, I was delighted to find and read her memoir--published in 1990. I haven't read ALL her books yet, but I've read a great many of them and have posted some reviews here on Goodreads. What a warm and personal--even vulnerable--account of her personal life (including a scary cancer battle) as well as her yo-yo writing and teaching career. Her personality bubbles through every page, and I felt like I was sitting down across the table from her in an unhurried visit with a friend. Because I was reading a library copy of the book, I couldn't underline and highlight, but I put sticky flags on numerous pages, and I have now ordered a copy online so I can mark up my own copy for future reference. Mem is definitely "mem"orable in so many ways, including her amazing writing skill and delightful humor, and I know I'll reread this book often.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I love Mem Fox's books and this was very interesting learning more about the author. I love Mem Fox's books and this was very interesting learning more about the author.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Buxton

    B+. nonfiction, autobiography, author, Australia. Enjoyed the entire book; particularly interesting were the author's comments on America. B+. nonfiction, autobiography, author, Australia. Enjoyed the entire book; particularly interesting were the author's comments on America.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book was recommended to me and I read it without knowing any of Mem Fox's books! She's hilarious, and has a very particular self-deprecating sense of humor that I enjoyed. This book was recommended to me and I read it without knowing any of Mem Fox's books! She's hilarious, and has a very particular self-deprecating sense of humor that I enjoyed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Boris

    I enjoyed reading about Mem Fox’s life. I have been reading her books for years to my students. Thanks Mem!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Caren

    Mem Fox, an Australian children's book author, grew up in southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), where her parents were missionaries. Rather than college, she attended drama school in England, where she met her English husband, Malcolm. The two of them then moved as "migrants" to Australia and have never left. She got a job as a tutor in drama at a college, then became a lecturer (during which time she got her college degree). She is also a storyteller, writer and mother of one daughter, Chloe. She goes Mem Fox, an Australian children's book author, grew up in southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), where her parents were missionaries. Rather than college, she attended drama school in England, where she met her English husband, Malcolm. The two of them then moved as "migrants" to Australia and have never left. She got a job as a tutor in drama at a college, then became a lecturer (during which time she got her college degree). She is also a storyteller, writer and mother of one daughter, Chloe. She goes into a lot of detail about her writing process and what is involved in producing a picture book for children. She says she loves teaching even more than writing and she has strong opinions about the teaching of reading. She believes in the whole language approach using real books rather than basal readers, and she likes to encourage children to write using "invented spelling". After her international bestseller "Possum Magic" was published, she went on speaking tours in the USA. She said she was initially very fearful to visit America because she was convinced she would be "raped, robbed, murdered, or mugged within minutes of arriving". She had some further interesting insights about American culture: "...in England and Australia in my experience people are more able to find contentment at a lower level of materialism, a contentment arising out of the solidity of families and friendships and a more happy-go-lucky attitude to life and work. In the U.S. work and ambition have no ending. The American work ethic is incredible even for me, and I am not work-shy. Everything is urgent. Everything is a crisis...." Another amusing comparison is that Australians apparently swear much more freely and colorfully than Americans do. She says, "Words that are mild in Australia produce shock-horror reaction in the States....Once, when I was talking to a class about being a writer I told the kids that my first drafts were usually 'crappy' but that I didn't give a 'damn' about it since I knew rewriting would improve them. As one, the entire class clapped its hands over its open mouths and, wide-eyed, turned to watch the teacher's reaction." Ms. Fox wrote this autobiography twenty years ago when she was, by her own admission, in the summer of her life. It would be lovely to catch up with her now, at the early autumn of her life and hear how her life fares today. She writes as though to a good friend and this book is an enjoyable read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Storyteller John Weaver

    My reading of the title led me to believe this book would be primarily letters and reactions from Fox's readers, but it was actually an autobiography with not too much, really, on the "funny things my readers say" front. It was an enjoyable read, though, as Fox has led a remarkable life, and writes about it with great joy and humor. The experience of having been exposed to this book will add to the experience of reading her early children's books, now that I know a bit of the story behind them. My reading of the title led me to believe this book would be primarily letters and reactions from Fox's readers, but it was actually an autobiography with not too much, really, on the "funny things my readers say" front. It was an enjoyable read, though, as Fox has led a remarkable life, and writes about it with great joy and humor. The experience of having been exposed to this book will add to the experience of reading her early children's books, now that I know a bit of the story behind them.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nic

    This book is hilarious and interesting. Born in Australia, Mem Fox grew up in an African village with intellectually energetic parents, then went to drama school in England, where she met her husband. The two of them drifted around before settling in Australia. Both teach, and Fox has a lot to say about that, as well as topics that range from what it's like to have written a bestselling and emphatically Australian children's book to why her OCD is the fault of Switzerland. Lots of fun. This book is hilarious and interesting. Born in Australia, Mem Fox grew up in an African village with intellectually energetic parents, then went to drama school in England, where she met her husband. The two of them drifted around before settling in Australia. Both teach, and Fox has a lot to say about that, as well as topics that range from what it's like to have written a bestselling and emphatically Australian children's book to why her OCD is the fault of Switzerland. Lots of fun.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Donalyn

    An interesting memoir from the children's book author and literacy advocate, Mem Fox, From her childhood in Africa to her experiences publishing her famous books like Possum Magic, Mem has had an interesting life. Not a book for kids, in spite of the fact that I found it in my school library. Mem explores some adult experiences here. An interesting memoir from the children's book author and literacy advocate, Mem Fox, From her childhood in Africa to her experiences publishing her famous books like Possum Magic, Mem has had an interesting life. Not a book for kids, in spite of the fact that I found it in my school library. Mem explores some adult experiences here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pete Monica

    Great advice for those looking to write picture books. An interesting upbringing in Africa, and fascinating tours. I only put two stars because I felt troubled by her stance on motherhood, or rather, her mothering of her daughter. I admire the honesty of the writing, but worried for her daughter.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    The title alone grabbed me and I had to read this book. An author of children's books, a child actually wrote the "fan letter" in the title. Kids tell it like it is! Enjoyed the entire book about Fox's writing life. The title alone grabbed me and I had to read this book. An author of children's books, a child actually wrote the "fan letter" in the title. Kids tell it like it is! Enjoyed the entire book about Fox's writing life.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    The best title! A favorite author.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I have found the chapters on writing to be really inspiring for primary writing teachers. I keep reading passages and wanting to share them with my class.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    She made me laugh, and had some good advice on writing for children. Not a book I'd re-read, but entertaining in the context of my writing for children class. She made me laugh, and had some good advice on writing for children. Not a book I'd re-read, but entertaining in the context of my writing for children class.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mireille Messier

    Some great insight into the early years and formative years of this remarkable children's author. I wish there was an updated version available. Some great insight into the early years and formative years of this remarkable children's author. I wish there was an updated version available.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pita-eater

  19. 4 out of 5

    Vahni

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laurie Conklin

  22. 5 out of 5

    MaryJane

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ken

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lisagarden

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jo

  26. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Vieira

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    Funny, sad, interesting. She's open and honest about her life. Funny, sad, interesting. She's open and honest about her life.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shonessi

  30. 4 out of 5

    Trish

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