Tag: girl

Amy and Phoenix Author Interview

An Interview with Jenny about why she wrote
Amy and Phoenix

Why did you write Amy and Phoenix?

I love Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. When I was a classroom teacher, I always enjoyed reading the story to my class of children. I found it such a heart-warming story. I also thought it would be fun to have talking animals, like in the Doctor Doolittle movies. So, initially these two ideas floated around in my imagination and morphed into a modern tale of a girl who wanted to save a disabled lamb on her farm, and her ability to talk to the animals would help her.

I took my youngest daughter on a holiday and there was a petting zoo in the caravan park. Each day my daughter wanted to go and feed the animals and pat them. She particularly loved the lambs. The photos of her feeding and patting the animals became cemented in my mind, and they became the characters in the book.

My passion is to write stories with disabled characters, or characters in diverse situations. Having a disabled lamb would add a different type of story to my collection.
I made Amy’s dad the antagonist. Dad is really just doing what many farmers do. They put down sick or poorly animals. Farmers may feed potty lambs when there is drought, but they don’t normally feed lambs just for the heck of it. They are too busy. Children do not see the world as adults do so I wanted to explore this relationship in the story.

What is the story about?

The story is about Amy Pringle who sees her dad striding through the loungeroom with his gun. She knows that on the farm that usually isn’t a good thing, and she pursues him to find out why. The bad news is that Amy’s favourite ewe, Edna, has given birth but there is a problem with the lamb. It has three legs. Dad wants to put the lamb down as it will attract the foxes to the farm, but Amy doesn’t want him to. She then has to work out how to change her dad’s mind. With the help of the other farm animals, Amy comes up with a plan which she puts into action. Through a series of events the lambs end up on the internet, and in a talent show. Amy thinks everything is perfect but it soon isn’t. I won’t tell you any more but the story is suspenseful and heart-warming.

What is your favourite part of the story?

I have a few. I loved that Amy could talk to the animals but none of the other humans could, and it was like a secret that Amy was keeping from them. And I loved the bond between Amy and Phoenix, particularly when she makes him a crown to wear after she names him.

What will people get out of the story?

Amy and Phoenix is about a young girl standing up for what she feels is an injustice. Amy is strong and bold, and fights for what she believes in and problem-solves to help her right the wrong she feels her dad is committing. I hope Amy will encourage other children to stand up for what they believe in. The story also has the phenomenon of videos going viral on YouTube, and the media attention this can attract. This part can lead to discussions about cyber safety.

Is there a Book 2 coming?

Yes, as the story does not end. You will realise that when you reach the last few words of the book. Amy’s adventures with Phoenix will be continued in a second novel where she will take the lambs to a TV talent show! I can’t say anything more – you will have to wait and see what happens.

Where can people buy Amy and Phoenix from?

Amy and Phoenix is available as a paperback. It can be purchased from many online bookstores which are listed on my website, and from me directly, via my website.

Amy and Phoenix Book Information

Amy and Phoenix

Middle Grade Novel
Ages 8-11

154 pages

Publication Year: 2019

978-0-9945341-8-7 (pbk)
978-0-9945341-9-4 (e-bk)

RRP $15 AUD paperback
RRP $4.14 AUD ebook

The Story:

Eleven-year-old Amy Pringle lives on a farm. She knows all the animals by name and can talk to them like Doctor Doolittle. Amy is looking forward to her favourite ewe, Edna, giving birth. When she sees her dad with his gun, she knows something is wrong.

Amy must think of a way to save Phoenix, the three-legged lamb’s life.

After her sister Hannah, posts a video of Phoenix on YouTube and it goes viral, Amy thinks all her problems are solved. Little does she know what is about to happen.

Will Amy be able to save Phoenix after all?

Amy and Phoenix is a heart-warming fantasy story about a caring, strong-willed and determined girl. It explores the themes of disability, advocacy, friendship, farming and agriculture, animal welfare and cyber safety.

Click to download the Amy and Phoenix Information Sheet 


Available as an EBOOK or PAPERBACK:

in Australia:

Brockwell the Brave Themes

Brockwell the Brave Themes

Gender Roles & Stereotypes

Gender stereotypes are generalisations made about how males and females should behave and what they should like and do. The claim applies to all people of that gender. These roles are inacccurate, as each human being has individual desires, thoughts and feelings, which are not dependent on being male and female. Therefore, gender stereotypes are simplistic, but many people believe them.

For example, all males:

• wear blue
• like to play with cars and trucks when they are boys. They don’t play with dolls, only action figures.
• like to work on cars
• like rough sports
• do dirty jobs, not secretarial work
• enjoy outdoor activities such as camping and fishing
• do not do housework and they are not responsible for taking care of children
• do not sew or do crafts
For example, all females:
• wear pink
• like to play with dolls
• are not as strong as males
• like caring roles
• love to sing and dance
• like to wear makeup and look pretty
• do not do dirty jobs
• like to wear high heels, frilly clothes and dresses

These stereotypes may be true for some males and females, but they are not true for all. And it is this fact that is brought to light in Brockwell the Brave,.Brockwell Ness is described as a quiet, gentle boy who likes to spend time at the healing hut. He is a carer by nature. Brockwell also likes to go to the markets and buy the food for his mother. These are not what boys do in the Viking village, and Mr Ness, Brockwell’s father does not cope well with this. He doesn’t like that his son is different and likes to do ‘women’s work’.

In the story, Brockwell’s best friend, Ingrid Gulbrand, is a strong female. She still does tasks considered to be ‘women’s work’, so is more accepted. There were some female warriors in the Viking era, so she was not totally out of place, like Brockwell was.

The story brings to light that boys and girls are individuals, and their gender is only a part of who they are. Their genders do not define Brockwell and Ingrid as people.


Facing Fears


If you find yourself avoiding situations, places or activities, anxiety and worry may be the cause.

In the story, Brockwell has two fears, One is his bully, Colden, who picks on him constantly. And the second is the juvenile and adult dragons that Brockwell is expected to feed.

Brockwell found it very hard to face his fears. He would experience worry, panic attacks and avoid the situations which triggered them.

The solution to fear, is facing what makes you anxious. Brockwell faced Colden and the dragons, and found that he was able to deal with them both.

Brockwell felt he could only deal with them because of the dragon’s tooth he was given by Mrs Gulbrand. Did this tooth really have power or did it give Brockwell the inner belief that he could stand up to his adversities?

Here are five tips for facing fears:
1. When you are trying something new, or something that you have been worried about, it is normal to feel panicky – don’t let this stop you.

2. Taking deep breaths can help calm you when you are feeling anxious.

3. Try not to leave a situation because you are anxious, instead leave when your anxiety has begun to fade away.

4. Set yourself some goals, and reward yourself every time you reach your goal.

5. Have family and friends support you.



Bullying is the purposeful attempt at controlling another person. There are many ways this can happen. For example, verbal abuse such as tone of voice or teasing, threats and name calling; physical bullying; and exclusion. Bullying is usually not considered a once-off occurrence, but involves multiple instances.

In Brockwell the Brave, the village bully, Colden has it in for Brockwell. He teases Brockwell by calling him, ‘It’s Brocky Ness who wears a dress’. Colden also physically hurts him. We see this in the markets. Brockwell is scared of Colden and Colden knows it. This fear means that Brockwell is under Colden’s control which encourages Colden to keep on being mean. We find out at the end that Colden is hurting and being a bully is making him feel better about himself. This is a common scenario.

So why does bullying happen?

There are a variety of reasons:

• Cultural causes – a culture that likes power, winner and violence
• Institutional causes – if a home, school or workplace allows bullying
• Social Issues – when being a bully gets more attention from others than being well behaved
• Family Issues – where children are not loved or suffer abuse or neglect
• The Bully’s Personal History – children who have experienced rejection are more likely to bully
• Having Power – people with power may use it in the wrong way
• Provocative victims – people who are annoying or aggressive may be bullied

Bullies can change while others remain the same for their entire lives. In the story, Colden does change, when Brockwell identifies what is causing Colden to pick on him. In the end of the story they become friends.



Resilience is what gives people the psychological strength to cope with adversities. It is the mental strength that people are able to call on in the tough times. It will carry them through without falling apart. Resilient people face their difficulties head on.

We see this in the story when Brockwell is dealt with many hardships on his journey to rescue his father. He falls over in the forest, nearly drowns in the creek, tumbles down the hill, encounters a bear and dragons. All of these would be enough for anyone to give up and let someone else do the job. But not Brockwell. He taps into his inner mental strength and continues on.

At the end of the story, Brockwell emerges stronger. This is what often happens when people are resilient.

Mentally strong people also tend to have the support of family and friends. In the story, Ingrid and Gosta were with Brockwell. At one point Gosta did ask if Brockwell wanted to give up, but Brockwell by that time, was determined to find his father, and declined the suggestion.

Here are some factors that are associated with resilience:

• Holding positive views about themselves and their abilities
• The capacity to make realistic plans and stick to them
• Feeling like they have control over a situation and are able to make choices to influence the event
• Being a good communicator
• Viewing themselves as fighters rather than victims
• Managing their emotions effectively
• Being able to problem solve

In the story we see Brockwell problem solving on the way home. He also feels that he has control over the situation. And finally after his father has been rescued, and he is home, Brockwell receives an impressive reward. an you be like Brockwell and face your fear