Tag: Ride High Pineapple

Ride High Pineapple Book Launch

Interviews with Jenny Woolsey related to Ride High Pineapple

Ride High Pineapple Reviews

Ride High Pineapple Reviews

I wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading Ride High Pineapple. I sat down to start it, burnt the dinner (twice) and finished it in the one sitting. What a stunning book! I was completely mesmerised and want to give a copy to every teenager I know.
-Penny Harrison, Kids Book Review

See more reviews at:

Buzz words Magazine
CCA Kids Blog
Kids Book Review
Big Sister Blogs – Ride High Pineapple Walks the Walk

Ride High Pineapple Free Teacher Resources

Ride High Pineapple Author Interview

An Interview with Jenny about why she wrote
Ride High Pineapple

Why did you write Ride High Pineapple?

I was born with a rare craniofacial syndrome, and my two eldest children also have the syndrome. Growing up I was told that Graham Kennedy, an icon on our Australian TV screen, also had my syndrome, but no one else I knew did. When I was 10 years old I saw one other child with the syndrome but never spoke to them. I had a tough childhood with bullying, horrific operations and feeling like a freak. I also had amazing friends and family who loved me and wanted me to have a great life.

When my children were born with the syndrome, the internet had begun and I went searching for others. I found an American group on Yahoo and it was like the devil had been lifted off my shoulders. I had finally found my tribe. The invention of Facebook has since enabled those of us with the syndrome, to unite, from all over the world.

Since having my children I have wanted to write a book where the main character had my craniofacial syndrome, as there was none. I had tried to write the story for many years but it wasn’t the right time, and I never finished the manuscript. When I read Wonder by R J Palacio, I became even more determined to write the story. I enjoyed reading Wonder and I thought it raised a lot of awareness about craniofacial syndromes and facial differences; it showed how siblings and parents are affected; the bullying people living with craniofacial syndromes go through, and how cruel and nice other children can be in the school environment. I didn’t want to write another Wonder. I wanted to write my own unique story. When you read Ride High Pineapple you will see it is a very different story, with an Australian flavour to it.

When I was telling people about Ride High Pineapple as I was writing it, many suggested that I make the story not too focussed on the face, but make it so anyone who feels different will benefit from reading it. I took that advice to heart so didn’t put too much background information about the syndrome in the story, just enough so the reader could understand what Issy was living with. I also added mental illness to Issy’s character and women’s skateboarding. These two themes were both significant. Myself and my daughter have anxiety and depression, and my daughter was into skateboarding at the time I wrote it.

What is the story about?

The story is about Issy Burgess who is in Year Nine at high school. She’s been through a lot medical wise with multiple surgeries on her face, but her face is changing back to how it used to be before her last operation and she is being called ‘fish face’, ‘froggy eyes’ and other cruel names, by one particular girl, Tia. In her diary, Issy calls Tia, The Beast. Issy also has a best friend, Tilly, who has known her since they were small. The story is about how Issy tries to ignore the bullying through her love of skateboarding but how it eats her up inside by doing so. It is at the skatepark that Issy meets her crush and they become friends. Issy wants more. I won’t tell you what happens with that part – you’ll have to read it and see! Issy is a three dimensional character, so her diary deals with her search for her identity, severe anxiety in a variety of situations, and extreme jealousy of a new girl, coming into her friendship circle with Tilly. You could say Issy is your fairly typical teenager in that respect. Tilly is faithful in her friendship towards Issy and she reminds me of my best friend growing up. The other major part of the story is Issy’s growing ability in her skateboarding and what happens with that. Also the introduction of Issy’s skateboarding coach who acts as a mentor to help her overcome her foes.

Why is the book called Ride High Pineapple?

Ah, that’s a good question. The story has a few meanings which become clear as you read the book, but to put it simply – Ride High – is for Issy’s skateboarding, and her ability to overcome her struggles… and Pineapple is from the analogy she learns from her skateboarding coach.You’ll have to read the book to see what that means!

Apart from the general plot, what makes this story different from Wonder by R J Palacio?

There are many. I’ll just think of ten:
1) The syndrome is different. Wonder’s main character Auggie has Treacher Collins syndrome, my main character, Issy, has Crouzon syndrome.
2) It is written by someone who has grown up with a craniofacial syndrome. Issy is a combination of myself and my eldest daughter, who also has the syndrome.
3) It is set in Australia.
4) Issy is a teenager in high school. Auggie was in primary school.
5) Issy is a girl, Auggie a boy.
6) Ride High Pineapple is written as a diary.
7) Issy suffers from severe anxiety and depression. Auggie and loves skateboarding. Auggie is into Star Wars and the moon.
8) There are teenage girl issues in Ride High Pineapple e.g. hair colouring, friendship ups and downs, a crush, jealousy, socio-economic differences.
9) The Starlight Foundation are featured in the hospital scene.
10) It features poetry that Issy has written throughout the story.

I must also mention that the Children’s Craniofacial Association who promote Wonder and the #choosekind campaign, has written the foreword and endorsed Ride High Pineapple.

What will people get out of the story?

The reader will be totally absorbed in a raw honest story. They will experience a range of emotions as they turn the pages. The reader will also know how it is to be like a pineapple!

Where can people buy Ride High Pineapple?

Ride High Pineapple is available as an ebook and a paperback. It can be purchased from many online bookstores which are listed on my website, and from me directly, via my website.

Ride High Pineapple Themes

Ride High Pineapple Reviews

Facial Differences


Have you ever compared people’s faces? Some people have big noses, some people have small chins, some people have straight eyebrows, some people have thin lips, and some people have freckles. What do you have? All of these differences help you to be recognised by friends, family and other people who meet you.

What if you were born with a face that was considered different in the eyes of the world? Maybe you were born with a large red mark on your face, or you weren’t born with ears, or half of your face didn’t move.

In Ride High Pineapple, the main character, Issy Burgess, was born with a different face. The bones in her skull and face stopped growing too early when she was in her mother’s womb. This made them small, so her eyes were very bulgy. This was not her fault. It was something that just happened, just like some people have asthma, or are allergic to peanuts. But having something that most other people do not have, can be difficult.

People stare at people who are different.

Whether it is a very short person, a person in a wheelchair, or someone who talks to himself, people tend to look, maybe because they are curious, or maybe because they haven’t seen someone like that before. Unfortunately though, some people can be very mean and cruel to people who are different. This happens in Ride High Pineapple as Issy is bullied by The Beast, Tia, a girl in her class.

in the story Issy uses her English assessment to tell the class why she looks the way she is, and also to show that she is more than a face – she has talents. Issy is great at writing poetry, drawing Anime and skateboarding. She is also a loyal friend and a loved daughter.

You may be wondering, why I gave Issy a different face? Well, because I was born with a different face, and two of my children were also born with a different face. We all have the syndrome that Issy has. Issy’s character is based on myself and my daughter. Issy’s feelings were my own when I was growing up. The speech that Issy gave, was the speech that my daughter gave to her Year 8 English class, just changed to match Issy. My daughter loves drawing Anime and was into skateboarding. She also experiences anxiety. The hospitals, Captain Starlight, and plastic surgeon are all from our personal experience.

If you see or meet someone with a facial difference, choose kind. Be nice, smile and say hello. Remember that even though their face may not look like everyone else’s, they still have feelings, and they have talents. They want to have friends and be liked. Maybe they can do something that you can’t do.

For more information on facial differences see:


Bullying & Friendships

There is a bully in the story; Tia, or The Beast, is her name. She continually calls Issy names, she hurts Issy, and she spreads rumours about her.

The difference between a mean girl and a bully, is that the situation occurs more than once. Issy has been picked on by Tia since Tia arrived in Year Eight.

There are many strategies to cope with bullies. It is extremely important that you do not put up with it. No one has the right to be mean to you.

So what can you do? You can stand up for yourself, and say like Issy did, ‘Stop it, I don’t like it.’ If that doesn’t work you can say something funny or walk away. You can tell a teacher. You can tell your parents. You can tell your friends.

Issy kept the bullying a secret and tried to deal with Tia on her own. This only made Issy very angry because nothing was working. It was only when Issy told her best friend Tilly what was going on, and Sarah her skateboarding coach, that she was able to stop Tia. Don’t keep bullying a secret.

In Ride High Pineapple, Issy had known Tilly since she was young. She felt she didn’t need any other friends, and was jealous of other girls trying to join the group. Over time Issy realised that sometimes she needed more than one friend.

Friends are important. We laugh, play, hang out and share our dreams and secrets with them. Friends accept us for who we are and like us the way we are. Sometimes we do fight with our friends but that is okay, as long as we say sorry and get over it

It is important that friends don’t stand by and let bullying happen. Friends who stand with you, are the best type of friends to have. In the story it is Tilly and Tilly’s friends who stand up to Tia. Eventually Issy expands her friendship group to include these girls.

Why did I put a bully in Ride High Pineapple? Because I was bullied all the way through school. I was called horrible names about my face. My friends did stand up for me and my brothers tried to protect me. But it still happened. In those days bullying was more accepted than it is today. Thankfully times have changed and you don’t have to put up with it.

For more information on bullying see:



Issy’s favourite sport is skateboarding. Do you like skateboarding? It takes good balance, something I don’t have.

I had to do a lot of research on skateboarding to learn the names of the tricks and the difficulty level of them. I watched many YouTube videos. Do you know what an ollie is?

I also had to research skate parks to learn the names of the equipment such as a funbox.

Skateboarding is a fun sport for boys and girls. It is a great way to exercise. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go.

For more information see:



In the story Ride High Pineapple, Issy says she has something called anxiety. She gets sweaty palms, she has butterflies in her tummy, she has a pounding heart, she can’t sleep and is tired, she feels angry and sometimes she even vomits. Maybe you’ve felt this way when something has scared you, or you’ve had to do a talk at school in front of your classmates.

Everyone does feel nervous. That is very normal. But sometimes a person’s nervousness becomes so severe, that it makes them sick and stops them from doing things. Sometimes a person with anxiety avoid thing or going places because they are feeling so bad inside.

Anxiety affects a lot of young people.

When I was deciding on Issy’s character, why did I give her anxiety? That’s easy. Because myself and my daughter both have severe anxiety. And there have been children who I have taught who had anxiety.

Anxiety can be hard to cope with. It is difficult to make yourself do something when your body and your mind are telling you not to. For example, Issy didn’t swim in the swimming carnival because of her fear of swimming in front of the school.

Towards the middle of the story Issy tells her skateboarding coach about her anxiety and explains that it is stopping her from enjoying her life, and particularly from going further with her sport. Sarah teaches Issy the analogy of a pineapple. This works.

Sometimes children and teenagers are told by a doctor that they have an anxiety disorder and they will need some extra help to cope. They may see someone called a psychologist who will talk to them and design specific strategies for them to use.

There are many strategies for anyone who is coping with nerves or anxiety. Drawing, colouring in, journaling, going for a walk or playing sport, listening to music, smelling something nice, or cuddling your favourite toy or pet are all great things to do. Or you too can imagine you are a pineapple – stand tall, be tough on the outside, sweet on the inside, and wear a crown.

For more information on anxiety see:



There is another theme of the book – secrets. On page one of her journal, Issy talks about different types of secrets.

Do you think there are different types of secrets? Are there good and bad ones?

Yes there are different types of secrets. Most secrets are harmless or fun, but some aren’t. How do you know the difference?

This is the rule:

* If a secret can’t hurt someone or something you can keep the secret. For example, writing a surprise birthday card.

* If a secret can hurt someone or something you need to tell someone. For example, someone forces you to steal.

* And if you’re not sure whether it will hurt someone or something, it is best to tell.

Remember that problems should not be secrets. Issy had a problem – Tia wouldn’t stop bullying her. She should have told her parents and Tilly much sooner. Later on in the story Issy finds Sofia’s bracelet and she wants to keep it. This is also a problem. It shouldn’t have been kept as a secret.

If someone tells you to keep a secret and it is about you or someone else being hurt, you must tell. Do not keep it a secret.

For more information on secrets see:


Ride High Pineapple Information

Ride High Pineapple

Upper Middle Grade/YA Novel
Ages 10-14

234 pages

Publication Year: 2016

978-0-9945341-0-1 (pbk)
978-0-9945341-1-8 (e-bk)

RRP $15 AUD paperback
RRP $4.14 AUD ebook

The Story:

The school year has just begun for thirteen year old, Isabella Burgess. She’s back at Pinnaroo High, now   in Year Nine. The human problem she hoped would go away over the Summer, has returned. Her name – Tia. Issy calls her The Beast for short. The Beast greets Issy each day with ‘Hey Poppy Eyes’, ‘Hey Flatface’, or other cruel taunts, making fun of her facial difference. All of Issy’s attempts to stop The Beast, fail, and the bullying escalates.

Along with The Beast problem, Issy experiences friendship woes with her best friend, Tilly; a crush on the cutest boy in her class, Tim; and she battles her anxiety which has a firm hold on her.

Issy must find a way to overcome all her problems and gain control over her life, before she loses her mind. Will her passion for skateboarding provide the answers she needs

Click to Download the Ride High Pineapple Information Flyer


The foreword of Ride High Pineapple was written by the Children’s Craniofacial Syndrome. They have also endorsed the story. This is a huge accolade.



Available as an EBOOK or PAPERBACK in most online bookstores: