Champion Effort by Joan Stammers

Long-time member of Friends of Hills Libraries Joan Stammers is about to see her own publication on library bookshelves.

She has just had her first children’s book, Champion Camping Catastrophe published and it was officially launched at Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Friends of Hills Library at Castle Hill on 8th February. She wrote the book 30 years ago but shelved it following rejections from publishers but after retiring as a teacher/librarian she joined a writer’s group, a book club and Friends of Hills Libraries and was inspired to revisit her project.

Joan was on the staff at Murray Farms Public School, Carlingford for 30 years and spent her working life with young children and books, the illustrations were done by a teaching colleague from 30 years ago Lyn Pearce, the former Principal at Glenorie Public School.

Joan said: “When I started sending it to publishers 30 years ago I would put page 11 in upside down. It would always be returned to me with the usual rejection letter. It would be in pristine condition and page 11 would still be upside down.”

“I knew they hadn’t read it.” It was on the advice of Carnel Liddle from the Castle Hill writer’s group that she updated the manuscript and sent it to London publishers Austin MaCauley who accepted it.

The grandmother and mother of three says her grandchildren have given both the book and illustrations their seal of approval. “It has been such a long journey,” she said. “(The book) does lead into a follow up.”

She has donated a copy of the book to all four Hills libraries and also a copy each to Murray Farm Public School and Glenorie Public School.

Joan, originally from Yorkshire in the UK, is a big book fan. The target age for readers is approximately seven to thirteen.

Champion Camping Catastrophe follows the adventures of the Champions, – a quirky family of Mum, Dad, twelve-year-old Brett, his whimsical younger brother Shane, and their spirited dog, Rover who move to Australia in search of sunnier skies.

Deciding on an authentic outback camping experience to economise, they venture far from civilization, setting up camp amidst Australia’s untamed wilderness.

Soon, they find themselves hilariously ill-equipped to handle Australia’s unpredictable weather, wild creatures, and other unexpected challenges.

But the most pressing question remains: In the midst of all the chaos, can they navigate the antics and dynamics of their own family bonds? Dive into this rollicking adventure where nature meets nurture, Australian style.

The Champion Camping Catastrophe is available from all the usual book sellers, including Amazon, Booktopia, Goodreads and any bookshop will order it in. It’s also available as an eBook.