Copyright 2016 Zoe Joseph
Published on Shakespir
Shakespir Edition License Notes
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Illustrations by Lisa Hine
“Auntie Nora’s coming to my birthday!” Amy squealed. “I wonder what presents she’ll bring me.”
“She always brings the best presents,” said Kelly, her little sister.
“Yeah, you two have so much cool stuff,” said Tess, Amy’s friend. “Did she bring you this Bratz doll, and her dance CD?”
“Oh, no. Her presents are much better,” Amy assured her. “Last Christmas she gave me this wonderful shawl,” and she waved a long scarf through the air. It was light and wispy, and fluttered like a butterfly, with all the colours of the rainbow.
“It’s nice and colourful,” Tess agreed, “but it’s just an old scarf.”
“Oh, no. It’s not any old scarf. It’s magical.”
Her thick brown curls bouncing, Amy swayed her hips, and waved her arms gracefully in the air. “Auntie Nora got it from a gypsy she once knew,” she said. “If you tie it around your waist you can hear gypsy music in the wind, and you can dance like a gypsy.”
“And,” Kelly added, “If you tie it around your head, you can tell people’s fortunes!”
Tess looked at her brother Jack. They both shrugged and shook their heads.
“Did she bring you this cool skateboard?” Jack asked, flicking the wheels, which whirred and spun.
“Oh, no. Her presents are much better.” Kelly answered. “On my last birthday, she gave me this.” She held up a large shell, craggy white on the outside, but the most delicate pink lining the open bell.
“That’s just an old shell!” Jack said.
“Oh, no. It’s not just any old shell. It’s special.”
“It’s magic!” said Amy. “If you hold it up to your ear you can hear the sea.”
Jack snorted. “Lots of shells do that!”
“Yes, but this was given to Auntie Nora by a mermaid,” Kelly continued.
“There’s no such thing as mermaids!”
“Is too! She rescued Auntie Nora when she fell overboard on her cruise last year. The mermaid told her that if you blow it, it would always call her if anyone needed help.”
Amy put the pointy end of the shell to her lips, and blew. A deep, wild, lonely sound – full of wind and salt and sadness – echoed around the room.
“Gosh!” Tess cried. “That’s awesome.”
“I took it to the beach with me last summer.” Kelly continued. “I called her…” she whispered. “And I felt her arms holding me up in the water to help me float. I’d never been able to float before.”
“She must have brought you this beautiful Barbie doll and her princess castle.” Tess looked longingly at the icing pink castle on the table. With towers and turrets and colourful flags it looked like a frosted birthday cake
“Oh, no. Her presents are much better,” Amy answered. “On my last birthday she gave me this.”
On Amy’s outstretched hand sat a brooch – a bit old and rusty – with a bright red stone.
“It’s pretty, I suppose,” said Tess, “but it’s just an old brooch.”
“Oh, no. It’s not just any old brooch. It’s special.”
“It’s magic!” Kelly added.
“It was given to Auntie Nora by the Queen of Fairyland as a special gift because she helped to rescue her land.” Amy said. “The council wanted to build a freeway by the creek, but she stopped them.”
“Whenever you wear this brooch, it’s like a key into Fairyland,” Kelly explained.
“When we go walking through the bush by the creek, we can see their little houses under the ferns…”
“And their banquet tables, made of twigs, covered with piles of bright red berries, and gum nut cups filled with dew… ”
“And the little lake where they sail their skiffs made from autumn leaves … ”
“And the open lawns where they dance each night in the moonlight.”
Amy and Kelly’s eyes shone. The others looked at them with smiles of delight, their eyes shining too.
“She’s here! She’s here!” squealed Amy. “Auntie Nora’s here!”
Auntie Nora was the smallest grown-up the children had ever seen. She had curly silver grey hair and dark crinkly eyes. When she smiled, her eyes were swallowed up in the millions of wrinkles.
“What have you got for me this year, Auntie Nora?”
“I have something very special for you, Amy.” And her dark eyes twinkled as she pulled something small out of her bag.
The children crowded around to see.
“It’s just a rock!” Jack cried.
“Oh, no. It’s not just any old rock,” Auntie Nora replied. “It’s special.”
“Yeah, I know – it’s magic.”
“Well, I don’t know if it’s magic, but it is very special. This is a meteorite – a rock from space. It fell out of the sky.”
“How do you know?” Tess whispered in wonder.
“I saw a shooting star last night, right over my house. This morning I went to look and found this rock resting in a little hole in the ground – like a nest it had built for itself.”
The children passed it from one to the other, their eyes bright.
“It’s so heavy!”
“Look at the shiny bits.”
“And all the colours.”
“Where do you think it came from?”
“It could be anywhere, really,” Aunty Nora said. “What do you think?”
“Maybe the moon.”
“Probably Jupiter,” Jack said. “It has lots of moons and asteroids.”
“I wonder what it’s like on Jupiter…?”
Soon they were walking in slow motion around the room wearing fluffy parkas for space suits and ice-cream container helmets.
The Bratz doll lay face down in the corner, forgotten where she had fallen. The skateboard had been kicked under the bed. Barbie’s princess castle stood abandoned and empty on the table. Like a ghost fortress, its blank windows stared into space.
The room was filled with the laughs and squeals of children leaping from bed to bed, and driving moon buggies on missions of exploration and discovery.
When an author publishes a book, it is a little bit like a mother sending her children out into the wide world.
You conceive of an idea for a story, it drifts and swirls in your mind for a time, until it takes on form and you give birth to a book. With much hard work you grow and develop and mature it – until you feel it is ready to make its way in the world.
Once it is out there, you hope it will meet a lot of people, make many good friends, and hopefully make a difference in their lives.
But you never really know.
So if you have read my book and like it, (or even if you didn’t like it), I ask you to do two things.
Firstly, let me know. Write a review, send me an email at , or leave a comment on my Shakespir page.
Secondly, let other people know. Tell your friends. Give my characters a chance to meet new people and make new friends.
Amy is having a birthday. And Aunty Nora is coming. Aunty Nora always brings the best presents. Simple gifts that stir the imagination and unlock new worlds of adventure. Join Amy and her friends as they explore the magic that simple gifts can bring. This book is ideal for those children who have everything, but are still bored. It will help them discover the greatest gift of all, their own imagination.