Helen Milroy presents: Paula Hayes on writing stories for kids that examine real issues


The Fremantle Press Podcast
The Fremantle Press Podcast
Helen Milroy presents: Paula Hayes on writing stories for kids that examine real issues
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Paula Hayes says she hopes young people find comfort and escapism in her books. Reading as an adult took her out of her day to day and immersed her in a world she didn’t want to leave. ‘You just enter a different world for a while, but the themes of your own reality are still there and being picked and pulled at and gently examined,’ Paula says.

Paula and Helen discuss the importance of portraying these real-world problems in books for children to teach them how to deal with and express certain issues. Paula portrays these kinds of issues in her own book where Lily and her friends learn about bullying, a common problem children have to face growing up, to allow young readers to learn what they could do in a similar situation. She says she hopes that adults and parents will also learn from her book and that her book acts as a catalyst for these types of conversations between parents and children.

Topics covered

Writing for children and young adults

Dealing with feedback

How reading can shape young minds

Writing as a career

Books, shows, people and places mentioned
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

About the host:

Dr Helen Milroy is a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. She was born and educated in Perth and has a passionate interest in health and wellbeing, especially for children. She is currently a professor at the University of Western Australia, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, and Commissioner with the National Mental Health Commission. Her books have been shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards (2019, 2020), the Readings Children’s Book Prize (2020) and the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year (2020). And her book, Backyard Birds, won the Whitley Award for the Young Children’s Reader Category (2021).

Backyard Beasties, Backyard Bugs, Backyard Birds and Wombat, Mudlark and Other Stories are available in all good bookstores and online. Her new book, Backyard Beasties, is coming soon in 2022.

About the guest:

Paula Hayes is an Australian writer who enjoys writing magical realism for young people. This means she is good at making strange stuff up and setting it in real life. Her first novel, Lily in the Mirror, was a CBCA Notable in 2017. She has four adult kids, two grandkids and has worked in education which gives her an endless spring of inspiration for stories for young people. In a parallel universe she studied at UWA but now writes from a desk in her pantry. This has its pros and cons. Paula is passionate about children’s literature and literacy and has a foot in each camp. Her latest book, The Vexatious Haunting of Lily Griffin will be published by Fremantle Press in 2022.

Find this author at https://paulahayesblog.wordpress.com/

Her book The Vexatious Haunting of Lily Griffin is available in all good bookstores and online.

Original music Steel Cap Serenadeby Aidan D’Adhemar, © 2021

Sound engineering Aidan D’Adhemar, Fremantle PA Hire

Produced by Claire Miller and the Fremantle Press Marketing and Communications team.

This podcast was produced in Walyalup in Wadjuk Boodja, on the lands of the Noongar people.



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