SBW and the Childrens’ Book Awards

Just found out that my book Off Loading with Sonny Bill Williams made the longlist for the LIANZA Childrens Book Awards. That’s pretty cool!

I enjoy speaking about SBW with students, showing them how he loves to read, carries exercise books around so he can take notes at training and believes digital literacy is as important as being able to tackle hard, off-load and score tries on a football field!

I think his attitude to life is awesome too – he’s a risk taker, constantly willing to try new things to get better, even if he fails and even if people criticize him. Like all of us, SBW is not perfect, but he does have a lot of good qualities we can share with young people.

http://readingwarrior.com/books/off-loading-with-sonny-bill-williams/

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The circus is coming

circus

Last week I wrote about how I believed young people will read books, if they find books that are appealing to them. About how I had a feeling about what kinds of books those are. And how I just started writing them even though publishers told me they doubted there would be interest in the kinds of Kiwi biographies l write.

This week I read an awesome post titled “The circus is coming to town” by entrepreneur Seth Godin.

“Too often, we wait. We wait to get the gig, or to make the complex sale, or to find the approval we seek. Then we decide it’s time to get to work and put on our show. The circus doesn’t work that way. They don’t wait to be called. They show up. They show up and sell tickets.

When you transform the order of things, the power shifts. “The circus is going to be here tomorrow, are you going?” That’s a very different question than, “are you willing to go out on a limb and book the circus? If you are, we’ll come to town…”

People respond to forward motion.

This message encourages us to work the way circuses do. Got an idea you believe in? Don’t wait to be discovered, or called upon by someone, or given approval or permission. Just turn up and do it!

Do you see the connection between this message and the picture of the seagull?

bird sign

Rejections and Reflections

Steppin with Benji Marshall

It’s been three weeks since I released Jammin with Steven Adams and the feedback I’ve received has been awesome and really encouraging!

I’m so thankful to the educators and librarians who took a chance on a self published author for the sake of their students and really happy for the young people I write for.

And I’ve been thinking about how I started writing this series of sports biographies that includes books on Benji M and SBW.

  • It’s late 2010 and a Kiwi teacher based in South Auckland wishes there were more books his students were interested in. Books he’d like to read if he was a student, of sporting heroes, inspirational figures, overcomers …
  • He reads a comment by Toni Morrison: “If there’s a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” He nervously e mails Benji Marshall’s manager and tells him he wants to write a biography of Benji for teenagers. Benji and his manager support the idea!
  • He writes the book and sends it to publishers. “Unfortunately we will not publish this book,” he’s told. “There’s no market for these kinds of books.”
  • He doesn’t agree. He decides to self-publish.
  • It’s hard!
  • He fumbles his way through the process but eventually a box of books arrives on his doorstep. Steppin’ with Benji Marshall is released!“The book is a HUGE hit!!!! Keep writing – a whole series would be awesome!”  Kimberley Atkinson  (Roberston Rd School, Mangere)

    “It has surpassed my expectations.  It’s fabulous!  The kids are going to absolutely love it, and hopefully carry it’s inspirational message away with them. Thank you so much for writing such high-interest, relevant books.  Please keep them coming!”   Jennifer Cunningham (East Tamaki School)

    “It is absolutely fantastic and can be used for my boys.  They will be thrilled. ” Louisa Hala (ASDA High School)

    “This is the first “real” book my son has ever read without having to be nagged to read! I am looking forward to reading it myself – but may have to wait until my partner also reads it since there are daily reviews from his son about the book.”  Melissa, an Auckland mum

I’m writing this post for others out there whose ideas have been rejected, whether rejected by your own thinking or by ‘experts’.

I encourage you to trust yourself and go make something. The world needs it. Can’t wait to see what you make!

Jammin with Steven Adams article

Hey everyone here’s a newspaper article about the book Jammin’ with Steven Adams

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rotorua-daily-post/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503438&objectid=11395382

Jammin’ with Steven Adams

Hey everyone just letting you know that the exciting new biography on Kiwi NBA player Steven Adams is now available for purchase! The cost is $25 plus postage. Send me an e mail if you would like to order a copy for yourself or a young person that could do with some inspiration.

davidrileynz@gmail.com

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Jammin’ with Steven Adams

Hey everyone the Steven Adams book will be available after Christmas but if you like e books you can get the e book version now here:

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SBW updated!

To celebrate SBW’s return to the All Blacks I’ve updated the biography I wrote on him for young people and got a new cover designed. What do you think about it?

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Samoan Heroes #17: Seiuli Jesse Sapolu

jesse

Jesse is the most successful Samoan NFL player ever. He played for 15 years and won four Superbowl Championships with the San Francisco 49ers. His position was Offensive Lineman. Jesse was born in Toamua, Upolu in 1961. ‘The foundation of my values and beliefs are based on my Samoan culture,’ Jesse says. ‘I’m thankful for the opportunity to represent Samoa.’

Will you help me publish this book on Samoan achievers for young people? The campaign ends tomorrow and we’re nearly there. If you’d like to help please go to https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/2650-samoan-heroes-bookor donate to this account 12-3436-0072113-50. Malo faafetai

Jammin’ with Steven Adams

I’ve just finished the manuscript for my newest book – a biography of Kiwi NBA player Steven Adams. This morning I sent the text to a designer. Can’t wait to see the ideas the designer comes up with! Here’s the cover:

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Samoan Heroes #16: Savage

Savage

Savage is the first Polynesian hip hop artist to go platinum [sell over one million units] in America. ‘That definitely makes me a proud Samoan,’ he says. ‘I’ve always dreamed of this and back then it was a long shot. To achieve what I’ve done just says a lot about putting your mind and heart into it.’

Friends and family will you help me publish this book on Samoan achievers for young people? The campaign ends on Saturday and we’re nearly there. If you’d like to help please go to https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/2650-samoan-heroes-book or donate to this account 12-3436-0072113-50. Malo faafetai