Writing for a Cause

Hey cHEwY gum gums

I can’t wait for next month when Funny Bones comes out! An anthology of hilarious stories, cartoons and jokes from the best in the kids lit and comedy business. I was humbled to be one of the editors, along with Kate and Jol Temple, and we had a blast collecting and polishing the submissions. What surprised me was that so many authors and illustrators were happy to give up their time and energy to create a piece for our bumper book.

Then again, I suppose it shouldn’t have been a surprise, it is for a good cause. War Child help kids affected by war and famine around the world. When I was first asked to be an editor for Funny Bones, I jumped at the chance, not only because it gave me a chance to work with Allen And Unwin hehe, but also because I wanted to help out with War Child. Their charity anthologies are legendary, beginning with the first Kids Night In book in 2003.

I know how tricky it can be to commit to something like this, especially when someone has a hectic schedule. So it makes me more appreciative of everyone in the Funny Bones book. I’ve been asked to submit to many charity anthologies, including one for Dymocks’ Children Charities, Total Quack Up. One of the editors, Adrian Beck approached me, and he had me at Quack 🙂

It’s so cool to be able to raise awareness of certain causes and charities when I’m out and about. I’m proud to be a role model for Books in Homes because it actually helps bring books into homes. Disadvantaged kids get to pick their own books, and are handled out at Book Assemblies, with role models. Best thing about Books in Homes is that the role models are not just authors, but sportspeople, firefighters, anyone in the community.

It felt natural for me to become an author ambassador for Room To Read, because I want kids around the world to have access to books. It’s an organisation that started out with ex-Microsoft guru John Wood, going to Nepal with yaks with stacks of books on their backs. Then they started opening up libraries all around Asia and Africa. I love Room To Read because they do more than just drop off books, they work with local writers and illustrators to produce books in their own language.

Over the years, I’ve had Room To Read fundraisers at my book launches and mention them in my books. Recently, I’ve been involved in their World Change Challenge, where they want to raise enough money to put 50 girls into 50 schools. I am game for anything from walking the City 2 Surf to being slimed in the Gold Coast haha. Some schools and festivals have been kind enough to do their own fundraisers when I visit them too.

Of course, there are a ton of issues that need to be addressed, many causes that need the spotlight, and I must admit, it can be overwhelming. But every little bit counts. I guess even mentioning them in this post helps too (follow the links hehe). All these causes that I’ve been involved with are tied to my foundation of why I became an children’s author. To make kids laugh. For them to look at their own lives and create stories from them. More importantly, to make them lifelong readers.

In this close-knit kids-lit community, we feel like we’re all in this together, doing it for the kids. 

O.W

About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree