Award winning author of Dragonkeeper and the Ramose series
The first in an amazing series of ‘Dragonkeepers’ in Ancient China during the Han Dynasty. A slave girl saves the life of an ageing dragon and escapes her brutal master.
Pursued by a ruthless dragon hunter, the girl and the dragon make an epic journey across China carrying a mysterious stone that must be protected.
This is the story of a young slave girl who believes she is not worthy of a name but finds within herself the strength and courage to make this perilous journey — and do what must be done.
Carole is passionate about understanding life in Ancient China, especially about dragons. She writes with huge amounts of knowledge and flair from her extensive research about the Han Dynasty (200 BCE).
The Books Go Walkabout team have worked with Carole in schools in different places across the world, either through visits or Skype calls. She is amazing with the students and loves to discuss the way the stories unfold from the beginning ideas, to a story sequence and unfolding of narrative and characters.
Carole lives in Melbourne, Australia and we are working with her in Hong Kong and in the UK via Skype in 2018. She was part of our highly successful team of authors at BookFest at Kellett, The British International School in Hong Kong. Students gained an extensive knowledge bank about writing.
Some of the ideas are below, and you can find more on Carole’s website. There is also a large amount of information on Ancient China available.
The following ideas for the classroom are part of the BookFest Programme which was held at Kellett International School in Hong Kong.
The Dragonkeeper Trilogy- the skills of story writing Year 5/6
The research of a story based on historical facts is important. As the story will be fictional the intrigue will be in the adaption of ideas and surmising a plot and story around known events and characters.
Carole’s first idea was about wanting to write a story about Ancient China, how it was set in a time span and looking at the characters and lives of people at that time.
Carole has a well-documented explanation about collecting her idea for the Dragonkeeper series on her web site under ‘Research’.
Some starter points we use in schools.
Transport your reader to that place in your mind, let them see what you see and feel what you feel. What does the dragon feel like, are his scales hard or rubbery, is his spine wobbly and what does his horn and fins feel like?
In a picture with a man and a dragon, there is the feeling that the dragon has curled himself into the same size as the human, is he like a pet or a friend and companion? The man is rich and elegant and carries a staff not a sword.
Looking for clues, i.e. servants in the Han dynasty were not allowed to look into people’s eyes, look carefully at the images.
Develop the thoughts for the story, i.e. – in China, this is the only country where dragons are friendly.
They make the rain and are essential to life, they don’t breathe fire, they breathe mist, and they sleep through the winter in deep water and are brought out of hibernation at Chinese New Year with the loud banging of drums and cymbals. They have favourite foods, roast swallow, they fly through the air but do not always have wings. They are the colours of red, yellow, and green, black and white.
Some of the testimonials for Carole’s work in schools show how her visits are of great benefit and also great fun.
“The story explores themes of trust, courage, power, greed and love in a meticulously researched setting. It is a story that informs as it delights and leaves the reader with a yearning to know more.”
— Judges’ Report 2004, Children’s Book Council of Australia, 2004
“… an ambitious novel, marrying ancient Chinese history and culture with magic and fantasy… the sights, smells and tastes of this fantastic ancient China are fully realised.”
— Bookseller & Publisher (Children’s Supplement), November 2003
“During the whole of the story, my eyes were glued to the book, not even stopping to eat! I recommend it to any reader of any age.”
— Frank P
“Last night I finished reading the Dragon Keeper to [my children]. It is not often that everyone in our family has enjoyed a book so much. Thank-you for some beautiful writing.”
— Michael F
Recent books include…
Atmospheric, which is available in Australia. Carol writes with passion about climate change and students will know they are the key to the solution.
Ten Pound Pom is the story of Carole’s immigration into Australia. A great story about a very special time.
“Between 1945 and 1982 around one and a half million people emigrated to Australia under an assisted migration scheme. I was one of them. When I was 12 years old, my family and I travelled on a P&O liner visiting exotic ports on a 12,000-mile trip of a lifetime. For my parents, the cost of the voyage was 10 pounds each. My brother and I travelled for free”. Carole Wilkinson
Awards include; Winner of 2014 Graham Davey Citation, Young Australian Best Book Award (YABBA) (Dragonkeeper series) Winner of 2013 Gold Award – Book Series, Illustrators Australia (Dragonkeeper series) and Winner of 2006 Older Readers, Kids Own Australian Literary Awards (KOALA)
Carole Wilkinson is an award winning author from Australia. She has written over 30 books, many are for children of between 9 – 15 years. Her most famous series is The Dragonkeeper series which are set in the Han Dynasty in 141 BC, the year that Emperor Jingdi died and his young son Wudi took over as Emperor.
Carole travels and delivers talks and lectures on her books in her home country of Australia, and also in China.
“I didn’t start writing until I was quite old — nearly 40. Before that, I worked as a laboratory assistant. My jobs involved working with a lot of blood and brains. You might think this sounds a bit gory, but I quite enjoyed working in a laboratory. The trouble was I always had this niggling feeling that it wasn’t what I was meant to be doing.
One day I realised what I’ve always wanted to be—a writer! I don’t know why it took me so long to work that out. When I was at school in the 1960s (a very long time ago) it didn’t sound like the sort of thing a girl from Port Adelaide could ever do, so I suppose I didn’t think of it back then. Once I’d decided to try and become a writer, I went to university.
I wrote lots of things at university including my first novel. I didn’t think it was very good. I showed it to a friend who worked in publishing. I don’t think she thought it was very good either, but she must have seen some potential because she asked me if I could write a teenage novel.
‘Yes,’ I said, when actually I was thinking ‘Are you serious? Of course I can’t!’
I’d never thought about writing for young people. I tried to think of a story. My daughter was at high school, and something she was doing at the time gave me an idea. My friend liked my idea. So I went ahead and wrote the whole novel. That was my first published book. It was published in 1996 and was called Stagefright.
I sometimes wish I’d started writing when I was younger, but then I think things have worked out okay. I find that I have lots of ideas and so far I’ve never had ‘writers’ block’ (touch wood).
I might have got a late start, but I’ve been trying to make up for lost time. I’ve written 30-odd books, some short stories, a telemovie and some TV and planetarium scripts.”
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