The Weird and Wonderful World of Words, Wild Dog Books

The Educational Publishing Awards are committed to rewarding excellence and innovation in the publishing industry at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We have put together a series of interviews with the publishers, editors and authors involved in the creation and development of educational resources.
We caught up with Charles Hope from Wild Dog Books to talk about The Weird and Wonderful World of Books, a shortlisted entry for the Student Resource – English (Literacy, Literature, Language) award.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your shortlisted entry?
I’m the author of The Weird and Wonderful World of Words. I grew up on a farm outside the country town of Wagga Wagga and studied Arts and Screenwriting before delving headlong into the world of publishing educational non-fiction picture books. I’m currently living with my wife and infant daughter in Melbourne.
The Wild Dog motto is explaining the complex simply. From straightforward animal books to more difficult subjects like genetics or the human brain, our objective is to distill engaging information to its simplest essence.
This was somewhat challenging to implement with. As the English language is a potentially cavernous topic, our aim was to cover a broad range of topics that would appeal to variety of readers; especially those who may otherwise find English a dry and onerous subject.
We decided to further engage readers via puzzles and trivia questions, which immediately illustrated topics as they were being learnt. Examples of these include spoonerisms, mondegreens, oxymorons, kangaroo words and tongue-twisters.
Why do you think this resource will be appealing for students to engage with in their studies?
The Weird and Wonderful World of Words utilises a range of visual styles. Strongly composed photographs and illustrations are isolated on stark white backdrops, with these visual styles changing dramatically from page to page.
The disparate visuals are complimented by brief paragraphs of easy-to-read text, which in turn are broken up by enlarged, colourful fonts that further assist in capturing the students’ attention.
What challenges do you think teachers face and how can this resource solve these challenges?
An ongoing challenge that teachers face is being able to capture the attention of an entire classroom at the same time. Differing student abilities and interests make this a tricky problem to overcome.
The Weird and Wonderful World of Words aims to address this by stepping quickly and lightly from one topic to the next, all the while in a colourful, bright and visually engaging way. If a reader happens to baulk at a page of less-than-appealing subject matter, the clear and concise text allows them to move swiftly on to the next topic of interest.
Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge and thank for making this product the success it is?
We’d like to thank Lorna Hendry for her outstanding editorial work on this book. She was instrumental in tidying up the overall aesthetic of the book, which was no small feat given the multitude of visual elements being used. So to Lorna, a hearty thank you!
Good luck and all the best to the Wild Dog Books team!
The Educational Publishing Awards are held at The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne on Wednesday, 20 September 2017.
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