Ain't it weird how your life can turn around?
What could be worse than fighting Jacko? Being in big trouble at school? Your friends deserting you? Your family acting like a bunch of aliens? Lately, nothing's going right for Arnie. Then one day everything changes
Arnie Avery deals with the issues of grief and growing up with humour and sensitivity.
Sue Walker is the author of numerous books for children. Her title Best Friends was selected as a Notable Book by the Children's Book Council, and many of her poems, articles and short stories have appeared in magazines. Sue was inspired to write Arnie Avery after spotting four teenagers and one old lady at the local pool. All of them found their way into this book. Sue wishes she knew their names so she could thank them for the role they played in bringing Arnie's story to life. In the past Sue has worked in a bank, several schools, a bookshop and a cemetery. She now works from a studio in her backyard in Sydney, where she lives with her husband, three children and a scruffy white dog.
Walker Books Australia
Author: Sue Walker
Interview with Sue Walker
How will Arnie Avery get boys interested in reading? Is the book suited for females, as well as males?
Sue Walker: A lot of boys enjoy stories with action, and characters they can relate to. I think Arnie Avery has both. Arnie is your typical 13 year old boy - he's funny, he likes riding his bike, and he likes being with his friends. But he also has a few serious problems - one is his family, and the other is the school bully, Jacko. The story has dashes of humour and drama, and a couple of twists that should keep boys reading.
I think the issues Arnie faces in this book would appeal equally to girls and boys. It's about relationships and friends and family, and there's a mix of strong male and female characters.
Can you tell us a little bit about the themes explored in Arnie Avery?
Sue Walker: The book explores the dual themes of 'loss' and 'facing up to your fears'. They're serious topics, but they're tempered with humour so readers are quickly drawn into Arnie's world. I think the story demonstrates that no matter how tough things might seem
you can turn your life around.
What age group did you write Arnie Avery for?
Sue Walker: The story is suitable for children 8-12 years, but the content and style would also be appropriate for older, reluctant readers.
How did the four teenagers and one old lady at the local pool inspire you to write Arnie Avery?
Sue Walker: One day when I was at the local pool with my children, I spotted four teenagers chasing each other in the water. I was intrigued because they all had very distinct personalities. I began to wonder how they came to be at the pool. What were their names? What were they thinking? Then an elderly lady caught my attention. She waded up and down the pool past the teenagers and I was amused because they never once noticed her. I knew right then that I wanted to write a story about all of them. I had five characters and I had a setting - the pool. When I started writing I didn't know where it would lead, but I'm thankful to those five people for giving me the inspiration.
Are you working on another young adult novel at the moment?
Sue Walker: Yes. Currently I'm working on a story about a reluctant guardian angel who has been assigned to protect a six year old girl. I'm enjoying the characters and the paranormal aspect fascinates me.