Story Time: Happy Pond-O-Ween!

story time at the quiet pond

It’s the last day of October – and you know what that means? It’s Halloween!

Illustration of pumpkins with kawaii faces carved on it.

You remember Xiaolong telling you to visit the Pond on Halloween in your last visit. You could tell that she was trying really hard not to smile the last time you spoke. Knowing her, she’s probably hiding something, just like the time she and the others pranked you on April Fools.

The Pond feels especially warm and inviting today, the air thick and alive with magic. You can see that your Pond friends have decorated their home with glowing pumpkins with faces carved. Read More »

Meet Sprout, Your Newest & Smallest Pond Friend! [Introducing Our New Co-Blogger]

Text: Meet Your Newest Friend, say hello to the pond's new co-blogger! Image: a silhouette of a pond character, with question marks around them.

Xiaolong the pink axolotl, pointing ahead and gesturing for you to follow.Gentle starlight envelops the world in a soft glow as you make your way over to Xiaolong and your friends tonight. On your way to the Pond though, a soft chirping reaches your ears. You know instinctively that this isn’t a sound that you’ve heard before in your many visits to the Pond. You glance up, and within the blooming shrubbery that extends before you, you notice a faint rustle in one of the nearby bushes.

Xiaolong tugs your hand gently, her head tilting to the side in curiosity, before a moment of realisation dawns on her. “Oh, friend, follow me!” She says, and waddles in the direction of the bushes.

Friends, I have been waiting for this day for weeks and I am so excited that today is finally here! It is with excitement and pleasure that I get to finally announce my newest co-blogger, and I am so thrilled for you to meet her and your newest Pond friend.

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Meet the Pond’s Favourite Aunty [Introducing The Pond’s Newest Character!]

Meet Your Newest Friend: Say Hello to the pond's favourite aunty

You heard that there was some commotion in the Pond recently. Maybe today’s a good day to check up on your friends and see how they are doing.

When you enter the Pond, you notice Xiaolong kneeling by the water and peering into it. You can’t quite hear what she’s saying in the distance, but you can hear that she sounds a little worried, perhaps a little scared. When you approach, you realise that Xiaolong is talking to… a large piece of driftwood? How odd!

An illustration of Xiaolong, by the Pond, with a green prickly 'driftwood' in the water.

“Xiaolong!” you call out, waving to her.

Xiaolong turns to the sound of your voice, and gives you her big goofy smile. “Hi friend!”

But before you can take another step, a sudden explosion from the Pond shatters the quiet.

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Author Interviews from the Authors of UNDERDOG, Part 3: Life and What Gives It Meaning

Text: Author Interviews, Underdog: Life and what gives it meaning. Image: xiaolong the pink axolotl wearing a purple flower hat, reading a book 'underdog'.

You think back to the last two weeks, fondly remembering of the wonderful conversations you’ve listened in to between Xiaolong and the authors of Underdog! And it looks like Xiaolong has another four more visitors at The Quiet Pond!

When Xiaolong enters the Pond, she’s ushering in a new group of friends! There’s a green snake wearing a little straw hat with a tattoo on its chest, a magpie wearing glasses and a beanie, a smiley koala wearing an orange dress, and a fluffy cat wearing a bandanna! Now an expert at welcoming guests, you approach and give them your biggest wave and your warmest welcome.

“Hi friend,” Xiaolong says to you. “These are my newest friends! This is Cassi, Felicity, Kaneana, and Sarah! Remember when I interviewed their friends last week and the week before? And remember when I told you about the Underdog anthology? Well, they’re here to discuss more stories today!”

You give Xiaolong your biggest grin and you tell her you’re excited to listen to another round of interviews. So you sit down by the Pond, part of their small circle, and talk about the big things: stories and life.

Welcome back to the Pond, friends! I hope you all are having a wonderful week so far and that you’re reading for the final round of author interviews for the Underdog anthology.

Today is my third round of interviews with the authors at Underdog, an amazing #LoveOzYA anthology that I had the pleasure of reading and absolutely loved. I thought this anthology was splendid and profound; it explored a variety of experiences, from everyday teenage experiences to the very big questions that teens may be grappling with.

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Author Interviews from the Authors of UNDERDOG, Part 2: Exploring The Choices We Make

Text: Author Interviews, Underdog: Exploring the Choices we make. Image: an illustration of xiaolong, her arms raised above her, holding a physical book copy of UNDERDOG.

Last week when you visited the Pond, Xiaolong had four visitors; four of the authors from Underdog anthology! You hadn’t seen so many visitors at the Pond before, but the magic at the Pond felt like it was warmer and merrier with all the good company.

And it seems like today, there are four more visitors! When Xiaolong enters the Pond, leading and talking to a group of new friends, you approach to give another round of warm welcomes. (You’re getting used to this!) Behind her is an orange octopus who, upon seeing the Pond, rushes over and dives in! The water and magic of the Pond invites him, and the octopus gives a sigh of contentment. Also behind Xiaolong is an orange fox wearing a red scarf, and an orange cat wearing a red cape!

“Friend!” Xiaolong greets when she sees you. “Please meet Jes, KM, Sophie, and Stacey! They are authors from the Underdog anthology that I told you about, and they’re here to discuss their stories with us! Isn’t that exciting?”

It sure does! You help Xiaolong usher the visitors to a comfortable and sunny spot at the Pond, and listen intently to the questions that Xiaolong will ask today.

Friends, welcome back to the Pond and I hope you all are having a wonderful week so far!

Today is my second round of interviews with the authors at Underdog, an amazing #LoveOzYA anthology that I had the pleasure of reading and absolutely loved. This anthology is one of the few that really explores meaningful and relatable teen experiences, and I think teens everywhere will find a piece of themselves in this anthology.

Read More »