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Wallan author launches first book

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

A Wallan resident has made the effort to publish a children’s book that reminds young people about finding their own ‘groove’ in life. 

First-time author Karleigh Whyte merged her appreciation for dinosaurs and her childhood memories of dance to tell the story about a dinosaur named Dingley who tries to follow his dreams as a dancer but is challenged to find his own steps.

Ms Whyte, an educator at Hester Hornbrook Academy, said the heartfelt story showed young people there were ways of achieving their own goals.

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“My hope for the book is that young people just enjoy it and follow their dreams and what they want to do,” she said.

“For me as an author, and being my first book, I always used to write stories as a little kid – I guess that I never really thought this could be possible or knew how this could be possible, and then now that it’s happened.

“It solidifies to me that young people can do what they put their mind to.”

The colourful, bold book, ‘Dingley The Dancing Dinosaur’ was first written ‘out of nowhere’ in 2018 and then left aside.

But when Ms Whyte saw the potential in her story a few years later, a friend recommended she complete an eight-week course at the Australian Writers’ Centre to help bring the dancing dinosaur to life.

After the course, Ms Whyte was signed with Little Steps Publishing and worked with the book’s illustrator Aleksandra Szmidt, who she said ‘nailed’ her vision of the story.

“Once my illustrator became available, she was really receptive to feedback, and I kind of allowed her to do what she does best, and took on her feedback,” she said.

Carrying out the book’s message in her community, Ms Whyte said she hoped to find her books in stores around Wallan, as well as community libraries where mothers and their little ones complete reading days.

Ms Whyte said writing a children’s book was a ‘dream come true’.

“It was always something that as a little kid I always used to just write stories through primary school and high school – any opportunity I had to let my imagination run wild and write stories was something that I really enjoyed,” she said.

“It was something that I thought I’d see if I could do and I got the opportunity to do it.”

People can purchase the book online at karleighwhyte.square.site, Little Steps Publishing, Booktopia or QBD Books.

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