• PRAISE FOR KEN'S PRESENTATIONS/WORKSHOPS
    • "A big THANK YOU for your wonderful and inspiring Children’s Book Week sessions... I received lots of favourable comments from teachers but more importantly the students loved you."
    • - Carol Willox, Claremont Library, Australia
    • "Thank you so much for coming to Narrogin. It was so lovely to have you and Chris Nixon here and such a wonderful opportunity for the children of Narrogin to fill their imaginations with amazing thoughts and dreams."
    • - Rachel Howe, Narrogin Library, Australia
    • "I can see the after effect of your session. More children have started issuing books from the library. You really rock!!! Thank you."
    • - Ngawang Tenzin, Head Librarian, RBK International Academy, Mumbai, India
    • "I loved your presentation at our school SAIS (Stamford American International School Singapore). It was amazing to see your imagination while writing your books. The Balloon Blast was an awesome book!"
    • - Jenny Li, aged 9, Stamford American International School, Singapore
    • "It was an awesome session with the kids on Monday!"
    • - Stephanie Wang, Scholastic representative, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    • "Mr.Ken I really love your creativity... Please create more books and don't forget about your parents because they are the one that raise you up until you become a excellent writer... And you are my role model."
    • - Nadine, Grade 4, Sekolah Bogor Raya, Indonesia
    • "We were really suprised to see a great personality like you,when you spent time with all the classes in the school it was really a great... Jake’s Gigantic List was mind-blowing, hats off to you sir. Can I just have your autograph please? On behalf of our school I'm very thankful to you."
    • - Abhishek Trivedi Manikanta, Mariam Nilaya Convent School, Bangalore, India
    • "It was a great learning experience for all of us present, hope to have more interactions like these in the future."
    • - Darpana Choudhary, Library Coordinator, Hill Spring International School, Mumbai, India
    • "I am a big fan of you and your books from the day you came to India and visited our school 'Delhi Public School Rohini'. I was there when you read us Jake’s Gigantic List and Jake’s Balloon Blast and told us something BOOKS ARE MAGIC. Now I am really into books and I have read all the Harry Potter, Tintin and the Jake series. Thank you very much."
    • - Aryan Kulshrestha, Delhi Public School, Rohini, India
    • "Thank you for visiting Mumbai!! It was lovely having you here. Both schools were delighted to have you visit and for the opportunity to have you interact with their kids. And it was wonderful to see how excited the kids to meet and talk with you and have you sign their books."
    • - Sangeeta Bhansali, Vakils Publications, Mumbai, India
    • "Are u going to make a movie on the Jake series? Well if you're going to it would be an awesome & 5-star movie."
    • - Manan Bhatia, Tagore International School, New Delhi, India
    • "It was very nice to meet you today in Tagore International School, Delhi. I liked your idea of using our imagination. I was very inspired by the interaction. I will buy all your books, read them and write back to you again. My mother has promised to get them for me on my birthday."
    • - Tathagat Sharma, 5th Standard, Tagore International School, New Delhi, India
    • "I am in the 5th Std and if you remember you had come to our school to discuss about your latest collection.. The Jake series... I loved those books...they were hilarious and had adventure.... Jake the most naughtiest boy! Jake wanted to fly..... and hadn’t cleaned his room from ages and wants a friendly pirate for his birthday!! I ordered all the series... all the 3 books just for rupees 225....so according to me it was worth buying these books...and as you always say sir, "BOOKS ARE IMAGINATION!!", and they really are... they take you to a different place altogether..!! Thank you sir for coming to our school and take the effort to come and take all of us into a world of imagination... I hope you write more and more books."
    • - Farah Kazani, Ava Bai Petit Girls High School, Bandra West, Mumbai, India
    • "Your books are lovely, fun, imaginary and interesting. I would love to read the rest of the Jake Series books which would be coming soon."
    • - Janhavi Bhide, India
    • "When you came to our school, HFS, you told us that people say you are crazy. but you told us that you would like to be called imaginative. Well I think you are imaginative. Really! I bet you can make anybody laugh."
    • - Siddhi Oberoi, HFS, Mumbai, India
    • "I really enjoyed when you came to our school... You left us with a big smile on our faces and you will always stay in my heart and memory."
    • - Tej Muchhala, Std 4, Bombay Scottish International School, Mumbai, India
    • "It was a first kind of experience for me. Meeting an author and listening to his thoughts on reading, imagination and love for books. I enjoyed seeing an author, passionately reading his stories. It was like the characters coming alive. Thoughts so beautifully expressed, like the one. "Flying down like a snow flake.". I am looking forward to read the books. I would like to thank him for taking time to come to our school and share his ideas with us."
    • - Sheetal Kaur, IT teacher, RBK International Academy, Mumbai, India
    • "The session was very encouraging for our young learners as it helped them to understand that books lift them out of their everyday life and transport them to a magical world, and that reading has the ability to change our lives in many ways."
    • - Paminder, Primary Years Program Coordinator, RBK International Academy, Mumbai, India
    • "Ken not only spilled the humour beans but also watered them with his imagination!!!!!!! Great growing!!!!!!! Thanks."
    • - Meera, Primary teacher, RBK International Academy, Mumbai, India
    • "You really connected well with our children and children really like when you explain about the imagination."
    • - Sachin, Primary Librarian, RBK International Academy, Mumbai, India
    • "Ken Spillman was really great, going through his books, asking the children to guess what would happen next and talking about the importance of reading."
    • - oana Majdik, Clarkson Library, Australia
    • "Our children loved your enactment of Jake and we look forward to having you with us again. Though I can't promise you won't be mobbed again! Our teachers too would learn a lot from your dramatic interpretation..."
    • - Suvina Shunglu, Principal, Sri Sri Academy, Kolkata, India
    • "It was nice to see you in my school. Stories written by you are too good. I enjoy reading them!"
    • - Sridhar Lohia, Class III, Sri Sri Academy, Kolkata, India
    • "Oh, you are a truly funny writer. You have an imagination that is brilliant, vast and God knows what! And there are some parts that are marvelous and amazing! Such as the twinkle part, my God it was too funny for words and I think I shall have myself laugh in a minute! And please make my brains like you, please, so I have just the same wonderful imagination. Thank you so much for sharing your books with us."
    • - Yashasvi Kapoor, Class III, Sri Sri Academy, Kolkata, India
    • "We the Sri Sri Academicians were so happy when you visited our school. Your books are so funny. We all liked your books very much. I like your Jake's Monster Mess – the best... I want to be a writer and will take help from you when I start writing."
    • - Tanya Sadhwani, Class III, Sri Sri Academy, Kolkata, India
    • "Respected Sir, I am a student of Sri Sri Academy, Kolkata, where you have visited few days ago. I was more than happy to see you in our school. Later in class I got a chance to read your books. I am eager to read your forthcoming books and know more about you and specially about your childhood."
    • - Prapti Halder, Class III, Sri Sri Academy, Kolkata, India
    • "Hi! Sir, i'm vanshika from SP Sec, Kanpur. U came to our school, it was a great pleasure, there were many questions in my mind. I loved ur speech. U were a very good narrator too."
    • - Vanshika Tulsyan, Sri Padampat Singhania Education Centre, Kanpur, India
    • "How did you came up with writing and realized that you can become a fabulous and a famous author, an ideal to people?"
    • - Sukriti Garg, Sri Padampat Singhania Education Centre, Kanpur, India
    • "I and my friends enjoyed your speech thoroughly and are inspired from you. I have even started to write a story and will e-mail it to you as soon as I finish it. We really loved your sense of humour. I'm excited to get a copy of your book. It was a good experience and we learnt so much from you... We are waiting for more stories that you have written... We thoroughly enjoyed your company."
    • - Mitali Bhasin, student, La Martiniere Girls' College, Lucknow, India
    • "Hi sir! today you addressed us at school.... I was sitting at the back and was listening to everything that you said and every question that you answered. Sir you were really really good. The way you said so many things about imagination and other things was awesome. And you made us think about the things we don't really notice. Thanks a lot for that. Your expressions, your throw of words and everything... Really i am inspired by you, and as your teacher was your inspiration, you are mine."
    • - Khushi Prasad, student, La Martiniere Girls' College, Lucknow, India
    • "It was an immense pleasure to have you here with us for an interactive session with our budding writers and poets. We are grateful to you to have spared your valuable time to share your views, ideas and experiences with our students. Sir, your inspirational words have been made note of and shall be guided to the students to do well in life."
    • - Urmil Verma, Principal, Delhi Public School, Dehradun, India
    • "Be magical and explore the dream world. This thought provoking message to the students left us entranced. The session with Dr. Spillman enlivened and enthralled us. He was very crisp at answering our questions and to our satisfaction. This taught us to be very attentive and be responsive. We learnt that if we make reading or writing a passion we can explore our own talent, creativity and imagination to the utmost. The inspiring words of Dr. Spillman encouraged us all the more to read good material, use the good vocabulary in our expression... We look forward to having more of such informative meetings to help us grow."
    • - Students of class VI and VII, Delhi Public School, Dehradun, India
    • "I would like to thank you for taking time and talking to me after your session, 'Your gift of imagination' at Bookaroo. I got some interesting tips and thought starters from you – thank you."
    • - Sapna Arora, New Delhi, India
    • "Ken is a great entertainer and the manner in which he modulated his voice livened up the reading… As soon as he stopped the storytelling session, Ken was immediately bombarded with questions… One thing I liked about Ken was that he asked the kids who were shy to ask him questions (or those who may think of questions later) to write to him and that he would reply to their mails and answer their questions."
    • - Review, 'Bookaroo in the City', New Delhi
    • "The students of all grades were full of questions... and in response he encouraged them to use their imaginations and to write their own stories employing as many as ideas as possible to make them fun to read and fun to write. Having a real author in school always inspires the children to try harder with their writing and this visit proved this yet again."
    • - The American International School Muscat, Oman, Newsletter, 13 October 2010
    • "I like your books there so funny especially Jake's Monster Mess. He made a huge mess and I have a question for you, when are you going to finish all the books?"
    • - Ayman Bushara, Grade 4, The American International School Muscat, Oman
    • "Thank you for coming to our school we enjoyed it I hope you did too. Your visit was very helpful for me because i also want to become a writer."
    • - Skyler, Grade 4, The American International School Muscat, Oman
    • "I have thoroughly enjoyed your visit and your Jake books. Thank you for coming and I hope you have enjoyed Muscat."
    • - Tia Aziz, Grade 4, The American International School Muscat, Oman
    • "I love the Jake series. You put so much effort into your writing that I can picture it in my mind."
    • - Rafaella, Grade 4, The American International School Muscat, Oman
    • "I really enjoyed listening to you talk about how you became an author. I am actually thinking of becoming an author and your tips really helped."
    • - Amira Shindy, Grade 4, The American International School Muscat, Oman
    • "Thank you so much for coming and getting us interested in books. And you're a GREAT writer. I hope when I grow up I become like you! Plus your books are awesome!!"
    • - Reem, Grade 4, The American International School Muscat, Oman
    • "Thank you very much for coming to ABA last week... It helped broaden my thinking and creative writing skills, and once I started writing with a good plot in mind, I couldn't stop... I have learned about how to think outside the box, by being creative and imaginative with my writing, and not just making it simple."
    • - Faris Abubacker, Grade 9, ABA International School, Oman
    • "ABA teachers and students are very grateful for your visit. Some of the students and teachers were unused to authors presenting in such a quiet manner... One only had to look at the students' faces and hear them discussing their writing as they left the room to know how enthusiastically they embraced your messages in the end... I appreciated the way that you are able to make a positive comment about each student's writing and encourage them to continue their story... Several of the teachers built upon your workshops in their lessons, getting the students to polish their drafts started in your session or giving them fresh words to start another story. I talked to some teachers and I know they picked up on a lot of the points mentioned in your staff meeting talk and appreciated the research you have put into the presentation. One teacher used your techniques with her kids at home and another adapted the techniques with her pre-writing Kindergarten class. Many teachers found the sessions practical and that you had encapsulated the spirit of reading and writing that they had been struggling to impart. Now they have a grounding and are not afraid to let the students write unfettered, at least to start with. They realize that what you said makes a lot of sense!"
    • - Kimbra Weeks, Secondary Teacher/Librarian, ABA International School, Oman
    • Ken Spillman created a writing "BUZZ" throughout our Elementary School after his writing workshops with the students. There was a wonderful balance of writing, learning and sharing which Ken easily brought forth. His quiet and unobtrusive disposition helped many of our more reluctant writers break through the initial barrier of creative writing, and start to write. Ken's focus on creative writing and letting ideas "flow" is important for students of all ages, and he easily and effectively gave positive feedback and ideas to both students and teachers. Ken did a fantastic job of reinforcing to everyone the importance and pleasure of creative writing.
    • - Sarah Allum, Elementary Librarian, ABA International School, Oman
    • "My name is Hisham. I realy realy want your signature!"
    • - Hisham Al Harrasi, The Sultan's School, Oman
    • "Mr Ken. I love your books about Jake... And I am an EXTREME fan of yours. I LOVE U."
    • - Najat Al Balushi, Year 4, The Sultan's School, Oman
    • "We were very excited to have Ken Spillman come all the way to Oman from Australia and visit our students as part of our school's Literacy week celebrations. Ken shared with our students the power of using your imagination in writing and giving it a go, not getting worried about what to write but to be creative and enjoy the process reinforcing that they too are all authors. Our students, especially many of our older boys who find writing in English challenging, were particularly engrossed with Ken's presentation and sharing of his ideas. The children all loved hearing about the extraordinary things Jake put on his birthday list - especially real life piranhas! They were all very interested to hear about the process of writing from an author's point of view, how Ken starts with an idea and lets his imagination flow. Many students have written letters to Ken or emailed him since his visit and rated their workshop with them as one of their personal highlights of Literacy Week. We look forward to working with Ken again in writing workshops if we are lucky enough to have him back on Omani soil!"
    • - Anita McCallum, Primary Curriculum Co-Ordinator - English Subjects, The Sultan's School, Oman
    • "Mr Spillman. I am so glad you came, I hope you come again. The best part of Jake's list was the snake and of course the rest of the book was good. I think your books are amazing."
    • - Sara Al Awam, Year 3, The Sultan's School, Oman
    • "We love your stories and we wish to be YOU and my name is Noor! And I love your ideas a lot... Thank you for the stories. I love you UR the best!"
    • - Noor, Year 3, The Sultan's School, Oman
    • "The story was so funny because how could Jake read one story and he still didn't finish the book yet?"
    • - Maram Al Busaidi, Year 3, The Sultan's School, Oman
    • "Thank you for coming to speak at YCIS Beijing. The feedback from students was really good and they were very impressed to have met a published author whose work they had studied in class… I hope you will visit China and YCIS Beijing again."
    • - Naomi Saunders, Marketing Officer, Yew Chung International School, Beijing
    • "I want to thank you for the presentation you gave to our middle school students at the Bookworm yesterday. They (and I) found your talk engaging and inspiring… Thank you for making our students realize that they can be writers and to embrace the concept that life can be freaky at times."
    • - William Cotter, Middle School Teacher, QSI Suzhou, China
    • "Thank you for proving to me that everyone has imaginations and that everyone can write stories. We used your idea for starting story in class, and I find it really useful. It is much easier for me to write using your method."
    • - Eva Jin, Suzhou, China
    • "I want to thank you for your presentation, your presentation was amazing! I learned a lot about writing stories."
    • - Venus Cheung, Suzhou, China
    • "Thanks for your wonderful ideas!"
    • - Carrie Tsang, Suzhou, China
    • "We had a great response from the author talk and were very happy with the attendance. Ken read from his books and talked about the writing process and about his books. The children were very enthusiastic and were keen to answer questions and give suggestions when prompted. The interaction was great. Ken was very relaxed and seemed to enjoy talking with the children. They enjoyed the reading of Jake's Gigantic List and are eagerly awaiting the new Jake books after Ken gave them a teaser of what is coming up. All in all it was a fun session with a lot of very positive comments from both children and parents."
    • - Manning librarian, City of South Perth, 2010
    • "It was the first time Ken Spillman had visited any of the City of Canning Libraries and he was a man on a mission bent on connecting children with the magic and power of imagination and writing. His laconic understated humour struck a chord for many in the audience and the children were very responsive in answering his questions. There were no bells and whistles of multi media presentation but the engagement was strong enough to sustain a highly verbal talk that in turn drew many questions from the children. There was an audience of more than fifty children and around a dozen parents listening intently as Ken read from his books (including the whole of Jake's Gigantic List) and talked about how the ideas had developed into a story and then into the book… The children were very responsive also to the ideas developed in the Serventy School Kids series of books (Magwheel Madness, Magpie Mischief) which Ken has co-written with Jon Doust. There were a lot of problem solving suggestions offered in response to the situations the characters were facing."
    • - Riverton librarian, City of Canning, 2010
    • "Ken has been a favourite of Lit Fest since it's inception nine years ago. His presentations are full of gentle humour with his love of children's literature evident in his author talks. He is able to talk to all ages and find that one thing that his audience can relate to."
    • - Kris Williams, Director, All Saints Literature Festival, Perth, 2010
    • "On many occasions I have successfully employed Dr Spillman for work with both secondary age students and my younger boarders, and more broadly, with professional workshops with other Heads of Boarding and associated boarding staff in Western Australia. His brief, on these occasions, was to work to promote and encourage reading with our boys. This was very successful and we have repeated this approach due to the accomplished outcomes and warm reception he received from the boys. Dr Spillman worked in very closely with our students, who come from diverse cultural backgrounds. He succeeds wonderfully in an educative, engaging and entertaining manner. He always connected very well with our students who enjoyed the sessions very much. We intend to use Dr Spillman once again early this year, as his messages and approach are exactly what we have been after to encourage reading and have our boys positively engage with reading for pleasure. His ability to adapt to the age of the audience is quite remarkable."
    • - Shane McGurk, Director of the Residential Community, Christ Church Grammar School, Western Australia
    • "Jon Doust and Ken Spillman, collaborative authors on a series of humorous fiction for middle primary readers, found their time in Katanning exhausting and rewarding. Working in a community with a large culturally and linguistically diverse population, both authors used a range of skills and techniques to communicate to their audiences."
    • - Children's Book Week report, 2006
    • "The author's funnyness 're-boosted' my mind and now I have a million ideas!"
    • - Student, Katanning Senior High School, 2006
    • "They loved it. Even a child who normally isn't interested in learning."
    • - Teacher comment after appearances at Bayswater Public Library, 2007
    • "High quality presenters resulted in a programme that most children clearly found enjoyable and motivating."
    • - Bayswater librarian's comment on appearance by Ken Spillman and Jon Doust, 2007
    • "Please bring Jon and Ken back next year."
    • - Teacher comment after appearance by Ken Spillman and Jon Doust at Claremont library, 2007
    • "Jon Doust and Ken Spillman entertained, stimulated and maintained children's interest and enjoyment"
    • - Cottesloe librarian's comment on appearances by Ken Spillman and Jon Doust, 2007
    • "I found the experience of the group workshops very stimulating. Everyone had a different take on things. It was a good environment for my creativity to flourish and I felt I was able to achieve everything I set out to achieve."
    • - Barbara Windberg
    • "Thank you for your Workshop on Memoirs. I found it extremely relevant and I am sure the information I received will make my story more organised and dynamic."
    • - Karen Wilson
    • "I so enjoyed your class… I felt it was a tremendous help getting so much encouragement and ideas from you. It was also fascinating the way everyone bonded together as we heard the amazing lives many of the class had led."
    • - Belinda Brocklehurst
    • "The workshop series was a great way to develop work beyond a certain stage. Other workshops I've attended have been one-offs and, while helpful, they haven't allowed the same level of involvement, both with facilitators and the project I was working on. It has been a wonderful opportunity and I'm very grateful to have had the privilege to take part."
    • - Joy Kilian
    • "Ken Spillman was a generous, caring, and thoughtful guide to this writer."
    • - Collyn Gawned
    • "I want to say a special thank you to Ken. The writing workshops were thought provoking and very well structured. I've been writing for ages and have lots of ways of getting to write but the writing exercises had me extending my repertoire of ways into creativity and also a range of content matter. Ken also set up a very supportive viewing of others' work which helped develop the supportive in-group feeling... Someone in the group said, "This has been the best summer ever" – and who could argue with that?"
    • - Maree Dawes
  • PRAISE FOR JAKE'S MONSTER MESS
    • "Jake's Monster Mess can be summed up in a single word, three times - cute cute cute!... This gorgeous chaotic storyline goes from mess to monster mess in this delightful tale for younger chapter book readers. Spillman knows how to encapture children and their quirks and everyday experiences with an honesty that will have both adults and kids nodding and smiling."
    • - Kid's Book Review
    • "This is an ideal short chapter novel for newly independent readers.""
    • - Adelaide's Child
    • "I could certainly relate to Ken Spillman's book, Jake's Monster Mess… Written from Jake's perspective it gives a realistic representation of the boy's thinking process… A great read for parents and kids… a great transition from picture books."
    • - Emily Spicer, State School Teachers' Union Resource and Book Reviews
    • "This short novel with illustrations is packed with laughter and hilarity. I recommend it for ages six and up."
    • - The Examiner
    • "Jake's Monster Mess is a humorous tale (with a message!)"
    • - Australian Bookseller and Publisher
    • "Realistic and heart-rending… Children of five and upwards will identify with Jake's self-induced chaos. Jake's Monster Mess is a very readable story for beginner readers."
    • - Canberra Times
    • "This latest offering from Aussie author Ken Spillman will grab your reluctant boy readers and have them chuckling from cover to cover… Perfect for students just beginning to master chapter books."
    • - Bright Hub
    • "Parents and children everywhere will relate to this hilarious tale of destruction from the creators of Jake's Gigantic List."
    • - Magpies
    • "Jake is an endearing, likeable character with whom young readers will easily identify."
    • - Sydney's Child
    • "Universal appeal."
    • - Joondalup Weekender
  • PRAISE FOR JAKE'S GIGANTIC LIST
    • "There's nothing like curling up with a good book, but children's books surely make you relive the fun of childhood all over again… What really got me happy was this super awesome book called Jake's Gigantic List by Ken Spillman with some truly great illustrations by Chris Nixon… It's the kind of book that makes you go awww, because it's 50 pages of cuteness [and]… ten minutes of your life you're going to spend smiling. If you're looking for a good birthday gift to give a little one, this would be it."
    • - New India Press
    • “Ken creates some book magic… he has become positively evangelical when it comes to inspiring children to read.”
    • - Post Newspapers Group
    • “This is an exciting, fast-paced story for beginner readers. The characters are well-developed and likeable; young readers may see some of themselves in Jake.”
    • - Magpies
    • “Gentle jokes abound. Boys especially will enjoy the idea of creating their own adventure packed birthday list. Dragons, piranhas and robots are all cutely rendered in cartoon form, enticing the young reader into the joys of literacy.”
    • - Australian Bookseller and Publisher
    • “This is a book about wishes and the unlikely places you will find them come true…A fantastic fun book about engaging recalcitrant readers, written from the point of view of the recalcitrant reader. That's why it works. This is a book that should warm the cockles of any teacher-librarian's heart.”
    • - Reading Time
    • “Read the book! Recommended.”
    • - Alphabet Soup
    • “Terrific for early readers of simple, illustrated chapter books. Verdict: fun.”
    • - Herald Sun
    • “My UK grandson was given Jake's Gigantic List for his 6th birthday, and loved it. I still recall him going through the big UK catalogues and making a very long - about 130 items - list for Christmas presents… Ken really has captured the life and difficulties of today's child.”
    • - Jenni Woodroffe, Children's Book Council of Australia
    • “A short, beginning chapter book with ample illustrations that will hold the attention of early readers, this story encourages a love of books and it successfully relates to events in young readers' lives.”
    • - Scan magazine
    • “An exercise in imagination… Recommended for newly independent readers transitioning from picture books to chapter books.”
    • - Aussiereviews.com
    • "Young non-reading boys will be amused and perhaps challenged to think about their own reading habits by Ken Spillman's amusing story."
    • - Neals – Primary Focus Fiction
    • "Jake's Gigantic List is about discovering the magic of a great story… Packed with cute pencil sketch illustrations by Chris Nixon, Jake's Gigantic List makes a fun book to read at anytime."
    • - Christine Lim Simpson, Reading for Pleasure blogpost
    • "Jake truly is a universal character with great charm and enormous worldwide appeal."
    • - Jan Nicholls, Children's Book Council of Australia
    • "I borrowed Jake's Gigantic List and Jake's Monster Mess from my friends… I liked the books, they were very, very nice! The stories were funny, the gigantic list was just incredible!"
    • - Keisha Wee, Sri KL school, Malaysia
  • PRAISE FOR LOVE IS A UFO
    • “If there were just one reason why writers should be treasured, it is that they can articulate the inarticulate. That’s exactly what Spillman does in this funny, sad, sharp and warm book… The author channels the adolescent Oscar Updike. If you have a young teen in your house, buy this book.”
    • - Sunday Times Magazine
    • “Not your usual tried and true story about a boy accepting his father’s death, Love is a UFO is a firecracker of a tale, exploding through the engaging and witty Ossie… Like a UFO, once it has been and gone, things will never be the same, and neither is Ossie’s life. This book will certainly appeal to those hard-to-please boys.”
    • - Magpies
    • “Oscar is a pretty funny fellow and his efforts to avoid being uncool are also pretty amusing... But it’s not all laughs. Oscar’s journey is also poignant and touching… Spillman’s great talent for observation is evident in the details of Oscar’s life… He paints his characters with warmth and sympathy, sketching just enough of their fine details to lift them beyond the typical caricatures of much writing for young people. Oscar is a likeable boy and his story is entertaining and thought-provoking. This is a positive tale about getting through some of the challenges life throws up, learning from life and developing confidence as a young man. Spillman’s accomplished writing style sets this book well above many others on the pre-teenage reading shelf.”
    • - West Australian
    • “For Oscar, life is ‘weird and getting weirder’ after his parents separate, his father moves on to a new relationship, and then Dad suddenly dies. Confused about what he - 3 - is supposed to feel, Oscar finds some enlightenment discussing his problems with sympathetic adults, but when his attention is captured by a cute new girl in the park he has yet one more problem to figure out. Family relationships under stress are vividly conveyed through wildly veering emotions. Chapters are short and punchy, leavened with email exchanges and perfectly capturing the tone and mood of a young teenage boy dealing with complex life issues in the 21st century. How Oscar navigates his way through his adolescent grief with an angry mother, ‘zombie’ sister, Dad’s girlfriend and assorted school problems could be a story drowned in angst, but in the skilful hands of this author, Oscar’s emotional journey is told with sensitivity and a lively dollop of humour.”
    • - WA Premier’s Book Award 2007, judges’ comments
    • “I have to say how MUCH I loved Love is a UFO. I read it on a flight and I was laughing out loud in the funny bits (disregarding strange looks from my co-passengers) and I actually wept towards the end…You are so good at what you do, Ken. The voice of Ossie, the perfect understanding of that teenage soul, the humour and the depth of it all, I was overwhelmed. Thank you for gifting it to me, I know I will be re-reading it…Not only does the colloquial flavour of your book cut across cultures, it also cuts across age groups! My Dad, who is 73 (a teacher, writer and educator), picked up the book and finished it one go, and he liked it very much!”
    • - Sampurna Chattarji, reader (and celebrated Indian poet, novelist and translator)
    • “I loved Oscar's journey. Beautifully told, big-hearted and straight talking, it affirmed in my mind that we are indeed brothers of the pen… There’s the voice of a real kid who is neither dick-centric or emo. I love it. And Taz the twitcher was certainly the girl who got my vote at school, I mean I love Dani’s legs and all but the headstand in the Psychs office sealed the deal. She’s great. Above all else, it was a reassuring read.”
    • - Scot Gardner, reader (and celebrated Australian novelist, to whom Love is a UFO is dedicated!)
    • “I have just finished reading your book "Love is a UFO" and thought it was one of the best books ever. I love the way you describe characters. When I was reading I could feel what Ossie was feeling… This is the first author I have actually contacted, part of this is because there are not that many books out there that are as brilliant as yours another part is the fact that it give you your e-mail address on the first page of the book. I am really looking foward to reading more of your books, I think I will go out and get Blue on Friday! I could go on and on about how brilliant you are but I will just say; Ken Spillman, you are a BRILLIANT writer, keep writing books so I can read them.”
    • - Edward Hollingdale, reader
    • “Congratulations on your book- I thought it was just wonderful. I lost my father when I was 14 and felt such an infinity with Oscar. It was truthful and the confusion/ grief/ teenage angst was so wonderfully captured. I just LOVED it!”
    • - Chantelle Flint, reader
    • “I have just completed your wonderful book “Love is a UFO”. It was given to my daughter India for her birthday and you signed it personally asking to be told of what she thought when finished. As it happened, I read it before her and thought it was a wonderful, at times a laugh-out-loud type of book; especially the “kneel” chapter!!. Congratulations Ken, Ossie was a fantastic kid who eventually got it all together in the end. I look forward to your next novel.”
    • - Alison Wroth, reader
    • “Hey im caitlin mcleod from perth! aggrhhh! omg im reading your book its so funny!”
    • - Caitlin McLeod, reader
    • “First can i start off by saying i just finished reading Love Is A UFO and i absolutely loved it to death, fantastic piece of work mate and i really with there could be a sequel. I'm trying to find some more of your works around town but so far not much luck.””
    • - Jack Carey, reader
    • “Hi my name is Victoria, i just wanted to tell you i loved your book Love is a UFO it was really interesting and funny!... I'm 15 and i live in SA. It is totally cool that you have been nominated for the WA Young Readers Book Awards. I would love some more of your recommendations for books and i'm totaly gonna read your book Blue.”
    • - Vivi Roxy, reader
    • “I absolutely LOVE your books i have only read love is a ufo but it was heaps awesome- funni, kept me readin and cause it was like you could see his life... i really liked it, completly awesome. now am reading blue and you are one of the best authors i know!!! ”
    • - Tyler Wheeldon, reader
    • “I read the first Harry Potter book when it came out, I enjoyed it so much I started to read other young readers and young adult’s books. I found I enjoyed other books more than Harry Potter. I became hooked and now I don’t read adult books. I have now read many fantastic young adult’s books since Harry Potter, your book ‘Love is a UFO’ is one of the best I have read. The reason I love young adult books so much is the humor, transformation, spontaneity, directness, creativity and emotional satisfaction. Your style of writing is my favorite. Your book is brilliant, beautiful, touching and inspiring. Reading books like yours enriches my life, I now have a love of books that I never had before. My wife feels the same as I do, so we share all books… Thanks for your wonderful book.”
    • - John Wilson, reader
    • “It really is a fantastic piece of work. I enjoyed it so much and am only disappointed that being classified in the teenage genre, adults may miss out on it. I thought it was a mix of The outsider (Camus) and an Australian Adrian Mole. I loved the simple language and contemporary dialogue without fussy descriptions of places and actions. Within the first few pages the characters were real and likeable. PPPPlease write a sequel!!!!!”
    • - Adrienne Scott, reader
    • “I thought that it was one of the greatest books I have ever read.”
    • - Alyssa Beaumont, reader
    • “I bought a copy of Love is a UFO… Even though it¹s been a long time since I was Ossie’s age (I’m 45) it all came back pretty fast. I really enjoyed reading it and found it very visual. I was watching it while I was reading it, if that makes any sense. Definitely destined for TV somewhere, just hope it’s in Australia. Thank you very much.”
    • - Ron Samuel, reader
    • “I love your book "Love is a UFO". I haven't actually read Blue yet, but I'm keen too! Love is a UFO was great because it is written in language that us kids can understand! And it can actually happen, it's not one of those boring books that go forever about dragons and stuff. Please write more, you're my favourite author!”
    • - Eliza Jane, reader
    • “I finished your book quite a while ago but have only just got on to hotmail. I found it rich with humour and lots of excellent taglines. This book made it into one of my top ten books (even though i dont really keep track, i have so many favourites!!). I loved the story line and very much would like a sequel!!”
    • - Laura M, reader
    • “You are my favourite author. Thanks for a great book.”
    • - Jasmin Sweeney, reader
    • “Love is a UFO is a wonderfully written novel, aimed at teenagers and preteens. The cover draws my attention with its light and dark blues and wicked fonts. Ken Spillman, who has written everything from history to a series of magpie novels, has hit the jackpot with Love is a UFO.”
    • - —Pip Thomas, reader (and, Ken discloses, his beautiful niece!)
    • “Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed reading 'Love is a UFO'. Congratulations!”
    • - Cate Sutherland, reader
  • Advaita the Writer
    • “THERE is something irresistible about the book, Advaita the Writer, by Ken Spillman. It's not just the story, the characters, the setting, the language or the structure. It's something else, something less conspicuous, like the roots of a tree buried deep inside. Sometimes it's the turn of a phrase, sometimes it's the shape and contours of Advaita's mind, sometimes it is the clash of the adult world and the adolescent world, but always it is there. That something which makes you want to reread and relive the story, breathing in Spillman's sheer genius. Advaita the Writer is many stories rolled into one. It is the story of separation, of belonging, of space, of identity, of dreams, of inspiration, each an intrinsic aspect of growing up. Right from page one, we are pulled into Advaita’s unique world… What keeps this delightfully unpredictable world of Advaita aloft is Spillman’s narrative. It flows like a happy river, meandering through difficult emotions and exciting metaphors with equal ease, as it runs its preordained course. Throughout the book, Spillman gently pushes the boundaries of language, never once compromising on the intelligence of the reader or taking it for granted. It’s a delicate balance that is rarely achieved in books for young readers.”
    • - Praveena Shivram, Young India Books
    • “I read the wonderfully enchanted book that you wrote and could not help giggling at nooks and corners of Advaita's journey through life and ultimately herself.... The simplicity of language, yet the profundity of meaning left me eager to read on.... finished the whole book in less than an hour and ardently wished there would be a sequel in which I would dive into. What I loved the most about your writing is the ease with which you made me feel a part of Advaita's sojourn... You brought the hills of Himachal alive, made me journey through dreams and floating joy and touched a cord deep within! THANK YOU for penning such a delightful book.”
    • - Baktavar Elavia, English Literature teacher, Hill Spring International School, Mumbai
    • “I loved Advaita the Writer. I think your books are awesome. Thanks so much.”
    • - Karan Pinto. Class 4, Mallya Aditi International School, Bangalore, India
    • “Your book Advaita the Writer is amazing!”
    • - Ariesa Mongia, student, Bombay International School, Mumbai, India
  • PRAISE FOR MAGWHEEL MADNESS
    • “I finally got my hands on your new book, Magwheel Madness. it was great I really enjoyed it.”
    • - Damian, reader
  • PRAISE FOR MAGPIE MISCHIEF
    • "I read Magpie Mischief. I thought it was soooo good. I told my brother Iain about Ben and how his bum crack showed all the time. Of course he burst out in laughter. I am now going to read the book to him. You have to tell me what other books you have written so I can get them because I’m really looking forward to reading them all. I hate books that have boring beginnings and that last for ever! But your book Magpie Mischief was the right book for me. I’ve zoomed through the whole book already!"
    • - Kirsty, reader
    • “I was reading Magpie Mischief. I finished the book within a day. At the end I saw you had put your emails there. I thought it was a wonderful idea to put your emails in the book so people can write to you like I am. I think you and Jon must get millions of fan emails... Congrats on your book!”
    • - Taylah Sawers, reader
    • “i like the book magpie mishcheif! i picked it up at dandenong library because there were magpies near my house, so i thought it could be useful! it was, i use to think they were bad evil scary birds, now im like brd lady- im there friends!!! thanx for making that book, its great.”
    • - Timea Bartus, reader
    • "I would like to say thank you very much for the books Magpie Mischief and Magwheel Madness which were sent for my boys. They have greatly enjoyed hearing them and we have read both to them many times. Aden, my eldest has drawn you a picture of some magpies."
    • from left to right, Aden (6), Hamish (2), Cooper (4)
    • - Jeff Sinclair, reader
  • PRAISE FOR BLUE
    • "A novel for the young adult market that deserves a much wider readership. Spillman uses a number of voices, taken at moments of crisis over a period of four years, weaving the strands into a complex polyphony of the ebbs and flows of friendships. Lovers, families, death, abortions, what to do in life, illness and travelling overseas are the mundane yet powerful forces that shape the directions of these lives. Recommended."
    • - Marie Claire
    • "Blue is a brilliantly written book … Spillman creates his characters with sensitivity, and sketches their experiences with great craft and skill… In a way, Blue reminded me of Brideshead Revisited – a privileged and elite backdrop where universal themes are compellingly explored."
    • - The West Australian
    • "This is a warm, perceptive reflection on growing up … The book explores love, passion, confusion, travel, careers and the dreams of a generation. A thoroughly satisfying read."
    • - Herald Sun
    • "The ease with which Spillman moves through the streets, the distance to the surf, the landmarks old and new, made me think eerily that I might bump into someone I once knew … But what it really was, as I discovered once I thought further about it, is that Spillman has managed to make an effective setting here: a community of people in a place. Done with a subtlety that I can’t always work out; all that I know is that it works."
    • - Australian Book Review
    • "In Blue, a young adult novel in the way Catcher in the Rye is – the market-driven category does not apply – Ken Spillman shifts perspectives to trace the vulnerabilities of a group of friends. His novel is wise."
    • - Westerly
    • "The narratives, circumstances and dialogue seem wholly authentic: the stories have the carefully observed detail that buttresses believability. They also have the detachment that speaks of what can be relevant within the vastness of blue sea and river and endless, draining, blue sky ... in the end, it’s like the Bob Dylan reprise: the reader is tangled up in Blue."
    • - Canberra Times
    • "Spillman has come up with something fresh and thought-provoking and well worth a visit."
    • - Sunday Times
    • "Ken Spillman’s Blue is a deeply poetic exploration of the disenchanted youth in Perth’s western suburbs, teens and twentysomethings wrestling with life on Grantham Street presented in a series of vignettes."
    • - Grok
    • "An intricate piecing together of adolescent lives … Good on Ken Spillman for reminding us that it all happens here … We see love and success, pain and disappointment, life and death as vividly here as it’s portrayed in books and films set in New York, London or the Himalayas."
    • - Subiaco Post
    • "I just finished reading Blue… It was a very engaging and moving read: ambitious to take on so many characters in such complexity, interweaving like that, but you pulled it off so well -- it had me so gripped I read it in two sittings, last night and tonight. And was actually teary by the time Johnny died. And really recognised the city I come from (albeit from the south-eastern suburbs, another story again, but still part of the whole). The novel came across as subtly critical and compassionate at the same time, and that's not easy to do. This isn't a very sophisticated literary response, but a spontaneous one. It's a compelling book, and parts of it were so devastatingly accurate (psychologically, socially) that I will not be able to forget them -- James Hogan and his former schoolteacher, Gus in his hospital bed among the prostate men. Thanks for a great read."
    • - Tracy Ryan, reader (and celebrated Australian poet and novelist)
    • "I am almost halfway through Blue and had to email you. I just love it. The characters are realer than anything I’ve ever read and humour comes through in the most unexpected places… It’s human and full of self doubt, erotic and insightful. Love it! Its balance is perfect."”
    • - Mary Doyle, reader