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Craig Smith

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Last updated by Anne Kenneally 

Craig Smith


Craig Smith was born in Clyde central Otago and about the age of 1 he moved his family to Queenstown :0). He attended Queenstown Primary school and then Wakatipu High school where he was politely asked to leave so his mother sent him to Southland boys boarding high school where once again Craig was politely asked to leave, finally attending Cargill high school where Craig decided to check himself out of school at the age of 16. Craig has 5 older brothers and sisters and all were raised solo by his mother Maureen Thomson who gave the idea for Willbee the bumblebee to which she is a co author on.


Craig is an APRA children award winning, full time Musician/Author living in New Zealand. Craig's success in music has been across many genres and includes his children's music as well as his stories in song being turned into children's books for which he has won several NZ highest children's book awards "the NZ post book awards".


His now 4 albums have all been successful (one of them attaining gold status) but the one Craig enjoys playing the most is "not just for kids", of which the song "The wonky donkey" is by far the most popular. This story in song was turned into a book in 2009 and was a #1 selling hit in both Australia and New Zealand with print runs around the world. Followed closely by other stories in songbooks "Willbee the bumblebee", "Kaha the Kea" , "My daddy ate an apple" and now released "Square Eyes" which debuted at the #1 selling spot in NZ in Oct 2014.


Craig Has now sold over half a million copies worldwide in the 5 short years he's had his picture books published. His shows are fun and full of children and parents laughing , dancing and singing.

5 tips for writing picture books.


1. Always keep something to write your ideas down handy. Note pad, phone, laptop anything so that when you have an idea you can immediately write them down. Don't think "that's a great idea, I can't possibly forget that !" and not write it down .... chances are, all you'll remember is that fact that you had a brilliant idea that you wouldn't possibly forget ........ and that's all !.


2. Market research. Take your stories to a friends house to read to the kids by all means but even better, to kindys and preschools in front of children you've never met. They will respond positively or negatively but at least you'll know one way or another if you're onto something or not. Often the kids suggest ideas I then add into my stories that are GOLDEN.


3. If you want your stories to rhyme use an online or physical copy of a rhyming dictionary and thesaurus. With the thesaurus you can change the word { meaning the same } and try to rhyme with that , this opens your options up big time


4. Another way to open your options up to rhyme is to use the following example


"Down the stairs he FELL" rhyme with "fell" { use your rhyming dictionary}

"The stairs he fell DOWN" now you can rhyme with "down"

"He fell down the STAIRS" now you can rhyme with "stairs"

"The stairs fell down did HE" { Yodas version } now you can rhyme with "he"


in conjunction with the thesaurus, you can find other words that mean fell, down, stairs and he. You should be able to find plenty of words to rhyme without having to change the meaning of you sentence. Eg; "Down the stairs he TRIPPED" or "Down the stairs he FLEW" Only when you've exhausted these options should you look at changing the meaning of the sentence. Eg "Down the HILL he fell" "Out the WINDOW he fell"


only after hours of effort can you then be told by your editor that it's all incorrect and you have to go back and rewrite it !!   :0)


5. Don't worry if you get a rejection e mail or letter from a publisher. We've all had them. If you've done your "market research" and are confident with the story keep trying . Find a way, the halls of great writers and indeed many other professions and artists are filled with people who got rejected many times over before they "cracked it".


6. Enjoy, have fun.


Queenstown-based musician and writer Craig Smith has been invited to perform at the children's section of the world's biggest music festival in June.