Summer Reading Club
space craft special edition 2017

Jo Stanley

I have been on radio, on tv and written for newspapers and magazines, but I actually started my career as a comedian, writing and performing live comedy. No matter what I’m doing though, they all have a few things in common: I try to be funny and fun, I am always honest about how I feel, and they are all telling stories in their own way. Sometimes they are very short stories, like on radio, and sometimes much longer stories, like with my new books, the Play Like A Girl series.

This is the first time I’ve written a book, and now I’ve done 4! They are all about a junior girls footy team, the Flyers, because I LOVE AFL footy! I barrack for Collingwood, and so does my husband, and now so does my daughter, Willow. Going to the footy together is my favourite thing to do, even when Collingwood loses.

Getting to Know Jo Stanley

Game On: How did you get into writing?

I first wrote my first ever play when I was at high school. I was hooked instantly! I loved the thrill of hearing an audience laughing at a joke I’d written. Once I moved into live comedy, it became instinct for me to write anything and everything I could – radio, tv, newspaper columns. But writing a book was not something I had expected to do, until the publisher for Play Like a Girl – Bonnier Publishing – asked me to write a book series about girls playing footy. It was the best surprise and a very exciting thing to be asked!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I remember writing and illustrating my own books when I was in primary school. My illustrations were terrible! But I always really loved my stories, so much that I had a secret dream to be a writer one day. I just never really thought it would happen!

What are some of your favourite games to play?

I generally exercise on my own. I run and go to classes at the gym. But I LOVE watching footy and playing kick to kick in the park. And my daughter plays basketball, so I’m always shooting hoops with her in our backyard. Sometimes I even get one in!

Do you have a favourite sport, sporting event or sporting hero?

I love AFL footy and barrack for Collingwood. It’s a family tradition, so I had no choice. The club is a huge part of our life, and we love going to as many games as possible. Because of that probably my biggest footy hero is Nathan Buckley. I also love the Olympics and athletics. Sally Pearson has been someone I’ve loved watching over the years, and her recent comeback to win at the World Champs was thrilling! She is a huge hero of mine.

What kinds of activities do you like to do to supercharge your summers?

Our summers are usually spent playing in the sand and in the water with our Labrador, Scout, or bike riding through our local parks.

Can you recommend some good GAME ON reads for our SRC Members?

The Play Like a Girl series, of course! Read all about the highs and lows, devastating losses and exhilarating victories of the Flyers!


A Creative Tip

Concentrate on what you love. Fill in the details.

To aspiring writers I would say spend the time to fill in as much detail of your world and its characters before you begin. A footy club was great for me, because it was a ready made mix of characters, places and drama that was super fun to create. I found the more effort I put in to creating the characters with as much information about them as I could think of, as well as the places they lived and played in, the easiest it was the create the stories around them.

To aspiring performers I would say if you love it, do it. Don’t let other people make you think what you’re doing isn’t right for you. And especially don’t listen to the self-doubt in your own mind! Concentrate instead on what you love and that will help you find the courage you need to get up in front of an audience and be AMAZING!

Hot Off the Press

Jo Stanley’s Play Like a Girl series is now available. Have you had a chance to read any yet?

Book Title: Play Like a Girl: Bring It On!

Publisher: Bonnier Publishing Australia

Recommended Reading Age: Primarily girls, 7–12

Book Description:

Play Like a Girl is a spirited new series that weaves the ordinary world of young girls with the thrill and excitement of the AFLW. The books follow a group of young girls who play for The Flyers, the footy team of Milsborough West, a fictional inner-city suburb that lies to the west of the CBD. The Flyers are a diverse group of clever, cheeky, funny, deep thinking, strong and enthusiastic girls, all of whom love their footy, love their team, and love being fit and active.

Each book is told from the perspective of one of the six girls, each with a very different take on footy. The books explore themes of friendships and isolation, having a sense of belonging, bullying, body image, anxiety, success and failure, and family expectation, with a few annoying brothers thrown in. These girls are navigating their way through being 11 and 12 years old and learning about self-acceptance, gratitude, awareness of others, kindness, leadership.

Other titles:

  • Play Like a Girl: Dream Team!
  • Play Like a Girl: Totally Epic!
  • Play Like a Girl: Smashing It!

Sneak Peak

Read a few preview chapters now!

Celebrity Corner

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