About the Book

The dominant thread is the work and life of Robin Klein, and her books are examined in detail, thematically rather than in chronological order, and interwoven with the story of her young correspondent and with the larger tale of Australian publishing. Appleton’s book has affinity with the English writer Spufford’s The Child That Books Built, but this Antipodean book is more subtly stitched together … Letters from Robin offers a variety of riches, perhaps best of all in presenting a chronotope of that time when literature for the young burst into bloom in Australia. It has certainly sent me scurrying back to reread Robin Klein’s books.

Dr Robin Morrow, Magpies magazine, March 2022

Letters from Robin is a journey through the life and career of multi-award-winning Australian writer Robin Klein, author of more than 50 books for children of all ages. Her best-loved titles include Thing, the Penny Pollard books, Hating Alison Ashley, People Might Hear You and Came Back to Show You I Could Fly.

Drawing on published profiles and new interviews with Robin’s family and former colleagues, Letters from Robin depicts the author’s determination to be a writer from an early age – despite childhood poverty and the obligations of other work and domestic life. A third, unique information source are the letters she wrote to me, from when I was an 11-year-old superfan in Sydney until I was approaching my mid-twenties.

The book also celebrates the creative collaboration between readers and writers. How many of us return, time and again, to childhood favourites for renewed comfort and courage? This book is for anyone who wants to know how a writing life works and to be reminded how rich and rewarding a reading life can be.

This book is for all Robin’s fans – past and present – as well as emerging writers and publishers, anyone who remembers an Australian 80s childhood or is interested in the history of Australian children’s literature.

Cover design and illustration by Ann James and Lee Burgemeestre

This website provides more information about Robin Klein and her books and offers a taste of the content of Letters from Robin. Any queries? Contact me: jon [at] lettersfromrobin.com or click the contact link.

Published by Noble Books, available from Booktopia.

ISBN: 9781761280177

An engaging portrait of a much-loved children’s books author, written in a conversational tone. With personal insights and snippets from Robin’s letters to the author, this makes for fascinating reading. This book is a celebration of a remarkable children’s books author and a compelling behind-the-scenes glimpse into the life of a writer. Recommended.

Sandy Bigna, February 2023

Here’s a review from Kathryn White, at Kathryn’s inbox.

Joy Lawn’s interview with me is over at Paperbark Words.

Margot Lindgren, aka momo, talks about the book and her own reading of Robin Klein here.

I was interviewed by Michael Mackenzie on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters programme about Robin and the Rippa Reading days. Here’s a link