Making Waves and Muddled Magic by Celia Berrell

Celia BerrellA regular contributor to CSIRO’s children’s science magazines, Cairns-based poet and presenter Celia Berrell artfully combines science and rhyming verse. She shares the experience of marketing her educational resources which have received support from organisations such as James Cook University and Flinders University. 

Like the methods of a modern-day alchemist, marketing my book, Celia Berrell’s Science Rhymes, is a series of trial and error experiments to find the secret formula for making gold.  I haven’t found it yet, but I’m getting closer …

The Alchemist’s Spell  by Celia Berrell

In ancient times, philosophers

and monks pursued experiments.

Believing that all things were made

from just four basic elements.

Instead of water, earth, air, fire

our knowledge now is quite immense.

Describing some one hundred types

of atoms forming elements.

We’ve learnt that compounds don’t lose mass.

It’s just that some escapes as gas.

When chemical reactions flare

we add the mass used from the air.

But let’s not scoff old Alchemists

with muddled magic on their lists.

Determined curiosity

transformed it into Chemistry.

Science RhymesInstead of water, earth, air and fire, my basic elements are:

  • a website
  • social media
  • activities worthy of media attention
  • a limited amount of focus, time and energy.

For me to get this marketing thing right would be like training for a surfing contest.  Like many sports, having a coach would make a positive difference. I can see how being partnered with Jabiru Publishing would help me find the formula for gold far more effectively!

As it is, I’m a solitary soul, easily distracted by the next wave of writing frenzy, followed by writer’s block and depressing doubts. It’s as though I create the perfect wave to surf, then find myself unable to get out there to ride that wave. I’ve been dumped a few times, too. Like arranging a book launch, and then having to immediately drop everything for a family crisis overseas.

But there’s also a lack of self-discipline (or is that changed priorities?). Earlier this year, I set up a blog facility on my website, but haven’t got into the regular habit of using it. This is naughty, because I get some great traffic on the Science Rhymes website, with thousands of hits each month. You see, I provide a free resource of science poetry for teachers and students. And I’m always AMAZED to discover where some of those Science Rhymes have been used: a theatre production in USA; a poetry-reciting contest in Hungary; promoting environmental awareness in South Africa; a University science module for South Australian teachers; exams in USA!

Students from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe have discovered Science Rhymes. As well as teachers in English-speaking countries, teachers in China, Jamaica, Thailand, the Philippines and Russia use them.  It’s inspirational!

Three times a year, I send out an e-newsletter to all the kind people who support my work. I keep a log of Science Rhymes achievements and inspiring science news on the Science Rhymes Facebook page … and on a good month, I’ll “catch up” with my social media endeavours.

As 2015 is the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, I’m presenting in schools on “The Science & Poetry of Light”, inspiring local students to write their own science poetry and prose.  So for National Science week’s “Making Waves” project in August, we’ll have plenty of student-generated poems to share. “Making Waves” could be a good opportunity for marketing my book too … I must remember to take a surfboard!

Celia Berrell’s Science Rhymes is a small book about biology, chemistry, physics and earth sciences.  Educationally sound and artistically crafted, it merges poetry with science literacy to present an entertaining smorgasbord of bite-sized portions from the primary science curriculum. All poems have been scrutinised by James Cook University’s Science Educator, Dr Clifford Jackson. Great care has been taken to ensure these rhymes do not propagate any science misconceptions.

The first volume was published in September 2014 and is available through Harleys Educational and Collins Bookstore, Smithfield. There is also a Kindle version on Amazon.  Her poems have been published in school textbooks in Australia, Canada and Ireland.  Visit for a free PDF of informative and entertaining Science Rhymes.

2 thoughts on “Making Waves and Muddled Magic by Celia Berrell

  1. Well done Celia, interesting to hear the personal viewpoint of one surfing the promoting and marketing waves..blessings Hzl


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