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Felice Arena

Author, Illustrator

Felice Arena is one of Australia’s much-loved children’s authors. His books have topped bestseller lists and garnered several awards, including six Australian Children’s Choice Book Awards – plus in 2013 he was awarded KOALA (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards) Legend of the Year. His works include the incredibly popular Specky Magee series, the hilarious Farticus Maximus books, Whippersnapper, Wish, the Boyz-Rule and Girlz-Rock books, the action-packed bionic-hero series Andy Roid, the Sporty Kids series and most recently a work of historical fiction, The Boy and the Spy. 

Follow Felice on Twitter and Instagram @Fleech or visit his site: www.felicearena.com

Felice is proud to be one of the ambassadors for the National Year of Reading 2012 program and the Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge.

Where were you born?

I was born outdoors in the sun-kissed Goulburn Valley, in country Victoria. My very pregnant mother was working in my Italian grandfather’s orchard, picking pears (um, yeah, I know, what happened to complete rest, right!?). There was no time to rush me to the hospital as I was already on my ‘way out’ and no one, not even my mother, was going to stop me. So my first look at the world was from under the shade of a pear tree. There was no partridge in the branches, but plenty of smiles and applause all round from the traveling German fruit-pickers. “Das ist ein schönes Baby! Ja! Ja!”

What themes are recurring in your work?

Sport. Love. Loving sport. Sporty love. Friendship. Action. Adventure. Tolerance. Hope. Dreaming big. Play. Boys. Girls. Teachers. Coaches. Parents. Tween/and teen life.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Winning five Australian Children Choice Book Awards would definitely be up there, but nothing can beat five thousand excited kids attending a Specky Magee book launch and screaming out at the top of their lungs, “Specky! Specky Specky!” That sort of thing makes me feel extremely humbled, blessed, and gooey all over!

Haven’t I seen you before?

In the 90s I was a former resident of Erinsborough – some may know the suburb from a little TV show called Neighbours As ‘Marco Alessi’. I lived at number 34 Ramsay Street, worked at Lassiter’s coffee shop, saved Bouncer the dog, kissed Natalie Imbruglia, found my long-lost adopted sister, sold dodgy cars, split up my cousin’s marriage to Paul Robinson, and joined a gang of shady underworld criminals. All in one year. Phew! I then followed my fellow soap-opera thespians to the UK, where I performed, yes, in a couple of pantomimes, but also in the lead West End roles in Hair, Godspell, and What a Feeling. In between theatre shows I presented children’s television and appeared in a couple of films.

Follow the links to news articles below to see past testimonials.

Testimonials

The students loved the presentation that Felice gave. It was a good balance of him delivering his experience and interaction with the audience. The level of humour was appropriate and the content was pitched at the right level.

—A. Vesty, Teacher, St Peter Apostle Primary School 2016

Fantastic performance. The children were all talking about him and the way he encouraged the children to read and made connections with their background.  Even the teachers enjoyed the whole session. Thank you.

—N.Noorun, Al-Taqwa College, August 2014

Today’s talk by Felice Arena was fantastic. We had 300 school children at the session and they were all totally entertained – the teachers really enjoyed the session as well. He conveyed the reading message in a fun and entertaining presentation.

—J. Casey, Glen Eira Libraries, September 2013

Staff and students LOVED it! Everyone smiled all day. There was a real buzz in our school and a great deal of interest from everyone. Our primary school students gave it a rating of 5/5.

—A. Shanley, The Scots School, September 2012

The kids have not stopped talking about the show and what a great time they had.

From a teachers point of view it was nice to hear you share your love of reading and how you came about with some of your ideas for your books. You wouldn’t believe how many aeroplanes have flown over our school since you left!

—D. Loh, Berwick Chase Primary School, August 2012

Hi there!

I wanted to email you and say what a sensation Felice Arena is!

On Wednesday 22nd August we had an incredible morning of entertainment, inspiration, engagement and great FUN presented to us by Felice!

Felice was such a great sport (I guess you get that from Specky!), allowing me to photograph him riding our Picasso Cow, which we are doing a project on for Dairy Australia.

Life and learning should be fun and Felice delivered that in abundance! I am so glad we scored him for Book Week this year and hope we can do it again one day.

Thank you again for assisting me in obtaining the inspirational services of Felice Arena to motivate and entertain my students with his very positive and enriching personality! Today I have had children approaching me to ask, “Where can we buy Felice’s books?” I think that says it all!

—J. Nolan, Mentone Grammar, August 2012

Felice had our boys totally mesmerized with his inspiring stories and role-playing activities. A great role model!

—Marist Brothers College, October 2011

Felice was a delightful person to have at school for the day. The students responded to him positively, especially the boys who we are particularly trying to ‘switch on’ to reading. The teaching staff were also impressed with his personable approach.

—North Geelong Secondary College, October 2011

I just wanted say how impressed I was with Felice. He was a very engaging presenter and he had all our kids enthralled. An inspiring speaker.

—St Leonard's, October 2011

Felice’s acting talent (and past teaching experience) showed through as he kept big audiences of Year 4 to Year 7 listening throughout his presentation. His introduction sparked great interest for reading and the accessibility of his books made him an ideal presenter. Involving the students in “Reader’s Theatre” was a winner!

—Mentone Grammar, October 2011

Our grades enjoyed meeting Felice. He was great fun and kept them all motivated. A very entertaining author!

—Yarram Park Primary School, October 2011

He was engaging, animated, and funny. The activities and all of the presentation were all age-appropriate and thoroughly enjoyed by the students.

—Xavier College, October 2011

The students loved Felice’s presentation, and all the children, especially the boys, are really eager to read more of his books! He achieved his goal – to get children interested in reading!

—Wembley Primary School, October 2011

Felice is a vibrant and energetic presenter. He held everyone’s attention superbly. An entertaining, captivating, motivating and interactive session – one of the best we’ve seen!

—Scotch College Junior School, October 2011

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