My life as a children's author while juggling being a mum, a wife and professional volunteer. (Sometimes it gets complicated)

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Book Week School Visits 2017 - Escape to Everywhere!



Photo: Maroubra Junction PS library display


Book Week is such an exciting time for schools, libraries, librarians, teachers, parents and kids as the nation stops to celebrate books, reading, storytelling, writing, and illustrating.

Book Week is also a highlight on the calendars of authors and illustrators all over.

So where did I escape to? I went everywhere!

School 1: DALE Christian School, Waratah


DALE Christian School, Waratah is a special needs school catering for children aged 11-17 years. Kirrili and I had the great pleasure of talking to all of their students last Friday, 18th August, the afternoon of the Book Week Awards announcement. They had had a Book Week parade earlier in the day and Kirrili and I got to finish their celebrations by stepping them through the complicated process of how picture books are produced. Kirrili then workshopped some drawing techniques. These students were so tuned in and really appreciated our presentation. Kirrili and I left on a high!


Photo 1: Drawing emotions
Photo 2: sketches from our upcoming book, 'Up To Something'
Photo 3: Thank you gift

School 2: Greta Public School


Greta Public School recently refurbished their tired library and held their grand opening on Monday, 21st August. Kirrili and I were VIP guests along with several others including the local mayor. Their library is now amazing! 

Library monitors were ready to answer questions and demonstrate how the new technology worked. Some old visitor books were on display. I was very excited to look at old editions of The School Magazine from 1962!

After the official opening and morning tea, Kirrili and I ran two workshops with some lucky children. But we think we were the lucky ones!

We were introduced to a new Promethean 'smart board' (we were told it's like a smart phone on wheels). Kirrili learnt how to use the digital whiteboard app on this smart board only 30 minutes before our presentation and then demonstrated on it during our workshop. How clever!

The children had completed a lot of work on our book before we arrived so we were chuffed to see some of their artwork displayed on the library walls. Magic!


Photo: Kirrili and I


Photo: Kirrili in action


Photo: Dandelions artwork


Photo: Kirrili using the digital whiteboard app - very tech savvy!


Thank you gift: handmade charm with dandelion seeds encased - very thoughtful

School 3: Fern Bay Public School


Fern Bay Public School is a small seaside school with less than 60 students from K - 6.

While Kirrili was presenting at another school, I visited Fern Bay PS on 
Wednesday, 23rd August.

During my three sessions, we pulled my story apart and discussed the themes, we walked through the writing process (including rejections) and highlighted how important it is to edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite ... you get the picture ... until a story is just right.

Then I shared the process of submitting, finding an illustrator, the illustration process, and all the way to seeing the book in the shops or on library shelves.

This little school really appreciates books as they didn't have an onsite library until 2 weeks ago (YES - 2 weeks ago!) and the day I was there was their first library borrowing day.

It was an honour to be their first guest author in their brand new library and I'm sure they will adore every book they have after having barely any for so long. And now they also appreciate the process books go through to make it in their hands.


Photo: Here I am in action with some infants students


'We think you're DANDY and we're not lion :)' - super cute!


Photo 1: I adore my handmade welcome sign
Photo 2: School History sign

School 4: Maroubra Junction Public School


Photo: Welcome Sign - all these languages are spoken at MJPS 

A 4:30am get-up and a 5:15am leave to travel to Sydney was worth it once I met the 300 infants students of Maroubra Junction Public school on Thursday, 24th August. This was my last school visit for Book Week, 2017 and it finished with a bang!


Photo: Year 1 MJPS

The children were very engaged as I shared my publication journey with them and inspired them to never give up and keep reading and writing.

I was invited to visit their library and was blown away by how special their library space was. 
(Allisa, you are one super clever lady!) 
It was full of beautiful Book Week displays featuring some of their favourite shortlisted titles.

I was very honoured to be able to say I personally know or have met some of these clever book creators.


Photo: 'Gary' by Leila Rudge


Photo 1: 'Chip' by Kylie Howarth
Photo 2: 'Captain Jimmy Cook Discovers Third Grade' by Kate Temple, Jol Temple and John Foye


Photo: 'The Patchwork Bike' by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van T Rudd 
(Van T Rudd is also the winner of the 2017 Crichton Award for a Debut Illustrator)


Photo: 'Nanny Loves' by Kylie Dunstan


Photo: 'Fabish' by Neridah McMullin and Andrew McLean

I presented three sessions to over 100 children each time and was amazed by the display of manners and enthusiasm for learning. It was a lovely way to end a very busy Book Week.

Thanks to The Children's Bookshop Speakers' Agency for co-ordinating this school visit.


Photo: Thank you gift: 'Maroubra on the Menu' - School Centenary Cook Book

Phew! Time for some rest and to catch up on some sleep. I hope you, your children, friends and family enjoyed Book Week celebrations wherever you were. My children's school is celebrating Book Week next week so it's now time to help my children organise their costumes. At least I have lots of ideas from my travels this week.