Congratulations to all the libraries, schools, playgroups, teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators, storytellers, publishers and crazy book lovers for celebrating 'Australia: Story Country!' in a profound way last week. What fun was had across our amazing country! It makes me so proud to be part of the Children's Book Council of Australia.
It also makes me proud to be a children's author. Helping to make top quality children's literature and promote reading in my local area and beyond is so rewarding.
I celebrated Book Week this year in a way I never had before. You see, this was my first Book Week as a published author. Previously I had celebrated it in my classroom as a teacher and with my children as a mother. Being with your readership as they tell you why they love your book (beyond it's initial layer) is a magical moment. Children are such clever creatures!
My experiences last week were many and varied but all of them were rich and fulfilling. It's experiences like the ones below that keep me fresh and inspired.
Digital Story Writing Workshops with Newcastle Region Libraries
Classrooms are such busy places. Together with Newcastle Region Libraries and Julie Swane, we thought we'd offer story writing with a difference to extend the experiences offered in the classroom - in digital form using the program, 'Storybird' .
Across three after-school workshops involving children from Year 2 to Year 6, we introduced 'Storybird'. This program offers a platform to build stories into published books using images within the program. The children could use these images to spark story ideas. We discussed how this is actually the opposite way to how most children's authors work. The stories created during these workshops were amazing. The next generation of authors are fabulous!
Author/Illustrator visit to MacKillop Catholic College, Warnervale
Kirrili and I were very excited to be asked to celebrate Book Week with all the students from Kindergarten to Year 4 attending MacKillop Catholic College in Warnervale (on the Central Coast).
Young budding authors and illustrators were very excited to hear about our love of children's literature. The children were a delight while we read 'Dandelions', discussed its themes and demonstrated how Kirrili designed the illustrations. When we left, children could be seen continuing to draw dandelions and hot air balloons in the playground. We certainly touched those children in a profound way. What joy!
Jeannie Baker talk and exhibition of original 'Circle' collages
We were so lucky to have Jeannie Baker at the Newcastle Museum during Book Week to discuss her work, 'Circle'. (It was very similar to her inspiring talk at the CBCA Conference earlier this year.)
Jeannie discussed her research journey as she studied the images she needed to build into collages for the amazing story of this shorebird, the bar-tailed godwit.
Here are a few photos of some of her collages. I don't want to show you too many but just a taste of her brilliance. Her chosen media and intricate work is mind-blowing. If you can get a glimpse of her work, it's a must!
Jeannie stayed to sign books and answer any questions privately. A softly spoken and beautiful person.
Book Week Dress-Up Disco
My children's school combined it's annual disco with Book Week celebrations this year. The students could dress-up as an Australian book character or an Australian olympian to attend the disco.
My daughter dressed up as 'Jill' from the Treehouse series by the creative dynamic duo, Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. She had a sign explaining this as Jill wears very ordinary clothes. We discovered Jill wears lots of purple on the covers but we didn't have any purple in the wardrobe. Her handbag was stuffed with animals and she wore shiny disco shoes to finish off the outfit perfectly. Not too bad for using only items already in the house. (I don't do dressing up very well so my kids usually have to design their own costumes for these occasions).
My son dressed up as a soccer olympian. Too easy from my end but hence why he is not photographed in a post about Book Week!
To my surprise, one for the students from Year 1 in our school dressed up as the little girl from 'Dandelions'. This just tickled me pink! But I never got to see her due to my workshop commitments :( (I had completed an author talk with them a week earlier.)
I thoroughly enjoyed following my fellow authors and illustrators on social media last week as they celebrated Book Week across the country. So many things happened and so many kids, schools, teachers, parents, and libraries were involved.
Congratulations to everyone who planned events or participated in them. I'm sure kids everywhere will remember these experiences for years to come.