I was lucky to be part of Australia Book Week at two primary schools in Sydney this year – Waverley Public School and Maroubra Bay Public School.
The day I visited Waverley they were dressed up as characters from their favourite children’s books. It was very funny to be looking out at an audience made up of Cat in the Hat, Elsa, Snow White, Fantastic Mr Fox, Spiderman and the Gruffalo. Asking a question when you’re wearing a mask is not easy particularly for the person trying to understand the question – “I’m sorry Mr Fox please can you repeat that.”
Due to technical issues (there’s always something), the lovely librarian, Katey, at Waverley had to spend most of my presentation in the cupboard clicking through my slides when she heard me shout “next”, as the slide show wouldn’t work on the projector. I’m always so grateful to the fantastic teachers and librarians at schools! At Maroubra Bay the interactive-white-board decided to be very un-interactive and every time I tried to draw anything it put the line somewhere completely different on the page! A wonderful teacher then stepped up and held a piece of paper up on the wall for me to draw on – you can pull off pretty much anything with a little help and some improvisation.
One little boy at Maroubra bay asked me if I was famous! We decided that probably neither of us were but that we might be one day.
I had the privilege at Waverley of finding out how to sign POWEs as there was a sign language interpreter signing my presentation for a hearing-impaired little girl in the audience.As often happens, I end up on a topic that I never expected. When looking at the map from my book, I explained that I was from the UK which is in Europe, one savvy 6 year old at Waverley asked “Are you sure it’s still in Europe?” – I didn’t imagine that I would be explaining Brexit that day – “There is the continent of Europe and then there is this gang of countries that call themselves the European Union and the UK is leaving the gang but they’ll still be part of the continent.” – hope I did ok on that one!
It always makes me feel amazing when a room of 70 kids are all silent and are all looking at me or the pictures of my book on the screen. It feels like a miracle to be able to hold their attention like that.Kids are so much fun & really inspiring but I tell you what I have the utmost respect for teachers & I think they must be tired all the time!! A little girl at Maroubra Bay, as I was leaving ran over and said “Thank you for all the things you’ve taught us.” I left feeling very happy to think that not only I might have inspired the children to write stories and illustrate them but that they might have walked out of my presentation knowing more about wildlife and how we can all work together to save it.
Find out what the schools are saying about my visits.