Bookweek is peak school-visit time for writers and illustrators and over recent years, the ‘week’ has (fortunately) extended to a much longer time. This year has been a doozy!
It began for me in early August with Papua New Guinea, where Tina Clark and I spent just over a week working with students and teachers. The week culminated with a presentation to parents and families of the work they’d been doing (and a fabulous birthday celebration for Tina!)
We were also lucky enough to get a sneak peek at a Queen Alexandra Birdwing butterfly breeding program that is hoping to return these world-biggest butterflies to their land.
Next up, I travelled to Vanuatu as guest of Port Vila International School. What a wonderful whirlwind! In addition to working with the students at PVIS, I also visited an island school via banana boat and another primary school (both schools were on holidays but opened for our visit), a French school and an independent school. In between, I snorkelled, swam in the bluest lagoon, watched sunrises and sunsets, cruised the harbour and sampled some of the finest food. I also learned that the duration of a land lease there equalled the life of a coconut tree! Having lived in Bougainville in my childhood, there were many familiar experiences, but so many new ones too. I was welcomed so warmly by the school community it was hard to say goodbye.
I flew home on a Friday afternoon, switched clothes and resources and was on a plane to Sydney on Sunday afternoon for a week of school visits in Sydney and Newcastle, organised by The Children’s Bookshop.
Back in Melbourne, I visited schools very near and about as far from my house as is possible and still be in town.
Throw in a trip to Vietnam, edits on an upcoming novel and an upcoming picture book and it starts to explain why I’ve not blogged for a bit. I am so lucky to work in the world of words, teachers, librarians, children and their families. But I am looking forward to some time at home.