I’ve just finished two days of training as a facilitator for Parent-Child Mother Goose Australia, a program of rhymes, songs and stories for parents and children. Jenny and Halina led us in designing and running programs tailored to individual groups.
I learned so much from both facilitators and from the other participants. Look out next time I see you – I may lead you in a circle song, or show you how to build a story from a rhyme.
You have been warned.
We spent the first half of October wandering around Western Australia. We landed and drove east looking for rocks. Wave Rock specifically, but we also found rocks on rocks; rocks on their own and in clusters. Big ones.
We’d not aimed for wildflower season but what a treat to see so many flowers, every everywhere. These were tiny but so beautiful.
Everywhere were stories. This rail station was one of many that had brief histories before the world moved on. Contracted. Expanded. Depended on your viewpoint.
These helicopter seeds were as long as an adult finger, and wider. How far can they fly? I loved the texture.
Paddocks and paddocks of grain greened our horizons and took me back to another life on a grain farm in the Wimmera.
There were silent halls, with rich stories of moneyed towns and fancy events.
Bridges that will fall.
So many coastal wonders to find. This one near Denmark. There were swimmers and surfers and paddlers and fishers.
Looking south west to the Southern Ocean. Next stop Antarctica. Or rockpool exploring more locally.
I have been lucky to have been very busy this year doing a variety of wonderful things. It was grand to have time out, refilling the well, revelling in the unexpected.
Will any of it end up in my work? Who knows? But I’m ready to begin again.
I’ve been to Skipton this week, visiting Skipton Primary School and their delightful students and teachers.
Despite the slightly-less-than-wonderful weather, it was a wonderful day.
I was lucky enough to spend four days in a wonderful local school (fab teachers), spending time with all grade levels and talking about books, writing, illustration, environments, habitats, ecosystems etc as they connected with my books. We also talked about enriching language and choosing strong words for our stories.
Freewriting was a hit, known to some students, less so to others, but I’m hoping their freewriting will lead to some new stories, whether fiction or narrative non fiction. Meanwhile the students were also creating some wonderful art.
Here is a small sample of their wonderful work. These were from Year One students!
Last week I visited a local kinder to share Koala with the Koala kinder group in the sunshine of the park. Weather was perfect and the children had made gumleaf crowns and were generally totally immersed in the outdoors. They regularly visit the park which abuts their kinder – how brilliant is that?
I’ve been in Sydney this week, tripping about with wonderful illustrator Julie Vivas, sharing Koala with children and adults, both in person and on radio. What a treat! After Sue Whiting led a celebration of the release of Koala (including singing Happy Birthday) Julie ran a koala-drawing workshop at Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft, then a stone-painting activity for some very enthusiastic preschoolers.
All her own work. Love it!
I’ve also had the opportunity to talk about why I think it’s important to share Australian stories with Australian children. The impacts can be far-reaching. I have also been guest blogger here
I love Book Week. I love it even more when it’s extended over more than a week. This year my ‘Book Week’ began in late July and continues until mid-September.
First port of call was PNG, Oro Province where four writers and illustrators were lucky enough to be able to visit a range of schools from elementary (village-based) schools to secondary day and boarding schools.
Bonuses (as if we needed more):
1 x astronaut
1 x medical team determined to reduce/eradicate TB
1 x tiny frog
1 x water diviner (and yes we all tried it and yes we all found water)
1 x visit to Kokoda Trail (walked a few metres in … does that count?)
We had multiple ‘oh my’ moments, from the size of some of our groups, through incredible welcomes, odd food experiences (curried duck balls anyone?), and brilliant company.
Return to Melbourne was a rude (cold) awakening but my first dog walk affirmed the approach of Spring.
Then there was ‘Love Your Bookshop Day’ on Saturday. I visited both my local bookshops, Younger Sun in Yarraville and Book and Paper in Williamstown to join their celebrations.
Roll on Book Week!
I’ve spent two days this week in Ballarat. The first day I talked about books and writing with all primary levels at Sebastopol Primary School. We covered everything from drafting, editing, publishing and the challenges in getting the words right. I showed students why I don’t illustrate my own books and they were very encouraging. One group also learned and recited a poem I’d written about Koalas. We read books and considered what it would have been like to be aboard a convict ship in 1841. Despite all the horribles of that journey, there are always a few students who want to join that trip.
The second day was all about poetry. Young writers from six schools in and around Ballarat travelled to Sebastopol to take part. We began the day as a group of about 70 students, then broke into smaller groups to undertake poetry workshops. My session was free verse poetry and man those students came up with some amazing lines! Other sessions were blackout poetry and art poetry. As always, I wish there was time to also attend the other workshops.
The final part of the day involved the students breaking into small groups, writing, workshopping and selecting a rhyming verse invitation. The final seven were performed to the assembled students and I had the task of choosing one. The chosen verse will be used as the invitation to the closing ceremony of the Young Writers Program where parents and other invitees will have the opportunity to view the work of the students.
A great initiative, devised and delivered by some amazing teachers and schools. Congratulations to all who were part of it.
Oh, and it was cold. -4 overnight. But so crisp and clear the next morning. Just lovely.