Today on my way to work, I stopped at a school crossing to let Wonder Woman cross the road. She was followed by a small band of pint-sized super heroes, a boy wizard, and Pippi Longstocking. This mum and her children were just a few of the little (and big) Aussies dressed in zany literary costumes for Book Week 2015.
Book Week is an initiative of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA). “Each year, schools and public libraries across Australia spend a week celebrating books and Australian authors and illustrators. Classroom teachers, teacher librarians and public librarians develop activities, offer competitions and tell stories relating to a theme to highlight the importance of reading.”
My Fun Part in Book Week
On normal Tuesdays and Thursdays, I am a mild-mannered school counsellor, but for Book Week 2015, I got to cut loose and let my inner author out. I was invited to join in the literary fun with the primary kids at my school. On Tuesday, about twenty students in years 3-6 came to listen to a reading of my latest manuscript, Toby Fitzroy & the Quest for the Scales of Time.
Aren’t kids great? They bite their nails and wriggle, giggle, and gasp. For a writer who’s used to adults’ restrained reactions–a little snort here, a tiny chuckle there–it’s so rewarding witnessing kids’ uninhibited enjoyment of the story.
Their enthusiastic response gave me such a timely boost! The students asked great questions, including the most important one: “Where can I read the rest of this book?” It’s hard explaining to children how and why I don’t have control over the publishing side of things.
Fun for the Kids…
Believe it or not, on Wednesday I actually found Wally, the little fellow of Where’s Wally? fame. He was a tad shorter than I expected, but he looked so cute with round glasses made out of fat black pipe cleaners. I bumped into a knight in sparkling armour and a little cutie dressed like Brer Rabbit with gorgeous ears and a cotton tail. My favourite encounter was meeting an LFG (Little Friendly Girl), disguised as The BFG (Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant).
How’s this for cool? My school’s library ramped up the Book Week fun with a photo booth! Teacher librarians RULE!
Fun for ME
On Thursday, I ran my Cabinets of Curiosity workshop about how to find story ideas. We did some creativity-boosting exercises with my weird and wonderful Curiosity Boxes. The room was a-buzz with frantic brainstorming and scratching pencils as ideas took shape. One boy was concentrating so hard he was pulling funny faces. Bless his little writer socks! I know that feeling well.
My heart zinged as I watched the kids play with words and cook up ideas. Alex, an aspiring writer (with numerous completed manuscripts) told us, “What if is the writer’s question.” Well said, Alex! You’re a rising literary star.
It was an exhilarating session, and I can’t wait to see the stories that come out of this event.
Congrats to my school’s librarians for hosting such a fun event. I hope I can do again in the future!
To be a book by Nina Helmer, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0