Last Friday and the Monday just gone, I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of a 'speed-date-an-author' event. Five authors: Melinda Szymanik, Janice Marriott, Dylan Horrocks, Mark Somerset, myself and photographer Darryl Torckler presented a writing skill to a group of 12 students for 20 minutes. At the sound of the bell, the students moved to the next author and learnt a new skill. Students found out how to use pictures for inspiration, collaborate with other people on a book, structure their stories, liven up their language, create fascinating characters and take a spark of an idea and get started. The 27 schools from around the Auckland region paid $20 per student to take part in the programme. At the end they received a certificate and some lucky students won a book.
This is the second time I've participated in this type of workshop and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Students asked for autographs afterwards and judging by their faces and enthusiasm - I would say they found it a rewarding experience. I'll look forward to seeing the competition entries to see if they've used any of the tips I gave. Thanks to New Zealand Book Council and the National Library for sponsoring these events.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Reading from 'The Call of the Kokako'
I've just come back from touring the lower South Island schools and libraries with my talk 'Zero to Hero'. I talked to Primary-aged, and Intermediate-aged students about how heroes began with a dream at their age and through hard work and determination they were successful. I also talked to them about the heroes in my books 'New Zealand Hall of Fame' and 'The Call of the Kokako'. I told them that I believe conservationists are heroes as well because they prevent our endangered wildlife from becoming zero populations (and aim to reduce predator populations to zero). The puppets were a great way of engaging the students - and really show how vulnerable our wildlife are. I also get students to guess who the remarkable kiwi is from my 'New Zealand Hall of Fame' book by showing them a baby photo of that person then giving them clues. I try to make my talks engaging, interactive and fun. Judging by the smiling faces - it looked like it was working.