Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Speed-date-an-Author with New Zealand Book Council

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.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

South Island Tour - Zero to Hero

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.

Monday, March 19, 2012