CBCA South Coast-Illawarra Literary Lunch

Sunday, 24 June 2012

What a blast I had at the Literary Lunch organised by the South Coast-Illawara branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia on 19 June. The team did an incredible job with this event, with over 120 kids in attendance, from schools all around Wollongong and the south coast region, and superbly emceed by Aileen Harland.

I LOVE Literary Lunches. There, I said it. Not only are they full of energy, busting with talent and resplendent with books, the fact that dozens upon dozens of book-loving kids are in attendance is just bananas good.

I'm absolutely HOPELESS when it comes to kids - I want to know everything they're reading, why they love it, how much they loved it and what they plan to read next. I want to share MY book loves with them and I want to endlessly discuss our parallels on what we've both read together.

This can be tough when you have a queue of kids out the door, just wanting your signature! I really need to let them off the hook, sign and release them. But the temptation is too great!

I was so fortunate to sit at a table with St Therese Primary School - the kids were so engaging and clever, and {teacher librarian} Michelle {above} was a joy to chat with. I only wish there had been more time, as pretty soon the queue for book and programme signings began to form (and my endless child-questioning on books began).

I also wish I'd had more time to mingle and chat with the myriad authors and illustrators present - an eye-boggling line-up, including Toni Brisland, Di Bates and Bill Condon, Susie Brown, Lynda A Calder, Serena Geddes, Jan Latta, Nathan Luff, Peter Macinnis, Belinda Murrell, Moya Simons, Tony Flowers and Lexie Watt.

Very soon we were all called up to give a quick 3-minute bio on our life and work. It was tough!

Belinda Murrell

Nathan Luff

Jan Latta and Di Bates

Toni Brisland

Susie Brown

Serena Geddes

Lexie Watt

Bill Condon

Tony Flowers

After lunch and MORE signing, it was time for my Australian Story presentation. The kids were called out to the floor, and of course, my power point presentation carked it just as they were sitting down. Considering it had been ready to go for hours, this was just TYPICAL! But things were fixed quick smart and I was soon deep into the presentation - History Is Cool.

I love how engaged and interactive kids become during this presentation - and how smart they are. I think they even surprised their teachers! Hands were going up everywhere - it was amazing (and so hard to choose kids to participate!).

My warmest thanks to the super cool kids who were happy to wear my Capt Cook and Julia Gillard wigs. And extra special thanks to the fabulous CBCA team, headed by Jane Pretty, for such a WONDERFUL experience. Congratulations on a brilliant, super special day, and thank you so much for having me. Personal thanks to the beautiful Bel Ecroyd for helping me with planning for this trip; you're a super star.

And lastly, thanks to the kids! Keep on reading on.

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