Book Week 2016 Highlights

Friday, 26 August 2016

I've just hung up my book bag after a full and sensational Book Week here in Canberra. It's such an enriching, fulfilling week of talks, presentations, book readings and conversations with the very people we create books for (and their highly supportive teachers and librarians!).

Each year, it never fails to astound me how dedicated schools are to one of our most fundamental human needs--literacy. And with literacy, of course, comes creativity, understanding, empathy, intelligence (both emotional and mental) and ... very best of all ... pure enjoyment. See my posts Encouraging Children to Read for Pleasure Part I and Part II.

This year, the majority of my sessions were an interactive presentation called I Love Books. The kids learned about the vast and varied types (learning word: genres) of kids' books, target markets and all about book creators, and who is actually involved in the book creation process (including them!). They also learned about drafts and editing and illustrator roughs (another learning word).

The presentation is designed to get the children talking, giggling, sharing and laughing--and we had so much fun, my mouth is actually hurting from smiling!

Of course, costumes and book parades were in full swing all over Canberra, and it's one of my favourite parts of Book Week because it gets the kids so completely involved and enthused. Yes, there were plenty of Cats in their Hats, and Lost Wallies, superheroes and princesses, but each year, things get more and more imaginative and I so enjoyed meeting all manner of interesting characters, including a tornado! Perhaps from the Wizard of Oz?

Who doesn't love a good dress-up!?

I also love how much school staff get into the swing of things. One school even featured a line-up of Mr and Ms Men characters for their staff.

Another school had an Australia! Story Country theme (the CBCA's theme for Book Week 2016) and it was absolutely brilliant. Without being able to rely on, the resulting creations were the stuff of imagination--there was everything from Green Sheep and Alexander Bunyips through to Andy and Jill from the Treehouse series, below.

Some of my absolute favourites were the proliferation of gumnut babies--the costumes were the most darling things ever. I so wish I could show you photographs. And probably my favouritist of all, was the Book Fairy (at the top of this post) whose mum created these divine wings folded from the pages of a book, complete with book cover and Scrabble letter spine.


permission granted for this pic of Jill and Andy

On the Wednesday evening, the CBCA ACT Branch hosted the annual Children's Seminar (big thanks to Turner School for hosting--Jo and Norma!) where local authors chatted in rounds with groups of school kids, followed by a delicious afternoon tea and Happy Birthday cake for 70 years of the Children's Book Council of Australia.

CBCA Children's Seminar
L-R: Stephanie Owen Reeder, Tania McCartney, Pauline Deeves, Harry Laing,
Craig Cormick, Jordan Morris

We then held a panel and laughed our way through a series of Q&A. Too much fun.

This was followed by dinner at a local restaurant where I got to hold Stephanie Owen Reeder's CBCA winning medal (it's gold! it's heavy! it's beautiful!) for the Eve Pownall Award (for Lennie the Legend). We're so proud of our local gal.

Thank you to the CBCA for keeping Book Week so strong in our communities, and thanks to the book-loving librarians, teachers, executives and kids for the most wonderful week. I am tired but all-full-up with happy. And thank you to all the parents out there who so enthusiastically make books and reading a big part of their kids' lives. Believe me, every time I spend time with these fresh, bright, intelligent, creative school kids, your commitment shows.

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