The Devonport Readers’ Cup is a primary school based fun competition. Six students are chosen from each school to compete in challenges. It is the largest competition of its type in Tasmania, and this year received a record number of entries – eleven local schools.
Six books are chosen by literacy experts for the students to read in advance. The competition comprises two elements. Firstly, a memory test, with around 75 questions, given in rounds, about the six books the students have read. Secondly, a ‘creative challenge’ in which each team interprets an aspect or aspects of one or more of the books and presents a five minute interpretation to the audience.
The event was held at the East Devonport Primary School Hall. I was honoured to be the guest speaker for the day, as a judge.
At the conclusion of the event, every student is presented with a stylish, laminated participation certificate. I had the pleasure of presenting certificates to three of the attending schools, and witnessed the thrill on the students’ faces when they received them! Such a sense of pride! As well as these, there are four trophies which are presented on the day, and three book vouchers. One trophy is perpetual, and is to be brought back by the overall winners the following year.
I was approached by Yolla District School to do something different for Book Week 2021 – a wall frieze in collage, based on this year’s theme “Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds”. It was my third year at Yolla for Book Week. I have previously done design games, flying puppets, and given talks about what I do. I like to inspire kids to create, to teach them new things, to encourage them to make things by hand, and to show them that creativity can be a career.
The wall frieze is now on permanent display in the school. What a great opportunity for the kids to be part of something special, a legacy that they can be proud of. Collage is my favourite medium to work in, especially 3D collage, but I hadn’t worked on something this big before – an enormous 1.2 x 2.4 metres!
It took weeks of preparation! I needed to design something suitable for the different age groups to work on. I spent many nights tearing up bits of fabric and colour washing papers, which I then dried in front of the fireplace, for the collage background. Then many more hours choosing paper colours and preparing kits for each child in the younger years.
Year 1/2 worked on the background, the foundation of the piece, and they were terrific! They listened carefully to my instructions and lay the pieces down within all the right areas. Year 4/5 made collaged “Other World” characters to fly around the sky in the background in pastel colours. Year 5/6 made collaged “New World” items such as buildings, appliances, and such, in bright papers and prints.
The older students, from Y7 to Y9, spent more time outside Book Week in several afternoon sessions to learn 3D collage, and produced spectacular “Old World” pieces. They learnt how to colour papers to give an old world feel, as well as how to make things “pop”. They also learnt to work together in the same colour palette to achieve a cohesive look. I’m thrilled with the results, and with their enthusiasm!
I remember Book Week as a child. One year I won both the book poster competition and the book parade! I was dressed as Dr Who, with my neighbour as a Dalek – in a cardboard washing machine box sprayed with silver, a plastic dome on the top, and a sink plunger sticking out the front! My poster was a painting of cherry blossom tree branches as the theme was “Branching out with Books”. It was so exciting winning a prize and getting to choose a brand new book. I chose a book on model making which I treasured for years! The fact that my memory of the event is so strong shows me what a positive impact Book Week can have on children. I hope the Yolla children also have fond memories of Book Week when they grow up.
My latest book project HELP BABIES LEARN is very exciting!
I am illustrating a book that will be given free to newborn babies in Tasmania, to encourage new mums to read to their babies right from day one.
The talented Dr Anne Morgan is the author, and the book is the initiative of the Toast for Kids Charity, with Steve Martin as President, and supported by the Tasmanian branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia.
It is well documented that Tasmania has the lowest levels of literacy in Australia, with more than half of the state’s population having inadequate reading and writing skills. It’s also well researched that reading to babies from day one is vital in changing those statistics.
Book Week was great fun at Yolla District School. My workshops this year were Curious Creature puppets, including teaching texture and construction techniques, and encouraging students to come up with a story about their creature, telling their creatures name, features, habitat, friends, and hobbies.
The latest picture book that I have illustrated has just been released! An all Tasmanian production – Tasmanian author, illustrator and publisher. Please support Australian Publishing and buy Australian!
Christmas Eve at last! Reginald twitches his whiskers, straightens his Santa hat and creeps quietly out of his tiny mouse hole into the dimly lit lounge room. In the flickering Christmas lights he can see a beautifully decorated tree. In his excitement Reginald scampers up the tree to play among the baubles, bells and bows. This is just the start of his grand adventure. Christmas cake, an angel, Santa, toys – he discovers them all, and what a night it turns out to be.
This delightful book from Tasmanian writer, Patricia Pettett, illustrated by Narelda Joy is the perfect Christmas gift for children aged 2-5 years.
I was lucky enough to be invited to talk and workshop ideas with the Children’s Services students at Don College at Devonport. The students were making their own children’s books. I was impressed with their ideas and dedication to the task. The college itself has a fun and quirky award winning design, reminding me of a castle, and is beautifully situated close to the beach and surrounded by natural bush.