Ambassadorial moments

Much to my surprise, I was asked to be an ambassador for the Premier’s Reading Challenge this year. Last week was Education Week and I found myself speaking at three schools to audiences comprising three Grade 5/6 classes, one Grade 6 class and a Year 8 class.

I don’t plug Game as Ned to primary school kids (because it contains some non-graphic violence and sexual references). I do talk about reporting for newspapers and other creative writing projects I’m tackling, including two YA stories and an idea for a children’s picture book. Without fail, the highlight for the kids is when I read to them Kate Stone’s Glasses, which I wrote back in Grade 4.

It’s not a great story but kids love it. I’m guessing that’s because it’s not that different to what they’re writing – and possibly shows that if they keep on reading and writing they could end up an author too. (Or perhaps I’m over-romanticising and it’s just they prefer something I wrote more than 30 years ago to what I’m doing now… which doesn’t really bear thinking about.)

Anyway, here are some of the exchanges from the previous week:

Grade 5/6-er: “I think you should have the magic glasses story published.”
Another Grade 5/6-er: “I think you should merge your (children’s book) idea with the magic glasses story. That would be better.”

Me to a classroom of grade 5/6s: “I can’t really recommend Game as Ned to you because it contains … some violence.”
Response from the front row: “Ohhhhh. But we love violence!”

Comment from a Grade 6 student: “I think you were destined to become an author when you wrote that story in Grade 4.”
Me: “Wow… Thanks.”

Me to Yr 8 students: “How many of you have read a book from the Twilight series?” Half the students in the auditorium stick their hands up.
Me: “OK. I’m going to set some homework. When you get home I want you to take those books and put them in the bin…” (the other half cheer raucously,) “and then read books by Australian authors instead.” (More cheers.)
Me: “OK, OK, I’m joking. As an ambassador I’m glad you’re reading. Read whatever you like. Books help us understand what we have in common beneath our skin – even if it is vampire blood.”

Thank you speech from a Grade 6 student: “I thank you for visiting and contributing.”

Good fun.

5 thoughts on “Ambassadorial moments”

  1. Dead on! Every time someone asks me why I write for kids (as opposed to real books for adults grrr!!!!) I’m going to send them here to read this post.

  2. Ha! Thanks Sandy. And let it be said there was much merriment at our place on the discovery that your latest title, Shaolin Tiger, is now on the shelves at the Little Bookroom. The little dragon says it will definitely be next bedtime story (right after we finish Skulduggery 3).

  3. How did I miss the fact that there was a Skulduggery 3? Skulduggery Pleasant is one of my favourite heroes- tall, debonair, stylish and the top detective of an elite agency – with a sense of humour to die for. It only adds to the mystique that heโ€™s a skeleton, a fire wielding magician and very dead!!!! If The Little Dragon is looking for a recommendation, The Little Ninja and I have just finished reading 100% Wolf and its sequel 100% Hero by Jane Lyons. About a boy whose transwolfation (love that word) sometimes goes wrong and he turns into a pink poodle – at the most embarrassing of moments.

  4. Ha! Sounds fantastic. Thanks for the referral. Little Dragon and I will be joining the Wolf Pack ASAP. (Depending on age, The Little Ninja might like to check out Nick Place’s ‘The OK Team’ for further funny hero capers. Best wishes, Tim

  5. HI, I have not read Skulduggery, but know my daughter loved it. She also loves Twilight of course and so would not be cheering the book trashing. I read it, just to try and keep up with her obsession. Most popular verb in it.. ‘stunned’. As in , ‘I was stunned’, ‘we were stunned’ , ‘They were stunned’. I too was stunned. SO much so I decided to write my own girl’s trilogy. Not a fart joke or wolf in sight in this one.

    Thanks to Sandy for her comments. If you liked transwolfation, check out, ‘The Grand Growler and High Howler of the Hidden Moonlight Gathering of Werefolk”. As for being sneered at for writing for children, better that than being Salmon Rushdie at least ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.