Our visit from Kathryn Apel

Our library was excited to welcome author and poet Kathryn Apel for her visit on Monday, May 22nd.

However, four keen students met Kathryn the day before at her Poetry workshop at The Little Bookroom in Carlton where they had fun with 30 other children playing with words and exercising their creativity.


I was very excited to meet Kathryn who I’ve known on Twitter for some time. To celebrate the release of Kathryn’s latest verse novel Too Many Friends, I even managed to make a Ferris Wheel cake!

Kathryn spoke to our Year 3-6 classes. Each session with Kathryn was different and we discovered how important Kathryn’s family and her life on the farm are in helping to shape her writing. 

We also learnt a lot about getting stuck in the mud on the farm and how hard it is to get out!

We enjoyed learning how Kathryn writes her verse novels and were very impressed with her shape poems, especially ‘Duck Dad!’ She has given us lots of ideas for our own writing.

At the end of each session, Kathryn encouraged us to turn off our televisions and devices and be creative. Kathryn showed us lots of ways her sons had been creative over the years and students were amazed that one of her boys had made a chain mail top! When Kathryn returned to our library on Tuesday before school she had a wonderful surprise when two students popped in to show they had heard her message and been creative with boxes that night!

One of our Prep classes was very lucky to listen to Kathryn read her book This is the Mud! before she had to leave. This book is special to our library because Kathryn thoughtfully sent it to us when our library was damaged by flooding and now she has been to our library to read it!

Thank you Kathryn for showing us how to paint pictures with words and reminding us that playing with words and being creative is FUN!

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Wonder the movie

If you have been lucky to meet the unforgettable Auggie Pullman in the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio then you are going to be as excited as I am that this inspiring story has been made into a movie. (I think they may have to give out boxes of tissues at the cinema!)

The movie will be released in November so there’s still plenty of time for you to read the book first!


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Fitzroy Children’s Literature Festival

Fitzroy Children’s Literature Festival
(Student guest post)

On Saturday, April 24th, I went to a Book Festival at the Fitzroy Town Hall. Peter Helliar was there (the main reason why I went). He read a book he wrote when he was little. It was two pages stapled together and called ‘Buried Alive’. So funny!  When Peter signed my book he spelt my name wrong! Oh No! He fixed it and wrote me a little note and we took a selfie.

We did lots of other things like meeting the author Asphyxia who is deaf. She writes the Grimstones series and makes her own puppets. Asphyxia built her own house when she was 21!

It was SO FUN.

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Living on the International Space Station

Last term I read The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield to the Year Two classes. Chris Hadfield is a Canadian astronaut who watched man landing on the moon as a 10 year old boy and decided he too wanted to be an astronaut. In his book he tells how as a young boy he was scared of the dark and had to overcome his fear to follow his dream of becoming an astronaut. As an astronaut he discovered the beauty of the darkest dark of space.

This term the Year Twos have been viewing Earth from a unique perspective via this live Ustream link from cameras on the outside of International Space Station (ISS). They have been able watch the changing views of Earth from the ISS and follow the ISS tracker to see which part of the world the ISS is passing over. Needless to say watching this view of our planet has been very engaging and quite mesmerising! Many students have expressed interest in watching the ISS pass overhead when it goes over Melbourne and you can sign up for an alert HERE.

We have also been looking at the photos and videos of our beautiful planet that have been taken by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet who has been on the ISS over the past few months. The beauty of our home from above is breathtaking! It is also fascinating to see how our planet looks at night and during different seasons and to see storm clouds and auroras. Yes, there is such a thing as #EarthArt…

The International Space Station is a big floating laboratory in space where six astronauts at a time from 18 countries live for up to 6 months doing research and conducting experiments. The ISS is the biggest object ever flown in space. It travels around the Earth at an average speed of 27,700 km/h, completing 16 orbits per day. It flies 320km above Earth.

Credit: NASA

Year Twos have watched rockets blast off from Russia to take the astronauts to the ISS and have begun viewing some of the videos Chris Hadfield made while on the ISS to show how astronauts manage everyday tasks in zero gravity…like brushing your teeth! You can watch videos by Chris Hadfield on his website HERE (Scroll through the 50 videos in the ‘Astronaut’s Guide to Space’ section.)  

If you want to keep up to date with what’s happening on the International Space Station you can visit the ISS page on NASA’s website HERE.

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Kathryn Apel is coming to St Martin’s!

We are  so lucky to have talented Australian children’s author and poet Kathryn Apel (Kat) visiting our school on Monday, May 22nd to play with words, create some poems and talk about her verse novels with the students in Years 3-6. Kathryn is visiting from her home in Queensland. I have known Kathryn on Twitter for quite some time and I am really looking forward to meeting her in person!

Kathryn paints pictures with words and her goal is to find the perfect word for every situation…which is sometimes a lot harder than you think!

Kathryn has written three verse novels. The Year 3 and 4 classes have been listening to Bully on the Bus and learning a lot about the power of words and some of the Year 6 students are reading On Track for their Book Group novel. The Year 6 students have also been trying some of Kathryn’s techniques to help visually present their Anzac poems.

Too Many Friends was released on Monday, May 1st and Kathryn made this book trailer for her book.

Poetry Writing Workshop with Kathryn Apel
Sunday, May 21st

A perfect opportunity to have fun playing with words and doing some poetry writing with Kathryn!

Where: The Little Bookroom  (Carlton North)

When:  Sunday, May 21st at 11 am

Cost: $17 (includes a signed copy of Too Many Friends)

Click HERE for more details and to book your spot

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