An Author Afternoon Tea

As a teacher librarian, Twitter is an invaluable way to keep up to date with all things ‘books’, but for me the real value and joy is being able to connect with authors and in turn connect our students too. Connecting through Twitter with the four fabulous authors in this blog post has enriched both our reading and library program in ways I had never imagined…

I was excited to read on Twitter that The Little Bookroom in Carlton was hosting an Author Afternoon Tea on March 3rd and quickly sent my RSVP so I would have an opportunity to catch up with Jacqueline Harvey, Adrian Beck, Felice Arena and Tristan Bancks together in the one place.

It was a treat to be at The Little Bookroom to hear these fabulous authors talk about their books, answer questions and chat about bookish things…

When four authors get together you can’t miss the opportunity to take…

an Author Selfie…

Did you know…

Here is some of the latest news about each of the authors from the Author Afternoon Tea and a reminder of the ways we have been lucky to connect with them.

Jacqueline Harvey has two new books out for her popular Alice Miranda and Clementine Rose series. Click on the book covers to read some of each story…

Jacqueline has recorded the first five Alice Miranda books as audio books for Audible. Now Jacqueline can read to you! (Check with your parents if you want to subscribe)

Who would have thought Jacqueline would have written so many books including two successful book series since she visited our library on her book tour for her first Alice Miranda book in March 2012!

We know Adrian Beck is co-author of the Kick it to Nick series with Shane Crawford, but Adrian is also about to launch a new book in May for the Stuff Happens series and his character Dale also shares his red coloured hair! We can’t wait for this book!

Adrian is now the executive producer of Kids WB and it’s great to see lots of children’s authors talking about their books on the show. (Stay tuned because Jacqueline and Tristan will be on the show in the next few weeks).

We had lots of fun with Adrian last year when he came up with the brilliant idea of the Yeo-low Medal reading competition for our school and wore his ‘best’ suit to present the Yeo-Low Medal to our winners. We’re going to read for the Yeo-Low Medal again this year Adrian!

Felice Arena and his Sporty Kids series have been a big hit at our school. The Year Ones had fun tweeting about the books with Felice last year as we read them and Felice recently made a surprise visit to see these students this year. We are looking forward to his Handball and Basketball books coming out very soon! Felice told us he has recently finished writing an historical fiction novel for older readers that will be coming out in February 2017. 

Last year our school was incredibly lucky to have authors Felice Arena, Adrian Beck and Michael Wagner perform their Kicking Goals for Readers  AFL footy show for us. It was such a fun way to celebrate books and footy!

Tristan Bancks is the author of the very funny My Life series that lots of our students enjoy reading. His newest book My Life and Other Exploding Chickens is out now and I laughed out loud reading about the Ninja Librarians (I might have sorted out my Book Week costume early this year)!

Tristan loves having his readers contribute to his stories and if you want to add an idea for his next story about nits (yes nits!!) for his next book you can do so HERE.

I was lucky to meet Tristan and see his presentation at the 2015 Children’s Book Festival . Last year At their Sleepover, the Year Fours squirmed a lot while listening to ‘Scab’ from Tristan’s book My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up that I read for their Bedtime Story in the LRC.



Year Two’s surprise visit from Felice Arena

Last year (when they were in Year One), the Year Two classes had lots of fun tweeting and connecting with author Felice Arena as we read the books in his Sporty Kids series. So this year Felice and I had a surprise for them! This morning the three Year Two classes came to the library with their teachers thinking I wanted to have a serious talk to them. You can imagine their surprise (and I think some of them were a bit shocked) when Felice appeared! 

What a wonderful hour the Year Twos spent with Felice! They had fun silently cheering on their very own Specky Magee in slow motion. Everyone listened closely as Felice read his Swimming book from Sporty Kids and some students even knew the story off by heart! Felice told them about some of the other books he has written including Specky Magee, Andy Roid, Farticus Maximus (lots of laughs talking about this), Stick Dudes and his picture book Sally and Dave, A Slug Story (which translates differently in Chinese!). He also revealed that he had been an Art teacher and actor before becoming an author. Felice explained that listening to music as he wrote his latest book for older readers helped him think about the setting, plot and mood for his story. He played some of this music and asked students what they were thinking as they heard the music. I think we might have some budding writers in Year Two because their responses were very closely connected to Felice’s new book!

Thank you Felice for coming to visit the Year Twos, and for bringing your books to life and making reading fun!

Here are some photos from Felice’s surprise visit…

Ziggy or Archer?

Imagine both my surprise and excitement when I received this tweet from author Gabrielle Wang who I have been lucky to meet and also follow on Twitter. 

Gabrielle also added that the character is a girl who is different from everyone else in town…

It was our first week of classes in the LRC and the Year 4-6 classes were certainly intrigued when I explained Gabrielle’s request. Voting for the character’s name generated a thoughtful discussion about why students chose Ziggy or Archer. Many voted for Ziggy or Archer name because it was an unusual or unique name to them and so it suited a person who was different. Some people chose Archer because it would suit a tomboy or others thought it was a good name if the character might have been going on a quest. There were lots of questions and wondering about the character which encouraged the students to think like a writer.

It was also an opportunity to discuss the concept and value of ‘crowd sourcing’ because Gabrielle was using social media to ask her readers for their opinions and ideas.

These are the results of how our Year 4-6 classes voted for Ziggy or Archer. It was interesting to see how results varied within year levels…

Gabrielle had also asked some other schools and one school had 70% voting in favour of Ziggy. 

This week quite a few of our students asked if Gabrielle had decided on her character’s name yet so I asked her on Twitter and this was Gabrielle’s response.

The book Gabrielle is writing with Ziggy as one of the main characters is called ‘Hushing Wood’ and it will be published in February 2017. You can read more about Gabrielle’s writing and illustrating on her inspiring blog.

Thank you for the opportunity to be involved in your book in a small way Gabrielle. Good luck as you continue editing, and illustrating ‘Hushing Wood’. We’ll look forward to it being published so we can read about Ziggy in a year’s time…

Andy Griffiths, tattoos & Emergency Spew Relish

I had quite a surprise last week when one of our Year 3 students walked into her lesson in the LRC with a jar of Emergency Spew Relish and tattoos on her arms!!  On closer inspection one of the tattoos had a love heart with “Andy” on it and there is only one Andy that we all know….Andy Griffiths!

These sisters had been guests at a book launch the previous evening and Andy Griffiths was there too. It was a book launch for a fabulous book for teachers called ‘Writing Right with Text Types’ by Matthew Zabracki and the girls have examples of their writing in it. How exciting to be in a book and have dinner and a chat with Andy Griffiths!

Meeting Andy Griffiths

At the end of last term Andy Griffiths released the latest book in his Treehouse series, The 65-storey Treehouse. Some of our students were lucky to meet him at his book launch and book signings. It is exciting and inspiring to meet one of your favourite authors! A big thank you to the parents who took their children to meet Andy and for keeping their children’s love of reading burning brightly…

These two lucky people met Andy and Terry at the Athenaeum Theatre on the day they launched The 65-storey Treehouse book.

Some people stood in long lines to meet Andy when he was signing The 65-storey Treehouse book.

This person even showed Andy how he had made ‘light up’ Andy and Terry characters using table tennis balls and battery-operated candles. I’m sure Andy was impressed!

This student who is an avid reader and talented writer herself received this tweet from Andy! Now that IS exciting and what wonderful encouragement to follow her passion for writing!

Thank you Andy for making the time to meet and inspire your many thousands of readers and for making reading FUN!