Country Schools and Bookshops
Last Wednesday I traveled to Traralgon and Sale in country Victoria, to talk to primary school students about reading and writing and what I do as an author of children’s books. The visit was organised by a children’s charity group and sponsored by Carpet Court to highlight the value of books and writing.
I love leaving the city behind, passing though country towns, farmland and drinking in the countryside rather than sitting in stop-start traffic.
At Liddiard Road PS in Traralgon a newspaper journo did a brief interview and took some photos with the children and during the session a cameraman recorded some footage, which I am told aired that night on Win-tv. It’s always great to get some publicity for reading and books and of course for my own books.
I travelled on then to Wurruk PS in Sale and arrived with a rainy storm in full swing and the temperature plummeting at least 10 degrees – I honestly thought it might snow!
Wurruk is one of those beautiful small country schools with mixed-age classes and as the students had also been celebrating ‘Harmony Day’ and were wearing ‘dress-ups’ it made student identification much easier for me. Another journo sat through the whole session, which I’ve never had happen before.
I was able to share with these children an educational book I wrote some time ago which was set down the road from their school. As a child, my cousins lived in Sale and my sister and I (little brothers were too young) were the city kids visiting our country cousins and we revelled in the adventure and freedom of riding our bikes along country dirt roads with our cousins’ dog Candy in the basket of one of the bikes. On one occasion Candy jumped from the basket and raced towards a rambling house on the hill. ‘Oh, no my older cousin wailed. We need to grab her, that house is haunted.’
So many years later, when I was writing ‘The Creaky House Club’, that image and house sprung to mind. The nice thing was that when my sister read the book, she recognised the house straight away.
I then raced to the Collins Bookshop in Sale where the wonderful owners, Trevor and Liz Watt, had organised a presentation at the library for me. Here I spoke to a mixed group of adults and children who listened to me talk about the writing and research behind my books. I also screened some short moving image of Queenie giving rides in 1944, which is always a hit.
Visiting the country and country schools, I love it.