Yea Marc Literature Festival
Last Friday five children’s book authors and illustrators, including me, traveled to Buxton Primary School to talk to the students from Buxton, Jamieson, Strathbogie and Merrijig about all things books and being creative with words and pictures. This is the third year we have attended this event and we are always greeted with excitement, warmth and enthusiasm.
Each student has 3 sessions with an author or illustrator and the teachers are always keen to share the experience.
With the 3/4’s I talked about ‘Queenie One Elephant’s Story’ and the children and I discussed the feelings of the animals in cages back in the days when Queenie walked the circuit at the Melbourne Zoo. I asked the students to write a short piece of prose or poetry from the animals’ point of view and I asked them to write from their hearts. This stand-out piece came from Jacob – ‘
Sad, tired, happy
want to be free
Sad, mad, angry,
and crushed in sadness.
For the next group, the 5/6’s, their request was to read and talk about ‘The Dog on the Tuckerbox’ (which is always popular in country schools.) We talked about how some of their dads are truck drivers and discussed the differences between trucks and bullock wagons and the time it takes now to travel between Sydney and Gundagai compared to the times when bullock drivers like Bill traveled the rough tracks with their loyal companions, their dogs like Lady.
My final group were the Preps/1’s and I shared with them ‘Flame Stands Waiting.’ We talked about carousels all around the world and the carousel at Luna Park and how I sat on the horse I call ‘Flame’ and wrote my story. We talked about Sebastian Ciaffaglione’s beautiful illustrations, which are all done on a computer and then the children drew their own carousel horses while they listened to the music of the stirring theme from Carousel, the musical.
The preps followed me out of the room to the theme of the Baby Elephant Walk, all pretending we were either Queenie or Mali. Buxton Primary is one of 50+ schools in Victoria who have a Mali replica which they are in the process of decorating (see photo). There is also a photo of the students with my Queenie cake, which was made lovingly by the Greensborough Cake Decorating Centre and is always a ‘hit’ when I take it to schools. Convincing the students that they can’t eat it, is really the biggest challenge of the day.
We left the school laden with a goodie bag each, full of country treasures, like farm fresh eggs, stringybark honey, home-made jams and a bunch of daffodils each (my very favourite flower). Thank you Libby, all the staff and Buxton PS.