Library Network Meeting – St. Dominic’s PS, Camberwell East

This morning I had the privilege of presenting to a group of librarians, library technicians and teachers at the Eastern/Northern Network Meeting at St. Dominic’s Primary School in Camberwell East.

A captive audience – of course – but each of these women represents a lifetime love of books and reading, not only from their own childhoods, but often from their children and from working in schools today.

With the introduction of ipads, computers, lap-tops and all manner of technology, it is wonderful to know that women like these are helping keep the real ‘touch and feel’ book – the one you read aloud, feel, smell and share with children – alive and well. (I should add, that of course there are some male librarians and teachers, but today’s group were women.)

From a writer’s point of view, the greatest reward is reading aloud to a class and as you begin to read, there is silence.

I shared the stories behind my picture books, how they began, the people I met and the hiccups and ups and downs along the way and emphasised the value of picture books – many are not only for little kids but for 3 to 103 year olds. I also talked about using picture books as a platform to investigate the story further by seeking information books or searching the internet on the subject – things like the bullockies, trains, the depression, world war two, old-fashioned zoos – all covered in my picture books.

I concentrated on my latest two books, My Friend Tertius and Little Dog and the Summer Holiday, one non-fiction and the other fiction, although set in a real place and time, so research, both for the illustrators and myself, was enormous for both titles.

Today was a reminder of why I love what I do and why we all need to keep reading, sit in an armchair with a child cuddled up close, escaping into story. If you have a book, you will never be lonely and you will always have a friend.

These gorgeous students helped me back to my car with my ever-increasing load of support material!

I was followed by Children’s Book Council of Australia, Victorian Judge, Mandy Cooper to talk about the Short List and the forthcoming Children’s Book Week in August. We had a photo snapped together just before I left.

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