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Ambassadors Reading Sessions 2019


Tania McCartney, Torrens Primary School

Tania McCartney - talking with childrenTania McCartney - showing a slideshowTania McCartney - reading to children

On 6 August, Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge Ambassador, Tania McCartney, visited Torrens Primary School to share several of her wonderful children’s picture books and the journey from drafting an idea to publication. Torrens students enjoyed Tania’s readings of See/ Hear (Tania McCartney and Jess Racklyeft), Smile/ Cry (Tania McCartney and Jess Racklyeft), Hip Hip Hooray (Tania McCartney and Jess Racklyeft), Mamie (Tania McCartney) and The Gum Family (Tania McCartney and Christina Booth), with sneak peaks of Tania’s upcoming books Evie and Pog, and Ivy Bird (Tania McCartney and Jess Racklyeft).

Tania shared her expert author and illustrator knowledge about onomatopoeia, end pages, visual literacy, negotiating with publishers, bringing illustrations to life, and printing and binding books. The students were amazed by the process of writing, illustrating and publishing a children’s book and the value of drafting and editing writing pieces. “Drafts bring out your best work” Tania told the students. “I’ve probably written 3000 books, published 40, and have another 4000 to write!”

Torrens Primary students were excited to keep reading in the last month of the Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge, telling Tania that reading “makes you write more”, “expands your imagination” and that reading allows you to “explore and have an adventure and learn new words”. Tania left them with the reminder that if they read one book a day, they can grow up and be anything they want.

Jack Heath, Macgregor Primary School and St Monica’s Primary School


Jack Heath, Macgregor Primary School and St Monica’s Primary School - talking to childrenJack Heath showing a slideshow to children about his storyJack Heath ambassadorJack Heath showing a slideshow to children

Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge Ambassador Jack Heath visited Macgregor Primary School and St Monica’s Primary School on 16 August. Jack prepared the students to become human lie-detectors inspired by his five book series LIARS. The students learnt the 7 top tips for writing a great story as Jack shared many funny and entertaining stories of his experiences as an author. He gave the students several pearls of wisdom about “turning words into money” – “Your only limitations are your vocabulary and imagination. The more you read the better you become at writing... Reading gives you the super power to edit other people’s writing. Ask your peers for feedback on your writing… I don’t believe in non-readers, just people who haven’t read the right book.”

Tracey Hawkins, Franklin Early Childhood School and the Canberra Hospital School

Tracey Hawkins reading to Franklin Early Childhood School and the Canberra Hospital SchoolTracey Hawkins reading to childrenTracey Hawkins talking to children from the Canberra hospital

Tracey Hawkins visited Franklin Early Childhood School on 30 July and the Canberra Hospital School on 8 August, sharing her latest book Leaping Lola (illustrated by Anil Tortop) and several of her other books including Max Meets a Monster (illustrated by Chantal Stewart) and Nancy Bentley (illustrated by Jacqui Grantford). Tracey explained the process of researching, writing, editing, working with an illustrator and publishing a book. She talked about where her ideas for her books come from and encouraged the students to write their own books. The students and teachers had lots of questions which they were lucky to have Tracey answer.

Harry Laing, Hawker Primary School

Harry Laing Hawker Primary School talking to the childrenHarry Laing Hawker Primary School talking to the children

On 12 August, Harry Laing visited Hawker Primary School to meet and work with the Year 3/4 extension writing group. Harry performed several rhymes from his latest book MoonFish, a collection of humorous and catchy poems illustrated by some of Australia’s best known illustrators. The students then had the opportunity to have a go at writing poetry under Harry’s guidance, creating fantastic pieces of writing.

A Chair’s Dreams

The Dreams of a Bookshelf

The Dreams of a Teddy Bear

I wish I was new shiny new

I wish I was a nice colour

Not dull old blue

I wish I was not

Kicked and stomped on

By dirty old shoes

One day I want

To fly like a plane

In the sky but I

Probably never will

Or I wish I could

Swim like fish with gills

And underwater birds

With bills but I

Probably never will

Written by Ross Wilkinson from 4HB

I'm a bookshelf,

I know a lot,

I read about everything,

From inside to out,

I read about the park,

The trees,

and most of all the busy bees,

But there's one thing I’ve always wanted to do, and not just read about it,

But do it…,

I want to travel the WORLD.

By ML year 4

I sit on a chair

Instead of a lair

It's really bare

People come and cuddle me,

Pick me up and sit on me

I hate it,

They squash me and

I just want to wee

I have dreams

On my chair that I

Will have a tear

From those ghastly children

It's by golly gosh forbidden

But here I am

A lonely bear

Sitting on my lonely chair

- Helena Boyd 4HB

Irma Gold, Holy Family Primary School and Isabella Plains Early Childhood School

Irma Gold reading to childrenIrma Gold reading to childrenIrma Gold, Holy Family Primary School and Isabella Plains Early Childhood School

Irma Gold visited Holy Family Primary School on 14 August and Isabella Plains Early Childhood School on 16 August and shared her experiences researching and writing picture books as an author and as an editor. The students were very excited to see Irma’s childhood photos and handmade picture books. Irma told the students that she had three wishes: 1. To Meet a Fairy. 2. To Fly. 3. To become an author. Very happy that she got her third wish. Irma explained “I wanted to be an author because I love books… When I write, I feel happy… Keep following your passions and you’ll find what makes you happy”. Irma read her book Megumi and the Bear (illustrated by Craig Phillips) and gave the children ‘behind the scene’ insights into the inspiration for the book, the process of illustrating and writing the book and encouraged her ‘fellow authors and editors’ to keep on reading and writing. Irma also gave us a sneak peak of her upcoming children’s picture book Seree’s Story (illustrated by Wayne Harris).