Last week I spent the week out on the road with two awesome librarians, Saskia Hill and Susan Dodd, as part of the Canterbury NZ Post Children’s Book Festival Roadshow. We decided that this year, we wanted to talk about and read the finalist books to as many children as we possibly could over the course of the Festival week. We battled heavy rain, flooding, horrible traffic and a flat tyre to deliver our Roadshow to the kids of Canterbury. We visited 11 schools, 13 preschools, presented 2 Books Before Bedtime Pyjama Parties and read to over 6000 children over the course of the week.
Part of our programme was performing Margaret Mahy and Gavin Bishop’s wonderful picture book, Mister Whistler. I danced around as Mister Whistler, while Saskia read the book and got the kids interacting with the story. Here’s a couple of photos of my performance.
It was an awesome experience and something that we hope to repeat again next year. These were my highlights of the week:
- Dressing up as Mister Whistler and dancing around while taking my clothes on and off.
- Giving away heaps of copies of Kyle Mewburn’s Melu and Rachael King’s Red Rocks to kids all around Canterbury and seeing their faces light up.
- Seeing kids so eager to answer questions about the finalist books so they can win a bookmark.
- Meeting lots of enthusiastic teachers and librarians who love books.
- Reading and talking about books with kids of all ages and doing it all with one of the coolest people around, Saskia Hill.
Here is a small selection of our photos from the week:
Best of luck to all the authors and illustrators on the shortlist for the awards. I’m really looking forward to going to the awards ceremony here in Christchurch tonight. I’ll be live Tweeting from the event so if you want to know the winners first, follow me – @zackids.
The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Festival starts on Monday 17 June (that’s next week) and our committee here in Christchurch can’t wait to bring the Festival to the children of Canterbury. The main part of the Canterbury Festival this year is our Roadshow. We’re taking the finalist books on the road and visiting schools and preschools throughout Canterbury, from Ashburton up to Rangiora. We’ll be reading and talking about the finalists and I’ll be stepping in to Mister Whistler’s shoes each day.
We wanted to have a cool way to promote the books to the kids in each of our sessions so we came up with the idea of reading an extract from some of the books. The kids will then have to guess which book the extract comes from. It’s an easy idea that you could use in your classroom or library too. See if you can figure out which 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards finalist book these extracts come from.
- ‘Then came the long metal howl. In the canyon mouth, Hodie saw a bright blur. Next moment a wind-train shot out of the canyon and snaked above the valley floor towards the Depot. Lamps shone at the front. Four large swivelling wings on the engine made it shift this way and that to catch the currents of wind. Larger wings were spaced along three carriages, one of which looked like a dining car, and a van that must be for luggage. Concertina metal cages linked the carriages.’
- ‘All the time, the song raced round and round his head, and his feet tried to dance him round and round the platform.’
- ‘Gorging grubber, larvae-lover, snail-scratcher, beetle-battler.’
- ‘He looked out to sea. He had never been down here at night and he took a moment to enjoy the strangeness of it. In the patches of light, he thought he made out seaweed in the surging water, and something else, floating out there, waiting. Seals! He stood up and shivered in the wind. He heard it again: ‘The skin. Jake.’ A row of seals, their wet heads dark against the sea, watched him, like a row of sentries guarding the sea. Or the beach.’
- ‘The creatures here have to watch out for other hungry animals looking for a meal. Some dig into the sand to escape. Some hide under rocks. Others have clever ways of protecting themselves.’
- ‘We’re safe where we are, but we don’t wait around to speculate, just run like hell until we’re through the gardens and back in town. It’s chaos there. People packing out of offices. Shops boarding up their windows. Lucinda takes her leave of us, promising she’ll keep in touch. All the frantic activity underlines how stuffed I feel, not helped when Mikey whines about being hungry and tired the rest of the way home.’
I hope you all have a great festival week, whatever you may be doing. I certainly can’t wait until the awards ceremony in Christchurch on Monday 24 June to find out who takes out the awards!