Learning from Home – 14 May 2020

Today I’m going to go back to what we all know and love – books and writing. It’s why you all come here isn’t it? Because you believe in the importance of good writing, for and by children.

Many of you will be familiar with the wonderful Emily Rodda (I’m not ashamed to admit that Pigs Might Fly was one of my favourite books as a child), and her beautiful novel, His Name Was Walter. For those of you who haven’t yet discovered our resources, we have extensive teachers’ notes which you may find helpful when teaching or studying the book. As well as this great resource, as part of the efforts authors are making to help families and teachers coping with remote schooling, Emily Rodda has also provided a video of her reading part of His Name Was Walter. A brilliant way to introduce new readers into this amazing book.

While many large events have had to be cancelled for the foreseeable future, it has been encouraging to see so many embracing new ways of interacting with audiences. Sydney Writers’ Festival has launched a series of podcasts which attempt to bring you much of the content that would have been presented during this year’s festival. There are authors talking about their books and inspiration, along with panels discussing contentious issues, like what makes a fact a fact. At the time of writing many of the videos cover last year’s festival (so you can catch up on anything you missed), but more presentations and discussions from this year’s line-up will be added in the future. Amongst these is YA author and graphic novelist Alice Oseman, whose new book Loveless we are keenly awaiting.

Last year the Kids News Short Story Competition blew everyone away with the quality and quantity of entries. I’m sure that you’ll all be thrilled to hear that this year’s competition is now open for entries! The competition will be run a little differently to last year’s, with four age categories being awarded prizes. Visit the competition’s webpage for more details, along with some great writing tips from Jackie French and some ideas to help you get started if you or students are stuck for ideas. Entries are open to 3rd July.

On 2nd June, Jackie French and James Moloney will be conducting a conversation via Zoom on the challenges of introducing children to the Holocaust. As two writers famous for their extensive research and empathetic writing on the Holocaust, this is sure to be a must view for teachers. Parents who would like help with discussing this difficult subject with their children may also find it useful. If you’re not familiar with Jackie French’s writing on the Holocaust and WWII, you might like to watch this video of her reading part of her middle grade novel Pennies for Hitler.

See you next Thursday!



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