I had a fabulous visit at Freemans Bay School last week, and I have my nephew to thank for the invite. He’s in the new entrants’ class, and when he saw my book in the school library, he pointed it out to Dale, the librarian, who kindly invited me up for the day.
I had a great time (I hope the kids did too). It is visits like these that make writing for kids truly fun. We had readings, discussions, tonnes of questions, and a lunchtime session in the library where everyone hung out, coloured in, built models and talked books.
I also ran a couple of competitions where the kids could take the beginnings of my books and complete them in their own ways, through pictures or writing or both. The ideas that came out of those sessions, produced from cold and under time pressure, blew me away. Ideas that as a writer I would hunt and scratch and sweat to produce, just flowed.
It reminded me how naturally imaginative we all are, and how important it is to tap back into that childhood wealth of images and ideas, if you are going to produce fresh original stories. One of the purposes of an author visit is to inspire kids about books and reading, but it works the other way too. I came away feeling as if I’d have a creativity and inspiration booster shot.
So thank you Freemans Bay School. I will look forward to (hopefully) visiting again with my next book.