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10 April 2009 ·

School Visits

I had an amazing week of school visits in Brisbane last week – very busy, but very rewarding. With John Moffat of the Book Garden kindly volunteering to drive me, I was whisked in and out of thirteen schools, with time for a cup of tea (and often a bit more!) and a chat with most of the librarians before the talks. What a dedicated bunch they are! At nearly every school, whether government or private, I was told, ‘We’re so lucky here – our kids are just great.’ I suspect that attitude might have had something to do with it!

The groups were large: 90 to 300 kids, mostly grades 4 to 7, and so I used Nim’s Island to discuss the development of story to book to film. (Except for the Grade 9’s studying Peeling the Onion, when obviously I discussed it!)
However the first school, John Paul College, had an interesting approach: two students interviewed me, using questions drawn from ones all the students had submitted. Each question was illustrated with a power point slide projected behind us, with pictures drawn from my sites, or simply appropriate photographs. It was wonderfully done – and most amazing of all, even though I had no idea how many questions there’d be, we finished it in exactly the hour – couldn’t have done better if it had been rehearsed!

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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio