Storylines schools tour – looking back on a stunning week!

Sun 21st Sep 2014


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I had such a great time on my Storylines schools tour. The three other authors – poet extraordinaire Paula Green, picture book writer Juliette McIvor (of Marmaduke Duck fame) and Pasifika expert Jill McGregor – were fantastic to work with, and to share all the ups and downs with (mostly ups!)

Here we all are at the Vodafone Centre in South Auckland, after the last session on Friday. I’m in the caving suit I wore inside the Greek cave that features in The Bow, with a borrowed helmet care of Pete Smith of the Auckland Speleo Group.

Storylines Authors 1

There were some pretty keen students behind us, as you can see, and plenty of hands up at question time.


And here are some shots of us at work.















– and there’s always time for a bit of fun!

Under threat from Cath Mayo

In fact, all the students I met throughout the week were amazing. There couldn’t have been more variety – we visited Decile 3 schools through to Decile 9 and 10s; sometimes we spoke to 20 students, sometimes to 300; and their ages ranged from Year 0 to Year 10, though – with my YA books – I generally presented to Year 6 and up, with the occasional Year 4-5 group added in.

Here I am at my old school, Epsom Girls Grammar, in their lovely new library – well, new by my standards!


What really amazed me, over and over again, was the courtesy the students showed us, and their enthusiasm. Personally, I prefer a touch of anarchy if it also means more energy and involvement from the students ( see the audience photo above at the Vodafone Centre). Almost always we struck just the right mix – gold. Some of the questions blew me away, they were so imaginative and unexpected.

The other thing that constantly impressed me was the commitment and care from so many of the teachers and librarians we met. These people really love their jobs and put everything into their students – very inspiring. Here’s the amazing Fiona Mackie with The Team at Pinehurst.


But Decile levels are often irrelevant – some of the best work and support is also happening at the so-called “lower” education levels. You can be proud!


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