I have to admit, one of the things I love most about being a children's and YA author is the opportunities it brings to visit schools and speak with students about writing, reading, books and stories!
Sometimes it's a simple assembly presentation. Sometimes it's a series of Book Launch visits. But this year I was invited to one particular school for an extra special visit. One where I wasn't even the star of the show!
It was for an awards ceremony, for the Picture Book of the Year Award run by the inspirational library team at one senior high school I'd visited this year.
I had first been invited to this school much earlier in the year, to teach a workshop for a small group of interested students from years 11 and 12. Working with students of this age group, I knew what a privilege I'd been given. It was great fun talking through the elements of picture books, the challenges of keeping a story under 600 words and exploring the magical interplay between illustrations and text.
After I'd left, many of these students then entered the picture book competition run by their library to celebrate Book Week. I was able to admire the results of all their hard work at the awards celebration. It was amazing to see how individual students, and some pairs working together, had taken the 2018 Book Week theme of 'Find your Treasure' and come up with unique and beautiful ways of telling a story.
The winner's book - which she both wrote and digitally illustrated - was wonderful. She'd exploited the strengths of the picture book form and told an inspiring story at the same time. I was thrilled to be a part of this Awards day, and will look forward to reading more from this budding group of authors in the future!