Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Sun bears and school visits

There is something both energizing and exhausting about doing school visits. It is definitely tiring to talk to four, five or even six groups of children over a school day, constantly monitoring for signs of interest or boredom so as to adjust what you are saying, choosing books or stories to read or talk about that are going to interest them.
But the rewards are so worthwhile: getting asked a question you've never been asked before, having a class of rapt faces in front of you or seeing their faces light up when you hold up a particular title. For nearly every class at my last school visit - even the older ones - the "light up" title was "Sun bears are special".

This is a Ready to read book that I wrote in 2002. It's about the sun bear twins, Madu and Arataki, that were born at Wellington Zoo some years ago, and it's a sad story in some ways because one of them (Madu) died at two years old because he was born with a hole in his heart, but for some reason it just seems to resonate with and appeal to children.

As for the questions I was asked, the best one was definitely "were you a good girl at school?" and the new entrants were keen to know "how many letters in a book?"

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