Spilling the secrets on an author’s life

sue-g-4Last Sunday marked the end of the Melbourne Writers Festival for another year. The last few weeks in August are always an excellent time for keen readers and writers in Melbourne (and the world – it’s an international event) – there are all sorts of workshops, exhibitions, author talks and panel discussions. And the best part of it is that students get to be involved. This year, Kew Primary had visits from two authors, Sue deGennaro and Simon Mitchell, as well as a Grade 5 excursion to hear Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton speak.

Ruth Woolven, our manager of all things bookish, tells us a bit about Sue and Simon’s classroom visits –

This week author/illustrator Sue deGennaro visited Kew Primary School Library as part of our Book Week celebrations. All students in Prep and Years 1-3 had the opportunity to hear how Sue works and how she creates her fabulous drawings. Following Sue’s direction the students were then able to draw some of her characters with amazing results.

sue-g-12Sue has been an illustrator for eight years and her favourite book (from her work) is The Pros and Cons of being a Frog which she wrote and illustrated. When asked what other books she liked, she mentioned The Day the Crayons Quit (a KPS favourite). And guess what Sue was before she was an author and illustrator? A trapeze artist!

Sue has collaborated with many authors including Jackie French and Tony Wilson. Her titles include The Emperor’s New Clothes Horse, The Hairy-nosed Wombats Find a New Home and Just One More.

sue-g-14simon-mitchell-1Simon Mitchell spoke to Years 4, 5 and 6. Simon’s latest book is called Tough Times and it is about Melbourne in 1931. It’s from the Do You Dare series, a collection of Australian historical fictitious stories aimed at boys aged 8 to 12. The stories are fast-paced and adventure-driven, all within an historical context.

Simon shared his research methods and showed the students lots of photos of Fitzroy during the Depression. He also told the students some very interesting facts:

  • The Macrobertson Chocolate Factory developed Freddo frogs based on frogs from Merri Creek!
  • Simon discovered that lots of women at that time had their teeth removed when they got married to save their husbands the expense of dental work. It was given as a wedding present!

Some of Simon’s other titles include The Baked Bean Bandit, The Great Stinkathon, Kung Phew! and Louie the Pirate Chef.


1 thought on “Spilling the secrets on an author’s life

  1. How terrific to hear about these talented writers and amazing books and visit to Kew Primary! Elise has been drawing characters like this all week, with pieces of paper and sketches flying around the table! I was wondering what had encouraged her?! I now know 🙂

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