|We've just finished our 2019 Story Tours with a week long visit to the east coast of the South Island. Here's an article from Stuff as our writers and illustrators visited Timaru.
|Storylines South Island Story Tour 18 – 22 November
For five days a quartet of wonderful creators of stories, pictures and poems for young people visited 30 schools in Marlborough and North Canterbury. Vasanti Unka, picture book author and illustrator, Philippa Werry writer of junior fiction and non- fiction, Eileen Merriman author of books for young adults and Paula Green, poet, entranced children in mainly country and small town schools, some with as few as 35 children.For some schools, it was the first time a published author had visited the school. There were many magic moments: for Philippa when a bouncy student called out… “we read that book this morning”; for Eileen when a student, clutching Catch me when you fall, said, ‘this is the best book I have ever read’; for Vasanti when the children excitedly found her books in their library; and for Paula when a teacher sent through a poem inspired by her in a session earlier in the day. The Storylines Story Tour for the authors, the driver and the Storylines representative had its magical moments too: driving down the earthquake-devastated but utterly beautiful Kaikoura coastline where hundreds of seals are re-colonising reefs newly-emerged after the quake; and above all the enchantment on the faces of so many of the little children and older students.
As well as the excitement brought by the authors, the success of the Storylines Story Tours are the result of skillful research and planning by Storylines Festival Manager Vicki Cunningham, who arranges air flights and accommodation for each author, along with notifying the schools, matching student class levels to the authors’ books and planning the routes for five full days, taking into account the exact times for distances travelled and road conditions which enable the superb driver of the eight-seater van, librarian Anne Dickson, to ensure we always arrived within a few minutes of the estimated time. The hardest parts of the week were, when asked when we would be back next year, having to tell the teachers that we would be going to other regions in 2020. Planning has started for Storylines Story Tours in 2020, and applications are now open if you want a visit.
|Paula Green reading to students at Darfield School|
|Philippa Werry with the Hurunui College writing stars||Vasanti Unka with the whole school - Waikari School||Vasanti Unka at Seddon School|
Northland Story Tour, May 2019
Adele Broadbent, Sophie Siers, Tania Roxborogh and Gavin Bishop criss-crossed Northland on the June Story Tour, visiting schools from Kaiwaka to Kerikeri, Taipa to Orauiti, and more.
|Tania Roxborogh, Sophie Siers, Adele Broadbent and Gavin Bishop|
|Tania Roxborogh and Gavin Bishop||Gavin Bishop with Room 14 from Kaiwaka School||Sophie Siers at Kerikeri Primary School|
Otago Story Tour, May 2019
Four award winning New Zealand authors and illustrators (and one driver) covered 998km, 27 schools, 1,600+ children plus teachers and adults, and some stunning scenery over the course of the week-long Storylines National Story Tour visit to Otago in mid-May. Despite a wet welcome in Dunedin (and the locals complaining about the cold) the weather was good for the whole trip with ice only having to be scraped from the windscreen on the last day at Lake Hawea. Mandy Hager, Jenny Cooper, Suzanne Main and Toby Morris shared their knowledge, stories and passion for their work as well as answering some of the tough questions (including the perennial “How old are you?”). Schools ranged from large city-based schools to much smaller country schools such as Makarora Primary with a total of nine students (and a very welcome wood-burner to take the chill off). It was a tired but happy crew that flew out of Queenstown on Friday afternoon.
|Toby Morris and Jenny Cooper share stories while staying warm by the fire|
|Suzanne Main (seated) and Jenny Cooper (floor) talk with students as Toby Morris and Mandy Hager look on.||Suzanne Main listens to Mandy Hager's presentation||Toby Morris and Jenny Cooper share stories while staying warm by the fire|
Gisborne East Coast Story Tour, September 2019
Writer Mary-anne Scott, illustrator Bruce Potter, writer Chris Szekely, and writer Steph Matuku travelled with driver Anne Dickson and Stroylines rep Helen Villers on the on the September Story Tour, visiting schools in Gisborne and right around the East Coast
The manaaki throughout the tour was exceptional, with schools, libraries adn communities all welcoming and well prepared.
Bruce Potter played his cards very close to his chest only revealing at the end of Tuesday that it was actually his 50th birthday that day. The Storylines team managed to celebrate with a candle and some Marilyn Monroe that evening (thanks to Lottin Point).
They also managed a couple of scenic stops on the tour including re-enacting Abbey Road on the end of Tolaga Bay wharf.
Despite the uneven and often windy roads (apologies from the driver to those in the back seat) and the ferocious logging trucks, the group kept to schedule almost all week. Radio interview went well and the evening community event at HB Williams Memorial Library was a huge success. (Writers, illustrators and Storylines reps treated themselves to a fabulous Indian feast afterwards which may have included dancing after musical encouragement from the owner.)
Eager listeners at Potaka on the East Coast Storylines Story Tour
|Bruce Potter, Helen Villers, Anne Dickson, Chris Szekely, Steph Matuku, Mary-anne Scott (and friends) at Lottin Point on Day 3 when the sun finally decided to come out.||Helen Villers,(third from left at back) with Storylines presenters Mary-anne Scott, Steph Matuku, Chris Szekely and Bruce Potter at Makarika School where the manaaki was outstanding (including being treated to a bowl of their boil up and fry bread on a cold wet day)||Mary-anne Scott presents at Ngāta Memorial College.|