In these challenging times creative and alternative options are needed to ensure children continue to connect with authors and illustrators as excellent role models and mentors in their own creative processes. Victoria Ryle starts a conversation.
In her first post in January 2020, CBCAT president, Leanne Rands provided an overview of the Readers and Creators Program, the Federally funded support for Tasmanian authors and illustrators to engage with readers in schools. I planned to write this blog post about the importance of recognising the children as creators in the context of this program, and the possibilities for the adult creators (and others) to be the readers. I had hoped to write about the plans we were making to offer professional learning to support authors and illustrators new to the program to maximise the opportunities for children to be creators in their own right. But in the last two weeks, we have all seen so many of our plans turned upside down and put on hold as we, the Tasmanian community, rally to do our bit to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
|jscreationzs @ freedigitalphotos|
Instead, in response to the steep global rise of the virus we face a different steep curve – that of learning to master the art of online presentations, for keeping connected (Smith, 2020) with children who may be in schools but more likely at home, experiencing the frustrations of face to face isolation from their peers. How can the Readers and Creators Program support them in these changing times? How can we best provide a platform for children as creators when we are not face to face with them in the classroom?
Well, I believe there are a multitude of answers. On the positive side, the challenges we face have opened up opportunities for some exciting conversations around how authors and illustrators might address the above – watch this space. In particular there is a groundswell of authors wanting to share their work and their love of books to support children at this difficult time. I came across this nice example this week in The Guardian (O'Donnell, 2020). Then head to Oliver Jeffers’ website to experience is instagram initiative for a story book a day.
The Bee Book by the children of the
40 South Publishing
In a future blog post I hope I have an opportunity to share more initiatives that recognise children as active participants, makers and creators in the world of books – some from my own experience publishing books by children as authors. For now, I will leave this post with a plug for the delightful ‘The Bee Book’ created by a group of children aged 5-12 at the Goodwood community Centre.
O'Donnell, J. 2020, March 26. 'One big virtual love-in': How children's book authors are creating online sanctuaries. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/mar/26/one-big-virtual-love-in-how-childrens-book-authors-are-creating-online-sanctuaries
Smith, E. (2020, march 24). 5 ways to keep human connections when moving learning online due to coronavirus. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/5-ways-to-keep-human-connections-when-moving-learning-online-due-to-coronavirus-134351
Vice President, CBCA Tasmania