The roll-call at Little Bendigo Primary School was a little unusual on Thursday when Captain Underpants, Cruella de Ville, the Queen of Hearts and Peter Pan all made an appearance.
With Book Week celebrations in swing across the country, the pupils of Little Bendigo dressed up as their favourite book characters and enjoyed a visit from author Yvonne Horsfield who has written a book with a very local connection.
Her latest book, The Story of Lui Jo Wei, tells the story of a Chinese boy on the goldfields around Little Bendigo.
“The book is unpublished at the moment but she brought it in to read to our grade five/six class to get feedback and see how she could improve it,” said acting principal Janet Simmons-Tuaine.
So local is the story that some students said they lived on the streets named in the story and recognised other locations mentioned.
Ms Simmons-Tuaine said not only was Book Week a good excuse for dressing up, it added an extra element of fun to reading and writing.
“Everyone loves a good dress-up,” Ms Simmons-Tuaine said, adding that even staff got in to the spirit of the day, dressing as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
“We were amazed how many kids didn’t know that story,” she said. “But many of the kids were then looking for the Snow White book and wanted to find it out for themselves.
“It’s all about getting kids immersed in books, which is a cliche but true.”
Ms Horsfield shared with the pupils her tricks, tips and strategies for writing engaging stories.
“She got them to understand that if they make a story personal, it will come naturally,” Ms Simmons-Tuaine said.
“Some kids are put off by writing and reading because it seems hard for them, but if you are writing a story and link it to something you are passionate about or have a good understanding of it will flow naturally.”
Childrens Book Council of Australia chair Prof Margot Hillel said stories helped children make sense of the world they live in.
“Young people will always need well-crafted stories and information books to help them understand themselves and other people and navigate the world around them,” she said.
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