Linking to the Curriculum PD was presented by school teachers Hayley Jackson and Rebecca Sheraton at Brisbane’s Write Links group.
Hayley and Rebecca showed us how to link our books to the Australian curriculum.
Books with specific links to the Australian Curriculum are more desirable to publishers. Linking to the Curriculum increases your chances of publication and your books being purchased by schools and libraries.
Please consider linking your books to the curriculum.
Where do you start linking to the curriculum?
BOOK Samples: Linking to the Curriculum ...
A: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Year 2 - Science:
Biological Sciences: Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves.
B: If I Die Before I Wake by Martii McLean
English - Year 9
C: Meet Sidney Nolan by Yvonne Mes & Sandra Eterovic
Year 6 - History
Knowledge and Understanding:
The contribution of individuals and groups, including Aboriginal people and/or Torres Strait Islanders and migrants, to the development of Australian society, for example, in areas such as the economy, education, science, the arts, sport.
Now it’s Your Turn …
Karen Tyrrell writes empowering books to help kids live STRONG through humour and self-belief. She’s a passionate writing workshop presenter and interactive story teller wearing fun costumes.
Write with Passion - Hook, Hold and Keep Readers
Deborah Abela’s hands-on writing workshop for Write Links on 5th August, 2017 inspired so many writers, that many bussed, trained and car-ed home to rework their opening paragraphs. Others who attended critique groups shortly after, saw part of their peers’ works anew. Abela, former teacher, Cheez TV writer and author of 25 book was courageous admitting her constant doubts about her writing ability. Audible sighs of relief signalled the audiences’ appreciation for her candidness. Abela’s 15-year writing career saw her share the ‘Big Things she Knows Now about Writing for Kids’.
Write A Killer First Paragraph
Abela’s first big tip. ‘Your first chapter has to be short, sharp, solid, fast. It’s got to grab your young reader. It’s got to almost have a beginning middle and end, and a cliff hanger at the end. You want to hook them… hold them and keep them reading.’ The first lines were critical to hook the reader. In positioning herself as a ‘reader’, Abela role played asking questions after reading Gleitzman’s opening lines.
Morris Gleitzman’s Once — ‘Once I was living in an orphanage in the mountains and I shouldn’t have been. And I almost caused a riot. It was because of the carrot.’
Abela/Reader - ‘What do you mean you’re living in an orphanage and you shouldn’t have been? So are your parents still around… or not still around? What do you mean you almost caused a riot? And what… does a carrot have to do with anything? Morris has that beautiful balance between the very very serious and a lovely note of comedy.’
Also, ‘What is the story I'm trying to tell and are you doing it? With every paragraph, every single chapter, what is the story I'm trying to tell? With Grimsdon I'm trying to tell about a bunch of kids who are stuck in a flooded city and are desperate to escape.’
Kids to Lead the Action
The basics of writing for kids, ‘it must be kid-focused where often kids lead the action with maybe an adult nearby.’ Often Abela gets rid of the adults ASAP or sidelines them. She found the easiest book to do this was in Grimsdon where she flooded an entire city, rescued most of the people, took them somewhere else but left some kids behind. ‘The kids could do whatever they wanted. They didn’t have to be home for bedtime or have to explain the broken bones because they’d been on an adventure hanging from a plane.’
Abela is diligent with questioning her motives for writing. ‘Why am I writing? Why am I writing this particular piece? Is it because I'm excited… Is it a period in history I love? This story won't leave me alone... it's driving me nuts... I wake up at 3 in the morning... can't get the characters out of my head.’ Whatever your why, a passionate answer will see you committed to your project.
Novels have Behaviours
Abela said her novels had their own personality and likened them to being child-like. ‘Some (stories) come roaring out... like in The Spelling Bee. It was a delightful, playful gorgeous thing and it sort of wrote itself.’
However, Grimsdon was her naughty child. ‘No matter how nice I was to it, it would not behave. It felt like I dragged every single word out of some word rock.’ Her editor advised, 'Just write one paragraph at a time, one page at a time and you will get to the end.’
Three Story Elements
Abela explained the elements using the cake baking analogy. ’At the very, very beginning, your story needs the three basic ingredients ‘character, setting and problem.’ Put these three elements into the Plot Pot… take those characters, put them into an interesting setting… then we make as much stuff go wrong for them… .’
Abela says, know your characters like you’ve met them. Make them interesting, especially if you’re asking kids to hang out with them for a whole novel or series.
Your setting is the same. “The single nicest thing a kid has said is, ‘I felt like I was in that book.’ It means you’ve done it. You’ve created a world and you’ve created kids that feel real. And that this (world) could possibly exist. No matter your world, whether soccer fields, haunted castles or World War II, it must be authentic.”
Know what your characters want, then create problems to achieve it. ‘What is the thing your character wants the most? It’s usually numerous things, but what is the one thing driving that character? For India Wimple in the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee, what she wants is to win the spelling competition.’ But first she wants ‘not to have that feeling of throwing up in front of a group she doesn’t know.’ The things you throw at your character must be hard to get, but not impossible. And it mustn’t be frustrating for the reader.
VOICE IN YOUR HEAD
Abela found a way to silence the ‘voice in your head’ that often reminds you how bad you are. She learned to become so involved in her characters and their story, that it felt like she’d forgotten the ‘voice’ was there. ‘I ignore it. I don’t give it permission… I haven’t got time to listen to you… I’ve got a city to flood or I’ve got some kids to rescue… so get out!’
The drafts goes through several stages - from a solid foundation to build your story on, to making sense, to rewriting, to fine tuning and then finessing.
EDITOR’S NOTES ARE GOLD
For Grimsdon, it showed Abela how close she was to her characters and story. When the editor said, ‘I know why you like this character, I don’t know why I should.’ In her rewrite, Abela had to transfer her passion for her character to the reader so they’d have more empathy.
‘No matter what you write, you must be passionate about what you are writing.
Abela’s books have won Australian and USA awards — www.deborahabela.com
The StoryArts Festival 2017 took over Ipswich from the 2nd to the 10th of September. And Write Links members were there to report on all the action!
The volunteers, lead by Tyrion Perkins, reported on the School Program, Adult Program and Family Program providing a stream of articles on the children's authors and illustrators presenting during the literary week.
The StoryArts Festival Ipswich began in 1995 as the Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature and has been held every two years since then. The festival offers free sessions for children and low cost sessions for adults and young adults with an interest in children’s literature such as teachers, librarians, and emerging writers and illustrators.
The festival aims to increase an awareness of the value of the arts in relation to writing and illustration and help build and maintain increased audiences for children’s literature. The festival inspires young people to buy and read more books and gain an appreciation of the processes involved in writing and illustrating. We also aim to enthuse teachers and parents about the value of stories and encourage them to promote literature to young people.
The Ipswich Festival is organized and funded mainly by the Ipswich District Teacher-Librarian Network and now also supported by Write Links Volunteers!
The team consisted of: Tyrion Perkins, Maria Parenti-Baldy, Danielle Freeland, Karen Tyrrell, Rebecca Sheraton, Yvonne Mes, Dimity Powell and Jacqui Halpin and also included Megan Daley from Children's Books Daily.
Read their stories here: