Local Authors to Inspire Children via Workshop Tour

By My Little Local | Posted: Wednesday August 5, 2020

Dunedin primary school children will have the opportunity to be inspired by two of Dunedin’s most engaging children’s writer-illustrators this week, thanks to a free workshop tour offered by Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature.

Award-winning children’s writer-illustrators Robyn Belton and Kathryn van Beek will visit four schools over two days with their one-hour workshop: Waitati and Purakaunui on Wednesday; St Leonards and Sawyers Bay on Thursday.

The Director of Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature Nicky Page says the workshops aim to inspire and engage children in reading, writing and illustrating.

“We know that enjoyment of reading at a young age is associated with improved life outcomes, so as a City of Literature we want to support a love of these things,” she says.

“It is wonderful having our local writer-illustrators heading into primary schools, sharing their work and having the children participate in creating an illustration and writing a story. And of course Robyn Belton and Kathryn van Beek are so good at engaging with young people, not just on the page but in person as well.”

Kathryn and Robyn, who have led similar workshops in the past, say working with children in schools is a joy.

“The kids come up with the most delightful story ideas, and something fun and surprising happens during every visit,” Kathryn says. “I’m looking forward to seeing their faces light up in wonder as they watch Robyn draw an illustration and make a creature come to life before their eyes.”

For Robyn, the visits are also very special, and one will be particularly poignant.

“During the time I was working on ‘Herbert the Brave Sea Dog,’ I had the good fortune to be invited to a school to help the children with their process writing,” she says.

“Together we ‘brainstormed’ the whole story, and I will never forget the children’s response. Suddenly it made the story come alive for me in a way I could make it into a book.

“Those children were from Purakaunui School, and their wonderful teacher was Lyn Allen.”

Robyn will be presenting Herbert the Brave Sea Dog as part of her workshops.

The pair hope they encourage the children to have fun and experiment with writing and drawing.

“Having the opportunity to participate in this programme is an honour,” Kathryn says. “I’m so grateful to our wonderful City of Literature team for the opportunity.”


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