Monday, July 28, 2014

Belinda Murrell : Room to Read Writer-Ambassador


1. Out of all the charities in all the world, why did you decide to become a writer-ambassador for Room to Read?
One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is the gift of reading. It provides Joy, Escape, Knowledge. But most of all it is the basis of Education which provides a Future. Encouraging all children to read is the best way I can think of to change the world.

2. What do you most love about Room to Read’s work and approach to what they do?
Room to Read provides millions of children in third world countries with the gift of reading by providing books, schools and libraries. Room to Read has given millions of children the chance for an education and the chance to break the poverty cycle.


3. What makes you care about education and literacy for children in other parts of the world?
My children have been so lucky to grow up in Australia. They are probably amongst the best educated children on the planet. I hope to help bring some of those opportunities to other children who are not as lucky as my own kids.

4. What kinds of things have you done to show your support for Room to Read over the years?
I have participated in fundraisers for books, libraries and schools. I help to raise awareness of Room to Read’s work through social media, talking in schools, and by including Room to Read details on my website, Facebook pages and in my books.

5. What actions can schools and students perform to show their support?
Students can work together to organise movie nights, cake stalls, or gold coin donations. There are lots of ideas on the Room to Read website. One day of working together at your school, could make a world of difference to the futures of children in other parts of the world.


The 2014 World Change Challenge is a great way to engage kids in literacy, fun and social good. Watch the four-minute video showing how a single class raised $567 in one day, then hit the World Change Challenge page for a campaign pack and lots of fun fundraising ideas. – http://www.tristanbancks.com/2014/03/room-to-read-world-change-challenge-2014.html

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Top Ten Young Adult Books : Scot Gardner


Scot Gardner is the author of one of my top ten books, The Dead I Know. Here, Scot shares his top ten Young Adult novels of all-time:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie 
Paper Towns – John Green 
Black Juice – Margo Lanagan 
I am Not A Serial Killer – Dan Wells 
My Life as an Alphabet – Barry Jonsberg 


The Road – Cormac McCarthy 
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee 
The Arrival – Shaun Tan 
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak 
Deadly, Unna? – Phillip Gwynne


Check back next wool for the Top Ten books of author A.J. Betts (Zac & Mia).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Students Helping Students




Josh Lorschy is a compassionate, hardworking, creative and high-achieving human. He is a 14-year-old actively engaged in changing the world in positive ways through Room to Read's Students Helping Students program. In term three, Josh is getting behind our $20,000 World Change Challenge campaign. Here, he shares some of the ways he is making a difference in the lives of people in the developing world.

Out of all the charities in all the world, why did you decide to become a supporter of Room to Read?
Josh: Room to Read really stood out to me because of their amazing work ethic. I was introduced to Room to Read through John Wood’s book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. After reading this book, I could see that Room to Read really understands how to achieve global literacy through their various programs. I believe in what Room to Read does; everyone deserves the right to an education regardless of their gender, financial position or the country they live in.

Josh Lorschy's 'Girl Rising' Campaign
What do you most love about Room to Read’s approach?
Josh: Room to Read has a depth to their programs that goes beyond just donating books or building schools. They recognise that world change requires more than just dumping resources on the less fortunate. This extends into their teacher training programs, girls scholarships, social outreach workers and publishing books in local languages.

What makes you care about education and literacy for children in other parts of the world?
Josh: I’m privileged enough to go to a good school and think everyone should have the opportunity. I value my education, as it equips me with knowledge and opportunities. Room to Read allows and encourages everyone to take action, no matter how big or small. It’s exciting to know that I am able to do something as part of a movement that is having an impact on a global scale. I agree with Room to Read that education can and will change the world.


What kinds of things have you done to show your support for Room to Read over the years?
Josh: To show my support for Room to Read I’ve held a number of events. My family started by setting up an EverydayHero page to fundraise and hosted an information night. Following this, I spoke at my school and two primary schools regarding Room to Read and their amazing work. At these schools I organised various fundraisers including: Mothers' Day Stall, Book Swap, Read-a-thon, Handball Competition, Colouring-In Competition. In addition to this, I also held an awareness day at my school last year in lead up to International Day of the Girl (Oct 11). This involved a speech, showing a section of the Girl Rising film, then standing in the shape of a girl. This was filmed as part of an ABC documentary screened in the US.
Finally, I’ve used social media to spread the word online. I put together two animations which have accumulated over 6,500 views combined on Youtube. I also put together an attraction at our local shopping centre. We had a mobile animal farm come and people donated to get in. I also took part in a Food and Wine Festival my grandfather organised.


What actions can schools and students perform to show their support?
Josh: Room to Read makes it really easy for students and schools to participate in their programs. Anyone can take part in the Students Helping Students program, and there are plenty of useful resources and ideas to ensure your fundraiser is a success. Every action helps; every person and every dollar makes a difference. Information is power, so raising awareness is crucial. Whether you give a speech, play a video, hold a fundraiser within your class or school or for the community, it all helps.


Links to media articles and videos on Josh and his family's inspiring action:



2014 Room to Read World Change Challenge

Feeling inspired? Get active and raise a dollar or a thousand for our 2014 Room to Read World Change Challenge campaign to raise $20,000 for 20,000 books by October. Or donate now to our secure Everyday Hero page.

Next week, Room to Read writer-ambassador Belinda Murrell shares why she cares about nurturing literacy and education in some of the world's poorest countries.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Top 10 Children's & YA Books : Gabrielle Wang


This week, author Gabrielle Wang (The Wishbird, CBCA notable book 2014) contributes to the growing resource of kids' / Young Adult book recommendations on this site.

Gabrielle's list is full of engaging reads with layers of meaning and authentic storytelling. I love the Hoban, Dahl, Hartnett, Tan, Crowley and Alexie suggestions and I'm going to track down the others. Hope you can, too:

The Museum of Mary Child - Cassandra Golds

The Underneath - Kathi Appelt

The Mouse and his Child - Russell Hoban

The Best of Roald Dahl

Abyssinia - Ursula Dubosarksy

A Little Wanting Song - Cath Crowley (Graffitti Moon but the US ed, I didn't have the Aus edition)

Of A Boy - Sonya Hartnett

The Arrival - Shaun Tan

The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian - Sherman Alexie

Stardust - Neil Gaiman

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Deborah Abela : Room to Read Writer-Ambassador


Deborah Abela is a superstar of Australian children's literature. The author of Grimsdon, The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen and Max Remy Superspy shares why she supports the amazing international literacy charity Room to Read and our 2014 World Change Challenge. It's an attempt to raise $20,000 to buy 20,000 books for children in the world's poorest countries.

1. Out of all the charities in all the world, why did you decide to become a writer-ambassador for Room to Read?
There is nothing more important than educating kids. It creates understanding, tolerance, the chance to break cycles of poverty, to stop violence and an able kids to have a world of opportunities available to them.

2. What do you most love about Room to Read’s work and approach to what they do?
They don't lecture to developing countries but give them a helping hand to create and run their own schools, libraries and publishing programs in order to educate kids who may never have had the chance. Particularly girls, who have been denied education for years purely based on their gender, when they have so much to offer.

3. What makes you care about education and literacy for children in other parts of the world?
If we help to educate kids everywhere, we stop the spread of ignorance, of antiquated ideals, of practices that are simply enslaving. Educating girls especially helps to educate an entire village as they gain knowledge of business and then pass that chance of education to their children. I loved school and I want kids everywhere to have that chance to fall in love with reading and learning.

Image care of Room to Read.
4. What kinds of things have you done to show your support for Room to Read over the years?
I've danced in front of a whole school of boys (not very well), I've spoken to kids in Hong Kong wearing my pyjamas, I've seen tears in the eyes of teachers and librarians as I've shared stories about the success of Room to Read in changing kids' lives, I've led a reading where I asked a whole room to join in the cheers of John Wood's Zac the Yak as he carried that first load of books up a mountain for the very beginning of this global charity that has help almost nine million kids.

5. What actions can schools and students perform to show their support?
I love the idea of a dress-up day or dare-a-teacher. At our school we have a kitchen and a pizza oven, so a pizza afternoon would be great! (And popular.) Invite an author ambassador to your school to tell you how great Room to Read is, gold coin donation if things are a bit hectic, talent quests, dress as your favourite hero day. You could combine a regular school event with a Room to Read donation. For example, long distance running competition or morning school exercises combined with a Room to Read dance. Fetes could have a Room to Read stand with bobbing for apples or slime-a-teacher type activities. Or maybe a walk-a-thon with a percentage of the donations going to RTR. There are so many!

video
Check out the above news story of one schools fun idea to raise money for the 
World Change Challenge.

Next week, another well-known writer will be here to share why they support Room to Read. Meantime, don't be shy. Please support our 2014 Room to Read World Change Challenge.

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