The Australian Children's Book Week theme for 2017 is 'Escape to Everywhere'. It sparks lots of ideas for me. It invites wonder about the world and the wide variety of humans who live here. The theme also captures why I read – to escape – to live inside someone else's mind for a while and to see and feel what they do. That's why they say reading makes you more compassionate and empathetic (see articles in Time, The Guardian and Better Reading on this). And we need that now more than ever.
Children's Book Week runs from 18-25 August and here are 10 ideas to help make 2017 the best Book Week ever.
1) Plan Your Escape Start the conversation about reading escapes. Where do you escape from the world to read? What are the best books about Escaping to Everywhere. What is the greatest Escape novel ever written? How many different ways can you Escape when you're reading – into the imagination, to another country or into a fantasy land? How else? What can you build or create on the theme of Escape to celebrate this year's Book Week? Ask friends, colleagues, students and start the debate now.
2) Escape Into a Book Try reading some of my Top 5 'Escape to Everywhere' Books:
- Somewhere Else, an inspiring picture book for dreamers, wanderers and wonderers by Gus Gordon (my partner in crime on the My Life books). This book makes you appreciate simple things about everyday life, but it also makes you want to strike out and see the world.
- The Fall (see how I cleverly squeezed my new book into the middle of the list without you knowing. The Fall involves a literal escape from a very dangerous man in an apartment building, but it's also an escape into the world of Sam Garner, a kid in trouble at school and with his mum, who's trying to connect with his father for the first time in his life.)
- Icebreaker by Lian Tanner. (This tightly plotted, beautifully characterised adventure story totally immerses you in the rusted, icy, mechanical world of Petrel, who lives aboard an icebreaker in the Arctic. )
- Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak (the ultimate 'escape' book, for kids and adults)
3) Change the World Join my 2017 Room to Read World Change Challenge (details up soon but check out my World Change page in the meantime to watch the video) and help me and a host of other Australian authors change the world by educating children in the developing world. We have, so far, in partnership with Australian school students, raised over $100,000 to buy books, build libraries and educate girls in ten of the world's poorest countries.
|Illustration by Gus Gordon.|
Download and print a free Tom Weekly mask like the one below, also worn by the pesky kid who attacked me in the Weaponised Muffins book trailer.
|I love this Tom Weekly mask from last year's Book Week. You can download and print a mask just like this for yourself! Thanks for the photo @Tan_79 on Insta!|
5) Book Trailers Make a video book trailer for your favourite book and screen it in the school library. Check out my post on How to Make a Book Trailer and send me a link to the trailer you make. Below is the trailer for My Life & Other Weaponised Muffins and the winning student-made trailer in the recent My Life book trailer competition for inspiration:
7) Author Talks You could book an author (or harass your teacher-librarian to book an author) to speak at your school. Here's a list of agencies. Many authors are already booked for Book Week but if your celebration falls outside the official Book Week dates, you might get lucky. (I'm booked for Book Week '17 but next year or other times of year can be booked through Speakers Ink (QLD) or Booked Out (other states).
|Story Inspiration. How can books and movies inspire and influence your own story, novel or movie script?|
Or you could try:
- Writing activities in the My Life& Other Stuff I Made Up teachers' kit
- Checking out the visual / aural creative ideas in the Two Wolves teaching materials.
- Getting outside to write. Watch my Story Safari video on how I wrote my novel Two Wolves for inspiration.
- Visiting the CREATE page.
- Using my Story Scrapbook transmedia brainstorming tool to gather videos, images and music as you dream up a new story of your own.