A Bookish Adventure

I started this blog to document an extended trip to the US and UK in 2012, introducing children to my Alice-Miranda series. It's hard to believe that it's just on four years since we launched the first Alice-Miranda title - and now there are nine books out in Australia with another five still to come. When I first came up with the idea of this precocious seven and a quarter year old, I had no clue that she would take me on such an amazing journey, not only in Australia but also across the world. I visited 37 schools while we were away in 2012 and gave over 80 talks - it was fantastic. In 2013 I've been on lots of new adventures in the UK - visiting schools from London to Southampton, Lancashire, Scotland, Newcastle and back to London again. After that I headed off to meet readers in Singapore. In Australia I've been to Melbourne, Perth, Albany, Alice Springs and Brisbane. There's a new series too - about a gorgeous little girl called Clementine Rose. She and Alice-Miranda don't know each other yet, but they will soon.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kent Place School, Summit, NJ

Kent Place School in Summit New Jersey is nestled among a tree lined neighbourhood, surrounded by beautiful homes.  It reminded me a lot of Abbotsleigh and Wahroonga where I work in Sydney.  Except that we don’t have campus police haring around the place in their little golf cart cars.  The school itself has been there since the late 1800s.  I loved the grounds with their numerous bronze statues, recently rebuilt log cabin and a wigwam.

We were greeted so warmly by the librarian Deborah Afir.  I had connected with Deborah quite randomly when I was researching schools in the area. Some of her girls had read Alice-Miranda At School and around the time I emailed her she was pre-ordering Alice-Miranda On Vacation.  It was obviously a visit that was meant to be!

The day started with the Pre-K, Kindergarten and Grade 1 students who were wonderful listeners.  They knew quite a bit about Australia too and I couldn’t believe that the Thorny Devil was mentioned yet again.  I have no idea why it’s such a well-known Australian creature!  The children have a fantastic Science program with two inspiring teachers – I would imagine that’s the reason why the students were so well versed in Australian animals.
The second and third grade students were equally terrific and it was a pleasure working with them .  For lunch we went to the cafeteria which was certainly impressive both in terms of the physical space and also the array of foods on offer.  Ian and I had mac and cheese which was delicious.  There is also plenty of soup, salads, a sandwich bar and other hot food as well as frozen yogurt for dessert which is obviously very popular with the girls.
Deborah took us on a tour of the Primary School and we saw a recorder lesson – and I have to say that it was the best recorder lesson ever!  The song was fun, the recorders melodic and it even began with a very cool rap.  My memories of teaching recorder were pretty much akin to fingernails down a chalk board so this was a magnificent achievement!

We also saw the Science room; complete with an array of animals, including rats – which the girls take turns looking after, a corn snake, newts and a whole tank of Brooke Trout fingerlings that they raise for the fisheries department.  It was impressive indeed.

I signed a great big pile of books for the girls and then met the Grade 4 and 5 students.  Many of them knew Alice-Miranda and were keen to have more books.  In fact I’ve already had emails from students asking that Random House in the USA to publish the rest of the series – and there was rumour of a petition too J

It was a great day and I look forward to heading back to Kent Place again soon!

1 comment:

  1. I am a father of a two child in Cambodia, I love Australia and want my kids educate in with Australian native absorb the knowlegde of Australian culture