A recent week of Book Week workshops via zoom, at the Higaturu Oil Palm International School, was wondrous.
Students were willing to imagine and open their eyes to a sense of wonder, to explore other worlds within worlds, from nature, to rivers to the moon and outerspace.
We began with learning about cheeky Cassowaries hungry and looking for food after a cyclone, and imagining what they might say or think, and advanced to humourous dialogues within the river and exploring a sense of wonder, through sensory adventure poems.
Students learnt about the power of working in pairs and in groups and how many voices combined can create, extend and then joyously and confidently perform their creations.
Throughout I used my own illustrated poetry book, Magic Fish Dreaming, as the main mentor text with a storytelling session also of Michelle Worthington’s Book, Possum Games.
Both had kindly been posted and provided to the school by Tina from CYA. This meant we could read together, and as I have dialogue poems and question and answer structures this was fantastic to have each student have the book on the other side of the zoom.
I was impressed by how the students worked with each other on some in the river dialogues and their humour and inventiveness throughout the week began to shine through.
I am delighted the school community (families and staff) gave permission for me to share their work.
More important than products though, is the process of creativity that the children undertook within their classroom. By reflecting on that stories can come from that which you know through your senses and take you to places you might only imagine.
I hope these children, will create many more poems or stories and strengthen and contribute to building a publishing community within Papua New Guinea, beginning from anthologies within their school and moving beyond the anthologies for their communities. Building perhaps collectives for theirs and future generations.
With many thanks to the school, students , staff of the Higaturu Oil Palm International School, and Tina of CYA.
Photographs courtesy of the Higaturu Oil Palm International School, shared with their permission