Lower Hutt is now home to 46 new published authors. A book launch ended the annual new year liturgy yesterday evening at St Bernadette’s School in Naenae.
Our Book Our Stories features poetry, prose and illustrations by 46 year 7 and 8 students who worked with children’s author Moira Wairama over six weeks.
The result is a collection of stories that reflect the cultural heritage and family stories of children from a wide range of backgrounds.
The young authors receive their copy of Our Book Our Stories from Moira Wairama and Jess Hubbard
From Samoan legends to memories of a street festival in Colombia, war stories to an account of arriving in Wellington from Ethiopia, each page includes a profile photo of the author along with their poem, story or illustration.
The book is the culmination of our most recent Writers in Communities project, best described as a mini writer’s residency in one school or group of schools within a community.
Designer and publisher Jess Hubbard (left) with author and teacher Moira Wairama at the launch of Our Book Our Stories in Naenae
Moira Wairama presented the books to each student, acknowledging the power of their own voice.
“You might not want to write books when you grow up – you might want to be artists, or play rugby league. But the truth is you are writers. When you go into the library, ask for your book, show your friends. You should be extremely proud of yourselves.”
Moira says that for children who were reluctant writers, poetry worked as a ‘hook’ to get them started.
“Poetry is the most wonderful way to get 46 children excited about writing and distilling their ideas down to the best words,” she says.
St Bernadette’s principal Jo Buckley came across the Writers in Communities project while visiting another school, and says it’s worked well for her students, inspiring them to write poetry and share their family stories with each other.
‘’I’d totally recommend it to other schools. The opportunity to work alongside a real published author is a gift.”
Read more about our Writers in Communities programme
See RNZ's coverage of our previous WIC project (St Mary Mackillop School, Auckland).