A Cool Review for Shine in the Guardian

Shine by Candy Gourlay
'A precious and important novel that also explores exile from neighbours, family and country. The book is about reinvention and the faces we present to the world, whether it be in person, on a postcard or on the internet, all wrapped up in an exciting and perfectly paced story with a disturbing and dramatic climax.'
Philip Ardagh, The Guardian
Read the review

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Diaries of Definitely UN-Wimpy Kids


The first comic diary I read was this comic
made by Sarah McIntyre, illustrating
a diary she kept when she was a teen.
Here'sSarah's blog post on where she got the idea.
Where do you get your ideas?

That has got to be the most frequently asked question I've encountered in school visits. The children also tell me (though in politer words): 'You're OLD. You've already had a lot of experiences. We're YOUNG. What experiences do we have to write about?'

The answer? A lot. But you've got to pay attention. And keeping a diary is one way of learning how.

Last summer, I ran a three day workshop for South Friern Library in Barnet. I asked the kids to keep a little diary during those three days.

I made the diaries myself, folding sheets of A5 paper in half and stapling them together into a little booklet which I handed out at the very beginning of the course.

I got the idea from the graphic novel course I attended last winter, run by comic maker Emily Haworth Booth.

When Emily asked us to keep a comics diary, I was a bit worried.

I mean, I'd been starting and abandoning diaries since I was a teenager. I just didn't think I could keep at it. Writing was already my day job and writing some more didn't seem like fun.

But keeping a diary in comics was different. I couldn't stop! I filled my drawing book in no time. Changing the medium somehow freed me to express myself.

A frame from one of my comic diary entries in which my daughter begs for a pet dog.

So when I asked the kids to keep their own diaries, the rule was: do whatever you like, as often or as little as you like. Draw, write essays, write poetry, write captions, paste pictures, whatever.


DIARY KEEPING TIPS

1. Write as little or as much you like. But try to write regularly. Turn diary keeping into a habit.

2. Diaries are not all words. If, like me, you like drawing, then draw! I keep comics diaries! Experiment to find the best way to put your thoughts down.

3. You might find it easier to write to somebody, which is why so many write ‘Dear Diary’ – in The Color Purple by Alice Walker, the heroine keeps a diary in which she writes to ‘Dear God’.

4. Diaries are not just about keeping a record. Ask questions. Someday when you re-read your diary, you might find you know the answers.

5. You can also print out a photo you took during the day and caption it. If you're posting photos on social media, you might already be keeping a sort of diary!

6. Make lists. Check out the opening chapter of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend below.

7. Have fun!

Writing is not just about writing. It's about paying attention to the world around you. Noticing things. Trying to see things through other peoples' eyes. Digging under the surface. Thinking. Asking questions.

All these will feed into the writer you are going to become.



Ask questions, maybe someday you'll know the answer. From My Diary by Sarah McIntyre

The diary exercise was new to me. I hadn't tried it before. This time though I was going to see the same group of children for three whole days. Guess what? They loved it!

Right now, I'm getting ready for a school tour in and around Manila. I'm doing a few school visits in Hong Kong too. If I'm visiting YOUR school, you might want to have a go at keeping a diary ... I'd love to see what you do with it! For inspiration, have a look at these pages from the diaries of the children at my South Friern workshop:

Click on the images to enlarge






If you're a teacher or librarian and would like to get your kids to make diaries, do get in touch (scroll down to the contact form) and I'll send you a pdf of my Dear Diary Flyer.


I'M GOING HOME TO MANILA TO LAUNCH SHINE, PHILIPPINE EDITION ...



... AND I'M GOING TO BE SPEAKING IN A LOT OF PLACES! 

13 Sept
Saturday
Afternoon
HK
SCBWI Hong Kong Part One - A Writer is Just a Rabbit Staring at Rabbit Holes. Writers are like rabbits staring at rabbit holes that represent character, story and setting. We must dive in, go as far as we can go, in order for our stories to reveal themselves. Candy will talk about how there are no half measures in unfolding a story and how we are all better authors for the journey we have to take.

Part Two - If Everyone's Now Got a Platform, How are You Going to Stand Out? We are all wise to the internet now, all tweeting, blogging, Facebooking. But is anybody listening? Candy Gourlay was an early adopter of the Internet, blogging before Blogger was invented, learning web design before content management systems became ubiquitous, and trying out every new thing that came along from MySpace to Tumblr. She will be discussing the author's biggest challenge: being discovered by readers. There will be tips and tricks and strategies. But be warned. Ultimately, it will be about writing a good book.
15 Sept
Monday
Morning
HK
8.35 am
Bradbury School School Visit
15 Sept
Monday
Afternoon
HK
12 pm
Glenealy School School Visit
16 Sept
Tuesday
HK
8.30 am
Peak School School Visit
20 Sept
Saturday
Pasay City
8 am
Manila International Book Fair -
Mall of Asia: Meeting Room 8, SMX Convention Centre
Why I Write for Young Readers. I will be speaking to an audience of educators - librarians and teachers who are already at the frontline of the reading battle. They already know the value of fostering a love of reading in their students. I will argue that that is not enough. Our educators must not only seek to create readers, they must also empower their pupils to become writers. 
22 Sept
Monday
Biñan, Laguna
8 am
The Beacon Academy School visit
22 Sept
Monday
Calamba, Laguna
12pm
Xavier Nuvali School visit
22 Sep
Monday
Biñan, Laguna
2 pm
Alpha Angelicum Academy School Visit
23 Sept
Tuesday
Mandaluyong
1 pm
Poveda School Visit
23 Sept
Tuesday
Quezon City
1 pm
Ateneo de Manila School Visit
24 Sept
Wednesday
Makati
11am
The Beacon Academy School Visit
25 Sept
Thursday
Makati
8 am
Colegio de San Agustin School Visit
25 Sept
Thursday
Sampaloc
2 pm
University of the East Lecture
26 Sept
Friday
Quezon City
8 am
Miriam College School Visit
26 Sept
Friday
Quezon City
3.30 pm
St Theresa's College School Visit - my alma mater!
27 Sept
Saturday
Makati
9.30 am to 1.30 pm
Write Away Event (Where the Write Things Are, ) Workshop
27 Sept
Saturday
Makati
4 pm
National Book Store, Glorietta I SHINE BOOK LAUNCH and signing. Yehey!
1 October
Wednesday
Tanauan, Batangas
Ambulong Elementary School and Janopol Elementary School I will be fulfilling pledges I made to the Authors for the Philippines auction, delivering signed copies of my books, one CD set of Tall Story, and a school visit care of the Sambat Trust. I will also be opening one of the Sambat Trust's school libraries!


... and now some brazen promotion for my favourite charity:

give a car - your old car can pay for someone's education
Your old car can pay for someone's education. 

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