October 2, 2012

Pay It Forward: School Holiday Programme

The term 3 school holidays are in full swing here in New Zealand, and to the relief of many parents, the local library has been hosting a range of events to help keep the kids entertained.

I eagerly took my two youngest daughters, and an extra friend along to todays event: Sketch and Scratch! Meet and have fun with illustrator Heather Hunt and Todd Hamilton from Whangarei Heads Backyard Kiwi project.

The library soon filled up with children and parents, who sat nicely and listened intently as librarian Sue, read the book Kiwi: The Real Story

This was followed by a very interesting and informative talk given by Backyard Kiwi project manager Todd Hamilton about Kiwi's and what really goes on in their world.

Todd 'tracking' Kiwi
Todd with Kiwi

This really great, child friendly discussion included a show and tell segment with stuffed Kiwi and Stoats (one of their many predators), an example of tagging and using radio frequencies to track the Kiwi's movements and sleep patterns, and listening to the differing calls of the male and female birds.
The children were well engaged, and during a question and answer section participated with an already impressive knowledge of this special NZ icon.

We were then treated to a demonstration from the illustrator, on how she likes to get into character and draw her beautifully expressive, and cute Kiwi's before she happily made the rounds of the room, talking with, and helping the children to draw their own Kiwi's.

Demo from illustrator Heather Hunt
Kiwi in motion
Kids drawing their own Kiwi's
Young illustrator in the making!

This was a really great chance to learn more about one of our more secretive, and beloved native birds, as well as meeting the illustrator of this beautiful book.

Kiwi: The Real Story
by Annemarie Florian, Heather Hunt

While the kiwi is often depicted as an endangered national symbol in need of our protection, this book takes a dramatically different route. Kiwi: the real story invites the reader into the secret night world of the North Island brown kiwi, illuminating the facts about its habitat, diet, courting, and parenting. Beautiful illustrations accompany a story that can be read on two levels: for young children a bold rhythmic verse describes kiwi in action in the bush, while the non-fiction narrative provides older readers with added insight into kiwi biology and behaviour. The combination of verse, factual text and bold expressive pictures harmonise in a new and intriguing view of a bird we feel we know so well, yet have much still to learn about. A collaboration between bookseller and librarian Annemarie Florian and artist Heather Hunt, Kiwi: the real story offers a memorable reading experience for readers of all ages.

Annemarie Florian is owner of STORYTIME : Award-Winning Books and Toys, www.storytime.net.nz.
An Education Librarian in a previous life, she has convened the Russell Clark Award and was a judge for the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards 2012. Other publications include Time to Sleep and Books for Babies. Heather Hunt is an illustrator, graphic designer, artist and photographer. She recently worked with Backyard Kiwi, a local Landcare Whangarei initiative, to design a distinctive and unique kiwi character, which has now been portrayed in a range of art prints.

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