Last Wednesday I attended a fabulous conference, The Creativity Project that was put on in Sydney by Big Fat Smile, an organisation that is a community owned, non-profit organisation that started on the South Coast to help and inspire families and children. There were some truly inspirational speakers. The first was the author, John Marsden and it was so good to hear him talk about teaching writing in the way that works for writers rather than to purely do well in a standardised test. He mentioned one of my favourite writers, Jane Gardham and I was motivated to come home and pull out some of her stories to reread. I was amazed too, to read that she is now in her eighties, but still writing.
The final speaker was Richard Gill and as usual his passion for creativity, teaching and the arts oozed from him. He makes you want to race back to school and be as zealous as possible. Of course there were other wonderful speakers as well, but these two were my highlights, together with the unstoppable MC Annabel Crabb, another truly inspiring role-model.
I am looking at illustrators and writers of picture books with new eyes too. At the moment I am very enamoured of three very creative books, Zephyr Takes Flight by Steve Light, Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford and Gabi Swiatkowska, and You Are Stardust by Elin Kelsey and Soyeon Kim. Each of these books is extremely original, idea-wise and art-wise. They call out to be examined closely and to be revisited regularly, my criteria for very good books.
As an added bonus I have just learned from Happy Birthday Author that it happens to be Steve Light's birthday today. I need to look for other books by each of these authors and illustrators because they are all 'firsts' for me.