Au­thor an open book

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS - Ben Smith

NEW­TON Pri­mary School stu­dents have re­ceived a crash course in book writ­ing af­ter re­ceiv­ing a visit from award-win­ning au­thor Mark Greenwood.

The Spear­wood school hosted the his­tor­i­cal writer, who has pub­lished books on icons such as Ned Kelly, Simp­son and his don­key and Moon­dyne Joe, last month.

Greenwood ran a work­shop with year 5 and 6 stu­dents to help them de­velop a pic­ture book based around the ship­wreck of the Ste­fano on Nin­ga­loo Reef in 1875.

There were just two sur­vivors of the ship­wreck, who were res­cued by two Abo­rig­i­nal groups, un­der­stood to be the Jinigudira and Bai­jungu groups, and nursed back to health for sev­eral months.

New­ton Pri­mary School deputy prin­ci­pal Liz Efthyvou­los said she had been a fan of Greenwood’s work for some time and the stu­dents ben­e­fited greatly from his tute­lage.

“I have used Mark’s books for more than a decade as spring­boards into his­tor­i­cal lit­er­acy in my class­rooms. I love his style of writ­ing and I could see the story of the Ste­fano be­ing re­told in a sim­i­lar fash­ion,” she said.

“Our stu­dents love to write and I wanted to help them solve a writ­ing problem - how to make this very in­ter­est­ing story read­able and ac­ces­si­ble.

“I also be­lieve that it is a beau­ti­ful story of kind­ness and care, re­gard­less of the lan­guage bar­rier, and at­tests to the Indige­nous spirit.”

Greenwood said he had en­joyed show­ing the process of com­pos­ing and piec­ing to­gether a story.

“A lot of kids see the end re­sult of books but they don’t see the think­ing, plan­ning, re­search­ing, ideas and how those ideas for­mu­late, so that’s what I’m try­ing to show,” he said.

“I al­ways hope that some of th­ese kids will be­come our au­thors of the fu­ture. Some of them might go away from to­day and think ‘I’ve got an­other idea’.”

Au­thor Mark Greenwood with New­ton Pri­mary School stu­dents.

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