Only a few days after hanging up the framed Premier's Reading Challenge poster of our students in our new BER school library (our students were selected this year's Challenge "poster kids", below), and opening the library to its first timetabled week of visitors, I was off to represent us at the annual reception. This year, the PRC celebrated another successful year at the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour.
My official job this year was to be the minder for football heroes, Mario Fenech and Hazem El Masri (that's Hazem in the background of the first pic, behind those two handsome superheroes). Mario and Hazem had a great rapport with the students attending the event, and slipped in plenty of references to the value of reading, as each group wound its way through short, meet 'n' greet activities - with a host of popular children's authors and illustrators, including Duncan Ball with Selby the Talking Dog (who stayed mute), and Kim Gamble sketching yet another "Tashi" masterpiece as we watched, gobsmacked.
Kim Gamble draws "Tashi".
Snow White was also there, making balloon animals, and there was a very gregarious Superman, who, at the event's close, did additional duties - as Selby's minder and Grug's wrangler!
Yes, Grug is back! Remember that shaggy caveman creature from the 1980s, in Ted Prior's hugely popular little picture books? Well, Grug is back in print, and many of the younger students found their own little stuffed Grug in their goody bags (look out for them in bookstores this Christmas!) Several of the adults noticed, just before the Premier's car was due, that a huge blue vinyl bag had arrived in the foyer. Normally, such an occurrence may have caused a security alert, but we were abuzz with "It's Grug! Grug's in that bag! What else is that shape like that? That'll be Grug!" (Well, we had noticed his name on the guest list, which helped immensely.)
Grug arrives undercover!
Premier of NSW, Kristina Keneally, spoke passionately about the joy of reading, and the many rewards that books can bring.
Children's author Andrew Daddo sums up. Boori "Monty" Pryor is in front of me!
Superman is asked to round up the overheated Grug and Selby.
Grug has left the building!