Vogel Award Winner 2012!

Battle of the Birds has won the Sir Julius Vogel Award 2012 for Best Youth Novel. See the results here.


Tainui School Visit (Monday 1 October 2011)

I attendedTainui School where I received a terrific welcome from staff and students.

In Rm11 I was impressed to see students re-working their stories a second and third time. Editing our work is what makes it better. My own stories are full of scribbles and changes.We also talked about the importance of reading as much as possible and keeping a notebook of interesting words to build our vocabulary. Lately, I've been collecting 13-letter words. Hornswoggling - that's a good one isn't it? It means to trick someone. I can't wait to use hornswoggling in a story!

In Rm13 we crafted a story based on the premise behind Battle of the Birds. There were so many great ideas, it was hard to get started. Realising their story needed a character, Rm13 came up with a sporty league player named Eli. A skateboarder, Eli likes to chew gum and eat jam toast. But Eli's backpack is pink! Sooo embarassing! No wonder he sprinted behind a statue to hide from the crowd. I love the way Rm13 started their story in a punchy way to capture readers' attention.The class thought hard about ways they could show what Eli was thinking, rather than simply telling us. When we split up for individual writing, some intriguing plots developed. I'm looking forward to reading the finished stories.

Rm9. Wow! What incredible stories! I can see I'm going to be out of a job soon. Wonderful use of original similies and metaphors. Most of you knew how to vary your sentence structure to make your stories interesting, and to chose active, exciting verbs. There was even a terrific example of personification. Good writers use their observations to enrich their writing. Rm9 already knew this; one student plucked some great dialogue from a netball game.



Papamoa Pukeko Workshop (Saturday 17 September 2011)

Papamoa Library hosted a free story reading and paper-folding workshop to launch Battle of the Birds. Lee says she was delighted to launch her first book from Papamoa Library. ‘Battle of the Birds is set here in the Bay of Plenty so it was especially significant to launch the book locally.’
Children’s writer and personality Tommy ‘Kapai’ Wilson welcomed families to the event and presented Lee with a beautiful writing touchstone. ‘Tommy Wilson is the kind of writer I aspire to be,’ Lee says. ‘After visiting over 100 schools in and around the Bay of Plenty, Tommy is a writer who is truly connected to his readers.’ Other members of Tauranga’s writing community also attended, including Paul Bennett (Walking with the Taniwha) Susan Brocker (Restless Spirit, Saving Sam, Dreams of Warriors, The Wolf in the Wardrobe, Brave Bess and the ANZAC Horses), Bryan Winters (Finding Samson) and NZSA regional delegate, Jenny Argante.    
As well as enjoying readings from the story, children attending the launch were able to make their own pukeko hat to take home. Why pukeko? ‘They’re a favourite,’ Lee says, ‘although there is a scene in Battle of the Birds where a pukeko chick bites Annie on the bellybutton.’ There was no bellybutton biting allowed at the launch, but the little pukekos could help themselves to gummy worms!


Nikki, Simone, and Celine helping out with the hats



Katikati College Writing Competition (Friday 9 September 2011)

Here I am with Maisie from Katikati College who won a writing competition for Yr 7/ 8 with a terrific story about hand-me-downs. Maisie's story impressed the judges with imagery that made good use of the senses, engaging realistic characters and a surprise twist at the end. Maisie won a book voucher sponsored by Tauranga Writers and a copy of Battle of the Birds. I was lucky enough to spend the morning in Maisie's class and hear some examples of the students' persuasive writing. I learned that there are some very talented young writers in Katikati!