Year 3-6 students had a treat this week when author Michael Speechley spoke with them on Webex. Fourteen students and three teachers attended the session.

Michael’s first picture book, The All New Must Have Orange 430, explores themes of consumerism and the environment. It was shortlisted for the Children’s Book of the Year Award in 2019, and was the winner of The Wilderness Society’s 2019 Environment Award for Children’s Picture Fiction. His second book is The Gift, which was published in September 2019. This book deals with loss, kindness and the joy of giving. It was a Notable Book in the 2020 CBCA Book of the Year Awards.

Michael’s books are published by Penguin Books
Michael and Liz in the studio for the Webex session
Michael with teacher librarians Liz Allen and Amy Rosato
Michael left his autograph on the door of Studio2 at SIDE

The students had already been reading and discussing Michael’s books with teacher librarian Liz Allen in the weeks prior to the Webex session. The focus in this first Webex session was on The All New Must Have Orange 430. Liz especially chose a jacket that she thought complemented the book!

Michael spent part of the session discussing where his ideas came from and how it had taken him 10 years to develop the story and the illustrations. He talked about creating attention and interest in each page through text, texture, movement and the drawings themselves. Students enjoyed hearing about the way Michael included hidden symbols and objects in his illustrations in the story of The All New Must Have Orange 430. He also talked about the way ‘found’ objects had inspired him and the development of end papers and the cover.

Michael also had time to visit the SIDE Library Resource Centre to check out the display with teacher librarians Liz Allen and Amy Rosato.

If you are in Year 3-6 and missed this session you have a chance to see Michael again next week:

Wednesday 17 June at 11.30 WST Webex

Make sure you bring something to draw with.