As an author I bring stories to the world through my words but some days are different and I’m not always behind my desk. If I’m out and about I might be researching for my books in different settings, meeting new people and developing my characters.
Everyone’s experience of the world is different and it’s lovely to read stories seen through the eyes of children.
Recently I was invited to judge a writing competition and was thrilled to be immersed in some young writer’s worlds. The writing pieces included stories about trolls, super heroes, scientists and ghosts.
I was taken to worlds of adventure, mystery and magic. It was inspiring to see the effort these children had made to get their words onto paper.
As the students patiently waited for me to announce the winners, I could see the sparkle in their eyes and smiles appearing. There was a real buzz in the room and a strong sense of pride and achievement.
My opening words to them were Congratulations, I’m proud of you all for giving this a go and entering the competition.
There were three sections: Junior, Grade 3/4 and Grade 5/6.
The winner in the junior section was: The Haunted House by Mabel
One day I was walking down the street when suddenly I saw a house I had never noticed before.
I asked the other kids about it. They said it was haunted!
After school I decided to check it out. I walked inside and it was terrifying!
Suddenly, a ghost jumped out. ‘Argh!’ I screamed. The ghost had blood dripping down its eyes, warts on its nose, prickles on its back and its breath smelled liked rotten banana, dog vomit and fish guts. I ran as fast as I could, all the way home.
‘Happy Halloween,’ said Mum. ‘You look like you’ve seen a ghost.’
The winner in the Grade 3/4 section was: The Count Down to Zeus!! by Tilly
Hi I’m Tilly and I’m going to tell you about the “Count Down to Zeus.” Now you’re probably wondering who Zeus is? He is our new puppy (well we haven’t actually got him yet), and I’m going to get straight into this story.
6 weeks to go!
My family and I got up bright and early and drove through the misty fog to Ballarat to visit the cutest chocolate Lab puppy dogs on earth. As we pulled up to house, a load of friends came running to meet us. They ran around and around our car barking happily.
Once we finally got inside, I couldn’t believe my eyes! Sleeping soundly were eight of the tiniest creatures you could ever see! We held the puppies in our laps and gave them lots of kisses and cuddles. Sadly it was time to leave…
4 weeks to go!
As I madly cross off the days on my calendar, wishing them to disappear, my mum is getting emails constantly from the Breeder Ruth. Would you believe her last name is Bone …Perfect for a dog lover !!! The videos of our boy Zeus and his brothers and sisters are so funny. My Dad is fixing up the yard and repainting the kennel. My Mum and I are talking about how we have to buy lots of new things before we pick up Zeus and that all have to say the same words to help train him. I can’t WAIT!
2 weeks to go!
I arrive at school and tell my friends I have only two weeks to go, until I can collect my new best friend, and that I wish I could time travel to May the 6th when we get to pick him up. I think the girls are all over me talking about him, but I don’t care because I can’t wait!!! We finally find out which puppy is going to be ours and I’m so excited!!! Ruth sends us a video of Zeus taking toys from other puppies and he was being very cheeky! (note to self …put my shoes and socks away …/ …not near Zeus!)
1 week to go!!
The excitement is crazy! Dad has puppy proofed the backyard, mum and us kids have bought everything a puppy could possible need, now all we have to do is eat, sleep, go to school and breathe (big breaths!)
1 day to go!!!
I can’t sleep, I can’t think, I can’t breath, I can’t concentrate! Mum and Dad can’t get me to clean my teeth, brush my hair or even look in the mirror properly, without even squealing, or turning cross eyed! I CANT WAIT!!!
1,2,3 big deep breaths, I can do this. I just need to close my eyes and go to sleep … Sweet dreams Zeus and the same to me too. I can’t wait to play with you tomorrow.
The winner in the Grade 5/6 section was: The Tiger in the Painting by Scarlett
I step into the building from the cold winter air. I have come to an art gallery.
‘Hi Penny!’ my Mum says from across the room. I walk around and look at all the different paintings. I see one that is of a beautiful rainforest with a river and giant tree. Near the middle, there is a little tiger cub siting on a rock.
Suddenly, a lady is showered with champagne from the man next to her. She steps backwards and onto a middle-aged man’s foot. He hops around but then falls onto a table of food that tips over and splatters onto the painting. An old lady rushes over but on the way she bumps me and I fall face first into the painting. Instead of feeling the hard wall, I feel a cool breeze wash over my body. I open my eyes and see the same rainforest from the painting all around me.
‘Hello?’ I say.
The tiger gets up and walks over to me.
‘I’m Hugo,’ he says.
I scream and walk backwards. ‘Is this real?’ I ask.
‘Of course, but I need some help. Last night there was a storm. I got separated from my mother and I can’t find her. Please can you help me?’
I stumble forward and put my hand on Hugo’s head and pat him. He purrs quietly and then asks again.
‘Can you help me?’
‘Sure where do we go?’ I ask.
He walks over to the riverbank and says, ‘This way, I think.’
I cautiously step over to the river’s edge. I look down to the water and realise that it would be too deep to walk across and the current is too strong to swim through. Then suddenly a crocodile comes from the bottom of the water. Hugo and I both jump backwards.
‘Do you need to get across the river?’ he asks in a deep voice.
‘Uh, yeah,’ I stutter, ‘we’re trying to find Hugo’s mother.’
The crocodile speaks again. ‘Ahh. Well I might be able to help you.’
Hugo and I exchange glances. ‘But you will have to solve my riddle first.’
‘Alright,’ Hugo exclaims.
‘You own a wolf, a chicken and a sack of seeds. You come across a river with a boat tied to the bank. You have to get all the things across untouched, one at a time. How do you do it?’
I sit down on the lush green grass. Hugo sits down too. Wolves eat chickens, chickens eat seeds, I think to myself.
I think to myself. I think for a little while longer. I suddenly jump up.
‘I know the answer! You take the chicken across the lake, then go back and bring the seeds across and take the chicken back. Then you have to take the wolf over, then go back and get the chicken!’ I exclaim.
‘Well done! I will take you across the river. Get on my back.’ The crocodile laughs.
Hugo and I clamber onto his back and he swims over to the other side. We climb off then turn around to thank the old crocodile but he is gone. We just keep walking.
Soon after that we hear someone scream.
And then suddenly a bigger tiger jumps out of the bushes.
‘Mother!’ Hugo yells and they rub their noses together.
‘Oh thank you so much for saving my precious Hugo,’ the mother says.
She walks off behind a tree and comes back with something in her mouth. I take it and she says.
‘Have this so you will never forget your act of kindness.’
It is a necklace with a little paw-print pendant. I put it on and then hug her.
‘I love it!’ I say.
‘You’d better get back home,’ Hugo says.
He leads me over to a tree.
‘Just walk through here, I will never forget you.’
I pat him and then walk straight through the tree. I feel the warmth of a heater blast over me. Everyone is still in the same position as when I left. I feel my chest and the necklace is still there.
It touched my heart to watch the children proudly holding their certificates at the end of the presentation. There will always be a place in the world for storytelling and events like these, present the talents of the next generation of storytellers. Please never give up on your dreams.
I was given a surprise thank you gift. I think someone knows I love sunflowers.
Happy writing all.