New Zealand writers, illustrators and storytellers visit schools in Taranaki

Authors Ben Brown and Cristina Sanders (centre) visited students and teachers at the Pembroke school. Photo/Alyssa Smith

New Zealand storytellers, illustrators and authors visited schools in Taranaki this week to instill a love of reading and storytelling.

Award-winning author and New Zealand’s first Children’s Reading Ambassador / Te Awhi Rito Ben Brown, Wellington historical fiction writer Cristina Sanders, Penguin Random House NZ editor Stuart Lipshaw and Tania Sickling visited different schools in the area this week.

The Storylines organizes Story Tours in different parts of the country every year. Guests visit different schools, childcare centers and community venues to reach communities across the country.

The goal of Storylines National Story Tours is to connect young readers with New Zealand writers, illustrators, poets and storytellers for children and young adults, to share the joy of books and reading.

Ben Brown visited the Pembroke school on Wednesday alongside Cristina Sanders to speak to pupils.

Ben (Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Koroki, Ngāti Paoa) says he was delighted to visit the school.

“I was last in Stratford in 2010. I always enjoy visiting the small towns of Taranaki.”

Nieve Rayner (10) from the Rimu class says the visit was interesting and she learned how beneficial storytelling and reading can be.

“By reading and listening to stories, you engage with the world and listen to stories.”

Ben says that in addition to sharing the importance of reading, he also wants to drive home the importance of storytelling.

“The stories we hear shape our perception of the world and I think we are blessed to be able to share stories with others. We all love stories and they can do people so much good.”

Stories and words are beautiful things and can be used to teach lessons, Ben says.

“I remember the stories I was told and the lessons that were incorporated into them. I loved hearing stories that explained how the world works and how we participate in it. Stories contain metaphors within metaphors and show to children that their worth is important.”

Izzy Single, (10) from the Kowahi class, said the presentation was fascinating.

Izzy says she found the books written by Ben and Cristina “interesting. I like to write so it inspired me to write more stories”.

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