AS Victoria was plunged back into lockdown last month, Melbourne Jewish Book Week (MJBW) delivered its Schools Program online. Students heard from leading Jewish Australian and international writers and were given the opportunity to discuss and explore their own creative and intellectual capabilities.
Each student got a chance to explore the ‘making of a book’ from the initial inspiration to the creation of character, plot and themes, to the importance of verifying sources and the need to factcheck when researching online. They also discovered why it can sometimes take years to research, plan, draft, write and illustrate a book for publication.
The MJBW team shared recorded sessions featuring three authors – Meg Rosoff (UK); Dr Emily Grossman (UK); and Anna Fienberg (NSW) – and organised live online interactive sessions with local authors Anna Ciddor, Nicki Greenberg, Elliot Perlman, Dee White and Suzy Zail.
Year 8 students at Mount Scopus Memorial College enjoyed hearing from Old Collegian Zail, who gave an insightful talk about her newest book, Alexander Altmann A10567, and spoke in depth about how she became a writer.
Scopus students also dressed up as their favourite book character and enjoyed Zoom reading sessions and book-related online games and activities.
The positive feedback from all schools and authors has been overwhelming, according to the MJBW team.
MJBW is planning its festival for May next year, looking forward to live events and to continue nurturing the next generation of readers and storytellers by encouraging the value of reading.
The team thanked the local authors for making the switch to online with such short notice and to Gandel Philanthropy whose support made the program possible.