Saturday, February 6, 2010

An Extraordinary Author



Last week we had Deborah Ellis visit our school and speak to students in years 6,7,8,9. Deborah is the author of The Breadwinner (aka Parvanna), Parvanna's journey, and Mud City among 17 other titles.

Her talent is to write about children in situations that children should not be part of - where their basic rights are stripped, and where they are having to do things for survival that even adults would not want to be a part of. The issues she writes about include children in war, refugee camps, orphans from hiv/aids, leprosy and child slave labour in the production of drugs and other commodities.

She was different to most other authors we have had visit in that she uses her craft to bring awareness of the plight of children across the world, and as such she wasn't so much speaking about her books. The focus was on choices the students can make in life to be better human beings and to use their life advantages to help others. The students were deeply moved as she read excerpts from her book of interviews, and told of the people she met while researching for her books - in jails, refugee camps, and through living with the people who are in the situations she writes about. The royalties from some of her books go back to helping the people in the regions the books are about.

We had 4 sessions with Deborah, and I invited some of the executive to come in and listen. They were extremely impressed with what she is doing, and this visit will not just stay as another literature event, but will be used across the curriculum and school to enhance the community and service projects we are planning.

As an added bonus, the students were very keen to read her stories after the visit. I would highly recommend her to any school wanting an author visit that will make an impact. She is not just an incredible author, she is an inspirational human being.

This is an interesting article about her.
http://www.umanitoba.ca/cm/profiles/ellis.html

And another
http://www.quillandquire.com/authors/profile.cfm?article_id=6395

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