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Children from North Shore’s Stanley Bay Primary School today, Thursday 28th August 2008, launched the book SUPERTASTIC MARVELISTIC, a collection of stories and poems written and illustrated by the children for children, at Unity Books in the CBD. Kevin Ireland, one of New Zealand’s most highly acclaimed writers, who has also contributed to the book, was at today’s launch, alongside some of the children, their teachers and the founder of charity Kenzie’s Gift, Nicola Russell, who will receive the proceeds from the sale of the books.
The book has been entirely devised, created, written and illustrated by the Year 5/6 children over the last two terms with the assistance of class teachers Catherine Kelsey and Stephen Grady. The children wanted to produce a book where the profits would go to charity and they chose a local Devonport charity, Kenzie’s Gift to support. Kenzie’s Gift (www.kenziesgift.com) was founded by Nicola Russell in memory of her three year old daughter, Kenzie, who died from cancer in December 2005. Kenzie’s Gift was established to meet the emotional needs of children who are living with cancer as this is not presently provided for in the community setting in New Zealand. Nicola spent time with the Stanley Bay School children and was able to share some of her experiences so they could empathise and understand the needs and challenges many children face when living with life threatening illnesses. Nicola was pleased to say, “I am delighted that with money raised from the sale of these books we will be able to help even more families. Kenzie’s Gift will also be donating copies of the books to sick children on the Oncology Ward of Starship Hospital. Having spent many days on this ward with Kenzie, I know that that every bit of pleasure can make all the difference to the children’s well-being.”
Class teacher Mrs Kelsey said, “This has been the most amazing project for the children to get involved with. Not only have they learnt about the needs of children, many of whom are sick in hospital and truly welcome entertaining material to break up the boredom, they have understood and had the practical experience of producing something for real – seeing a concept through to the finished product – writing it, editing it, budgeting for it and finally marketing it.”
The school approached publishing company First Edition Publishing about the project and they agreed to print the books up front so that there was no initial outlay by the school. The 60 page, paper back book, will sell at a retail price of $21.95, with all profits going to Kenzie’s Gift. The book can be purchased via email firstname.lastname@example.org or through Unity Books, High Street, Auckland or North Shore bookshops, Paradox Books and Next Page Please.
Kevin Ireland, commenting at the launch, said, “I was honoured to be asked by the children of Stanley Bay School to contribute to this innovative book. We all know the importance of getting children to read and to be able to provide kids with literature that they can relate to and find amusing is very encouraging. I hope that this project will inspire many of the children to continue to write – many of the stories and poems in this book are of a high standard and they should be proud of themselves”.