#AustraliaRemembers #blogtour #booksontour #day5
Why does Australian culture, history and war mean so much to Allison Paterson? How does she bring and encourage this spirit and tradition to children of today? It’s all here, plus more…
Allison, please tell us a bit about your heritage and how you’ve connected with stories of war?
I’m of Irish, Scottish and English stock with my first ancestor to arrive in Australia being a convict, then came a soldier, a sailor, those chasing gold and those just wanting a better life. As mentioned, my grandfather and his four brothers served in World War I and wrote hundreds of letters to their brother and parents at home on the farm. The desire to honour the service of my ancestors was a huge inspiration and my first books, both the adult and children’s versions of Anzac Sons, are based on a collection of over 500 letters sent from the Western Front by my grandfather and his four brothers. Their courage and tragic sacrifices inspire me every day. The concept for Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials has come from my experience of being a teacher librarian and writing Anzac Sons. Honouring the service of all members of our armed forces became very important to me. My children’s picture books Granny’s Place and Shearing Time are inspired by childhood memories of my grandparents and life on the farm, while my upcoming young adult book Follow After Me combines the past, today, family, rural life and war into one!
How do find your presenting at various schools valuable for students in
increasing their literacy and social/worldly knowledge?
I have a range of author talks. I confess that my favourites are Remembrance – One Family’s Story and the talk I have been presenting on my recent tour – Australia Remembers. The reactions of the students and their thoughtful questions are amazing – I am reassured that our Anzacs will not be forgotten. My literary talks and workshops focus on aspects of literacy including narrative and persuasive writing. They focus on strategies to really make writing come to life, like using your setting as a character and turning it into a place that has a past and can impact upon characters. My workshops begin with a section about what inspires writers. This allows me to introduce my own experience and the story of my ancestors, so I manage to share my knowledge of the Anzacs with students and reinforce my message of commemoration.
Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials is a valuable resource for primary students to be able to connect with the traditions of Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, in essence, to keep the memories of war and its recipients forever alive and celebrated. What are the most significant points you’d like your readers to take away from this book? What do you hope it will achieve?
I hope that readers develop both an understanding and respect for the role that our armed services have in the development of our wonderful country and the way of life we enjoy today. It is designed to ensure that the next generation shares the history and traditions of our important commemorative occasions. I also hope it encourages children to find out about the experiences of their own ancestors.
Australia Remembers is filled with phenomenal facts, colour, photographs, and of course, spirit! What has been your favourite part of creating this book and the series?
My favourite part of the creation process was the opportunity to talk with people and connect with them through their experiences and the quotes they provided. Research is also one of the best aspects of writing a book like Australia Remembers. I have come across so many fascinating details that surround our major days of commemoration!
What are your plans for taking this book in celebration and memoriam of Remembrance Day this year?
I’ve just returned from far north and western Queensland where I’ve been on an author tour to promote Australia Remembers. Marking one hundred years since the signing of the Armistice is hugely significant. I plan to be commemorating and sharing Australia Remembers with the community that farewelled my ancestors during the years of WWI.
What has your publishing experience with Big Sky Publishing been like for you? How have they supported you throughout the process?
Absolutely wonderful! Throughout the process of each of my books Big Sky Publishing have been collaborative, supportive and a pleasure to work with. We share a passion for great Australian stories.
The next book in this marvellous series is Australia Remembers: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Defence Force. What can you share about your research for this title? How many more titles in the series have you got planned?
Australia Remembers: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Defence Force is underway and will be released in 2019. It explores the history of the Army, Navy and Air Force in Australia, along with the shared and specific customs and traditions which have developed, sometimes over centuries! It will be a terrific resource for answering the questions which arise around our commemorative services. The whole series plan is a work in progress and we have lots of ideas that we are exploring for future titles.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers wanting to put together a
non-fiction series of their own? What’s the biggest take-away you’ve learned from the process?
Find the gaps in the market and target those, look carefully at the curriculum and be very clear about your audience!
Thank you, Allison! Your thorough responses are eye-opening! 😇
Share further in the significance of Australia Remembers as Allison Paterson continues her tribute in this engaging interview at Norah Colvin’s teaching resource website; readilearn.
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