Two Saturdays ago, the City of Yarra hosted a book launch for Ginnie & Pinney at the magnificent Reading Room at the Fitzroy Town Hall. I want to thank all those that came to hear Winnie and I read books to the children and to the adults who listened to a short version of the Ginnie & Pinney journey and to Paulette Maskell, Early Learning Education Specialist who gave Ginnie & Pinney a great introduction.
I've chosen Flight of the Kite for this blog because the major learning outcome in this book is about persistence and Winnie and I can talk from experience about 'persistence'. Our Ginnie & Pinney journey started ten years ago with many, many ups and downs, excitement, disappointment, dead ends and ... there’s that word again; persistence!!
In 2011, Winnie and I met at Monash University whilst Winnie was doing a Master of Digital Media. I was her lecturer. I was enchanted by the sweet characters Winnie had been creating as little animations. Once we had both left the university we worked on developing the characters until we were both satisfied.
Of course my background as an animator, script writer, author and creative director had to play a part in how our project was going to develop, although sometimes you don't see the forest for the trees and it wasn't until a friend of mine suggested we create books and digital media that I had a light bulb moment! :)
It wasn’t until 2014 when I read an article in The Age newspaper about teaching empathy and ethics to young children, that we decided this is the overarching theme we wanted to focus on.
We were fortunate to be able to engage fantastic academics to keep us on the right track to align with the Australian Early Years Learning Framework.
in 2015 we took the idea to a group of Chinese academics, through Winnie’s connections in China. We hoped to make a big dint in the Chinese educational market, writing the books in Mandarin with the help of an expert literary translator. When we secured a publishing deal in China we were beyond excited; but as we all know things don't always go as planned so it was back to the drawing board and a move to Plan B; self-publishing for the Australian market.
Why did we choose to write eight books? Why did we choose the characters we did? How did we select the themes for each title? All of these decisions took time and consultation. How many meetings did we have with educators, digital developers, game developers, animation companies, schools, teachers, funding bodies, government bodies and publishers in the hope that we could develop the ideas we were incubating over the last number of years?
After self publishing I found it pretty disheartening going to individual schools to sell the books, but when in 2019 we were selected by the Finnish Educational Organisation, HundrED, as one of a hundred of the most innovative educational resources across 37 countries things started to look up and in 2020 when we were selected by the Victorian Department of Education and Training for the SRF Menu interest from Australian publishers started to flow in.
Finally, after such a long journey, Big Sky Publishing took on Ginnie & Pinney with enthusiasm and we are so very grateful there is a team we can now talk to and get help from. This has freed us up to think about new and other exciting Ginnie & Pinney materials, the latest being, The A-Z of Emotions Flash Cards which will appear on the SRF menu very soon.
So, getting back to Flight of the Kite and the major learning outcome of persistence, you can see that Winnie and I have truly lived the idea of persistence!
In our latest holiday print out of activities, there are many activities that will test your child/children’s persistence. Even the idea of having the children make kites they can fly, just like in Flight of the Kite, is a great idea to teach them about persistence and not giving up!
Here is a link to some good kite making ideas!
Have fun and encourage your children to be PERSISTENT!!
Until next time, have a lovely couple of weeks.