Category Archives: Wow, Milestones Passed

When you wish upon a star hard enough, dreams do come true.

I started writing my first Polly Book five years ago. Then a year ago a friend gave me a strong prod with the end of her toe and told me to, “Go out there and do it.” Thank you, Tonia.

Well whatever IT IS, I’m now doing IT.

I look up into the night sky every evening and make my wish upon my star,  then every morning I tell myself I am going to be the next J.K.Rowling. And you know what, with the support of amazing friends around me I am getting there.

So, what have I done so far? Well, I found myself. When I wrote the first book I wanted to write about Pirates and disabilities,  I linked them together with the Pirates holding their own Paralympic Games – the Pirate Piralympics. Then I realised I actually have a lot more than just good stories to tell, I actually have life lessons to weave into those stories. Life lessons on:

Life lessons on:

a. How it’s not cool to bully,

b. How it’s OK to be different, (after all who wants to be the same as everyone else when we are so individually special),

c. On climate change and not littering the space around us so we can protect our environment to look after this beautiful and fragile planet that we live on and call home, d. to look at the many cultures and diversity there is around the world and within the country’s we live in and to realise that we are more similar than different

d. To look at the many cultures and diversity there is around the world, and within the country’s we live in and to realise that we are more similar than different. Through this learning tolerance of those who do not share the same skin colour, religion, traditions or beliefs.

I have tried to do this through my books and to date this is what I have been busy doing:

  1. I’ve launched the main book, Polly’s Piralympics, in my Polly Piralympics Series (actually now number III),
  2. I am about to release into print How Polly Became a Pirate (number I in the series), and Polly Ya Nae Can Fly (number II in the series),
  3. I am ready to release Polly’s Inuit Piralympics,
  4. I have finished writing the V in the series, Polly’s Indoor Piralympics, though there may be another smaller one that slips in before this one, which I am currently working on,
  5. I will be attending the Indie Authors Book Fair on the 23rd July in Magaliesberg,
  6. I regularly give talks at schools on anti-bullying and it’s OK to be different. Well, they must have liked me because I am already booked to return to all of the schools either late this year or early next year.
  7. I have set up an Authors self-help group that meet at Skoobs Theatre of Books once a month, the Indie Authors Networking group or IAN for short. It was initially set up for those just living in Johannesburg, though we now have members from Capetown, Durban and Grahamstown, as well as further afield – Ethiopia, the UK, the USA, NZ, Australia, Spain, and Zambia – Wow, who would have thought. We are also being asked if others can take and use our model where they live – well or course, that’s what it is all about – empowering authors. Plus we are now LIVE STREAMING THE EVENT THROUGH KIM- ONE OF OUR MEMBERS – SEE TANGO WITH TEXT.

If my writing ever changes children’s thought’s and attitudes, even just a little bit for the better, then my time on this planet will not have been in vain.

So, when I dream upon my star, I know it can come true. I just have to believe it will.

Thank you to all the wonderful people in my life who believe in me: Tonia, Margaret, Sian, Debs, Arthie, and to those I have not named personally but who are ever at my elbow and or course to my mum, that special lady, who never stopped believing in me, even when I took a breath of self-doubt.

#PollysPiralympics, #kidsbooksonantibullying, #kidsbooksondisability, #kidsbooksaboutpirates

Comaro Chronicle/ Polly’s Piralympics is local author’s fifth book | Alberton Record

Polly’s Piralympics is local author’s fifth book

AUTHOR: Jann Weeratunga will soon be launching her book.

AUTHOR: Jann Weeratunga will soon be launching her book.

JANN Weeratunga currently lives in Winchester Hills and is soon launching her fifth children’s book.

Jann was born in London in 1963 and has lived and worked in London, the UK, Sri Lanka, UAE and Bahrain. Now living in the South, Jann will be launching ‘Polly’s Piralympics’ at Skoobs bookshop in Monte Casino on January 28 at 11:00.

Previously a primary school teacher and scout or cub leader, 20 years later, Jann feels that her life experiences gave her a very good grounding for what middle grade readers enjoy reading about.

‘Polly’s Piralympics’ is the fifth children’s book she has written and was inspired by the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympic Games. In his closing speech, Sir Phillip Craven told of how a young boy was reading with his mother. In the book he saw a man with an eye patch, a hook for a hand, a parrot on his shoulder and a wooden leg. When asked who it was, he said; “Well he has only one leg, so he must be an Olympian.”

Such was the strength of the London 2012 Paralympics imagery, that it changed peoples’ perceptions of disability forever. The speech made her both laugh and cry and gave her the inspiration for this series of books, which are both unique in concept as well as content.

Other books are: ‘The Magic Vuvuzela’ and ‘Peter’s Wimbledon Dreams’; both self-published through Amazon. ‘Tane’s Rugby Dream’ and ‘Cricket Crazy’ are yet to be published.

Jann has also written over 100 poems, published on the voicesnet.com website under Jan Weeratunga.

At the launch to be held at Monte Casino, there will be pirates battling for gold, a prize for the best dressed pirate (children and parents can come in fancy dress and be judged on their best costume) and there will be a guest speaker reading a few chapters from ‘Polly’s Piralympics’.

“Children are drawn to magic and sorcerers, dragons and heroes, monsters, witches, thieves and all things that go bump in the night – and of course pirates. There are no books written about pirates with prosthetic limbs, sporting blades or racing wheelchairs however – that is until now,” said Jann.

‘Polly’s Piralympics’ is the first book to bring together all of the 18th century nostalgia of the pirate world that we identify with – galleons, swords, walking the plank, treasure etc. – and adds 21st century technology: sonar, Wi-Fi, mobile phones and eco-technology such as solar sails. The pirates obtain prosthetic limbs, blades and racing wheelchairs in a story about how the pirates hold their own Paralympic Games, or as I prefer to call them the Piralympic Games.

‘Polly’s Piralympics’ describes the humorous situations that the pirates find themselves in during the course of the week-long Piralympics.

‘Polly’s Piralympics’ demonstrates how enemies can become friends through commonality – their disabilities/challenges and love of sport (and food).

“It makes young people aware of how disability is not just physical and how we all in fact have a disability of some sort or other: e.g. one arm, no legs, one eye, can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t count, can’t spell or can’t cook and that no-one is perfect. It demonstrates that some disabilities are more obvious than others and shows how much we can do, rather than what we can’t do. We all learn to compensate for our weaknesses and turn them into strength. It includes cheating; comradeship; laughter and tears and why we should not be a bully,” said the author.

Jann also goes to surrounding schools doing anti-bullying talks. Schools can contact her on janspicssa@gmail.com

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COLOURFUL COVER: The cover of  'Polly's Piralympics' which is being launched soon.

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Shernovia Reddy
Journalist

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#kidsbooks, #piratebookforkids, #pirates, #paralympics, #disabilities

I’m famous, ha,ha,ha

I had a message from Crew mate Belle’s Granny O last night and called her this morning.

Crew mate Belle and her mum had come to visit and they had decided to play Scrabble. Crew mate Belle remember is 6 years old, so playing against two adults is no mean feat.

Apparently crew mate Belle is very competitive.

“She suddenly became very excited when she realised she had the letters that spelt out your first name. So down they went on the Scrabble board. I was very impressed.” Gran O told me with more than a little pride in her voice.

I had met crew mate Belle for an impromptu one on one story reading a week ago, we had sat with feet in the pool and surrounded by my dogs; a brown Labrador, caramel Spaniel and liquorish all sort Husky/Collie cross. Story reading African style. After she had gone home Crew Mate Belle had apparently told her mum.

“…and I met the author, do you know what an author is mum?”

So there it is. I’m sorry crew mate Look but I think crew mate Belle has just piped you to the post as my #1 fan.

Yay I’m famous, I appeared on a Scrabble board!

 

For you FREE copy of HOW POLLY BECAME A PIRATE contact me janspicssa@gmail.com

#Scrabble, #pirates, #number1fan