Tag Archives: Polly’s Piralympics

Vision View Sports Radio Interview

Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, interview with Vision View Sports Radio

VVSR_FB_LogoThank you Thabang from, I just loved doing the interview with you guys. You made me feel at ease from the minute I met you all.

Sitting out on the verandah 19th Hills with the sun setting was such a wonderful venue. You entertained Polly and I just loved you line of questioning – one of the best researched interviews I have had, it really made me feel relaxed.

dav

 

 

An Elephant in My Kitchen

Finally, I got to meet the author.

“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth, my two front teeth.”

Well, l not exactly, all I wanted was ‘An Elephant in my Kitchen,” by Francoise Malby-Anthony. It didn’t quite happen for Christmas, but I did get it for my birthday in January and had finished it within days. It made me laugh and of course cry, but it also made me angry. Angry that in this day an age, there are not enough consequences in Africa to prevent an animal that has been on the planet since the dinosaurs being poached to the brink of extinction. Angry because humans can be so callous and cruel. Angry because I felt helpless.

I had the pleasure of meeting Francoise in the Green Room at the Kingsmead Book Fair, where the authors mingle and meet their interviewers, before heading off for their sessions. Mine had just finished and hers was due to start. Of course, I knew she was would be there, and I just so happened to have my copy of her book with me, ha, ha, ha.

Even though I am a recognised author in my own right, with my Polly’s Piralympics Series, I was still a little nervous to approach her; which is strange because I had been approached by and had approached other authors all morning. Maybe it was because I had read her book, as well as ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ and ‘The Last Rhino’ by her late husband Lawrence Anthony. I don’t know, but with her book firmly clutched in my hand and butterflies in my stomach I walked over to her.

Immediately as she smiled at me all the butterflies dissipated, and at that moment I realised that that is probably how the youngsters feel when they come up to me to get their books signed. Well, nerves gone, we chatted for about 5 minutes before she had to leave for her talk.

Well, I can tell you I was dead chuffed and Francoise, thank you so much for the special personalised message, I think we will be talking again.

Oh, and what did we chat about?

Hmm, I think you are going to have to read #7 in the Polly’s Piralympics Series to find out –’ Polly Returns to Africa’.  And maybe, just maybe, there is another parallel series being written at the moment that you can get free, by signing up to my newsletter. Click below.

http://eepurl.com/gr9RhL

#PollysPiralympics, #RichardtheRhino, #PollyReturnstoAfrica #AnElephantinMyKitchen

 

 

Back to The Ridge School to Deliver Even More Books

So, it was back to the Ridge Preparatory School, in Westcliffe to deliver more books today.

I met with their librarian who needed more Toucane and the Rubbish Rangers books. As I was handing them over, some grade 1’s appeared,

“Aren’t you the author lady with the birds?”

Well, I suppose that is one way to describe me, ha, ha, ha. I actually think they remember the puppets better than they remember me.

I think deep down every little boy wants to be a superhero, and Toucane and the Rubbish Rangers teaches children how to pick up rubbish/litter and put it in the bin. There is even a song in the book, which is very catchy and the kids love it.

So, with the extra books delivered, I bid the adieu and said I would see the Grade 3-5’s again in August, with Polly the Parrot. Who knows, maybe Hegwig will pop in to meet Polly the Parrot?

#Polly’sPiralympicsSeries

 

Anti-bullying at the Kindsmead Book Fair

The Kingsmead Book Fair 25th May is nearly here! I must admit I’m starting to get a few butterflies, but I know that Polly and Toucane will be on the end or my arms, so I will be ok.

Here is my session on anti-bullying – how to make yourself less of a target and take the power away from the bully.

Session name: Polly’s Piralympic Series

Venue: Author Studio

Time: 10h15 – 10h45

I will also be launching Polly’s Rainy Day Piralympics, with lots of indoor activities to keep the pirates busy as they sail to Ireland. Meet the new crew, sailing in a submarine, discover a new game – Pollyopolly and watch out for those pesky leprechauns as they try to steal the Pirate’s GOLD.

Books will be sold there by Exclusive books, so get yours and then wander over to get it signed and have a pic with Polly.

Don’t forget Toucane’s books will also be available for younger readers.

After the event books may be purchased at Skoobs (Monte Casino), Fogarty’s in PE or Exclusive Books in Mall of the South. Or contact me directly janspicssa@gmail.com

#Polly’s Piralympics

#amazon.com/author/jannweeratunga

Polly Talks at CP Awareness Day

I walked around to the back of the marquee and cried, I couldn’t stop the tears. I was glad I had worn shades. Then I walked back into the marquee, having given myself a pep talk – “You can do this Jann, it’s important. These are the children you wrote the Polly Series for because others are too afraid to write about disabilities.”

Ok, pep talk over, I was there to do a job.

Polly had been invited to talk and read at a CP Awareness Day. So, what is CP? It is Cerebral Palsy. I knew it existed and could be severe, but until Saturday I didn’t realise the degrees of CP there are. As children arrived, some so severe they just lay them gently on blankets, or in the ball pit, others in wheelchairs, or with walkers. I could feel the tears welling up again and looked to Kim for support,

“Think it’s going to be an emotional day,” I said, she just nodded and I noticed she had her shades on too.

Then it was show time. It’s amazing, after the initial flutter of butterflies, as soon as I fix on a child, the words always seem to come. I think it is something about the expectation in their faces and not wanting to let them down that does it for me. And well, these were the children I had written for.

It had all started back at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympic Games. In his closing speech, Sir Phillip Craven (a paraplegic Paralympian himself,) told of how a young boy was reading with his mother. In the book, he saw a man with an eye patch over one eye, 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 that it changed peoples’ perceptions of disability forever as well as my own.

I had always admired Oscar Pistorius racing on his blades, as well as Natalie du Toit swimming like a fish in the pool, but the more I researched, the more I had gained so much admiration for these athletes. I realised the dedication it takes to be a top class athlete who is able-bodied, let alone one who is disabled. (I have a gym 250m from where I live at the end of the road, and I can’t get my sorry butt down there,) These athletes train every day through the pain and I can only take my hat off to them, they really are super athletes.

Over time, I made friends with some disabled athletes, Nur in particular. It started on Facebook, there we started chatting. I didn’t realise he was blind and put my big foot right in my mouth. “But how can we be chatting, I mean, how do you read what I am typing?” I asked him, astonished that we had been able to converse so easily. TECHNOLOGY  was the answer, of course,  his phone read out what I had typed (NO MORE SHORTHAND!) I still haven’t met Nur, or Natalie du Toit, but I will one day.

That closing speech sparked something in me and I quickly googled PIRATES/PARALYMPICS/BOOKS. There was nothing. ‘That’s ridiculous I heard myself thinking.’ I typed in another set of keywords around DISABLED/KID’S BOOKS/PIRATES. Still nothing. So, I went to Amazon, ‘There must be a book here.’ I found myself thinking. Still nothing.

I’m not sure if I was more shocked or disappointed that there wasn’t a book with that connection for children and mentioned it to a friend.

“Then write one,” she said.

Just like that. Write one. So I did, and am I glad I did, because, last Saturday I was able to share that first book with some very special children, their siblings and parents. I think we sometimes forget the able-bodied siblings, but for them, my characters resonated too.

Polly and her pirates get up to all sorts of antics in the Polly’s Piralympics book, there’s climb the rigging gymnastics, walk the plank diving, a three-legged race as well as a Pirate Masterchef competition, amongst many other events. The pirates learn about cheating, not bullying as well as how hard it is to be in a wheelchair.

There are currently 5 books in the Polly’s Piralympics Series. They all have a strong anti-bullying and disabled themes through them, and teach that disability does not mean inability, and bullying is not cool, it’s for a fool.

I think my reading/talk was well received judging by comments afterwards, and am so glad I accepted the invitation to the CP Family Awareness Day. I personally walked a path I did not expect to but would walk it again tomorrow if asked.

 

 

Polly Arrives In Port Elizabeth

After touring the Eastern Cape last April, I was lucky enough to be visiting Port Elizabeth and met up with the owner of Fogarty’s Book Shop.

And guess what?

My books are now available at Fogarty’s Book Shop in Walmer Mall. So if you are looking for middle-grade books for your youngsters for the Christmas Holiday’s, why not pop in and take a look at my Polly’s Piralympics Series. Loads of fun, interactive pages to draw on and get involved with Polly and the crew.

Or for younger readers there are my colouring-in story books the Toucane Series, teaching about not throwing down rubbish, how a friend is a friend no matter their colour and stranger danger. 4-8 years.