Writer’s festival around wartime remembrance

November 19, 2022 BY

Turning the page: Illustrator Liv Lorkin shows the Avenue of Honour children’s book to Napoleons Primary pupils Navinah Williams and Ricky Pulford alongside writer Naomi Irvin. Photo: TIM BOTTAMS

STUDENTS and teachers at Napoleons Primary School recently hosted the creative duo behind an Avenue of Honour children’s book to conclude an inaugural writer’s festival.

Liv Lorkin and Naomi Irvin, who illustrated and wrote the book called Three Thousand, One Hundred and Eight Trees (and each one has a name), were invited to take part in the festival’s completion on Friday last week.

The book served as a template for the program’s two-week offerings in the leadup to Remembrance Day, which was the key theme for the school’s 80 student participants.

Irvin recited and discussed the book alongside Lorkin, who said the book is a great way to convey the significance of Australia’s longest Avenue of Honour to children.

“It puts together a really robust into something really accessible for children to read and visually construct,” she said.

“For myself and Naomi, it’s been incredible to see the diversity of what the kids have put together for Remembrance Day from the book.”

The program began with an excursion to the Arch of Victory and Avenue of Honour from the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial at Lake Wendouree.

Post-trip activities included poetry and letter-writing, soldier role-playing, and crafting with the works displayed throughout the school.

Phillipa Brown is a pupil at Napoleons PS said the festival provided fun, informative activities.

“It’s been a great experience. We’ve been making doves, poppies, wreaths and soldiers with our recounts of going to the Avenue of Honour,” she said.

“We’ve gotten to know the meaning behind Remembrance Day and why we do it. It’s been cool to have Liv and Naomi here as well.”

The initiative was a creation of teachers Lana McKay and Judy Hutt, with the latter saying it help create enthusiasm among the pupils about their writing.

“The excitement around this has been amazing, so has the quality of the kids’ work and their pride in it,” Ms Hutt said.

“It gave them a purpose for their writing and we’ve found that’s really made them enthusiastic.”