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During Week 8, Year 2 to 4 classes and some ELC boys were privileged to meet author Phil Cummings. Phil is a South Australian children’s fiction author. Born in Port Broughton, his first book, Goodness Gracious, was published in 1989. Since then he has published over 60 children’s books. Two of Phil’s works have been turned into theatrical productions. His sessions kept the boys totally engaged as he shared his writing journey, some of his stories and his latest picture book Touch the Moon.

Phil’s memories of living in Peterborough during the moon landing 50 years ago form the basis for his latest book. His personal experiences of sitting in front of the small TV, watching the broadcast and waiting for Neil Armstrong to step onto the moon, while seeing snow fall in his backyard at the very same time, is a touching recount of those times. One of our ELC boys brought an original newspaper to school from the day of the landing which also mentioned the snowfall in Peterborough. Phil was amazed to see the original newspaper as he had only ever seen a copy of the front cover. Thank you to Marcus and his family for sharing the newspaper with Phil.

Phil’s initial writing process starts with scribbling ideas on pieces of paper…a technique he calls  ‘fearless writing’. This process doesn’t require punctuation or the formalities of writing, just the ability to get your ideas on a piece of paper. The second piece of advice he gave the students was to question every word they wrote. If the story is about a boy riding a skateboard on the street, then ask questions about the boy, the skateboard and the street. This helps to add detail to the story and enables the reader to imagine the scene while reading. It has been wonderful welcoming Phil in the Junior School and the students have found his insights into storytelling and writing incredibly valuable.

Sue Dansie and Alison Winter