Curriculum Relevance: Literacy, Author Visit
Avril McDonald is now on Air New Zealand's International in-flight entertainment.
Firstly, Avril explains how the characters from her Feel Brave books were created after her daughter awoke frightened from a nightmare. From their late night creation, these characters have developed and grown with each new publication in the series. Each book deals with a different area of children’s concerns. The Wolf is NOT Invited, (a best-selling title of 2018) helps children build their self-confidence and resilience in dealing with being excluded, while The Wolf’s Colourful Coat, helps children feel comfortable about telling someone they trust, if they feel bullied.
In the same way as each of her books deal with particular wellbeing topics so does the presentation. Students are guided through strategies to deal with scenarios like sharing their worries, building self-confidence and how to self-regulate their emotions. There is heaps of audience participation which varies from workshopping ideas to fun interactive games to re-enforce the very practical strategies offered.
Feel Brave provides students with not only ways to understand and self-regulate their emotions and feelings but a wonderful insight into the writing process.
Using her Feel Brave series of books, Avril and the students brainstorm what makes a ‘good story’. By dissecting her book The Wolf is NOT Invited students discover how Avril takes her readers on an emotional journey with her use of three key elements:-
Problem and resolution. Surprises. Gifts.
Students identify these three elements in the book The Wolf and the Shadow Monster and see how this story encourages students to change the way they think about things that scare or make them anxious. Students also participate in age appropriate exercises that provide simple ways to self-regulate emotions and deepen their emotional literacy.
Finally Avril challenges students to write their own story that reframes something scary, deals with bullying or has a message of friendship & kindness.
Avril McDonald is the author of the Feel Brave series of books . As well as the titles mentioned above there is:- The Grand Wolf, which examines change, loss and grief; The Wolf and the Shadow Monster, explores anxiety and fear and The Wolf and The Baby Dragon which offers children ways to calm down. Her books have been translated into many different languages and are much loved around the world. Life Education Trust New Zealand uses her stories and resources to teach emotional wellbeing in their mobile classrooms across NZ.
Price: $5.00 per student (No GST).
Suitable: Preps, K to Year 6.
Minimum Audience Size: 120 students.
Times: Show: 50 minutes. Set up: 15 minutes. Pack up: 15 minutes.
Requires: an indoor performing area 3m deep x 3m wide.
Children to be seated theatre style with a centre aisle. Projector or smartboard for visual presentation, whiteboard and markers for brainstorming.
Avril, I have loved using your books and the creative strategies suggested to bring about positive change for the children I work with! All the children have made very positive comments about the books, feelings cards and techniques used to teach them.
Dr Nicole Carvill - THINK Psychologists Australia.
Avril led fantastic sessions for our KS1 classes and a KS2 assembly. The characters in her stories truly come to life and the messages they convey are so important to the emotional wellbeing of young children. I highly recommend Avril and her Feel Brave series to address issues such as self-confidence, anxiety and worries. The sessions were interactive and pitched perfectly.
Francesca Leenen, Year 3. All Saints Church of England Primary School.