rhenish writing club

An Author’s Life

There are two things I’m blogging about today. One, my visit to Rhenish Primary School, and two, Somerset West has a new independent book store. So guess where “The Seeing Scroll” can also be found.

Rhenish Primary School Visit

What a privilege it was being invited to speak to the Grade 6 learners of Rhenish Primary School. A stunning facility set in the heart of Stellenbosch, South Africa. My first contact with the school was when they agreed to purchase a copy of “The Seeing Scroll” for their library. Carol Summerton, their librarian, kind-heartedly created a bit of a buzz about the fact that the book was set in False Bay, and that I lived on their doorstep. Thank you, Carol!

Creating a memorable school visit which, oftentimes, is a child’s first exposure to a real-life author is challenging in the sense that it’s about the kids, their parents, the school, it’s staff, and of course, an author with a book they believe in. But each stakeholder wants something different from the same 45-minute presentation.

The children—I guessed—wanted their imaginations WOWED. More so, I supposed, because “The Seeing Scroll” is listed under the genre of fantasy books for kids. The parents, school, and educators no doubt wanted the kids to have fun while learning something useful. Whilst I wanted, in some small way, to help cultivate or deepen a love of reading and writing. Because as the saying goes, a child who loves to read, loves to learn. So naturally, like a duck, a burst of frantic paddling began in the Grobler household.

I’d done school visits before, but until that point, they’d formed part of the “Career day” curriculum and had therefore been entirely verbal. For Rhenish, that restriction was lifted. At first, I considered a recorded reading from “The Seeing Scroll”, but decided against it. And since my next idea – presenting the poor souls with a string of carefully constructed bullet points on multiple PowerPoint slides – lulled even me to sleep, it too was scrapped.

But if this COVID pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how to use technology to our advantage and not only for work or entertainment but also for social engagement. So I imagined that kids would be no different. Which basically means, there was no doubt in mind, that they’d known about things like GIFS (images that move or remain still on my command), Instagram and TikTok long before I did. That being said, thank goodness for my daughter, Jocelyn.

By the time I’d been gifted with a microphone and ushered into a large hall with 85 Grade 6 kids placed meters apart because of strict COVID-19 protocols, I’d decided on a moving visual and sound-based approach simply because they weren’t options that I usually had at my disposal. And I figured that I might as well have some fun. After a brief, and no doubt dreary, run-through of my childhood, I hit the kids with the two most pertinent questions presented within the covers of “The Seeing Scroll”, which is also listed under the category of mystery books for kids.

Can you keep a secret?

and

If you find something that doesn’t belong to you, can you keep it?

So began the re-telling of “The Seeing Scroll” within the context of a Guess-What? game. Every sound clip I selected presents itself somewhere within the realms of the where, what, and how of the story and the manner in which the plot unfolds. I admit, some felt pretty challenging, according to me – and deliberately so. But the kids guessed all of them and were rather insightful with their descriptions, too.

Gosh, what a clever bunch. I might have to up my game 😊. With regards to the video snippets which I used to describe the personalities of my two main characters: I can’t say for sure if they enjoyed watching them more than we enjoyed making them but I can say that there’s something supremely enchanting about making an animal move to the beat of some ludicrous hip-pop tune.

More so when it’s connected to an enormous and blaring speaker. And last but definitely not least, I presented them with Jocelyn’s book trailer. And they liked it. Yay!

rhenish writing club
Pictured above from left to right: Nathan Hoatson, Ivor Wilson, Zeekuh Smith,
Charissa Hendrikse, Henry Woodward, Amy Smith, and J.T. Grobler

Then it was time to meet the Rhenish Primary School’s Grade 6 group of budding authors. What a motivated bunch of children who are avid readers, devoted librarian monitors, and, according to the Head of English, Janet Chapman, they are already great writers with vivid imaginations. So perhaps we need to watch this space.

It’s an extraordinary thing when teachers inspire kids to do what they love and help them dream at such a young age. But when I searched the school’s website, I found that it’s in keeping with the Rhenish Primary School motto.

“Which inspires to provide a diverse educational experience for children to believe in themselves and discover their true potential.”

Wow!

It seems to me that it’s the Rhenish Primary School teachers who deserve the most appreciation.

An Independent Bookstore has opened its doors in the heart of Somerset West.

153B Main Road

Open Weekdays 9am – 6pm. Saturday and Public Holidays 9am – 2pm!

bookworms

BOOKWORMS FANTASY. It’s hard to believe that any booklover would walk past a shop with a name like that. And for this newbie author with a book listed in the fantasy books for kids genre… Oh. My. Gosh.

My first impression: the place is practically a treasure trove. So, how lucky am I to get “The Seeing Scroll” onto such an outstanding spot on the shelf? The atmosphere is laid back and relaxing, with comfy couches to boot. It’s somewhere to go if you have time. But if you don’t, the cherry on top – they also have a Facebook page with links to a Facebook shop. All you’ve got to do is like their page.

They’re still unpacking but open for business with a wide range of both old and new. For more information, contact Waldo Boshoff or Eric Reeder, the Co-Founders. of this little gem. 

Bookworms contact information

Phone: 087 702 3943

Email: info@bookwormfantasy.co.za

Why not get a coffee, take the family for a stroll, and support local?

But if you prefer eBooks, The Seeing Scroll is available to purchase here.

Other bookstores in the Helderberg where “The Seeing Scroll” is available:

  • Liberty Books – Grabouw (Peregrine Farmstall)
  • Stellenbosch Books

Radio Helderberg Interview about The Seeing Scroll

When did inspiration strike?

Radio host, Johann Myburgh, and I at Radio Helderberg.

I enjoyed my interview with Johann Myburgh from Radio Helderberg. As it turns out, that mic wasn’t nearly as daunting as I’d imagined. What a friendly host he was, and that, I suspect, made all the difference.

Hands down, the most asked about aspect of my writing to date is – where did I get my idea for The Seeing Scroll from? So it never came as a surprise when Johann asked me the same thing.

And the answer for those who missed it:

My hubby once brought home a book about objects that were discovered along the South African coastline. I mulled over a few of the articles, intrigued, and began thinking – what happens when you find something that doesn’t belong to you? Can you keep it? As per usual, I consulted the oracle that lives somewhere in Google, and what I learned captivated me.

Soon, I began pondering the practicalities associated with such a find because I couldn’t help wondering how someone, anyone, would suddenly stumble across something lost eons ago? Why hadn’t anyone else stumbled across it before? Was the discoverer visiting a strange place, or doing something oh-so-sneaky, perhaps? Before I knew it, I’d come up with an answer and picked a place for my tale to unfold.

False Bay. See below:

View of False Bay.