Inspired, amused and entertained
These are just a few of the words that kids from Tapawera school had after being visited by the author Des Hunt, who travelled to the school to give a presentation on his new book, ‘To Trap a Thief,’ an adventure story set in the Nelson-Tasman region.
Des Hunt is an award-winning young-adult fiction writer.
He began his career as science teacher, a job he held for over 40 years, publishing two science textbooks in the 70’s and 80’s. Des’s books feature a strong environmental message that highlights the unique features of New Zealand’s natural fauna.
Many of his novels are set in locations familiar to young kiwi readers, such as Fox Glacier, Golden Bay, Westport, and this time the setting of the Nelson and Tasman regions were familiar to the young readers at Tapawera School.
While some kids aren’t as interested in books as you might think, Des had quite a few tricks from his years as a science teacher up his sleeve to keep even the youngest children engaged. He used these to talk about the art of storytelling, and even inspired the kids with examples of failure followed by success.
“How many of us knew that Dr. Seuss had one story rejected 27 times before succeeding as a writer?”
“It’s not often we are lucky enough to have role models of this calibre happy to spend their time with us,” said Larry Bonington, the school’s librarian.
“When Des came to visit, I was really excited. He came to help teach us how to write a captivating book that keeps your reader engaged. It is nice to read stories about places I have been to,” said Samantha Hatton, a year 9 student.
Another student, Rosa Cameron, noted that Des explained the structure of his books in interesting ways by using his background as a science teacher to demonstrate the stages in writing a book. “I think everyone who went to see him enjoyed his visit