Wednesday, May 03, 2017

World Book Week - Clare Azzopardi

Clare Azzopardi, one of the most prolific and most popular authors, visited San Anton School to meet with the Grade 4 students.

Ms Azzopardi introduced her friend Lupu Lupettu to the students even though a substantial number of them knew him already, having read the books. The adventures of the energetic wolf are written by French author Orianne Lallemande, and Ms Azzopardi translated them into Maltese.

The Grade 4 students were then treated to two stories, this time from picture books penned by Ms Azzopardi. The first one was Mingu, the tale of a family who finds an injured flamingo that was shot by a hunter. The second was Il-Qtates ta' max-Xatt, about an elderly couple who feed a colony of cats.

Finally, Ms Azzopardi was kind enough to sign the children's books. It was a great day for the Grade 4s, one that they won't easily forget.

*This visit was made possible thanks to Merlin Publishers.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

World Book Week - Antoinette Borg

Antoinette Borġ has taken the local literary scene by storm. Her debut novel, Fittixni, was a runaway critical and commercial success, not only with children (its intended target audience) but also with adults. A few months after its launch, Ms Borġ was announced as one of the two winners of the Literary Contest of Novels for Youth, organised by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ and Il-Kunsill Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb. So it was a great honour to have her over at San Anton School to meet the Grade 9 students.

Fittixni is a story whose plot hinges on intertextuality. It is not a requirement to be familiar with the other text that acts as counterpoint to Ms Borġ's novel (Fr Wistin Born's Is-Salib tal-Fidda) in order to fully understand what's going on - however it was quite fitting that Ms Borġ's presentation was peppered with personal anecdotes that shed light on the creative process which culminated in Fittixni.

Ms Borġ was helping her son with a school project involving three Trevor Żahra novels, and after (re-) reading them herself, she got an idea for her own story. After much deliberation and mulling over, she finally sat down and started writing.

The students were given an assignment related to a major theme of the book, getting in touch with one's roots. They wrote a brief biography of an ancestor and some of them were lucky enough to read it in front of Ms Borġ and the rest of the Grade.

It was a memorable event that both the teachers and the students thoroughly enjoyed.

*This visit was done in conjunction with Merlin Publishers.

Friday, April 28, 2017

World Book Week - John Bonello

John Bonello, the award-winning author of titles such as the Il-Logħba tal-Allat trilogy and Irvin Vella: Investigatur Virtwali, popped over to meet the Grade 8 students.

The first book of the Irvin Vella series is used as a class reader and it was a runaway success. The children absolutely love it, and the titular character, with his insatiable appetite for anything that comes out of a kitchen, is very endearing.

Mr Bonello spoke to the students about what inspired him to write the first adventure of Irvin Vella, and also disclosed some 'secrets' about the second book, published last November. He also treated them to an exclusive reading from the as yet unpublished third instalment in the Irvin Vella series.

The Grade 8s had a school assignment to tie with Mr Bonello's visit. They were given the beginning of a mystery story which they had to finish off themselves. Their efforts were put up on a board and some of them were read out in front of Mr Bonello and the rest of the Grade.

*This visit was possible thanks to Merlin Publishers.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

World Book Week - Rachel Portelli


The Grade 5 students had a very special guest for World Book Week: Ms Rachel Portelli from Merlin Publishers. Ms Portelli spoke to the children about the varied and exciting world of publishing.

The students had a first-hand account of all the steps that a manuscript goes through after it's been submitted to the publisher. Some might think that it's a pretty straightforward process - author to publisher to printer to bookshop; but it's not that simple

Ms Portelli presented a very interesting analogy between films and books. They share similar characteristics (such as characters - actors, authors - scriptwriters, director - publisher, etc) and each of these requires the dedicated input of several hard-working individuals.

Ms Portelli peppered her talk with lively readings from Roald Dahl, David Walliams and Clare Azzopardi. It was a fun and informative session that the children thoroughly enjoyed.

*This visit was made possible thanks to Merlin Publishers.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

World Book Week - Rita Saliba

Popular author Rita Saliba was the first guest author at this year's World Book Week events at San Anton School.

The award-winning author met with the Grade 7 students who were treated to an exciting creative writing workshop. Under the expert guidance of Ms Saliba, the students sketched a character profile of a portly, brave adventurer (called Noel) and his home - a multi-purpose, eco-friendly house that travelled on mechanical legs that could be fitted with snow boots for colder temperatures.

The students loved every second of this exercise and they got to experience some very important aspects of creative writing - character and world building, and how these influence each other and the structure/direction that the narrative might take.

The students had a wonderful time and wouldn't stop asking questions and commenting on the various aspects of the story-writing process. The session ended with Ms Saliba signing copies of her recently released novel, Żiffa Mqarba f'Ħal Buffura.

*This visit was possible thanks to BDL.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Five Amazing Adaptations - Book into Film

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (adapted from a book by J K Rowling)

Wizard Newt Scamander arrives in New York City where he encounters Mary Lou Barebone, a 'muggle' who heads the New Salem Philanthropic Society. Members of this organisation believe that witches and wizards are real and that they pose a threat to humanity. Whilst listening to one of her talks, a Niffler escapes from Newt's bag. This creates all sorts of complications because magical creatures are prohibited in the United States.


The Jungle Book (adapted from a book by Rudyard Kipling)

Mowgli has been living with a pack of wolves ever since he was found by Bagheera the panther. He learns the way of the wolves and the laws of the jungle but still finds it difficult to fully integrate. To make matters worse, Shere Khan the tiger is on the prowl and wants to kill Mowgli. This forces the young boy to leave his pack and Bagheera agrees to accompany him to a nearby village.

The BFG (adapted from a book by Roald Dahl)

Sophie is a ten year old orphan who suffers from insomnia. She stays up all night reading but at the witching hour she sees a giant roaming the streets of London. The giant abducts her and takes her to Giant Country where he tells her that she has to spend the rest of her life with him because he cannot run the risk of her telling everyone about the existence of giants. Sophie realises that there are other giants besides this one and that they're not friendly at all.

And for the older readers:

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (adapted from a book by Ransom Riggs)

Abe Portman told innumerable stories to his grandson Jake about "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children", a place where he used to stay during World War II. Jake is traumatised when his grandfather is murdered by a mysterious creature. Psychiatrist Dr Nancy Goldman suggests that he travel to the island of Cairnholm with his father Frank, in order to investigate the children's home and to find some closure.

A Street Cat Named Bob (adapted from a book by James Bowen)

James Bowen is a homeless and recovering addict who is going through a very bad patch. His social worker helps him find a flat and build a new life. However his busking in Covent Garden doesn't guarantee him the income he'd expected and he starts losing hope. His luck changes when he finds a stray ginger cat in his kitchen. From then on the lives of James and his cat Bob become intertwined.