Our last Mystery Reader of the school year was with the one and onlyMs. Chrissy Hellyerfrom New Zealand! (Click on the link and you can learn a little bit more about her). I first met Chrissy in Thailand when we were both Grade 5 teachers at International School Bangkok. I was able to visit Chrissy in New Zealand at Christmas time one year and explored the gorgeous North and South islands with a rental car–driving on the LEFT side of the road. If you ever get the chance, please DO visit New Zealand.
The students were thrilled to meet her via Skype and listened to a funny story called the Wonky Donkey. The Wonky Donkey is a children’s book and song written by New Zealander Craig Smith and illustrated by Katz Cowley.
The students loved asking her questions about topics like how many sheep are there in NZ, the time difference, what is a Kiwi bird, what is the Haka, her favourite sports team (the All Blacks, of course), and the Maori language. Chrissy said she wasn’t fluent in the language of the Maori people but did count to 10 for us. Chrissy talked about how the Kiwi bird is a nocturnal animal and is sadly endangered. There used to be 12 million of them on the island and now there is around 100 000 left.
When a student asked about how many sheep are in New Zealand, Chrissy said there is a saying that there are about 4 sheep for every one person in the country. The population of New Zealand is 4.6 million. Woah, that’s a lot of sheep!
Chrissy explained that the Haka is a traditional war dance used to frighten the enemy. Now, it is ceremonial and is performed before every All Black’s international game of rugby. Watch below to check it out.
What a cool experience for us all! A big thank-you to Chrissy for taking time to read to us and answer all of our questions.
Our 2nd Mystery Reader turned out to be…Mya’s dad! He did a fantastic job reading 2 books to our class. One was called The Night Before the Night Before Christmas by Natasha Wing. This book follows the rhythm of the original T’was the Night Before Christmas but the author puts a humorous spin on what happens the night before Christmas when a family is running out of time to get ready and everything seems to go wrong. I can see why this is one of Mya’s favourite Christmas books.
The second book Mya’s dad read to us was called Snow Happy by Patricia Hubbell. We happily joined in on the repetitive part of the story by yelling out “Snow Happy!” almost all the way through. It’s a fun-filled story reminding us about all of the fun we can have in the snow. Now, we just have to wait for it to fall from the sky!
Are you wanting a white Christmas? I know I am!
We are very thankful to Mya’s dad for taking time to come and share the love of reading with us!
She read to us 2 different books. One was called Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. It was about a bull who stayed true to himself even when others around him had other expectations of him. He did not want to fight like others wanted, but he simply wanted to enjoy peace, smelling flowers, and sitting under his favourite tree. It is also coming out as a movie soon. Have a look at the trailer, too!
The second book was called Stuck by Oliver Jeffers. It was a silly book about a boy who gets his kite caught in a tree. How he chooses to get the kite out of the tree leads to a series of funny and strange happenings with a surprise ending.The pictures are bright and the text font is fun to read. The students laughed out loud at this one!
Thank you so much for coming in to share stories with us!
Mike really tried to make the students understand that truly anyone can be a writer. He only started writing in his early 40s and is now in his 50s. You can start writing at any age! He also stressed the importance of revision. He said the average number of times he revises is 7 times. Wow!
Mike has now written a total of 13 books and luckily our class has them all! Our school library does too. His stories are suitable for anyone who likes a good laugh. His characters, Gordon, Paulo, and I are always up for challenges and anything that sounds like trouble!
If you’ve never read a Mike Wade book, give it a try! You won’t regret it.