NOTE: This post is about my Superkicks book series, co-authored with educator and character development mentor Benedict Boo.
The Popular Readers’ Choice Awards are here again! For the past two years, books from my Lion City Adventures series made the shortlist. We even won two prizes the first time around, thanks to all the support from our readers. That was exciting indeed. Read about it here. This year though, it’s our Superkicks series that’s in the running, and you can vote for the first book of the series, Time to Play.
This Superkicks series is special in so many ways. It was our first collaboration with another author, Benedict Boo. And what a truly rewarding experience it has turned out to be. The series also features super-awesome illustrations, both on the cover as well as the inside pages. Young readers are always delighted to see them. Here's an interview with our talented illustrators.
And then there’s the Superkicks School Tour, which started last year and has grown more ambitious along the way. Our mission is to visit the schools, interact with young readers, sign books, and also share with girls and boys the joys of reading and the values of sportsmanship. Scroll down and you’ll find a special interview with Benedict Boo about this. He also reveals some exciting developments for next year! (More details to come.)
We’re already working on Book 3 of the Superkicks series. This will be published early next year. It’s a great thrill, as you can imagine. Come to one of our talks, and we’ll be happy to tell you more.
Happy reading! :)
INTERVIEW WITH BENEDICT BOO
Tell us, what's a typical Superkicks school talk like?
A typical school talk happens during a morning or afternoon assembly session. I address the whole school and deliver a presentation that is related to the values that we espouse in the Superkicks stories. Such assembly talks are typically followed by a meet-and-greet session during their recess period, when we set up a counter at the canteen to sell and sign autographs for the children. I really love these sessions as they give the children a chance to interact directly with a local author. Not many children in Singapore have this opportunity, and it really helps them appreciate reading, writing and creativity a lot more.
How do you prepare for each school talk?
I prepare for these talks by thinking about the audience, especially their interests and their needs. For example, when I go to all-girls' schools, I'll pull back a little on the technical bits on football, and try to mention other sports like netball and perhaps even dance. When I visit a school near exam time, I'll emphasise the writing and language skills aspects.
What are some interesting encounters during these sessions?
Believe me, it’s always very interesting and unpredictable. At my book selling and signing counter at schools, the pupils in the queue are often a diverse mix of enthusiastic girls and boys. An onlooker would probably never guess that they were queueing up to buy football-themed books!
At one all-boys' school, I was told that the pupils are really boisterous. When I was introduced, they laughed, and I thought to myself that this was going to be one tough session! But as the talk got along, I could tell the boys were leaning forward, listening intently. Their eyes were staring at me and you could literally hear a pin drop! I was completely taken aback by how absorbed they were.
Another interesting encounter was that one afternoon, this elderly grandmother turned up at my counter. She had been walking hurriedly. She said, "I’m so glad I caught you. My granddaughter asked me to come buy your book for her." I was so touched to see how this grandma was really committed to helping her granddaughter enjoy reading and grow her personal book collection. Encounters like this really inspire me.
How does the Superkicks football angle create new learning opportunities?
Many students can’t sit still at talks, and think of these as a lecture of sorts. But when I go at it from a sports angle, they sit up and listen, and on average about 80% of the primary school students will put up their hands when I ask if they like sports. So we connect better. Also, the format of our talk is such that it doesn't feel like a lecture at all, as I get kids to come up on stage, or I get them to try out a physical activity from where they are. These really help to sustain their attention and drive across our deeper learning points about character building and sportsmanship values.
What are the future plans for the Superkicks School Tour?
First up, we are looking at bringing the Superkicks School Tour to more schools across Singapore, and possibly adding some mini-contests to the book selling and signing sessions. Very excitingly, we are also in talks now to host the inaugural Inter-school Superkicks Cup! It will probably happen in March 2018 and may be an invite-only competition. Details should be released really soon! So quick, do contact us to make a booking for the Superkicks School Tour. It’s free, and the students will remember the experience for a long time.
To invite the Superkicks School Tour to your school, or if you have any questions, just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Popular Readers’ Choice Awards 2017
Vote for Superkicks: Time to Play, and win
a $50 Popular Voucher. Ends 5 November 2017.
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