Building Literacy & a Love of Reading
From the 25 – 29 March at Yew Chung International School of Beijing we held Literacy Week, a celebration of reading, literature, and storytelling. As part of our Literacy Week celebrations, we organised many fun activities for the students and hosted several visiting authors, who spoke to our students about their impressive careers and passion for reading.
Though Literacy Week started on 25 March, we kicked-off the fun early with a visit from acclaimed author, illustrator and animator Curtis Jobling on 20 March. Mr Jobling spoke of his dynamic career and how he’s found a second creative wind as a children’s book author. He also shared some advice for children (and adults) of all ages on finding and pursuing their passions and never being afraid to explore new dreams.
Writing is a bit of a second career for you, what was your first?
I began as an animation designer and worked got to work on really great projects like ‘Wallace & Gromit’ and ‘Mars Attacks!’, but my big break came in 1997 when I designed ‘Bob the Builder’. This show caught fire and has since won a BAFTA and been seen around the world. Out of that success, I was able to go on to design two animated series, ‘Frankenstein’s Cat’ and ‘Raa Raa the Noisy Lion’, which are both shown on the BBC today.
Why did you become an author?
I’ve had a passion for reading my whole life and while I had a lot of success in the film and tv industry I still always wanted to write and illustrate picture books deep down in my heart. I’ve always loved reading and just really felt inspired by the books I enjoyed reading to have a go myself, to bring my imaginary worlds to life!
What kind of stories do you write and why?
I’ve always loved horror and fantasy novels. My writing is for children, but much like other famous series, such as Harry Potter, my books tend to start off a bit less scary and totally accessible for younger audiences and then grow a bit darker as the series progresses. My books really grow with their audience. They are best read in sequential order and paced in-line with the reader’s maturation.
What books have your written?
I’m best known for my series of epic fantasy novels, ‘Wereworld', but I’ve had twelve books published so far including two picture books for young children. The best way to find all of my books and keep up with my writing is by visiting my website: www.curtisjobling.com/books.
Any advice for our students?
Keep your hobbies! Hobbies aren’t a waste of time, they are fun and can help you figure out what you are interested in and good at. Your hobbies can help you find the career that’s right for you. And even if your hobbies don’t lead to a job, they will still provide you with a past-time that you can enjoy throughout your whole life!
Read for pleasure. Books are amazing, they expand your mind, and they take you places you’d otherwise never get to go. Reading can help you find ideas and paths in life you otherwise could never image. Reading books I loved is why I’m where I am today. That’s how I came to be an author.