Aside from Christmas itself, there are few times of the year that I enjoy more than the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book Week. Celebrating the joy of reading is a really wonderful part of the school calendar and I congratulate everyone involved at the CBCA for all the effort that goes into making Book Week such a special event and so much fun.

Reading Is My Secret Power is the theme of Book Week 2019.  Hard not to ignore the nod to all our favourite super heroes with that one. It’s sure to be a great theme for all those who enjoy dressing up as caped crusaders. I can picture the array of colourful heroes and villains on display at the annual book parade even now.

When we celebrate books and reading, so often the focus is on authors and illustrators and the amazing characters they create. But just for a moment, I’d like to acknowledge the real heroes here; and that’s the teaching staff who do so much to encourage and enthuse young readers into developing their skills. If reading is a secret power (which it is by the way), the source of that power is surely the army of teachers and librarians who keep the joy of reading and literacy so well supported all over the world.

Reading is one of the most incredible powers we can access.  Perhaps the greatest power known to anyone, anywhere in the universe.  It’s powerful because it unlocks the imagination, and when you unlock the imagination, you really can achieve anything. As a writer, reading is probably my most useful tool. If ever I get writer’s block, I start reading and it’s not long before the words start flowing again.

This year, thanks to the CBCA’s Central Coast crew, I enjoyed touring Whitebeard on the NSW Central Coast. I had a terrific time introducing Whitebeard and the crew of the Rudolph’s Revenge to students at Brooke Avenue PS, The Entrance PS, Gosford East PS and Woongarrah PS; as well as the CBCA Luncheon at Breakers Country Club near Terrigal. It was so much fun and I can’t thank Sharlene Evans and Lyndall Coles enough for inviting me up the coast to share Whitebeard with new readers.