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One of our more intrepid authors, John Danalis has just come back from a tour of the Middle East taking in Oman and the United Arab Emirates. In Muscat, Oman he worked with students and teachers at two international schools and by the sound of the feedback below made a lot of friends.
John Danalis was our writer-in-residence for 5 days and during that time he interacted with every student from Kindergarten (our Kindergarten starts at age 3!) to Grade 12 as well as conducting an in-service session for Elementary teachers. He touched everyone with his gentle humanity and humility. The English teachers liked his focus on the art of storytelling and the way he incorporates drawing into his writing. He is an advocate for libraries, librarians and research (I liked that!) and he emphasises the link between research and the creative process to the students. The possum-skin cloak is a powerful and unique article that draws students to John and to story. It is a part of Australian culture that few white Australians know about and it is an especially significant item to demonstrate to people from other cultural backgrounds… He is generous with his time and advice and he is a good listener. Luckily he is also flexible, adaptable and able to change the focus of his workshops at a moment’s notice! It was an absolute pleasure to host John at our international school and he is welcome here any time. In his own words, he arrived in Oman as a visiting author and left as a friend.
Kimbra Weeks, Secondary Teacher Librarian
On the road…
John rode hundreds of kilometres (somewhere between 800-1000) through the desert from Muscat to Abu Dhabi, stopping at little towns and engaging with the many curious locals along the way.
“Riding for up to 12 hours a day in 45 deg heat does wonderful things to the imagination” according to John who became adept at balancing his journal on his handlebar bag and managed to get quite a bit of writing done while riding.