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Booked Out works very hard to help support, develop and implement residency programs for schools across Australia — and regional schools are among those we are proudest to be able to develop suitable programs with. You may have seen a previous post about John Danalis’ work in Moulamein, for which he traveled all the way from Brisbane. It was a special booking for John, as the schools are in the area of the Wamba Wamba people who he connected with whilst he was on the journey to repatriate ‘Mary’, as told in Riding The Black Cockatoo. Here is a first hand account from the school Principal who organised it with us, Catherine Peach.

I cannot believe how fortunate we been with the calibre of author/illustrators that you have helped us to have visit our schools. As I set about planning and programming units for 2011 and 2012, and matched authors/illustrators with what I wanted from the learning based on what I know of them and your recommendations, I could not have dreamt just how rich the experiences would be for our students, teachers, and for me.

Thank you for the recommendation to include John Danalis. He was truly amazing. From the moment I read about him, his work and story and heard him speak in an interview podcast and spoke to him on the telephone, I could see how he would fit with our program. He has been an absolute delight and has delivered on my expectations, the program’s outcomes and more.

His storytelling and personal stories enthralled and inspired our students and teachers, and he reached each and every student with his warmth, humour and compassion. He generously worked with the outcomes of our program in mind and delivered powerful messages about resilience, courage, relationships, and the concepts of connection to family, place and culture.

He has been amazing and his presentation and workshops have been enthusiastically embraced by our students and teachers. He has left us with a wealth of material and understandings that will be explored by students and teachers alike in the time ahead. We could not be more pleased with his contribution to our students’ learning and the manner in which he engaged us all in the process.

I am always conscious that two weeks away from home and loved ones is a big ask for anyone and try to make sure our visitors feel welcome and content during their time with us. John was a delight to host and his genuine manner and true appreciation for our area and schools was such a pleasure.

Thank you again Simon for recommending John. I am so pleased with the presentation and workshops John delivered, the warm and respectful relationship in learning he fostered and the way he became part of our program. We have indeed been privileged to have worked with John and to have had him in our rural schools.

We have expressed our sincere thanks to John and how much we appreciated his time with us and what he has contributed. Thank you Simon for helping it all happen.

—C. Peach, Moulamein Public School

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