Catherine Clift shares the publication process of a book that the children of Auburn North Public School wrote.
Outlining the learning and teaching activity
During 2016, Year 6 students at Auburn North Public School worked in collaboration with community partners to write, illustrate, publish, market and sell a picture book. The project was facilitated by the teacher librarian, Catherine Clift, and Jaqui Lane, publisher Global Stories and Books in Homes reading role model. The year-long project culminated in a book launch, where community partners were publicly acknowledged and the picture book, The Adventures of Cleo the Clownfish at Pacific Primary, was unveiled with great excitement to the school community.
Profit from the sale of the book funded the Year 6 farewell and further sales were donated to a charity of the students’ choice.
The writing and publishing project will establish an authentic publishing program at Auburn North Public School (ANPS) and enable students to:
- improve their knowledge, skills and abilities in the writing process
- improve their 21st century skills through participation in real world problem solving and innovation
- develop their creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration skills.
Assessment strategies for this project include:
- pre and post test data on students’ knowledge of the writing process
- engagement of the community at the inaugural ANPS book launch
- the number of books sold to the school community.
EN3-2A composes, edits and presents well-structured and coherent texts
- understand and use the key elements of planning, composing, reviewing and publishing in order to meet the increasing demands of topic, audience and language
- plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1704, ACELY1714).
SL3.13 Describes safe practices that are appropriate to a range of situations and environments.
Communicating with ICT
- select and use appropriate ICT tools safely to share and exchange information and to safely collaborate with others.
Creating with ICT
use ICT effectively record ideas, represent thinking and plan solutions.
Initial planning involved writing a proposal for the principal’s approval. The proposal directly linked to Auburn North Public School’s:
- strategic direction 1 of the school plan – to promote quality and innovative learning opportunities.
- learner qualities of collaboration, creativity, communication, character, citizenship and communication (modelled on Michael Fullan’s ‘Six Cs’ and featured in Education PLUS) .
Learning and teaching phases
Catherine and Jaqui mapped out goals and timeframes to achieve each term and communicated with Year 6 teachers who grouped students into pods based on their talents and skills. Pods included a writing pod, illustrating pod and marketing pod. Each term a new pod joined the process.
An online collaborative workspace, using OneNote Online accessed from the Department of Education portal, was created for students and teachers to collaborate and share ideas, track progress towards the term goals and set directions for future planning.
Term 1 – The writing pod
Students collaborated over three fortnightly sessions to map out a story. Students decided on the purpose and audience and ‘pitched’ their ideas to the publisher who provided feedback. The common theme of safety transpired – stranger danger, road safety, bullying, and the best of all worlds (the motto of Auburn North Public School). It was decided that the audience would be children aged 3-12 years. Students wanted the book to be engaging for the reader so they decided on a ‘Choose your own adventure’ format where readers make the right choice to move successfully through the book. A challenge for the students was the word limit of 25 words or less per page.
Term 2 – The illustrating pod
Writers created character briefs for the artists and pitched these ideas to the illustrators. The result was a cast of characters including Cleo Clownfish, Oscar Octopus, Hamed Hammerhead, Jooby Jellyfish, Pixie Pufferfish and Tina Tuna. The artists were directed to create the characters with front and side views and happy and sad expressions. The artists attempted to create backgrounds for the scenes but, as they were unable to meet the deadline for the publisher, an image of a clear underwater background was selected instead.
Term 3 – The marketing pod
The marketing team was responsible for promoting the book to the school community prior to sale. This was achieved through:
- creating persuasive posters to convince students to purchase the book
- making announcements during morning assembly
- creating and sharing the book trailer
- planning the book launch.
Term 4 – The book launch
Students planned their book launch for week 7 of Term 4. Special guests were invited, including the Peter Large, CEO of Books in Homes Australia, Chris Grant from Bright Print Group, who generously printed the books, and Brent Carswell, the graphic artist from Crunch Brand, who assisted the students to create their book. Students created the script, a short film to explain the process and cut the ribbon to officially launch the book.
Presentation, feedback and assessment
The school community and special guests were present at the book launch where students shared their journey of creating the book through a short film and book trailer. Writers, illustrators and the publisher were interviewed about their highlights and challenges of working collaboratively to create the picture book.
Books were sold to the school community on the day and all pre-orders were delivered to classrooms for the students to read. Of a print run of 500 books, over 420 books were sold. Order forms for the book may be downloaded from the Auburn North Public School website.
Owing to the generous donation of time and resources from our community partners, Crunch Brand, Bright Print Group, and Global Stories, the students were able to pay for the cost of their Year 6 farewell and donate the remaining funds to charity.
References and further reading
Books in Homes Australia, accessed 30 April 2017.
'Budding authors debut book', AuburnReview, vol. 59, no.8, p. 4, December 2016.
Fullan, M. & Scott, G. 2014, Education PLUS: the world will be led by people you can count on, including you! Collaborative Impact SPC, Seattle, Washington, accessed 30 April 2017
Large, P. 2016, ‘A word from the office …’, The Bridge, Issue 25, December, accessed 30 April 2017
How to cite this article: Clift, C. 2017, 'Planning, writing, publishing and marketing' Scan, 36(2), pp. 10-13