HOW WE MADE THIS BOOK
This is the 5th Penair school book we have made. You may ask; how do you make another book after another book? The answer is easy; the students. They turn up to the after school club. They want to be involved. They want to attend the creative workshops. They want to go into high street stores and sell the book that they have spent a year or more making. They are proud of their work and want to show it off. But it all comes down to their wanting to be creative. They want to write, draw, sing, cook, animate, programme, paint, compose; they want to be creative and happy.
I used to run two after school clubs, a poetry club and an art club. Both ran in the same week. However I decided to amalgamate the two clubs into one: Creative Club. In creative club students can chose what they want to do. They can write, draw, paint, compose, photograph, or sing whatever they want, as long as we can use it in some way or form in the creative book.
There is now also a standalone art club which Alice White runs. This club also provides me with artwork for the creative book.
We are also very fortunate to be allowed to run all day creative workshops during the terms at school. This allows students to spend the entire school day working on their creativity for the book. Some work in teams, some in two’s or three’s and some work independently. It’s a great atmosphere and all the students who attend never want to day to end.
So there you have it. The bulk of the work is done by students at the after school clubs and the all day workshops. However some students who cannot attend the after school clubs still get involved and often give me poems, drawings as I am passing them in the corridor going to lessons. It’s amazing how many times a student has thrust a piece of paper in my face as I am walking around the school saying “Oh this is for the creative book sir!”
All the work is collected by me and taken home for me to sort through. Here I will decide what to include. Most of the poems and stories I get emailed to me, however some I do type out which can take a while depending of the size. All the pictures have to be scanned into the computer for enhancing. It is here that I put together the book on a colossal word document. The size of this word document staggers me with tens of thousands of words, hundreds of illustrations and other work. I sift through it all and edit the entire document for publication.
This is now passed onto my publisher who checks the whole thing for any errors that are then corrected. He also gets the front cover art and credits and back cover and puts the whole thing on a publishing programme. We can both then see what the book looks like and again check for errors before he then passes it on to the printers. We get one proof copy to check for any last minute errors before I give the all clear for mass print.
With each new book I try to something different that sets it apart from its predecessors. With this book I had the idea of recording a cd. It turned out to be a very rewarding process. Standing there watching and listening to students record their compositions and lyrics was (it felt like) a privilege. All the songs were recorded in a music room by me and Mr. Cross. It did take about a year to do but we are all very proud of it.
One of the happiest and most nervous times is getting the final copy in my hand. It makes me so proud of all the students to see their work in print, their work that they wrote, drew, sang, photographed, on cold wet evenings after school when they could have gone home and done something else. That’s what makes it all worth it.