Author visits school
DURANBAH Public School is down a spatula and a football thanks to Brisbane author Chris McKimmie, but the staff and students couldn't be happier.
It seems Mr McKimmie's newest book, Special Kev, about a boy, a bush turkey and a big avocado, has garnered him a whole school of fans - all 35 students.
The celebrated author was special guest at the school last week, bringing his wife, two small grandchildren and the family dog along for the ride.
Duranbah teacher Dianne Young said the children had been fascinated by Special Kev because of its local flavour.
The book mentions the Big Avocado emblem from nearby Tropical World, as well as Tumbulgum and, a subject particularly close to their hearts, a bush turkey.
Mrs Young said the kids had been so taken with the humorous children's book that they had named the school's own visiting bush turkey Special Kev and, like the main character in the book, they had made their own replica of a bush turkey out of a football and the school's spatula.
Faced with such interest, Mrs Young said she had decided to try to contact Mr McKimmie, who is not usually one for school visits.
“I emailed him and he was really interested in visiting,” she said.
“His grandson goes to a school in Brisbane with 25 kids in his class, so he was interested to see a school of this size where we have just 35 students in total.”
She said she knew Mr McKimmie had to have some kind of local connection, given the iconic landmarks mentioned in the book.
“He used to drive past the Big Avocado on the way to Byron to take his wife to work,” she said.
“He thought it would be great for a book.”
Mr McKimmie and his family spent more than two hours with the children, and he even donated a piece of his original artwork to the school.
In return he got to meet the school's pretend bush turkey and their very own Special Kev - who turned up to meet the author.
“Oh yes, of course he was there,” Mrs Young said.
“He even turned up on school picture day and had his picture taken.”