Natalie C. Anderson: City of Saints & Thieves

Last Friday, all S6 Geography classes were invited to go on an imaginary travel to Africa, joining a young girl, Tina, on her fight for the truth – the truth about who killed her mother. We followed her to Kenia, Kongo, the hell of war, flight and revenge, and a lot of moments that could cost Tina her life.

But City of Saints & Thieves showed more than this layer, meant to being more than just a thriller. It opens a world we normally do not experience living in a peaceful, secure country. Being dedicated to “all girls who are more than just refugees”, the book offered the opportunity of talking about flight, development, colonization and decolonization in Africa – all the topics students are dealing with in year 6 Geography.

Natalie C. Anderson is a writer and international development professional living in Geneva, Switzerland. She has been working with non-governmental organizations and the United Nations on refugee relief and development, mainly in Africa.

Natalie did not only talk about flight and development, the working conditions in rare earth mines in Africa – something we can find in our smartphones and tablets – but she also challenged students to close their eyes and imagine an intense scene during flight. They imagined sudden gunshots – and wrote or designed as a tattoo what they expected to happen right after.

This was another very intense author visit, and we can be sure that there will be moments in Geography lessons, where students will say or think: “Oh, that was what Natalie was talking about…!”

Piers Torday inspires with stories and powerful messages

Imagine somebody came and asked you to get three different groups of students at the age of 6-12 years to reflect on the magic of stories, the power of reading, animal protection and have them enjoy it all the while. Would you have any idea how to do that? Well, Piers Torday definitely did when he came to meet our students on 08 May 2019.

During the almost 90 minute sessions Piers Torday easily connected and never lost touch with his audience. In his very own and entertaining way he told the students about his first contact with books (when crawling through his mother’s book shop), his experiences with stories and how the magic of “black marks on white paper turning into a different movie for everyone is a magic no science has managed to explain”. From his personal experiences with being read to and with stories in general he moved on to the story of him becoming a writer and an author. Furthermore, he pointed out the “state of the art idea generator” every one of us has and how he got to develop his idea for “The last wild”.  Our students also got to know that even Roald Dahl rewrote his famous story of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” so that in future there should not be any reason of worrying about not getting a story right at the very first try.

Everyone present clearly enjoyed listening to Piers Torday and the very next day there was not only a significantly higher demand for Roald Dahl books in the library but also for those written by Piers Torday.

Who knows, maybe there will be a day when an author will be standing in front of students talking about how Piers Torday  inspired her/him back in the days of May 2019 …

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