Another great year for Russ the Story Bus

Proving without a doubt that it is a highlight of the school calendar, the fifth annual Children’s Festival of Moving Stories undertook another tour across NSW and the ACT, ensuring over 5,500 primary school students not only have a renewed passion for literature, illustration and storytelling – but also are now the proud owners of a new book to keep forever.

Making its way across Western Sydney, regional NSW and the ACT, the Festival visited 55 schools this year, and has become a true testament to the Sydney Writers’ Festival’s ongoing commitment to presenting quality literary events for children. We know that access to authors and illustrators, and providing books that make their way into homes can have a powerful and lasting impact on literacy – and it turn can only benefit young students in all their future endeavours.

We were fortunate to be joined once again by the most beloved library-on-wheels in Australia – Russ the Story Bus – this year adorned in Sophie Beer’s vibrant illustrations. Taken from her gorgeous new picture book Love Makes a Family, these illustrations celebrate the many wonderfully diverse and loving families that make up Australia. Sophie was also able to visit some of our schools and share with them her love of drawing that she has held since she was a very small child.

"Seeing my illustrations decorating the outside of a bus was, personally, a moment of exquisite happiness. I never thought I'd see my little depictions of everyday Aussie families adorning such a lovely creature as Russ! Such joy can, however, be easily beaten by observing the pure excitement and wonder that lit up the face of every child who got to hear the magic words, ‘Come aboard Russ the Story Bus, pick a book and then you can keep it forever’."

Sophie Beer, author

Each child who received a visit from Russ then Story Bus got to attend a specially devised author talk, explore the wonders of Russ’ bookshelves, and take home the book that most ignited their passion for reading.

Students were blessed this year with visits from a wonderful group of Australian authors and illustrators, including Damon Young, Yvette Poshoglian, Nicki Greenberg, Sandy Fussell, Martine Murray, Cristy Burne, Jeremy Lachlan and Rebecca McRitchie.

Providing an opportunity for children to meet and speak with authors and illustrators who were once young like them encourages a belief in the value of their own stories, and fosters the next generation of creative minds.

“Our students were literally vibrating with excitement as they pinged back to class, clutching their new books, showing each other, sharing stories of their experiences with each other. SOOOOOO, there is no one thing most valuable, just that the whole experience was priceless and our students will hold these memories forever.”

School Principal, Exeter Public School

The 2019 Family Day and All-Day YA program will be announced in March. Make sure to keep an eye out for it, and we look forward to welcoming you at the next Festival (29 April – 5 May).