‘Never give up’ and ‘have the courage to follow your dreams’ were some of the inspirational messages students at St John’s Catholic Primary School, Dapto, heard during an impromptu visit from international award-winning author, Kirli Saunders.
Ms Saunders is a proud Gunai woman and 2020 NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year. During her visit to St John’s, Ms Saunders shared her personal story and passages from her most recent children’s book, Bindi.
Bindi is the story of an eleven-year-old girl living on Gundungurra country, who recounts her town’s bushfire experience and its aftermath. The book is about connection to Country and the role young people have in caring for the earth into the future.
Students were engaged and inspired by the dynamic presentation, in which Ms Saunders spoke about how she realised her dream to become an author by believing in herself and calling on others for help.
Kirli’s top three tips for the students:
- Stay wild - “My best work always arrives when I’m connected to the Earth, and making time for adventures.”
- Listen, read, watch, play and move - “Learn as much as you can about as much as you can.”
- Collaborate - “Ask for help and grow with peers and mentors.”
What the students said about the day:
Kirli taught me about her lifestyle, and that you need to practice and believe in yourself. Kirli followed her dreams, that’s how she became an author. Kirli was so talented, overcame challenges and is proud of who she is. – Dakota D’Amico, Year 6 Green
Kirli Saunders taught me that our dreams can come true if we never give up and keep working towards them. – Bu Lucia Ly, Year 6 Green
I found the mediation with Kirli Saunders inspirational. I liked that Kirli didn’t read it off a paper when she spoke and that most of her books are based on her background. – Nayana Jayesh, Year 6 Green