Published on 24 August 2012
24 August 2012
The Narangba author of an award-winning children’s book is helping inspire budding teachers during their studies at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Betty Johnston has presented talks to a range of USC Education students recently using her multimedia book, Mrs Echidna’s Dilemma, which won a bronze Ippy (US Independent Publisher Book Awards) in May.
USC Education Lecturer Carol Smith said Mrs Johnston’s workshops, which use quilts, puppets and a DVD, involved innovative methods of teaching literacy across the school curriculum, from English to science, for children aged three to eight years.
“Betty provides a passionate, hands-on opportunity for our pre-service teachers to understand the power of language and literacy and literature in Australian classrooms,” Ms Smith said.
Mrs Echidna’s Dilemma combines a narrative about Australian animals with the latest scientific research on each animal.
The embossed illustrations reflect the original quilts that Mrs Johnston hand-embroidered over many months to tell the story.
Mrs Johnston, a retiree and former high school teacher, said the idea came from her daughter, who works in early childhood education and road-tested the interactive book with children before publication.
“The USC students were very enthusiastic,” Mrs Johnston said after a recent presentation on campus. “The idea is to encourage everyone to take an interest in learning about the native animal and bird life in our own backyards.”
— Julie Schomberg