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Kiwi icons bring storybook to life for Starship

“Past towering mountains, across scorching deserts and over the shimmering blue sea lay an expansive island… ”

Nine budding authors have joined a star-studded illustrator line-up including sportspeople, foodies, musicians, designers and artists to launch this year’s storybook from the Barfoot & Thompson Young Authors Challenge - ‘Kindness, courage, and more uplifting stories’. The storybook is now available for purchase with all proceeds going to the Starship Foundation.

The nine winning stories were chosen out of more than 1,600 entries authored by children from primary and intermediate schools across Auckland and Northland.

To hone their writing skills the chosen young authors attended a creative writing workshop with award-winning children’s writer Maria Gill, who mentored them as they prepared their stories for print.

The children’s vibrant stories were brought to life through illustrations by a selection of Kiwi icons including rugby legend Keven Mealamu, singer/songwriter Benny Tipene and artist/food truck owner Otis Frizzell.

Peter Thompson, Managing Director of Barfoot & Thompson, says he is immensely proud of the Young Authors Challenge which is now in its ninth year and has helped Barfoot & Thompson raise over $200,000 for the Starship Foundation.

“The 2016 Young Authors Challenge book is one of our best ever. It is fantastic to be able to nurture talented young authors year after year, and I am sure the stories will be thoroughly enjoyed by children for years to come,” says Mr Thompson.

“This year we welcome a new line-up of illustrators who have done a marvellous job of bringing the children’s tales to life. We are privileged to once again have the support of Keven Mealamu, who is our ambassador to Starship and has provided the cover artwork among other drawings for this book.”

One of those fresh new illustrators is artist-turned foodie Otis Frizzell, who welcomed the challenge to bring seven-year old Loughlin Mosen’s story ‘Gorillas Can’t Swim’ to life.

“The prospect of illustrating a children’s book was a little daunting at first but Loughlin had some clear ideas about how it should look. I wanted it to be funny, too. So I put a bit of humour in there; the disapproving penguin, the bananas on his board shorts, and Gus’s shiny bum… Hopefully that’ll get a laugh every time anyone turns to that page.”

“Out of all the weird and wonderful things I’ve illustrated in my life, I’ve never done a children’s book before. I loved it! It was such a fun project, and supporting a great cause.”

This year the young authors had an extra special treat with the team at Barfoot & Thompson bringing to life characters from the winning stories. Straight from the imagination of the young authors, the characters made a welcome appearance at the storybook’s launch event on November 17th, alongside a selection of artwork from each illustrator auctioned, raising an impressive $15,000 on the night.

The nine winning stories include:
• The Blind Beggar’s Gift by Selau Ifopo who is home-educated, illustrated by Keven Mealamu
• Gorillas Can’t Swim by Loughlin Mosen from St Mary’s Catholic School Papakura, illustrated by Otis Frizzell
• Mr Biblio’s Flying Library by Olive Whatmough from St John’s School Mairangi Bay, illustrated by Benny Tipene
• The Girl Who Wouldn’t by Kikka Okuno from Massey Primary School, illustrated by Elisabeth Findlay
• The Very Special Worm by Caleb Palmer from Elim Christian College, illustrated by Keven Mealamu
• The Problem with Geronimo by Alayna Finlay from Elim Christian College, illustrated by Tracey van Lent
• Sun and Rain by Amy Wang from Murrays Bay Intermediate, illustrated by Max Thompson
• Back on my Feet by Maia Holland from Red Beach School, illustrated by Starship patient Casey Gilbert
• Pass the Message by Kelly Zheng from Meadowbank Primary School, illustrated by Hannah Jensen

Help the patients at Starship: Buy your copy of Kindness, Courage and more uplifting stories at www.barfoot.co.nz/storybook for just $20.

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