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NorthTec graduate, Jenny Healey published her children’s book “Where are all the people?” earlier this year. The book, written during lockdown 2020 and illustrated by Room 4 at Tairua Primary School, looks at lockdown from the perspective of local birdlife.
Healey, who completed NorthTec’s Diploma in Advanced Applied Writing (Level 7), advises that her studies were invaluable when writing her book. “I knew I had a good story idea and the crafting tools that I learned at NorthTec would help to see it through to publication. Even if you are naturally good with words, you need to learn the craft of writing to be successful in it.”
Part of Healey’s studies centered around picture book publication, “As this was a picture book, the relationship between text and illustration needed fine-tuning from time to time. The children’s illustrations were quite simple but with guidance and encouragement they came up with some great ideas that I could utilise. I would not have known how to use these effectively without my picture book paper knowledge.”
Healey’s motivations for writing the book were two-fold. She felt, during the scary and unprecedented time our community was facing during the lockdown, that her book could provide a more lighthearted look at the situation through the eyes of the local manu. She also wanted to reassure members of the community that we would get through this and come out the other side relatively unscathed. With another lockdown upon us, her message has remained the same.
The community focus Healey had in mind while writing her book continued to the publication of it. The illustrations were provided by her local school Tairua Primary, and proceeds from the book’s sale helped raise funds for the Tairua Skate Park.
When discussing her study at NorthTec, Healey had much to say about the services on offer. “The course is user-friendly with great tutors, support when you need it, and I made some life-long friends. The papers are varied. I had a hard time choosing between the electives ones because I wanted to do them all!” Having had done the vast majority of her study online, Healey was pleasantly surprised by the ease with which it was achieved, “It is so easy online. One of the things I worried about was the online part - I’m not that tech-savvy.”
An age-old craft, storytelling has been around for as long as humanity. The craft of writing is one Healey thinks others should take up. “I started writing 14 years ago with my first grandchild. I wanted her to know me through my stories. It was what I learnt through my own grandmother and the joy she gave me in the telling of them. The art of storytelling will never die as long as there are some that will take it up.”
Healey continues her writing journey and is looking to publish her next book, “A little bit of Horse Sense.” Her book was written as her project for the Level 7- Diploma in Advanced Applied Writing. Set in the 1960’s, the book focuses on the theme of bullying, another community-conscious narrative in the making.
For those wishing to buy her book, please message Jenny Healey on 027 551 518. The book is $25 including postage.