Phew, has ever a calendar year flashed past faster. This first laureate year has been and continues to be the journey of a lifetime for me, and I hope a special one for you as well. And here we are in the final month with a chance to reflect on what this whole process of championing children's reading is all about.
Lots of things, of course, as I've tried to express each month in the calendar's themes and ideas. But all summed up for me in this month's catchcry - Dare To Do It December.
Some things we canâ€™t do from the comfort of our reading pillow. Such as make a difference to our world. We have to go out and do that, just like thousands of generations before us. Like them, stories have made us who we are. Shown us that the best weâ€™re capable of is always more powerful than the worst. Some people donâ€™t believe that. We can show them itâ€™s true by the way we live the story of our life.
Which is exactly what thousands of young people did this month. They went out to make a difference to their lives and to their world. They spoke truth to power about climate change and what the owners of that power are failing to do about it. Like the heroes of so many stories, these young people used their determination, intelligence, wit, bravery, generosity, empathy and resilience to grapple with one of the biggest problems in their lives. They went out not just to make their own futures, but all our futures.
And like most heroes, they were confronted by foes. Some of the most powerful people in the land derided them. Told them that what they were doing would lead them directly to the dole queue. That school is a place for learning, not acting on what they've learned. That they may well end up being punished for their actions.
Here's your final activity for the year.
1. Select a story, any story, from our written and oral literature of the last few thousand years.
2. Make a list of the qualities of the main character that you feel are heroic.
3. Find a group of people with similar qualities who are prepared to lead our national community into the future.
4. Do what you can to help them do that.
(Hint - some of them might only be ten at the moment.)
Thank you to all of you who've shared in the journey so far of this laureate and his calendar. Next year I'll be revisiting and building on each month's themes and ideas. Until then, happy holidays and happy reading.