An Unexpected Hero was chosen for 2017 NZReadAloud (Year 7-8), a national programme involving close to a hundred schools who read the book together. Connecting online for six weeks with Year 7-8 students, and then meeting several hundred in person at Tamatea Intermediate, Napier was fun. The students' emails, Tweets, letters and questions kept me busy and I also got to see their work as they explored the text online with classes in other schools. 

A feather is difficult to draw, but there were many great entries for my NZReadAloud competition for a tee-shirt design featuring the white feather of peace. I enjoyed seeing them all, particularly all the entries from Waitoki School: hard for a teacher to select only two designs from such talent, ranging from a phoenix to doves, peace rainbows and more. The entries from WJJ Middle School in Connecticut USA travelled a long way and were most welcome too. Then I had to choose the final winners. 

Alyssa Martinovich’s beautiful and well-thought-out design (below left) gained second place. Alyssa is at Pukekohe Intermediate.

I chose the design by Rushil Patel (below right) as the clear winner. It would take many words to fully describe its symbolism … but briefly, two clasped hands with different coloured skins together hold up the white feather of peace. Decorated with symbols and flags from many nations, the two “arms" together embrace the globe. The word Peace on the tee shirt sleeves supports the design. Then to my surprise, I realised that Rushil is in the same classroom as Alyssa at Pukekohe Intermediate.

  

 

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