Virtual Events That are even better !

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COVID-19 can close our schools, but nothing stops learning! In addition to distance learning during school hours, students continue needing quality programs even in the live, online format. While students are socially isolated such programs are critically important for learning among students and classmates in schools.

As the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak is felt throughout the community, the good folk at Echo Books have joined forces with some of our favourite authors.

These 45 minute sessions are complimentary.

Delivery platforms:

Live via Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. Or we would be happy to discuss creating a pre-recorded version.

Heather Morrisauthor of award winning The Tattooist of Auschwitz andCilka’s Journey 

Meg Keneallya journalist, historian and co-author of The Monsarrat Series of books with her father Tom Keneally. Fled is her first solo novel. 

Heather Morris

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Heather Morris was born in New Zealand. As a child, Morris took an interest in storytelling, though her grades were average and she didn’t particularly gravitate toward writing down her ideas. Then, as a young woman in 1971, she moved to Melbourne, Australia, where she met her husband. They couple had two sons and a daughter. After returning to New Zealand to raise their children, the couple moved back to Melbourne in 1987, and in 1991 Morris decided to pursue higher education, feeling as if she had missed out by not attending university earlier in her life. With this in mind, she majored in political science at Monash University and then she went on to work as a social worker between 1995 and 2017. During this time, Morris also studied scriptwriting, which is why she originally tried to develop The Tattooist of Auschwitz into a screenplay when she was introduced to the real-life Lale Sokolov in 2003. Over the next three years, Morris became friends with Lale and she visited him often, listening to his story and gathering the information necessary to tell it to a wider audience. After Morris wrote the tale as a screenplay but she was unable to find anyone to make it into a movie, she decided to turn it into a novel instead. 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz has now sold over one million copies and it is a New York Times bestseller.  

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The YA edition of The Tattooist of Auschwitzis edited and updated for younger readers, and also contains extra materials, including classroom discussion points, additional photos, maps and documents and other educational resources.

Historical Context 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the life of Lale Sokolov and his experience in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp located in Birkenau, Poland. Lale entered Birkenau as a prisoner in 1942 and he worked as the camp’s tattooist, staying there until two days before the Russian Red Army descended upon Auschwitz-Birkenau in January of 1945 and the troops liberated the remaining prisoners.

Cilka’s Journey 

Based on what is known of Cilka’s time in Auschwitz, and on the experience of women in Siberian prison camps, Cilka’s Journey is a powerful story. Told through flashbacks to Cilka’s time in Auschwitz-Birkenau, alongside her current trials in Vorkuta, we are witness to the atrocities that happened both during the war and afterwards. This is such an important story to tell. It’s easy – and quite often nice– to believe that after the war ended, everything was fine and went back to normal. But Cilka’s Journey tells us this was not the case. Many people still underwent trials for their survival. Heather Morris has done Cilka justice in this amazing and heart-breaking story of survival.


Both The Tattooist of Auschwitzand Cilka’s Journeycontain themes of survival, morality, faith, love, optimism, unity, sacrifice, empathy, knowledge, uncertainty and power.

Both novels also have intellectual merit. The ideas and issues explored in the texts, in addition to being appropriate to the relevant age-group, is significant and appropriate to sustain intensive study, raising interesting issues and providing challenging ideas.

The language of the texts and the ideas explored in the suitable for a wide range of students, including second language students.

Heather’s session is suitable for students in years 9 and 10 studying the Holocaust, History and Religion as well as senior students studying the Craft of writing 

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“Effective Australian history education has never been more important for the development of critically aware and thoughtful young people. History fosters important skills in reasoning, historical consciousness and empathy; and an appreciation of history is crucial to the development of students’ understanding of the very nature of our society..”Tim Allender i Professor and Chair of History and Curriculum.

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Meg Keneally 

Meg Keneally is no stranger to good storytelling – it’s literally in her blood.

She is one half of the father-daughter duo behind the Monsarrat books, a historical crime series set in the Port Macquarie penal settlement that she writes with Tom Keneally. Having been raised on a litany of fantastical stories as a child, it’s no surprise that Meg has proven herself to be a formidable literary talent in her own right.

That talent is one she is now extending to her first solo novel Fled, an epic historical adventure based on the life of Mary Bryant.

A convicted highwaywoman and thief, Bryant was one of Australia’s most infamous convict runaways, escaping the New South Wales penal colony in 1791 with her family after fearing that they would die of starvation. They fled to West Timor and posed as shipwreck victims, before eventually being outed as criminals and sent back to Britain. Mary was eventually pardoned for her crimes.

This phenomenal story is one of the most widely known from that era, and Meg Keneally has breathed new life into it for a whole new generation of readers. In Fled, Mary Bryant is vividly reimagined as Jenny Trelawney, a savvy convict who hatches a daring plan of escape by sea after famine hits the penal colony where she is serving her sentence. On her journey, she discovers a resilience born of desperation that leads her to fight for not only her own life, but the lives of her family.

Meg session brings history to life in the classroom, she will talk about research, handy resources that are available online to help engage students.

Some of the topics covered:

* Oral history
* Indigenous history
* Primary sources available online
* Using technology to explore and communicate history

Highway robber. Convict. Runaway. Mother. She will do anything for freedom, but at what cost?

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Jenny Trelawney is no ordinary thief. Forced by poverty to live in the forest, she becomes a successful highwaywoman – until her luck runs out.
Transported to Britain’s furthest colony, Jenny must tackle new challenges and growing responsibilities. And when famine hits the new colony, Jenny becomes convinced that those she most cares about will not survive. She becomes the leader in a grand plot of escape, but is survival any more certain in a small open boat on an unknown ocean?

Meg Keneally’s debut solo novel is an epic historical adventure based on the extraordinary life of convict Mary Bryant.

If you are interested in booking your school for a virtual session or would like further information please contact me.

Jacqui Barton, Angophora House Education Consulting        0459783200