Libraries, Literacy & You – Seminar Day

ReaLM presents our annual ‘Libraries, Literacy and You’ Day.

We are back for our 11th year and we hope you are as excited as we are to bring you this year’s event. Join us for a learning filled day of six sessions with engaging and expert speakers to support you and your library.

When: Friday 4th September, 8am-5pm
Where: Conference Room, Sports and Rugby Institute, Massey University, Palmerston North
Costs: $135pp (Early-bird special: $100pp – Register before 5pm Friday 7th August)

Find out more information and register here

Here are this year’s line up of speakers:

  • Josh Morgan & Sacha Cotter – Author & Illustrator award winning team 
Josh Morgan and Sacha Cotter 2019 NZCYA Awards ©VanessaRushtonPhotography

Raised in Manawatū, and armed with a BDes from Massey University, Josh is an accomplished freelance illustrator. He will be sharing his journey to becoming part of the award winning book writing partnership with Sacha Cotter. Their third collaboration, The Bomb / Te Pohū, was a New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults winner in The Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and the Picture Book Award sections.

Kawerau born Sacha, is a talented children´s writer and children’s television script writer. Before publishing her first book Keys, Sacha gained an arts degree and a teaching diploma. She worked in a variety of jobs and lived abroad for several years. After returning to NZ she completed the Writing for Children Workshop and the Master Class in Television Script Writing with the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University, Wellington. She is the author of picture books Keys/Ngā KīThe Marble Maker/Te Kaihanga Māpere, and the 2019 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year, The Bomb/Te Pohū – all published by HUIA and illustrated by her partner in both books and life, Josh Morgan.

  • Melinda Szymanik – Award winning author of picture books, short stories and novels for children and young adults.

Melinda writes for children and young adults. She has been a finalist for a number of awards, and five of her titles are Storylines Notable Books. Her picture book, The Were-Nana, won the New Zealand Post Children’s Choice Award in 2009, and was shortlisted for the 2010 Sakura Medal. Melinda’s novel, A Winters Day in 1939, won Librarian’s Choice at the 2014 LIANZA awards and her picture book Fuzzy Doodle, was a 2017 White Raven Selection. She has studied both adult’s and children’s literature at University, is a visiting writer in schools, and teaches creative writing workshops for adults and children.

Session: Writers for young people: jugglers or magicians?In this talk Melinda discusses her own journey to writing for children and young adults, including the fundamental contradiction of looking backwards to her own youth for insights and inspiration, while looking forward to the youth of today and tomorrow to know their fears and concerns. How do writers juggle messages of hope, with an examination of the issues and challenges relevant to contemporary teens, writing stories that allow young readers to simultaneously ‘escape,’ while providing them with the tools for navigating their future adulthood?

  • Sharon Holt – Author and a passionate advocator of Te Reo

Sharon decided on a career as a children’s author when she was seven. Unfortunately, life intervened, and one day there were 40 candles on her birthday cake! With no time to lose, Sharon started writing stories, plays and poems for Learning Media’s School Journals and Ready to Read series. The desire to see her books in libraries and book shops led to success with Walker Books, Allen & Unwin and Scholastic. For the last eight years, Sharon has focused on writing her award winning series of Te Reo Singalong books. She also has a passion for correct pronunciation of Māori place names, birds and trees, which she teaches through her Te Reo Māori Challenge facebook page. You can find Te Reo Singalong books at

Session: How te reo Māori changed my life. I first met te reo Māori in 2002. It was love at first sight. Never mind that I was happily married and already in my 40s. This new relationship was true love, the kind where you feel comfortable, safe, understood, inspired to be your best self, and eager for more. And it’s a relationship that’s stood the test of time. I’m not saying it’s easy. Like all relationships, we’ve had our rocky patches. For a few years we didn’t talk much. But these days, we’ve reached our “happy place”. I look forward to showing you how you can also have a happy and fulfilling relationship with te reo Māori.

  • Adele Broadbent – Author and self confessed book nut

Adele is the author of five novels for middle grade readers and several educational titles in the US and Australia. Her latest novel – IF ONLY, is for young teens – A tale of loyalty, first love, white lies and whales – all wrapped up in a guilty secret.

Adele’s passion is children’s books and she is a self-confessed book nut. She loves collecting outstanding and beautiful children’s books, and feels lucky to be in her dream job as a children’s bookseller at the award winning Wardini Books in Napier.

When Adele isn’t reading or writing or talking about books at Wardinis, she is adding reviews to her children’s and teen’s book review site –

Session: When Adele was working as a Children’s Librarian at the public library, she would often see children of all ages trailing along the shelves, struggling to choose among the plethora of books on display. An avid reader of young fiction, she loved to help but saw the need for somewhere the readers could choose for themselves. Beginning with hundreds of her own reviews – What Book Next was born.
Adele will be discussing her review site, its conception and uses, along with her novels for tweens and her new novel IF ONLY for teen readers.

  • Thomasin Sleigh is the Community Manager at DigitalNZ where she connects with the website’s audiences through public presentations and social media and helps people find out about the rich collections available online. Outside of her work at Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, she is a novelist and art writer. She has published two novels and written about art for galleries and publications throughout Aotearoa.

Session: DigitalNZ and teaching Aotearoa’s history – Trustworthy information can be tricky to find, but on 30+ million items from 200+ organisations are provided free via one website, making it easy to access the collections of Aotearoa’s museums, galleries, libraries, and archives. Thomasin will give a brief introduction to the website and show how it can be used in the classroom and library by kaiako, ākonga, and librarians to find useful content.

In the second half of the presentation Thomasin will look at the 2019 decision to change the National Curriculum and make teaching Aotearoa’s history compulsory in all schools across the country. She will show how DigitalNZ can tautoko teaching history and ensure that ākonga can find and use trustworthy, historical images, newspapers, videos, audio, and all kinds of digital content. She will also demonstrate DigitalNZ ‘stories’, a content curation tool that allows you to bring together items of interest on, write something about them, and share your ‘story’ with others.