‘Specky Magee’ author inspires Broadford students

Children’s author Felice Arena speaks to students at Broadford Secondary College Tyler, Ajay, Ethan, Chase, Brock and teacher Reno Lia.

By Pam Kiriakidis

Last week, seventh and eighth graders at Broadford Secondary College were visited by children’s book author Felice Arena.

Mr Arena quizzed students on his most recent work, showcasing historical pieces and videos that served as the backdrop for his new book, ‘The Unstoppable Flying Flanagan’, a story set during World War II. World, when women’s football was played to raise funds for the troops.

“It was only by chance that I read this article on the train about women in sport and thought ‘let’s do some research on Australian women in sport,'” Mr Arena said.

Shortly after the presentation, a few students gathered around Mr Arena to sign his crowd favorite ‘Specky Magee’ – a book he co-wrote with AFL legend Gary Lyon. He was later interviewed by a student from the school library.

The visit also gave Mr Arena the chance to spark an old relationship with a former teacher who now teaches at Broadford.

“I hope some of them are inspired, but I go out to entertain and inform, and if I inspire them, that’s a bonus,” Mr. Arena said.

“For them to write their own or even pick up a book, which is getting harder and harder these days, but if it’s not my book, someone else’s [is the aim].”

Broadford Secondary College library manager Michelle Slater said the session was an extension of book week, allowing students to meet an author they had explored this year in their classrooms and library.

“We had a lot of activities in the library, but this one is bigger and a bit more special. Bringing an author of books they’ve read here makes them realize that authors are just normal people. It allows them to hear his stories,” she said.

Ms Slater said inviting Mr Arena to talk about his research has prompted students to reflect on their own reading and writing skills as they approach the higher levels of their schooling.

“It’s just encouraging everything to read and write because they need those skills for the rest of their lives,” Ms Slater said.

“I hope they understand that everyday life is the source of a lot of stories.”

Lola R. McClure