Anne Ryan

Follow the Rainbow

A magic trip was planned this week to launch my new picture book in country Victoria.

When I was first sent Juliet M. Sampson’s lovely manuscript for our new picture book ‘Follow the Rainbow’ published by Ford Street Publishing, I immediately recalled my connections to the rural town of Rainbow in northern Victoria, where we visited family many times in my childhood years.

This book is set in rural Australia and celebrates the lifestyle and value of our natural Australian environments and farming communities. Rainbow College P -12 welcomed me back to Rainbow this week to celebrate and share creative time and storytelling workshops with my new picture book.

I was fortunate to work with 3 different age groups. The school were very generous in their organisation and planning for this special celebration.

The first workshop was a combined group of year levels, including students from Prep, Year 1 and Year 2. These warm and interested students made excellent connections to the story setting and shared their own experiences of country life growing up in their town of Rainbow.

We discussed the collage processes used in the illustrations of the book. I shared ideas with the children of how to create colourful textured papers with simple mark making techniques.

We had a wonderful morning playing and experimenting with colour and enjoying the tactile experience of simple monoprinting activities. The children created brilliant coloured papers that they could then recycle and use in their collage artworks.

The second workshop explored book characters.

After reading the story, we identified the main characters, with speaking and non-speaking parts.

I shared the inspiration process that I used in my research for creating the illustrations. In particular the influence of old farm machinery that inspired the making of ‘Metal Man’.

The student’s knowledge and experiences of farm machinery, trucks and old metal equipment shone through in their stunning illustrations as they explored ideas for new book characters from their own home – Rainbow.

Very soon there was a host of story characters and plots developing across the room as students enthusiastically shared their ideas and brainstormed wonderful creative writing sparks.

After lunch the secondary school students showed their ability to work collaboratively through creative thinking activities. This multi talented group unpacked story elements that contribute to the creation of a successful narrative. They explored the importance of words and visual language that support the development of the plot, setting ,problem and solution of the storytelling.

I was privileged to share their storytelling processes and be a part of their conversations as they developed bright and playful ideas of characters and narratives reflecting on:

“Who is at the end of your Rainbow?”


The whole day was made extremely memorable with our community visitors who joined us throughout each workshop. The students were so inclusive and really enjoyed sharing their creative time with the extended community members, sharing stories about their Rainbows and beyond.

I am so grateful to all the staff , students and community members who made this day such a successful launch and a wonderful memory of my returning visit to Rainbow

I hope to Follow the Rainbow and return again very soon!

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