On Wednesday 24 May we joined over 2 million readers across Australia to celebrate National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS). NSS is held annually by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). Every year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator, is read simultaneously around the country. This year The Speedy Sloth was read by author Rebecca Young live from Sydney Zoo. Illustrator Heath McKenzie joined in the fun online and took us through the steps of drawing a sloth.
Rebecca Young is an award-winning author from Sydney. Her first book, Button Boy, illustrated by Sue deGennaro, was a Notable Book for the 2012 CBCA Awards and has been published internationally. In 2016, Teacup, illustrated by Matt Ottley, won the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature in the NSW Premier’s Literacy Awards.
Heath McKenzie is an award-winning children’s book illustrator whose vibrant illustrations brought the characters from The Speedy Sloth to life. Some of our favourites included the mischievous cub, moonwalking meerkat, burrowing mole, old armadillo and daydreaming cougar. The Speedy Sloth reminded us to be proud of our achievements and not to compare ourselves to others: “Yes, Spike was slow, but for a sloth she was fast.”
Why do we love National Simultaneous Storytime?
NSS offers the opportunity:
- To promote the value of reading and literacy.
- To read and listen to a story together.
- To read simultaneously with other readers around the country.
- To showcase an Australian children’s book with a positive storyline.
- To learn about fabulous Australian authors and illustrators.
- To create and colour … a sloth mask and colouring sheet this year.
- To learn about the amazing world of sloths.
- To address key learning areas of the National Curriculum.
- To be reminded that ‘winning’ doesn’t always mean beating everyone else. Sometimes, it’s just the great feeling you get from setting yourself a challenge, conquering your fears, or simply trying something new – and loving it!
Vanessa McKellar, Head of Library Services