Posted on July 3, 2013 - by MG
Last week I emerged from the self-imposed semi-hermitage of finishing a manuscript, to drive up north to Wakefield and the Riveting Reads Awards. The lovely kids of Wakefield had picked APOCALYPSE MOON to be on the shortlist, and presentations of each author’s books were promised, so I was keen to go.
The Yr5s of South Parade School had made artwork around the APOCALYPSE MOON jacket, with different textures and using materials including papier mache, chalk, oil pastels and paint. Lovely! They very kindly gave it to me at the end, so when I can find some wall-space (on a non-rainy day!) I’ll take a photo for the blog. My first time seeing artwork based on the final dark book – before it’s usually been Invisible City.
A group of Yr7s from Ossett Academy did something else I’ve never seen – they acted out a scene from the book! The scene was set in the ‘Muwan’ – the advanced aircraft flown by the Sky Guardians of Ek Naab. The kids had made a control panel from a keyboard and some painted cups, and of course – tin foil. Four kids held the Muwan scenery in place around the actors, who played Josh and Tyler. Two boys did Josh’s inner voice (nice! I hadn’t ever really thought about the dramatic possibilities of that!). I wish I’d videoed them, they were all so great!
The chose to dramatize the section where Josh shows alt-Tyler (from the parallel future) the Muwan. This Tyler hasn’t ever seen it, is only just now beginning to accept that maybe Josh is telling the truth about time travelling from June 2012. He gives a speech (inspired by Kurtz’s famous speech from Apocalypse Now). I really enjoyed watching it and talking to the students afterwards about why they picked that particular piece. I’ll admit, I’m happy that a scene that I hoped would resonate, had an effect on these readers. Tyler, in a very toned down way, of course, is the Colonel Kurtz character of this story. The one who’s had his innocence ripped away by living through the horrors.
Often the difference in making a story work for young people lies simply in which end of the story you choose to tell. Tyler’s story would be a lot darker and grittier than Josh’s. Josh leads a charmed life, by comparison. But hopefully, that makes him easier to relate to.
I was delighted to thank all the kids who made artwork or presented the drama, a package of Joshua Files goodies, the gym bag, enamel badge and wristband. Lots of happy faces!
Ah but – the book didn’t win the award! That honour went to the impossibly youthful-looking Ciaran Murtagh with GENIE IN TRAINING. Congrats!