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All Black art illustrates young authors book

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

More than a hundred young writers from across Auckland and Whangarei gathered at Starship Hospital today to officially launch their newly published book: Superhero Pukeko & 7 Winning Stories.

The compilation book of eight short stories written by children aged 5 to 12 years old, including illustrations by rugby's Keven Mealamu, was published by real estate firm Barfoot & Thompson to raise funds for the Starship Foundation.

Peter Thompson, Managing Director of Barfoot & Thompson said he was delighted to see the theme of 'heroes' naturally develop as the book's winning short stories came together.

"This theme is so fitting to the contributors and benefactors of this book. These students have achieved a heroic feat they can be very proud of, creating something that will help raise much needed funds to assist the young heroes battling in Starship's wards every day."

The overall winning story, 'The Pukeko who wanted to be a Super-hero', by Room 8 of St Heliers School, tells the great tale of a bird with a mistaken identity, on his search to find a licence to be a super hero. It is accompanied by seven other tales:

Ararimu School, Ben Langheim of Room 1 - 'A Brothers Battle'; a touching tale of a brother's diagnosis with leukaemia.

Birkdale Intermediate, Room 11 - 'D�j� vu'; the unexplainable feeling one boy has in avoiding a car crash.

Howick Intermediate, students from Room 20 - 'A Paper's Life Story'; the emotional ride one tree has on the way to becoming a book.

Hurupaki School, Pod 7 - 'Heroes of Antarctica - A Husky Tale'; the tough journey one husky handler and his dogs have on the way to Scott Base.

Somerville Intermediate, Room 22 - 'The Wolf That Got Punked'; the amusing and unexpected triumph one awkward donkey has over a hungry wolf.

Victoria Ave Primary, Zoe Fong of Room 6 - 'The Boy Who Danced'; the struggle of a boy's choice between rugby and ballet.

Willowbank Primary, Room 5 - 'Never Judge a Book by its Cover'; the start of one Prince's unusual quest to find love.

Every cent from book sales will be donated to the Starship Foundation, with funds supporting the purchase of brain monitoring equipment.

Today's launch event was an opportunity for the young talents from across the region to come together and celebrate their success, as well as shake hands with a sporting hero, Keven Mealamu.

This is the fourth Barfoot & Thompson title Keven has illustrated for the company's Young Authors Challenge in support of Starship. This year's book was more challenging than previous ones for Keven, with the need to develop a fresh style and new characters for each of the eight stories, and some images receiving finishing touches between big games in September and October.

A selection of the original artworks from this year's book are available from today on auction website Trade Me, also benefiting Starship.

In addition to rubbing shoulders with a leading sportsman, the winning classes were also treated to writing workshops with established authors Paula Green and John Parker, who helped them refine their stories.

"The aim of the Young Authors Challenge is to support children's love for reading and writing, whether they are in the classroom or the hospital," says Mr Thompson.

"It's a unique competition and feedback from teachers has been extremely positive, with more than 100 entries received this year. It is a fun project that also provides a real-life outcome, increasing students' enthusiasm for the learning task at hand.

"We were humbled by the calibre of the entries, and it is our hope that the Young Authors Challenge and the resulting books continue to inspire students."

The past three story books have helped Barfoot & Thompson raise a combined $80,000 for Starship. Through the Barfoot & Thompson Magic of Reading programme, copies of the books are also provided to Starship Children's Hospital and Whangarei Hospital's Children's Ward where they are given to young patients to read and take home.

Superhero Pukeko & 7 Winning Stories is available from and your local Barfoot & Thompson branch for $15.00. Eight of Keven's original artworks have been launched on Trade Me and can be found by searching 'signed Keven Mealamu illustration' at

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