Learning

Wednesday 30 July 2014

'I beat book rationing with Mafia-style lending system'

Classroom Confidential: Author Mary Arrigan

John Costello

Published 28/05/2014|02:30

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Childrens writer, Mary Arrigan reads from her book  'The Milo Adventures' to  school children as part of  World Book Day in March. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Childrens writer, Mary Arrigan reads from her book 'The Milo Adventures' to school children as part of World Book Day in March. Photo: Frank Mc Grath

Award-winning author and illustrator Mary Arrigan went to school when teachers believed sparing the cane spoiled the child, but a special mentor inspired her with a more enlightened approach. She tells us about her school years and how a mafia-style operation helped fan her love of reading.

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Where did you go to school?

Holy Family Convent, Co Kildare

What was the worst thing you remember about those days?

It is a lot different now than it was in the '60s and '50s [laughs]. Back then the stick was out quite a lot.

And among the culture of slap-happy teachers that prevailed at that time did any go against the grain?

I had a wonderful teacher called Sister Catherine. She was a real ray of light.

What made her so special?

It was everything, especially the way she taught.

Did you have any favourite subjects?

English and French.

You must have been quite the bookworm?

I was a member of the library in Newbridge. It was very small and you could only take two books for the week.

So did you find any ways to overcome book rationing?

There was this kid who wore short trousers and had knobbly knees. He would take our books when we had finished them and pass them around to others.

Nice!

The following Saturday we would meet again and give him two pence and get our original books back so we could bring them back to the library. It was like something from the mafia!

Since your time in school do you think the system has improved?

I think education, as it is, is extremely good.

MARY ARRIGAN'S LATEST THE MILO ADVENTURES BOOK IS AVAILABLE IN ALL GOOD BOOKSTORES. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.MARYARRIGAN.COM.

Irish Independent

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