11 September 2019

Fantastic Gymnastics - new book from Bega Valley author Diana Harley

| Ian Campbell
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Bega Valley author Diana Harley. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Bega Valley author Diana Harley. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Local author, poet and playwright, Diana Harley, has just published her latest children’s picture book – Fantastic Gymnastics.

With simple bouncing rhymes and beautiful illustrations by award-winning illustrator, Sue Rama, the book weaves a tapestry of movement, learning and fun for kids to enjoy – and that adults will love reading out loud.

Aimed at the birth to 8 years age group, ‘Fantastic Gymnastics’ introduces children to the fun and excitement of physical activity and the joy of learning new skills, experiencing new environments and making new friendships.

“The aim of my book is to get kids moving and having fun”, Diana says.

“All kids, everywhere, no matter what their skill level and no matter what their ability level, can gain so much from gymnastic activities. I want my book to encourage all children all over the world to have a go at being active and to enjoy themselves as they learn.”

Diana believes that children develop so much through gymnastic exercise – balance, control, coordination, discipline, strength, flexibility and social skills.

“Physical exercise in a safe environment, along with a growing sense of competence and confidence, greatly bolsters a child’s overall development. These skills also promote brain development while providing the foundation for a lifetime of healthy physical activity,” she says.

‘Fantastic Gymnastics’ also aims to educate parents, teachers and care-givers through the explanations, on each page, linked to the benefits that children derive from participating in the gymnastics activities depicted in the book. Terms such as “gross motor skills”, “core strength” and “proprioception”, are peppered through the book and are simply defined in the glossary.

Diana has written a number of childrens’ books, and has recently published two poetry chapbooks and has had two of her plays performed in regional areas. She has won numerous poetry and writing competitions and was a prolific contributor to ABC Open 500 Words. She has also conducted writing workshops for both children and adults, which she “enjoys very much.”

“I was a kid who was always doing handstands against the garden wall, practising my forward rolls in the front yard or climbing trees,” she says.

“I wasn’t particularly good at any of that activites but I had so much fun! And I kept physically active and healthy.

“My hope is that ‘Fantastic Gymnastics’ will encourage all children to appreciate the wonderful abilities they have whilst having fun and being with their families and friends in an empowering and healthy environment.”

‘Fantastic Gymnastics’ is available through Diana’s website, Art on Imlay in Eden or at the office of Jason Harley Optometrist in Merimbula and Bega.

Diana will read ‘Fantastic Gymnastics’ as part of kid’s storytime at Bega Library on September 10 at 10:30 am.

Click play to hear Diana read part of the book and learn more…

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