Bishop Tyrrell author Mr Paul Russell teaches children to celebrate uniqueness

Mr. Paul Russell, a Primary teacher from Bishop Tyrrell, is helping to broaden an understanding and acceptance of neurodiversity with his fifth children's book, The Incredibly Busy Mind of Bowen Bartholomew Crisp.

Once again, his latest book draws from his teaching career in the primary school at Bishop Tyrrell, being a father, and his own professional development journey.
 
Mr. Russell’s first book about dementia, Grandma Forgets, has been published in fourteen different countries and nine languages; while My Storee (2018) is based on his own experience with dyslexia as a child; The Incurable Imagination (2019) explores the value of imagination and creativity within learning, and Courageous Lucy released earlier this year (2021) talks about feelings of anxiety.

“Bishop Tyrrell’s students and families are Mr. Russell’s biggest fans,” said Mr. Mark Durie, Head of Primary School. “We appreciate how these books are helping our learning community. Every child has the right to feel like they belong and enjoy an inclusive community. Our school always makes children feel welcome, and so do his books.”
 
“The joy of being a teacher and writing for children is seeing a child come alive through literature. Watching students find a story that speaks to them or a book that helps them navigate the world is an incredible feeling,” explained Mr. Paul Russell.
 
”We are all different, and finding the strengths in our differences is what life is all about,” Mr. Russell said about the important message in his latest children’s book.
 
“When I’m writing books, my own experiences are also in retrospective from being a teacher, parent, and my own self-development. I am at this perfect junction in my life for writing these stories about children’s wellbeing. My stories are seeded in my own experiences but enriched by the children whose educational journal I am blessed to share as both a teacher and father,” he said.
 
The results speak for themselves. Mr. Russell has achieved numerous local, national, and international recognition for his work, including a prestigious CBCA Notable Picture Book, national television appearances on the Today breakfast show, articles in The Guardian and Telegraph UK, and invitations to speak on numerous panels at writers’ festivals, and as a guest author at schools and library workshops, and talks in both Australia and New Zealand.
 
“Being a teacher, I get to see first-hand across all ages the enjoyment children get out of reading, and it is even more special if they are reading my books. Knowing the impact books have on children and their understanding of the world. I have always used stories to teach and couldn’t imagine ever leaving the classroom. They say you learn something new every day, but I seem to learn more than that by recess. I am always learning, for my students, with my students, or from my students. As a teacher and author, I am open to wonder, which is something I also encourage in my students. Bishop Tyrrell is an incredible school, with a supportive community that values diversity and original thinking,” Mr. Russell said.
 
“We all have features and qualities that contribute to building a diverse and strong community,” said Mr. Durie. Once we learn how to utilise and celebrate these strengths, we become the most empowered.

Read about Bishop Tyrrell's author in the latest Touch Magazine.

Listen to Tanya Wilks & Steve G's weekday breakfast interview with Mr. Russell on Triple M Newcastle.

"It takes teachers to think differently (like you) to allow children to find their path and feel accepted," said Tanya