Creativity: a family affair

There’s no such thing as an ordinary day in the life of this Mandurah family.

On any given day, it’s not unusual to find 14-year-old Xanthe drawing in her sketchbook, nine-year-old Azalia hanging upside down in the backyard wrapped in the aerial silks, and five-year-old Zaedyn playing videogames.

Mother Nanci Nott believes in ‘unschooling’ and making learning fun by letting her children set their own timetables and allowing them to choose what they want to learn and when.

The house is a hub of creatives, which has now ventured into a new family project together: editing a book.

The novel, Zany Circus: Paradox, has been written by Ms Nott and has been fully illustrated by young Xanthe.

It tells the story of a family of home-schooled children, like the Turner’s themselves, who live in a circus.

After their mother falls from the aerial silks, they are forced to meet a new interim teacher who seems to be hiding something.

As they try to discover what it is, the children embark in an adventure involving time traveling, quantum physics and philosophy.

The book is based around one of Ms Nott’s nighttime stories, which she, together with the help of her three children, expanded every night.

The story was picked up by Aulexic, a publisher which specialises in publishing books for children with literacy difficulties, who asked Xanthe to illustrate the book after seeing her sketches. 

“I really enjoyed coming up with the characters’ designs,” she said.

“I think I learned being an illustrator is not as easy as it looks.

However, she would like to give it a go again.

“If that’s a thing I can do in the future, and it looks like it will be, why not?,” she said.

The book has been adapted with a special font named dyslexie that helps children with literacy and learning difficulties such as dyslexia to read it.

It comes with a glossary, and it includes a song and lyrics composed and performed by the family themselves, so children who learn through music and performing can enjoy the book.

The book will be launched in a special circus-themed event at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre on World Circus Day, April 15.