Kids & Family · 7 Sep 2020

Former Invercargill School Principal Turns Author

Aimee Wilson

Aimee Wilson


Former St Patricks School principal Callan Goodall has become a children’s book author.

He said it was almost like winning a golden ticket – you know, the one in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

Midmost Marvin tells the tale of a very average boy with better than average skateboard skills.

He tries to change to impress a girl but she actually likes him just the way he is.

Having a Publishing House accept your manuscript was quite a major accomplishment, and Callan admitted he had been trying for years.

“I’m over the moon. I have read hundreds of books, some good, some not so good. Finding a way in is tougher than it seems,” he said.

Bateman Books had taken on Callan’s story, which will be in many New Zealand bookstores this Friday.

But the official book launch will be held at ‘Young Reflections’ on Wednesday at 4:30pm – for those wanting one of the first 200 signed copies.

Owner Joy Brown – who has known Callan for many years through supplying schools with resources, said holding an official book launch was certainly not an every day (or even every week) occurrence.

“It’s a major feat, because so many writers get ignored,” she said.

Illustrator and cartoonist Shaun Yeo helped the process by pitching the story idea to the publishers, whom he was already contracted to.

The pair had never met but were linked through a mutual friend and Shaun saw potential in what he’d read.

In fact, he liked the story so much that when he began to create the character on paper “he just rolled onto the page – and that hardly ever happens,” he said.

This could well be the beginning of a long professional partnership – the start of a series of Marvin adventure books.

Callan admits he’s loved stories since he was a 10-year-old growing up in Alexandra and attending St Gerards Primary School.

He has particular fond memories of his teacher Mick Enright reading all of the Road Dahl classics to the class.

“I have always loved words – the way they bounce off one another.” Especially alliteration.

And the father of five loves reading to children too.

“There is magic in books and I think people need to have books read to them,” he said.