Though we believe books and reading should be celebrated every day, we always look forward to World Book Day and this year was no different- any excuse for a mass literary celebration! As the WBD website itself says:
World Book Day is a celebration! It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.
Throughout the day, we were keeping a close eye on social media goings-on to make sure we weren’t missing out; twitter is always great place for following the event and we loved seeing how people up and down the county were celebrating World Book Day’s 20th year.
If you missed the festivities or just want to see what all the fuss was about, we recommend checking the official World Book Day UK twitter account, or looking at the #WorldBookDay20 and #WorldBookDay hashtags. We’ve also put together a storify of our own ELS posts- we’ll be adding to it, but in the mean time, you can find it here.
This afternoon, along with over 300 pupils from 20 Norfolk schools, we had the pleasure of seeing renowned author Jacqueline Wilson speak to children at a World Book Day event at Open in Norwich, coordinated by Jarrold’s Books. Jacqueline took the audience on a journey from her humble beginnings to her life-changing opportunity to write for a newly established magazine for teenagers (Jackie, anyone?) and then her long career, during which she has written over 105 books for children. Despite her tendency to write about girls, her first book was ‘Ricky’s Birthday’ which had a boy protagonist!
Jacqueline explained how she cannot go anywhere without a book and that ‘reading for me is an absolute joy.’ She knew she wanted to be a write from a very young age and despite facing criticisms from her teacher about the quality of her work, she persevered because of how much she wanted to write books when she grew up. She encouraged the young audience to work towards their goals, no matter how big or small; ‘Keep faith in yourself if there’s something you really really want to do.’
Her writing is often inspired by moments in history, but she revealed that her writing process which is long (over six months per book!) is just as inspired by contemporary life- once she’s finished with a book which takes place in the past, she writes one which has a more modern setting. She’s known for focusing on family relationships, especially siblings, and feels this comes from being an only child- she often wondered what it was like to have a brother or sister. When she was asked during the Q&A why exactly she began writing in the first place, she said it was not just because she loved reading so much, but because ever since she was small, she had made up her own stories; being an only child, her closest friends were those characters she included in her tales.
Everyone in the room was so excited to be in the presence of a legend of children’s literature and it was wonderful to hear her speak- thanks to Jarrold’s Books for allowing us to come along! Jacqueline mentioned how much she likes visiting Norwich, how Norfolk is her favourite county and how she regularly holidays here (and loves Holkham Beach!)- perhaps we’ll run in to her again soon!
Our Friday Reads are below and if you’d like to read more, you can find our archive here.
Apryl: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
All the recent talk of Carnegie longlists got me thinking of the Newbery Medal, the US equivalent of the prestigious book prize. I bought a second-hand copy of this book (a Newbery winner!) during my travels a few years ago and this week, I finally found time to starting it- and it’s great!
Feeling underappreciated at home, Claudia Kincaid decides to run away to New York City from her home in Greenwich, Connecticut. In need of a companion, she chooses to take along one of her younger brothers, Jamie, because she knows he saves all his pocket money which they’ll need for their trip. They decide to live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the book follows their adventures; published in 1967, it’s an American classic and full of intrigue; who is Mrs Frankweiler, where is she, and why did she donate a statue to the museum, the sculptor of whom is a complete mystery?
(Pushkin Press, £7.99 paperback, ISBN 9781782690719)
Harriet: A Little Guide to Trees by Charlotte Voake
On World Book Day, I was at Blickling Hall enjoying the spring weather, and it reminded me of a lovely book about trees by Charlotte Voake.
This book is really for primary age children, but I had to buy a copy for myself because it is not only informative but very beautiful, and tactile too in its green cloth cover. Full of Voake’s evocative delicate drawings there are lots of details to pore over, with humorous additional titbits of facts delivered in speech bubbles by various animals.
(Random House Children’s Books, £8.99 paperback, ISBN 9781903919828)
Zoë: Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
The title was instrumental in reading this book – I love alliteration!
Lilly loves school; loves learning; loves her teacher and wants to be a teacher when she grows up, until the day she takes her new purple plastic purse to school…She learns some valuable lessons including that of ‘act in haste, repent at leisure’.
Children will identify with many of Lilly’s experiences through the story, which is enjoyable and supported through wonderful illustrations. There are several aspects of the story which could be used to initiate class discussions with regard to PSHE as well as other cross-curricular starting points.
(Greenwillow Books, £10.99 hardback, ISBN 9780062424198)