This morning I had the privilege to speak at the very first Bookchat Roadshow held at Warden Park Primary Academy in Haywards Heath.
The event – which is the first in a series – was organised by Victoria Dilly, who is also known as The Book Activist. Victoria is an ex-librarian who set up her new business to spread the word far and wide about how important reading for pleasure is in a child’s life. The aim of the morning was to share that message with parents and carers.
Using her knowledge of children’s books and her considerable network of contacts, Victoria brought together specialists from the world of publishing and education including the Helen Arkell Trust, the Children’s Library Service, Discover and Be and Waterstones Bookshop.
My fellow speaker was Louise Weir, from Love Reading. She talked about www.lovereading4kids.co.uk – which features books recommended by children’s book experts with reviews by children too. Parents can download and print off a free opening extract of each book before spending any money.
Having talked about the things we do at Inkpots, I was particularly interested in comments from award-winning authors and illustrators Sophy Henn, Nikki Sheehan and Jamie Thomson during a panel discussion when they gave some advice on encouraging children’s writing:
- Use pictures to inspire ideas for creative writing
- Help start off the story with your child and then let them fly with their ideas
- Take ordinary situations – and then ask children to imagine something extraordinary.
It was an exceptionally inspiring morning – not least to meet so many people who are passionate about children’s books and reading.
If you would like to know more about The Bookchat Roadshows – and when the next one is – please visit the website www.thebookactivist.co.uk