Books Go Walkabout is working with Harrow International School in Shanghai to deliver online author visits direct to classrooms. Working globally is no problem online!
Our second event at Harrow International School, this time with author and polar explorer Joanna Grochowicz from New Zealand. The audience of Years 4-6 came ready dressed up as book characters and armed with questions at the end of Joanna’s presentation .
Joanna enthralled the children from the start with slides and tales of life in the Antarctic in the early 19Century. This is real history and gives amazing insights into how tough life could be. Imagine having your fingers so badly frost bitten they are the size of sausages for instance, I could hear some sounds of ‘Yukk!” from the children.
Then there were the orcas, who surrounded Scott’s photographer, Ponting, on an ice floe. He thought he was going to take a photo. The orcas thought he looked like lunch! They tipped the ice floe and Ponting was only saved by landing on another ice floe.
Or the story of the dog on the Terra Nova who went overboard in a terrible storm in the Southern Sea and the Roaring Forties, fortunately a wave brought him crashing back.
Joanna is expert at great detail of research around the expeditions of Scott, from Britain, Amundsen from Norway and Shackleton from Britain(her next book).
Children from Harrow International School were exceptionally well led by Tess St Clair Ford, who organised Book Week in 2021, not an easy task with many places still in lockdown. The pupils’ questions to Joanna showed that good listening skills were in place and they had done their homework too.
World Book Day 2021 and a great way for Books Go Walkabout to engage with Harrow International Shanghai, far away but really very close!
Joanna’s new book Shackleton’s Endurance is out soon to join her Polar Explorer’s Trilogy Into the White and Amundsen’s Way.
This amazing book is written from a child’s perspective, and authored jointly by Nelson Mandela’s great-grandchildren and daughter, told as never before, to celebrate what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday on 28th June 2018.
This book will bring alive Mandela’s legacy for a new generation of children and is published by Lincoln Children’s Books, who are renowned for quality, information books in a highly accessible format. (Title available on 28th June…)
Nelson Mandela’s two great-grandchildren ask their grandmother, Mandela’s youngest daughter, with Winnie Mandela, 15 questions about their grandad.
Mandela is a global icon of peace and forgiveness who fought peacefully, against apartheid and a brutal regime in South Africa. He spent 27 years in prison on Robben Island.
The grandchildren learn that he was a freedom fighter who put down his weapons for the sake of peace, and who then became the President of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize-winner.
The illustrations by Sean Qualls are brilliant, the style and colours support the feel of South Africa. The book is written in a picture book style and the text points to some of the hard questions that the great-grandchildren ask such as;
“Why did Grandad have to go to jail?”
“Where were you Grandma when Grandad was in jail?
It tells of that period of time when apartheid and lack of freedom for black people in South Africa were part of everyday life. The struggle to achieve not only justice but a place where all people should be free was an enormous task.
We highly recommend this beautiful and heartfelt book for all ages and for schools, libraries and home.
Brian Wouldhave Alderson, a Freeman of the City of Newcastle and a renowned children’s literature scholar, is donating his extraordinary collection of children’s books to Newcastle University and Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books. Believed to be the largest privately-owned children’s literature collection in the UK, it is made up of more than 20,000 books, dating from the 17th century to the present day.
Books Go Walkabout is delighted to be visiting Seven Stories in Newcastle upon Tyne and sharing this good news with our contacts in different countries. The collections will be a wonderful resource for children around the world.
Works come from the United States, France, Germany and Britain, and the collection includes original illustrations and papers related to Brian’s diverse career. Brian is a respected author, editor, critic, and scholar who has curated many exhibitions and is a former children’s books editor of The Times (1967 – 1996).
”His interest in children’s books soon became a passion. The donation is a mark of Brian’s long-standing and ongoing support for both Newcastle University and Seven Stories. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University in 2016.
He said: ‘With the University’s scholarly interests in children’s literature and historic children’s book collections, and with Seven Stories being the national home of contemporary children’s books, I am delighted to be able to augment the City’s prominence in fostering interest in what is an unduly neglected subject.”
Jill Taylor-Roe, Acting University Librarian at Newcastle University, said: “The Alderson Collection enhances and extends the University Library’s unique and distinctive holdings in Children’s Literature, and together with Seven Stories’ holdings, will create an incredibly rich resource for anyone interested in the history and further development of children’s literature.”
Sarah Lawrance, Collections and Exhibitions Director at Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books, said: “We are immensely grateful to Brian Alderson for the generous gift of his collection, which includes many rare and unique books – now to be made publicly accessible for the first time – and complements the holdings of Seven Stories and the Philip Robinson Library perfectly.”
The donation of the Collection jointly to the two organisations is a key outcome of Seven Stories’ and Newcastle University’s Vital North Partnership, funded by Arts Council England.
Tiny Owl is an independent publishing company committed to producing beautiful, original books for children.
They were established in 2015, and believe in global children’s books and about building bridges across our world. Two of their latest books are The Elephant’s Umbrella and Alive Again, are both full of vibrant illustrations and intriguing text.
The Elephant’s Umbrella is a tale of generosity, and full of opportunities for conversation and reasons to smile. The elephant has an umbrella and his friends join him where it is cosy and dry. One day the umbrella blows away and the other jungle animals try to use it themselves, but don’t feel like sharing!
” If I become yours, where will you take me when it rains?” asks the umbrella to the bear. But the bear only wants the umbrella to help him get the honey!
Laleh Jaffari is the author, born in Iran she has written over 25 children’s bookss and is also a TV director.
Ali Khodal has illustrated over 80 books and won national awards in his home country of Iran.
View, review or buy this book here…
Alive Again explores what it means to be alive and how words can express the meaning of ‘alive’, but yet they don’t hold the quality of being alive only. This book has lots of hidden depths and the illustrations will help teacher, parents and children to think and puzzle and wonder.
Ahmadreza Ahmadi is the author and is an Iranan poet and children’s story writer. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the Hans Christian Anderson Award. Nahid Kazemi is the illustrator.
Books Go Walkabout enjoys Tiny Owl books and shares values in vision of creating bridges through children’s books across the world.
Part 1: This article was first published on the pages of conversationsEAST, another project of SmithMartin LLP in the East of England. Part of a series of articles celebrating culture, technology and the arts in The North.
Continuing our theme of ‘Northern Energy’, we were in Newcastle upon Tyne this week and, on Friday afternoon, took time to visit Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books. They have an important exhibition and research project into the donated archive of the writer Michael Morpurgo. Below is what we thought.
”Michael Morpurgo Exhibition 2 July 2016 – Sunday 2 July 2017, Newcastle UK. A Lifetime in Stories. Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books introduces an exclusive exhibition drawn directly from Michael Morpurgo’s extensive archive donated to Seven Stories in 2015”.
Through one of our our sister projects, Books go Walkabout, an international delivery system to get authors, illustrators and poets, and their books, to corners of the world previously unreached, we have an abiding interest in children’s literature as you would expect.
The Seven Stories Morpurgo exhibition is certainly about a fantastic canon of work dedicated to the young imagination. However, the research team have extracted illustrative and delightful insights into, and evidence of, the writing process, using the archive generously donated to the Centre by Michael Morpurgo in 2015.
What the display and featured narrative does offer, in the broadest terms, is an insight into the creative process, the research and writing of a book, much of which in this Seven Stories gallery has taken place before the arrival and dominance of the word processor.
Not only an exhibition in praise of the work of Michael Morpurgo, but an illustration in itself of what can be achieved with a simple notebook and a pen or pencil. The imagination does not need an elecrical socket and plug to thrive apparently!
Some key exhibition elements:
Michael Morpurgo was born in 1943, and his early life was beset by sadness and conflicting tensions. It was interesting to see the detail of Michael’s school, home life and reaction to his early experiences in the British Army. This thematic thread of war and militarism can be traced through the exhibition, as in Michael’s life. His mother’s grief at the loss of her brother in the Second World War was an equally powerful emotional driver for the writing.
In 1962 Michael met his future wife Clare, and it was the summons home by his mother, with the pretence of an imaginary illness, that offered the opportunity for them to get married, against the prevailing condition that cadets of the Royal Military College Sandhurst must be single. A signal turning point in a creative life which solidified his pacifism, well evidenced and illustrated by this exhibition.
His first short book, published in 1974, was It Never Rained, an interconnected narrative about five children. By 1999 Mopurgo was ready to publish Wombat Goes Walkabout, with wonderful illustrations by Christian Birmingham. A great story about digging holes and how a wombat can save the day.
1982 saw the release of War Horse, perhaps Mopurgo’s most famous creation. The exhibition offers the visitor a display of many of the notebooks, first drafts, corrections and re-typed double spaced manuscripts that drove the creation of this seminal work.
This series of displays offers, we thought, a powerful illustration of how writing is both a physical and an intellectually layered process, but which requires a gritty determination to see the story through to the final end – publication. It is this revisiting and deterministic approach to his craft of writing that makes a Mopurgo novel so dramatic and engaging we suspect.
To an archivist this is vital in determining the writers emotional condition on any particular creative day. As his pen moves rapidly across the notebook page, Michael has left a marker, a measure of intensity, for later researchers seeking to determine his emotional or creative state. Something a plastic keyboard, no matter how powerful the micro-processor it is connected to, could ever offer the interested reader in years to come.
Looking at the Morpurgo ‘war’ material, we pondered on what must be a pivotal issue for the contemporary archivist or researcher. With ready access to technology, publishing processes and cloud storage – how will future archivists and seekers of process engage with material that is electronic and resting, potentially, in a thousand different formats, storage facilities and locations around the globe.
Interestingly, MIT Technology Review has just published an article on the use of computing and data mining techniques to show that there are, it contests, only six basic ’emotional arcs’ in storytelling. These are…
…a steady, ongoing rise in emotional valence, as in a rags-to-riches story such as Alice’s Adventures Underground by Lewis Carroll. A steady ongoing fall in emotional valence, as in a tragedy such as Romeo and Juliet. A fall then a rise, such as the man-in-a-hole story, discussed by Vonnegut. A rise then a fall, such as the Greek myth of Icarus. Rise-fall-rise, such as Cinderella. Fall-rise-fall, such as Oedipus.
We are intense users of the notebook and pen ourselves, in our ordinary workaday lives, but have to recognise that research and analysis would now be immeasurably diminished without technology. We wondered, travelling through the Michael Morpurgo exhibition, an historical audit trail of the creative mind, what other contemporary children’s and young adult writers take on ‘techno’ is today?
Perhaps this is a Seven Stories seminar series in the making? Pen or Processor, the creative methodology in contemporary children’s literature. We would buy a ticket! (Ed.)
A visual treat:
Towards the end of the exhibition content is a section dedicated to Michael Morpurgo’s artistic collaborators, the artists who have contributed to the written work.
It offers the visitor a fascinating insight into how the imagination is populated by the story, how the psyche is suggested a character and landscape by Michael Morpurgo’s writing. It is also, within the context of this article, a soaring endorsement of the power and durability of putting a hand to paper. Surely no machine can replace the creative evocation of story by the artists below?
The work on display includes artwork from Quentin Blake, Gary Blythe, Peter Bailey, Christian Brimingham and Tony Kerins amongst others. We particularly warmed to the diversity of images in the exhibition that depicted the sea. Whether Kensuke’s Kingdom or When the Wales Came, the original cover art to be seen provokes an imaginative dream of action, wind, water and a tale to be told.
It was wonderful to see this collection of individual artistic work within the context of theSeven Stories Michael Morpurgo exhibition. But each artist has a separate body of work which is lively, imagination capturing and enchanting in equal measure. We hope you can use the links above to explore this on-line collection ‘gallery of galleries’ too.
Getting to Seven Stories NE1 2PQ :
If you leave the impressive Newcastle Central Station and turn right down towards Quayside, you can turn left along Quayside and walk, past the Pitcher and Piano until you come to St. Ann’s Steps on the left. Ascend them. At the top, look back down the river to the bridges receding into the distance. Turn and cross the road and right down to Cut Bank on the left, following the river left along for a couple of hundred yards and Seven Stories will apppear on your right.
The journey there, if the sun is shining, can be as uplifting as your visit to The National Centre for Children’s Books. This is a fascinating insight into the work of our national story teller. Seven Stories offers a whole rainbow of experience around ‘the children’s book’, whether a holidaying family looking to stimulate young imaginations, a visit to the cafe and bookshop, or a serious academic look at the sweep of children’s literature.
‘Seven Stories was able to support the acquisition from Michael Morpurgo through support from Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Collecting Cultures’ programme, which has been awarded to Seven Stories in recognition of the museum’s national role in telling a comprehensive story of modern British children’s literature’.
Source: Seven Stories web site. Accessed 09.07.2016 See http://www.sevenstories.org.uk/collection/collection-highlights/michael-morpurgo
We were really impressed with this series from QED-publishing and the books How to Code and How to Cook in 10 Easy Lessons are just brill!!
They are very attractively illustrated and the hard covers and spiral binding make them very practical and long lasting.
How to Code by Sean McManus gives plans that in 10 lessons, helps to understand coding, use Scratch to start programming, manipulate graphics, fix bugs and just about everything you need to know about coding to get started.
Coding is not one of my strengths and to be honest I haven’t even tried,we have a team thought that ‘even I’ may now be able to code!
Sean has a brilliant website included in the book index, along with other really useful stuff.
How to Cook in 10 Easy Lessons by Wendy Sweetser gives a whole range of skills for cooking in 10 lessons. From peeling and grating to making sweet and savoury sauces, each section has 4 recipes that I immediately wanted to try; carrot and pecan muffins, chicken satay or vegetable fried rice.
A great series, 2 spectacularly good books. We recommend for children from 8 years and onwards in schools and in the homes.
Would make some excellent presents in Father Christmas’s sack!
Her new book One Life, has just been published with Cannongate. It is the story about her mother Nance, born in 1912 in New South Wales. A remarkable story, not because Nance became famous or wealthy but the story is about a woman growing up in a harsh family, in Australia in the 1920’s and onwards.
After training as a pharmacist, she went to work in a local chemist and learnt much more about life than dispensing drugs.
Kate Grenville has a remarkable way of telling a story and after a few minutes of conversations and readings from One Life, it felt that we knew this woman Nance, her character of directness and ambition, to do all she could to make the most of life. As a young girl this was not easy at that time, but her determination was unstoppable!
It was a schoolteacher who changed her life and Mr Crisp, left her with a love of literature. Nance instilled in Kate a love of words, Nance had poetry in her mind and was able to deliver apposite quotes just when needed.
This was an amazing chance to listen to Kate Grenville and also hear about the very special book, The Secret River.
So now to read the book, One Life, from the opening pages it will be a book that will be hard to put down.
MA Conference, University of Roehampton, Saturday 8th November 2014
‘Belonging is…an exploration of the right to be included and the barriers that must be overcome’
Something that is deep inside us all is the need to belong, to belong to our family, to belong to a group of friends, to belong to the places that we are part of in our work and free time.
A good theme for the conference and met with enthusiasm by all present.
The topics ranged from inclusivity and diversity, against the need for publishers commercial concerns,.
It was really interesting to hear about The International Conference held in Mexico this year. Pam Dix, the chair of iBbY UK, and other members who attended the Congres International de IBBY gave a wonderful account of the global dimensions and international development in children’s books and the need to pursue an agenda of translation.
Alexandra Strick, from Inclusive Minds encouraged others to join their collective and share ways of enabling inclusivity and the creation of characters with needs being just part of the story rather than being a stereotype of special needs.
Julia Hope, who has carried out a great deal of research on refugees in the primary classroom, gave a brilliant account and gave examples of children’s books which are fundamental to the story and narrative of refugees. These included; The Silver Sword by Ian Serrailer, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr and Waiting for Anya by Michael Morpurgo.
Always a good day with time for reflection and thoughts about the role and immense importance of children’s literature.
This means that anyone with a phone (non smart phone), in South Africa, can now access books and stories through the World Reader app, on the cloud based mobile application platform BiNu. This enables phones such as Nokia, which are widely used across the continent of Africa, to be used as reading devices.
This is amazing news for literacy and for all who are working to make reading a possibility for everyone across the world.
Niall McNulty, digital publisher at CUP SA, described the development as ‘genius’.
‘A recent report by UNESCO, Reading in the mobile era: A study of mobile reading in developing countries, highlights the importance of using mobile devices to encourage a culture of reading by providing access to books to people who previously had none.’ African Branch of Cambridge University Press, 11.8.14
Last year, World Reader had 330,000 monthly active users, reading 650,000 books on mobile phones.
CUP has made 360 e-books available via the app, including titles from the Cambridge African Language Library which is a primary reading series.
SmithMartin Partnership are excited at this development and all that it may mean for future readers. We are working with World Reader in a smaller way, through our Books Go Walkabout project to support e-reading and literacy.
Two super star authors have joined Barrington Stoke on the Red Squirrel dyslexia friendly picture book list.
The picture books are designed for easy reading, with good layouts and fonts to help emergent readers and children with dyslexia.
Wolf Man is by Michael Rosen and Chris Mould. The townspeople are terrified, Wolf man is on the loose, he has escaped! This is a funny tale with some serious stuff for toddlers!
Really good fun…
Freddy and the Pig is by Charlie Higson and Mark Chambers. Freddy has hit on a cunning plan. He sends the pig to school and he stays at home eating and watching TV. But it doesn’t work out quite as Freddy planned.