World Book Weak

World Book Week is ace. Teachers promote books and reading, parents get involved, kids dress up (often as TV characters but, well), and authors are invited into schools.

And that’s a problem. Because every school wants an author in World Book Week. We are twiddling our thumbs (while writing, of course) the rest of the year and then the phone is frantic in Jan/Feb with primaries and secondaries trying to get you in to do writing workshops or poetry or assemblies. I could have been in about 30 schools this week but as it was I did seven visits. Yes, SEVEN in one week. A few were half days, of course, but you’ve still got to travel, lug heavy books, and turn up looking fresh and interesting.

And then there’s the issue that the schools want every child to benefit from your wise, exciting, bookly presence: they want you to perform to multiple classes in the hall or front huge assemblies and then jump from 4 year-olds to elevens in a trice. It’s possible but only just.

This week I found myself in front of 450 kids in Manchester, crammed into the school hall like dates in a box. There were unicellular nursery tots at the front and hulking Y6 bruisers at the back and I had to entertain them for half an hour. But, tell them a good story and they are transfixed…

So, thanks to Christ Church and Ings in Skipton, Canon Burrows, Goldsborough, Bishop Monkton, Alanbrooke and Barlow Primaries. Every child was enthusiastic and came away with a rhyme, at the least, and a message was hammered home, that books make you clever, that reading is the key, that poetry is fun.

And I haven’t mentioned the wonderful school I visited the week before: Amotherby. Great place.

Pickering, Bentham, Newcastle, Sunderland, Ripon and Hertfordshire to come. I shall now go and lie in a darkened room for 24 hours…

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