Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Children's Book Week: Holly Webb and the Oxfordshire Book Award

On Wednesday during Children's Book Week we welcomed "Rose" author Holly Webb.

She started off at Cholsey Primary School, talking to the girls there about her life as first an editor, and then author. Along the way she revealed some of her favourite books (such as 'The Little Princess', and possibly her favourite book, CS Lewis' 'The Horse and His Boy'), and telling the children to read, read, read if they wanted to be writers.
She had even brought along the manuscript of the fourth 'Rose' book to show the children and tell them what it's like to be an editor (which Holly used to be) and an author (which is what she is now).

And then Holly read examples of the children's writing in a very interactive session. Several of the girls had written pieces inspired by books they had read about the blitz (in fact, there was a fantastic display of writing up based on both Michael Morpurgo's Friend or Foe, and Henry Moore's Shelter Drawings). Holly was able to join in as the class advised on aspects of the writing that worked well - or could have been improved. Kudos to Holly - and also to the girls who allowed their work to be scrutinised by the class.


And then Holly signed copies of her books:


We then hightailed it across the countryside to Abingdon, where we spent a wonderful afternoon with children from Rush Common School. Some great questions from the children (there seemed to be an awful lot of budding writers at the school!):
Holly then came back to the shop before catching the train home...


The following day we were at Abingdon School for the annual Oxfordshire Book Award. We did this last year - and it is a wonderful celebration of the best children's writing, with some fantastic authors turning up to receive their awards - voted on by children in schools across Oxfordshire...
This year, authors included Michael Morpurgo, Rachel Ward, Marie-Louise Jensen, Nick Sharrat and Jill Arbuthnott.
It was an intense affair, with lots of children all wanting to meet the authors, but I did manage to slip out from behind the bookstall and meet the authors, including the great man himself (not that I'm a fan or anything...let's hope I didn't come over *too* starry-eyed...)
It was a great Children's Book Week for us, (we ended the week tired but happy). The best thing about school events is when the children come into the shop to tell you how much they enjoyed meeting the authors...and fired up to read more of their books.

Next up for us...Gervase Phinn on Oct 25, and then the return of the Mostly Bookbrains Literary Quiz for charity...

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