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Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Book Week 2012 - Full Report
Where to start…? Impossible to decide, with such inspiring visitors, staff and children, so let’s begin with the first event that comes to mind, Chris Riddell’s visit. Watching Chris was an art lesson in itself, as he sat and drew calmly and unhurriedly (using a visualiser, so that everyone could see), explaining how, at the age of five, he created pictures of knights killing dragons during his father’s sermons, quite contrary, he assures us, to the spirit of his father’s preaching! The children loved watching the process of creating characters from a blank page, the attention to detail and the assured touch which comes from years of practice. Chris’ Ottoline books remain firm favourites with children of all ages and we are all looking forward to the next one, though that may be a while coming, according to the author. Fortunately, we can explore a whole new world while we wait, in his Alienography!
Of course, no sooner had I thought of Chris then Marcus Sedgwick’s visit came rushing into my head. Marcus led Years 5, 6 and 7s to explore the creation of My Sword Hand is Singing and a selection of his other books, emphasising the importance of planning and research in writing, of taking time to sort out the plot and characters. Marcus speaks with quiet authority and his skill in guiding his audience to concentrate and think became apparent in the interesting questions which the children asked at the conclusion.
Another unforgettable experience was Jan Blake’s story-telling. What magic! Jan arrived bright and early, in very good time for her first session with Nursery. Little did I know that she had flown back late the previous night from a week of story-telling at an international story-telling festival in Zurich. However, nothing seems to dim Jan’s enthusiasm, as the Nursery children and Year 4s soon found out. No-one will forget Jan’s rich, melodious voice and her wealth of stories: we hope very much to invite her back in the course of next year.
West End in Schools also gave of their best, in their very entertaining play, Jump to It, performed to Reception, Years 1 and 2. The children loved joining in the action, trying to help the actors to extricate the young heroine from her computer game.
Interspersing these visitors’ events were ones involving teachers and children, with both our Headmaster and Mrs Biran weaving their story-reading magic in Assemblies, teachers demonstrating their story-reading talents in the story tents and Upper School children (under the careful tutelage of Miss Tan) reading beautifully to Lower School in their classrooms. Miss Delafons, the Year 4s and 5s created wonderfully colourful flowers to turn the tents into mystical, magical story-telling arbours.
Our week always ends on a very high note and this year was no exception, as Mrs Smith and Miss Greaves selected, rehearsed and polished teams for the hotly-contested Twisted Tales. The result was spectacular, with fierce competition for the top three places. Congratulations to the winning team from Year 4! Of course the creative, colourful costumes of the audience created a wonderfully colourful setting for the action, and my great thanks to all the parents who helped their children to put together such interesting character costumes.
A very important part of our Book Week is the Book Fair, where children get a chance to buy books, meet authors and have their books signed. It would be absolutely impossible to run the Fair without the help of a group of extremely talented ladies - my very sincere thanks to all of you.
During our Book Week Assembly I thanked everyone involved, which in fact means the whole school, and I would like to repeat my thanks here. It truly was an all-encompassing school effort, from facilities and catering teams to teaching staff: thank you so much for giving up your precious time to make this a huge success.