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birmingham young readers festival

Yesterday I caught the train to Brum and drew and drew! Here's a picture I made right before an event, when a kid and I dared each other to a draw-off based on turning an object you'd find in the kitchen into a spaceship. (We chose toasters. Mine includes jam; his, a pork pie.)




I wasn't sure what to expect - library events can be such a mixed bag - but I had an absolutely stonking good day, with very enthusiastic kids, parents getting involved and generally having a lovely day out. Here are some of the fab kids from the Monsters & Aliens event at Yardley Wood Library.



Before the first event, I drew this picture in markers with one Mia and Lewis.



It was great seeing local author Juliet Clare Bell, who only last week launched her first picture book! It's called Don't Panic, Annika!, illustrated by Jennifer Morris. Her younger daughter, Esther, also created her own cool picture book called Esther Has a Nut Allergy, which she's holding here.




You can see her older daughter Annika (who doesn't panic) reading it at her launch in this video:



Lots of monster making! Check out these, aren't they fab?









I love it when the parents muck right in and make monsters; there's something about making monsters that makes it a level playing field and everyone can do it, and it seems to make the kids value their own work much more.





The other thing that made my day so fabulous was getting to hang out with my librarian 'minder', Jen Bakewell, all day. Jen's so much fun; at lunch we had a picnic in the sun and talked about life and books (her latest top read are Michelle Paver's books, including Dark Matters and Ghost Hunter). Thanks for looking after me so well, Jen!



While we were setting up my slideshow, she showed me this funny programme that puts a live alien squid on your head. Hours of fun to be had! XD (You can download it at Les Animaux du Futur.)



Thanks to the librarians at Yardley Wood and Acocks Green for making my Birmingham Young Readers Festival visit such a success! The big exciting news in Birmingham is that they're in the middle of building what will be the largest library in Europe - the funding came through just before the current government came into office - so there will be loads of good reading-related things happening in that city.



In fact, every time I go to Birmingham, I like the city a bit more. Or I did, until I looked up and people started falling on my head.



Thanks to a tip from Birmingham local Lizz Lunney, I stopped off at the Custard Factory, 'Birmingham's revolutionary new arts and media quarter' as its website claims, and went to a Vintage Fair, where I found loads of goodies to buy! (I don't get much time for shopping these days, so this was super exciting.)



One of the things I bought was a mad-looking fascinator made of buttons, by Julia Gandy at hOle button jewellery. I could wear it to Ascot! (If I went to Ascot.) More likely you will see it in future event photos. I've had lots of nice comments about my turquoise hat, but it's made me conscious that I really only have one hat, and hats are rather nice things. Pillbox hats are my favourites, Jackie O had a good thing going.



I poked my head into a nearby space and found this marvelous adventure playground thing in the middle of the atrium. Cooool.



Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Juliet Clare Bell
Jun. 5th, 2011 10:01 am (UTC)
Glad you like Brum. It's Britain's best kept secret...
Thanks for a fantastic session -and a great write-up. In fact, after the event, I might even try doing some sketching today at Twycross Zoo... I've never seen those falling bodies. They're great. Are they in the Custard Factory? I must have missed them.

Birmingham still has a very outdated reputation for being downtrodden and dull but I love it (and it has a thriving SCBWI group for anyone interested in writing or illustrating for children...). Please come back soon! Clare.
jabberworks
Jun. 5th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Glad you like Brum. It's Britain's best kept secret...
Thanks, Clare! It was great to see you and I had a lovely day there. Did you manage to get over to the zoo? Yes, the falling bodies are in that big modern studio space, across the alleyway from the hall with the Vintage Fair (and the same place as the white stick sculpture). I'd never seen that complex; a lot of the places were shutting or closed by the time I got there, but it looks like it might host a lot of events.
dlasky
Jun. 6th, 2011 09:11 am (UTC)
Esther Has a Nut Allergy
I love that title. I would read a book based solely on that title. And I'll bet it's educational as well as entertaining.

You are getting really good at smiling for the camera -- esp with an alien squid on your head. Good job!
jabberworks
Jun. 6th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Esther Has a Nut Allergy
Thanks, David! And Esther's IS a good book! Much more text heavy than I'm used to seeing kids make, but the lettering is very large print, so easy on the eye. :D
Lizz Lunney
Jun. 6th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
:oD
Ah glad you made the vintage fair! I was there until about 4 but then had to head off to get ready for my friend's wedding reception that evening. Did you buy anything? I bought a necklace and a old lady purse!
jabberworks
Jun. 6th, 2011 11:05 pm (UTC)
Re: :oD
Ah, no worries! I ran in about 4:15 and went a bit nuts: bought two dresses, a top, a button fascinator and two necklaces. Yikes! But I was very chuffed to find stuff in my size, usually vintage things are tiny.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )