Sunday, 18 May 2014

Scottish Friendly Children's Book Tour

Just one of our bookshelves!

Since a young age I've loved to read, I can recall going with my Mum to our small village library and choosing my books for the week as a young child.  I knew even then that reading and books were something very special. I still remember the thrill of discovering a series of books that really engaged me when I was a teenager, I had a massive thing for the Sweet Valley High series of books and loved to read what Jessica and Elizabeth were up to.

My love of reading has never lapsed and I always have a number of books on the go at once. Generally there is my bible, a non-fiction book, a Christian resource book and a 'for-fun' light fiction book. I can somehow manage to keep up with all of them and grab them and put them down and know what is where. I really do want to pass my love of reading onto my children and so far JJ and Miss M are following in my footsteps. Miss E has recently been assessed for dyslexia and you can therefore understand why she finds reading by herself more of a struggle. She does love to cosy up with me though be read to and that is enough for now.

I think any initiate that helps children to learn to love books and exposes them to the joys of reading when they might not get that opportunity normally is a great thing. That is why I was really pleased to learn about the Scottish Friendly children's book tour. This book tour takes place six times a year and takes the very best UK and international authors directly into schools across Scotland and England to inspire a love of reading, writing and illustration. It reaches on average 6,000 children every year and any school can benefit, from those with 8 children on their pupil roll right up to theatres full of 400 kids.

Marcus Sedgwick on tour

You might wonder who these authors are that go out on tour and I'm sure you would be surprised to hear that it is super popular ones like Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen and Michael Morpego. You can check out which tours are upcoming on the website and I was excited to see that there is a tour down in my neck of the woods in East Sussex in June. Any schools in the Brighton and Hove area can book to have the author come to their school for a free one hour session of reading, singing, drawing, fun and daftness with Chae Strathie, the renowned picture book author. He plays guitar and harmonica and gets all the pupils (and teachers!) involved in his sessions. I think they sound like a lot of fun.

Chae Strathie, best known for Jumblebum and The Loon on the Moon
The Scottish Friendly Children's book tour has now been running for 14 years and that just goes to show what a success it is, add to that the number of awards that have been won over the years and you can tell this is a really worthwhile initiative that is making books accessible to all children, not just the privileged ones.

The book tour is run by the Scottish Book Trust, which is Scotland’s leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing. The organisation works with writers, children, teachers, librarians and readers from all backgrounds to spread a love of books and reading. Despite the 'Scottish' name you'll notice from my mention of East Sussex above that England is also served by the book trust and book tour. The Scottish Book Trust site is worth checking out as there are lots of good recommendations on there for books, I particularity liked the feature about the 5 Young Adult books for Mental Health Awareness Week.

I know that my children have an author coming in to their school in the next couple of weeks and after reading about these books tours I'm sure they will have a fun and educational time with Thomas Taylor who nowadays is a published author in his own right but go back a few years and he was an illustrator and actually he illustrated the cover for the first Harry Potter book. How cool is that?

Have your children had an author come to their school?  If not, perhaps check out the Scottish Friendly Children's book tour site and send the link onto their school.

Disclosure: This is a commissioned post but the content is all true and I'm signing off now to head to bed with a good book!
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