Askews & Holts Library Day - November 2017
I was delighted to be able to talk about my Barrington Stoke books to librarians at Askews & Holt Library day. I joined inspirational fellow authors Robin Stevens, Anabelle Pitcher, Sally Nicholls, Jonathan Meres, Holly Bourne, Lisa Williamson and Laura Dockrill.
It was so great to meet fellow authors and wonderful librarians who have such a passion to enthuse young people to read for pleasure. I explained that these Barrington Stoke stories are dedicated to the 'quiet angels' who work with young people transiting through the often rocky seas from childhood and adolescence to adulthood.
I hope readers enjoy these diverse stories of young people's meeting with adults and elderly people (eg. Nursing home Care workers or a Zebra Crossing man) and discovering life lessons in kindness, resilience,finding a sense of purpose, and the the inspiration to follow their dreams. The lessons learned from these quiet angels stay with my characters Amy May, Rima, Hudson, Zeni and Lenny... forever. In the moments we lack confidence we can all think of and call on the quiet angels who have helped us get through some challenging moments in life.
No such thing as an ordinary life...
Like Lenny in 'Zebra Crossing Soul Song' (to be published January 2018) young people are asked earlier and earlier to choose exam options and think about their futures. Celebrity lifestyles are very present in young people's lives but the value of less starry work may not be so understood.
In these books I set out to tell the stories of seemingly unremarkable people, doing ordinary jobs but bringing extraordinary changes to the lives of young people.
On Friday my copy of the first printing of 'Zebra Crossing Soul Song' dropped through my door. I was so delighted to see Lenny's face looking back at me along with letters from readers saying what it means to them to have diverse representation in books.
At Askews & Holts library day I spoke of the need to invite children to become readers by reaching out and welcoming them. I think the covers of these Barrington Stoke books gathered together in this one poster offer an appealing invitation to enter the worlds of these stories and through them explore wider vistas.
I leave you with Lenny's voice.
'You wouldn't think you could learn so much from just crossing backwards and forwards across a road. Maybe some people would think you couldn't learn much from [a zebra crossing man] But Otis is one of the best teachers I have ever known. He taught me how to think, he taught me about life, and he taught me how to write songs.'
It was great to re-connect to some librarians I've met along my story writing way and to meet and chat to new ones. I guess that there is more than one writer in the world whose quiet angel was a librarian!
Thanks to Jane Walker of Barrington Stoke for inviting me to showcase these books.
Want a poster for your class or library?
You can download the poster including all four books here;
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