Sunday, 14 June 2020

Lockdown readings from Sita and Billie in #Refugeeweek2020



Getting ready for storytime in #Refugeeweek2020
Thanks for the serious hand from my film crew (Steady iphone cam - daughter and a patient companion here!)

In #RefugeeWeek many children's and Young Adult authors who have written into  the experiences of child refugees past and present, would be in schools or libraries reading and talking about their work.

In lockdown I have decided a read short extract from one of the refugee children or adult characters in my stories each day. I'm doing this in the knowledge that teachers, parents and carers home schooling children may be looking for opportunities to discover alternative stories to those they may hear in the news.

Last week was Empathy Day and many children's authors talked about the power of deep listening and the importance of facing rather than shying away from events in the real world, and that fiction provides us with a way of nagivating the world, and of  growing empathy for our fellow humans.

The wonderful activist and author of 'Boy At The Back Of The Class'  Onjali Q Rauf and i spoke about the power of reading stories to grow empathy and putting it in action. I'm missing the energy of meeting readers so I thought to  read from refugee characters in my stories. You'll find a new one each morning on twitter..

If you enjoy them I ask you to use this as an opportunity to discover how to support groups in your area and I hope these discoveries  might even lead you to see how you might help in your school or community.

I offer you.... my storytime schedule each morning on twitter and a few surprises thrown in:

Monday -  From Baba Suli the beekeeper in 'Where The River Runs Gold (Hachette Children's Books) whose knowledge may save food production in the world.
Resource:
https://www.hachetteschools.co.uk/hachette-schools-resources/hachetteschools-resources-key-stage-2/2019/07/08/where-the-river-runs-gold-teaching-resources/

Tuesday - From the short story Amir and George - where the ghost of George Orwell comes to hear Amir speak. ( In ' A country to Call Home'  Ed. Lucy Propescu , Unbound - an anthology of writing by Young adult writers First published in 'I'll be Home for Christmas.
Resource:
https://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/video-clips/ks3-language-laboratory-the-power-of-voice

Wednesday - Readings for younger readers Years 2 and Upwards from 'Worry Angels' (Barrington Stoke) and  short story ' Rabina's Robin' from ' One snowy night'  ( Stripes)
Resources:
https://www.barringtonstoke.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Worry-Angels.pdf

Animation: http://www.minervareads.com/tag/manning-grace-emily/

Thursday - Bubbe Dara - a Kindertransport refugee reflects on the treatment of child refugees today.
'Tender Earth' - Macmillan Children's Books - endorsed by Amnesty UK and IBBY.

Friday - Aisha, a Somali Refugee survivor wishes people could understand what she's been through. Set in an ancient city wood 'Red Leaves'  ( Macmillan Children's Books- endorsed by Amnesty UK Resources:
https://www.amnesty.org.uk/resources/book-and-activities-red-leaves)

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/stories-and-rights/sita-brahmachari-home-homelessness-identity-and-belief

Saturday -  Back to my beginning as a novelist. Jide Jackson tells his story of loss during the Rwandan genocide in 'Artichoke Hearts' (Macmillan Children's Books)

My ask of you...

In return I ask you to explore these links to a few examples of Refugee Charities whose work makes such a difference to the lives of refugee people and see if and how you can affect change.

https://islingtoncentre.co.uk/

This centre is where the wonderful illustrator and author Jane Ray and I run an art and writing class. Currently resources are being sent through the post - you can find out more on the video from actress Juliet Stevenson and discover the beautiful poems and art by members of the group on on the website now.

https://youngroots.org.uk/

https://makingherstory.org.uk/

https://counterpointsarts.org.uk/

https://www.safepassage.org.uk/

https://www.google.com/search?q=book+aid+international&oq=bookaidinternational&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l7.6637j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8


Find out about...#FamiliesTogether

And at this time when we are all missing seeing and connecting to our families -  find out more about the #FamiliesTogether campaign supported by a coalition of refugee organisations.

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/files/2018-02/Families%20Together%20toolkit%20for%20youths.pdf?S6WQM__GXdKwEvaM0VQWXsoN9dXriJQd=

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/families-together
.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

'Where The River Runs Gold' - a forest of creative responses


Since publication of  Where The River Runs Gold in July 2019 I have been overwhelmed by the creativity that it's brought forth. From the beautiful window displays by Waterstones stores to the incredible creations by students, librarians and teachers at festivals and in classrooms. 

 I have been asked to put together a sample pallette of activity inspired by the book.

Trafalgar Square window boxes July 2019



I hope this selection of  creative responses inspires readers and to feel empowered to make a difference to improving their own environments.

Shifa and Themba, the brave, bold and true young protagonists of my story, are right there with you. Warning! Once you enter the story hive the creative potential for reading, writing and art for pleasure are endless and can be far-reaching...


Actions so far....

  Bee hives set up
Banners made
School Environmental Manifestos drawn up
Seeds scattered in window boxes, gardens, allotments, railtracks, unused land and meadows 
Seed packets made and used daily
 For every Graffitree created in school a tree has been planted. 

A hand painted tree by Waterstones artist

Seed Packet making



'What Shifa loved most about the path between the warehouse and the Orbitol Bridge was that the street clearers could never keep speed with the pace at which the weeds and wildflowers grew between the cracks. There was always traces of green shoots growing among the crumbling buildings.'
Page 23 Where The River Runs Gold


Origami seed packet making is catching on.... these decorated with scenes from the story


'From one random page she'd learned how to make a flower shaped origami envelope out of scraps of paper, When she squeezed the top the flower head opened like a mouth allowing her to place her precious seed finds inside.' 
Page 57 Where The River Runs Gold


Graffitree Art

Trees are springing up everywhere ... I'm hoping to collect them together to form the
  Where The River Runs Gold Graffitree Forest.

'Shifa thought she understood why the artists took the risk of breaking ARK Law. These trees took up space and could be enjoyed by everyone. Except for the private parks and gardens of the paragons where her papa worked, it was ARK policy that all other land in Kairos City be turned into housing compounds or Freedom Fields allotments to grow food.'
 Page 20 Where The River Runs Gold

Amy Willoughby from Beck school Sheffield with the first ever school Graffitree

Empatree hands... children reaching out to the natural world


Jane Ray touring Graffitree  first outing at Imagine Festival 2020

At Little Green School, Buckinghamshire

A beautiful golden river by  Krishna in Wood Green, London

Shifa had heard about an underground movement of artists breaking ARK Law by painting trees, flowers, plants and bees on walls all over the city.' 
Page 19 Where The River Runs Gold



Banner Making


'Nabil and Lottie dropped a rainbow-coloured sheet over the ledge; on it, in deep blue paint, were written four enormous words.
DARE
DREAM
BELIEVE
IMAGINE 
Pg 94 'Where The River Runs Gold' 

Banner inspired by Where The River Runs Gold  made by Friday for Future protesters.


Banner making.... The first banner was created by Friday For Futures Campaigners and since then many banners have been made, some of which have been carried on marches by young people and others displayed in schools. Students respond powerfully to the urgency of the environmental call for action in the book as in the real world they are inspired by the bravery of young activists like Greta Thunberg and Maya Rose Craig in villages, towns and cities all around the globe. 

Beautiful banner spied on The People's Walk for Wildlife 2019

Story Hive building

Shifa and Themba escape some of the harsh realities of their world  by creating a safe storytelling haven. Students have started creating such spaces in classrooms and around the school inspired by their own beautiful imagined landscapes from stories or their own lives.


'Here they had read contraband pages that they had discovered in unlikely places around the city, and with these finds their story hive had expanded into wild deserts, alien planets, raging rivers, bird and butterfly aviaries, the tallest snow capped mountain ranges and the sweetest flowering meadows  - a world away from the rules and regulations of Freedom Fields.'
Pg 57 Where The River Runs Gold

A necklace depicting the 'Hare in the Moon' story. The allegory told to them by their father that keeps Shifa and Themba strong throughout their perilous journey

It's been a real joy to see Story hives being created to inspire creative writing of new allegories based on the natural world.





Creating a secret language/ signs

A skep is a small hand woven bee hive.... 

In Where The River Runs Gold Shifa and Themba and other 'Outlanders' make the 'skep-heart' signal as part of a secret language. Readers have enjoyed inventing their own secret languages. 


Making the skep-heart sign of environmental protection

Enjoy creating and storytelling.... in the storytelling hive. 

Sita X

Resources:
Shapes4Schools:



Where The River Runs Gold:
Longlisted for Blue Peter Book Award
Nominated for Carnegie
Waterstones Book of the Month ( July)
Times Book of the Week
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/childrens-book-of-the-week-where-the-river-runs-gold-by-sita-brahmachari-8q0kslsn9