What a lot has happened in what seems like a short space of time. As I am now an Executive member for the Federation of Children’s Book Groups I was delighted to be involved with the latest of FCBGs celebrations. The first was a celebration of 50 Golden Years with the founder Anne Wood in the space at Foyles Charing Cross Road – a lovely friendly meet with lots of support from publishers, authors, illustrators and members of the FCBG across the ages.
This was followed very quickly by the Children’s Book Award – celebrated in London with book group members from around the country. It was fantastic to see so many book loving kids in one room – all chatting nineteen to the dozen with the authors sitting on their tables! Results are here – with the overall winner Katherine Rundell with The Explorer. A very popular win with everyone in the room. Steve Cole served as master of ceremonies keeping everyone amused with his jokes and ukulele playing!
The panel discussion on Empathy Day, 12th June – featuring Lauren Child (UK Children’s Laureate), Benji Davies (illustrator) and Professor Robin Banerjee (Univ Sussex) made for fascinating listening – arranged and hosted by Empathy Lab. The whole event was an exploration of how books help children understand other people better – held at Waterstone’s flagship store in Piccadilly – there was an interesting mix of stakeholders and partners in the hall. Discussion touched on how feeling, understanding and caring (all parts of empathy) are encouraged by reading and that the follow up to that – of book talking – promotes empathy too.
From other news! It was an absolute delight to visit the Royal Albert Hall recently to see Art Garfunkel. He sang a mix of old (lots) and new songs, as well as sharing some of his poetry with us. Loved the evening! Daughter Sarah has been busy too – she was all over the media as she conducts the Manchester Survivors Choir and they sang at the One Voice commemoration to mark one year on from the bombing – a very emotional experience for everyone. Then she has a big gig coming up this weekend with her band Canter Semper – really looking forward to seeing them. Will has been busy helping elder daughter Becky as an extra (with a couple of friends from DTs) in the final few scenes that needed filming for ScreenNorthants first feature film – Macbeth. Watch out for the release at the end of the year.