World Book Day… and a Womble

So, today was World Book Day in the UK and Ireland – a UNESCO-organised day to promote reading, publishing and copyright around the world…

World Book DayAs part of the many events organised for it around the country, thousands of children were expected to tune in to ‘The Biggest Book Show on Earth’ this morning to watch some of their favourite authors and illustrators celebrate reading. It was a live event in London streamed to 40 cinemas in the UK, with such popular figures as Tony Robinson, Anthony Horowitz and Shirley Hughes taking part. The hour-long event was also made available online to watch at home or in schools – and if you missed it (like me!) you can watch it again here from tomorrow.

Along with the show – which the World Book Day charity are hoping will have reached 750,000 children around the country – other events have been taking place to mark the day, such as author signings in bookstores, book fairs, storytellings and such quirky events as a book-making workshop and even a Giraffes Can’t Dance-a-thon in Woolwich.

But perhaps one of the highlights every year is the fancy dress that takes place around the country, where school teachers and children (and anyone who simply feels like it) dress up as their favourite book characters… This photo gallery on the guardian website shows some of the efforts made around the country today by teachers and, I’ve got to say, I especially like Roald Dahl’s Mr Twit’s beard!

So, I thought I’d take inspiration from World Book Day’s decision to broadcast via the web this year and take part myself by adding my own photo to the collection… Here’s one of me at my publishing course’s awards ceremony last year, dressed up as one of my favourite characters – a Womble!

A Womble of Wimbledon

I hope everyone taking part today had a great day.

And the Winners Are…

The winners of the Red House Children’s Book Awards for 2013 were announced last night at an awards ceremony at London’s Southbank Centre. And the winners are:

Overall Winner: Spooky, Spooky House by Andrew Weale (Younger Children category)

Spooky Spooky House by Andrew Weale

Younger Readers category: Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

Older Readers: The Medusa Project: Hit Squad by Sophie McKenzie

The Medusa Project: Hit Squad by Sophie McKenzie

National Libraries Day: a record attempt

National Libraries Day is coming up!National Libraries Day takes place on Saturday the 9th of February this year, and it’s just been announced that school libraries around the country will be marking the event by attempting a Guinness World Record.

Parallel Universes, as the project has been called, will involve over 50 schools attempting to create a record for the world’s largest simultaneous story writing workshop. The children involved, all from school years 6 and 9, will try to finish a story begun by the author Matt Haig. I think it’s a great way to bring libraries into the spotlight at a fragile time.

You can find out more about the events planned for the week leading up to National Libraries Day by visiting their website:  www.nationallibrariesday.org.uk/

Check out the events section for other upcoming events that may be of interest.

Quentin Blake is knighted

I was thrilled to hear that Quentin Blake has been knighted in the New Year honours list.

Quentin BlakeKnown perhaps most widely for his illustrations for Roald Dahl’s stories and his drawings during episodes of Jackanory in the 1970s, as well as his support for hospitals and health centres around the country, Blake has apparently referred to the honour as ‘quite a nice 80th birthday present’.

Since the illustrator has just moved to Norfolk, two new exhibitions will be held in the area to display some of his work, including ‘The World of Quentin Blake’ at the Diss Corn Hall Gallery (until February 2nd) and ‘Quentin Blake: Drawn by Hand’ at the The Big Draw Quentin BlakeFitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (February 12 to May 12).

A new museum, The House of Illustration, is also due to open near King’s Cross in London in early 2014, to which Quentin Blake has pledged his archive of more than 4,000 drawings and 250 illustrated books. You can find out more about it by following this link. I can’t wait!