“World Book Day is a celebration! It?s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it?s a celebration of reading. In fact, it?s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.”
I drove down to Dorchester in Dorset (just over two hour drive) to St. Osmund’s Middle School in Dorchester. I taught two lovely classes of children – in Years 7 and 8, which is 12 and 13 year olds for anyone out of the loop with the current education system. This age group is the lowest end of the suitable readership for Stonewylde, but with Yul and Sylvie starting out aged 15 and 14 respectively, they could be seen as the target audience for the series. It’s funny – every time I mention the fact that Stonewylde is published as a Young Adult series, I receive irate/amused/worried e-mails from adult readers questioning this!
Anyway, the two lessons went very well I think, and the children (and teachers) were lovely. I hope they gained something from my pearls of wisdom; I certainly gained from being back in a classroom again and talking to interested kids. I did a quick photo in the school library (tricky nowadays to do photos with children because of parental permission etc, so I didn’t do that) and then went in to Dorchester to have coffee and some lunch with a fellow blogger from over at Loose and Leafy (from whom I’d learnt about tree following).
Next it was Waterstones – I especially love the Dorchester branch. They were the first bookshop (as Ottakers) to take Magus of Stonewylde in its old self-published incarnation, and they’ve always been so supportive of Stonewylde and me. The staff had dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland for the World Book Day and there were story-telling events for younger children, a Where’s Wally competition (as Mr B pointed out last night – you’d think after 25 years someone would’ve found the guy) and a fancy dress competition too.
It was great to sell copies of Stonewylde to St Osmund’s pupils whom I’d met that morning and who came in to buy the books. I also sold lots of books to the mothers of the younger children enjoying the story-telling event, after whispering to them that actually, grown-ups love Stonewylde too. I met, amongst others, several pink princesses, some Dennis the Menaces, a knight and a Cleopatra. It was really good too to meet with the other authors there: Ron Dawson who’s created the marvellous Scary Bones stories (and who had a skeleton with him as a prop) and Gill Lewis, author of the lovely book Sky Hawk. I wish now I’d got a photo of us together, but didn’t think of that at the time.