Share A Story – World Book Day
Think back to 1981. Were you even born?!I Can you remember what you got for Christmas? I can. I was an 8 year old aspiring artist with an Auntie who worked in a library. Every year my Auntie Pam gave me the gift a book. Out of all the books I was gifted this one remains a treasured possession.
It was a beautiful, hard-back children’s poetry book called “Delights and Warnings” – a new anthology of poems”. It was a captivating collection of gorgeously illustrated poems and short stories and I fell in love immediately. I devoured it immediately and it is still my most loved and treasured book and one that I’ll regularly sit with the kids and read.
Looking back I think it was my first proper introduction to poetry. And what a wonderful introduction for an eight year old! Brimming with funny, touching and beautifully written pieces by greats such as Ted Hughes, Edward Lear, William Blake, Shakespeare and Michael Rosen it blew my tiny mind!
Not only did I devour the words, my young creative brain drank in the illustrations too. And for the first time ever I recognised the relationship between words and pictures. A far cry from the simplicity of my beloved Ladybird books these images told far more complicated and sometimes dark stories. Something clicked in my 8 year old brain which has been ticking ever since.
Hand drawn images, some a full page with the words incorporated, some colour, some monochrome. Playing out a wide narrative about bullies and baby sparrows, make believe far off lands and relationships.
Indeed the book was split into 4 sections – “Telling a story”, “Taking a closer look” “Heroes & Victimes” and “Magic & Mystery”. Something about these somewhat grown up subject matters coupled with an unapologetic use of poems many of which were written for adults spoke to me. The book said “ I am taking you seriously, you may be only 8 but I know you are smart and will appreciate this as much as any adult, enjoy!” I did enjoy it and I still do. It transcends age and time.
My Auntie Pam shared a gift of stories with me and a seed was planted. Because that book has been with me ever since and every time I create a new piece of art it is there. And it reminds me of what I want to convey. I want to replicate for others the feeling I got when I received this book and feelings I got as I enjoyed the words and the pictures together.
I want to create smart art for kids because they appreciate beautiful & clever art in the same way that I appreciated complex poems and stories as an eight year old. Just because you are little does not mean you shouldn’t be surrounded by beautiful things. And just because you’re little it doesn’t mean that you have to change your art regularly as you grow up. If you choose wisely you can keep it and hand it down to the next generation. Choose wisely and you can be inspired and encouraged on a daily basis.
And this is probably why we love children’s books so very much. Because they are a treasure trove of incredible illustrations and images. Take Oliver Jeffers (Lost & Found) for example, Jon Klassen (I Want my Hat Back) and Miroslav Sasek (This is London).
So this World Book Day (7th March) I’ll be sharing stories with the kids drinking in the glorious imagery and treating our brains to some wonderful words. Because they’re never too old to be read to, indeed none of us are!
I’d love you to share a story with me this World Book Day. Tell me your favourite children’s books and why and inspire the next generation of readers!