Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Meeting with childrens authors is fun and inspiring ...

For two afternoons in the half-term holiday, we went to Winchester Discovery Centre to attend some of their performances for the Wessex Children's Book Festival. They had some fantastic authors and illustrators booked for the festival, but we chose two favourites.

The first was on Thursday where we went to meet Axel Scheffler - illustrator most famous for The Gruffalo, and many other books written by Julia Donaldson. Before the performance, there were activities going on in the library and a chance to meet and hug the Gruffalo himself.

Meeting the Gruffalo ... many hugs were had

We had a great time, we sat at the front and found ourselves sitting next to his wife and daughter. He read Zog and then drew Zog on a flip chart which Imogen was just mesmerised by his drawing. He went on to read Stick Man and answer lots of questions, and then drew the Gruffalo.

Axel drawing Zog

We then went to see him and he signed Imogen's Gruffalo book that she has had since very young, a well read book. He drew a little picture with his signature too. Imogen had drawn this picture the previous day of the Gruffalo which we took to show him, he was rather impressed and said he would draw the mouse next to it so he could sign it. This is on it's way into a picture frame now.
Imogen and Axel's drawing

Imogen came away declaring that she wanted to be an illustrator. All that evening all she did was draw, draw, and draw some more. She was so inspired. What do you think of my budding artist ... sorry illustrator?

On Friday, we went to meet Emily Gravett, author and illustrator of many great books, a few of which we own. Emily put on a completely different performance, really engaging and involving the children in the stories she read and then they all wrote a new story together based on the Monkey and Me story.
The story they all wrote together
and read out loudly!

It was great fun for children and adults alike. She also did a few illustrations within her talk. Again we met her afterwards and Imogen had her copy of Wolves signed by Emily.

Imogen came away declaring that she was going to be an author and illustrator. Emily had said that being an author and illustrator was the best job in the world.

Since both of these performances, Imogen has drawn so much, she is re-creating the pictures of the book Zog, and has drawn so much more and been writing a fair bit too. They were both very inspiring, and inspired she has been - so lovely to see her creative side shining through.

How long before she creates her own characters and writes a story? Mind you, it wouldn't be the first, she wrote one earlier in the year, but her drawing and writing have progressed so much since then.

"The aim of the Festival is to enthuse and excite children of all ages
about the pleasures of reading and writing. "

Tick, you certainly have.


  1. They both sound like wonderful days out. There is an author going in to school today to be involved in my daughter's English lesson. She asked for money to buy one of his books, the only problem is, she can't remember who he is, all she knows is that he writes horror stories. She took some money regardless. I'll have to see what she brings home. Imogen's drawing is wonderful, and how lovely to have the picture of the mouse drawn by Axel Scheffler next to it. I'm sure that will be one treasured picture.

  2. Wow, what a fab few days, and such a great picture by Imogen (and Alex) xxx

  3. What a wonderful opportunity, and fantastic that it has inspired her so much.

    And as for the picture, yes, I'm sure that will be treasured for years to come.

  4. oh wow, I bet Imogen and you were so thrilled! What a fantastic treasure Imogens and Axels illustrations are (love the way he put his age too) :-)

  5. What a great way to plant a creative spark. Some people have a talent to communicate their talent and love of a subject so well. My youngest would have loved to hug the Gruffalo. Getting him away may have been the problem.

  6. My boys just adore Zog. I know all the words off by heart! Fantastic opportunity!


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