In August I was lucky enough to be invited to my local library to share my stories with the children and to talk to them about what it takes to create a book, from your initial idea to the finished product.
Going to any reading is always really nerve wracking, what if no one turns up? what if loads of people turn up? what if I can’t speak or no one asks any questions. Oh my goodness, what if they boo??? Maybe it is just me that has these (and a million more besides) worries before each and every reading but I am glad to say that even though on this occasion I did have to make my visit whilst on crutches, nothing went wrong and the entire experience was exhilarating.
I was welcomed warmly into the library by Nancy and her team. Wednesdays throughout the summer holidays are jam packed full of activities and free lunches so the library was already buzzing with children and their families, some I recognised but mostly I did not. I was given a room to the side of the main library where I could set up and read my stories without competing with the rest of the noise, I was so grateful for this, another worry … What if I’m not loud enough and no one can hear me? and the staff had put up posters to let parents know that the activity would be taking place.
I was delighted to have had the chance to read on and off for the entire hour in a very relaxed drop in session . I read to around 12 children in total and a handful of parents too. My Webblings not included because they could probably tell you these stories by heart at this point. The children had chance to ask me questions and to colour some of my characters on the colouring sheets the library had been kind enough to photocopy for me. I was asked some tricky questions this time like, how do I choose the name of my characters? I feel like the answer to that could be a blog post of it’s own but the short answer is that it is the name I feel suits them most.
I came out of the visit exhausted to be honest, I am still recovering from a broken leg and was not strictly off of bed rest at this point. I also felt amazing! The children I had read to had asked to hear the stories again and asked if they could find any of my books in the library and I told them that they could find ‘Glub’ when he is available. They all wanted to colour the characters and wanted to tell me about the characters that they would include if they wrote stories like me. The engagement with the children and seeing them engage with my characters is what makes it all worth while, it may only be fleeting but at that moment those children are inspired to create and to design. This is my favourite part of being a children’s author and illustrator even if it is the most terrifying part.
My Nanny and Gramps always said, ‘if something isn’t scary at first is it really worth doing?’ well this is scary but so worth conquering that fear. If you have a story inside you, let it out and show the world!
Thank you to Devonport Library and Plymouth Libraries for allowing me to take up a space on your jam packed summer program. I really enjoyed myself and look forward to returning again someday, just as nervous as the first time no doubt.
P.S. Big congratulations to my Webblings, Lilly and Harrison both finished the Summer Reading Challenge and managed to get their medals for the third year in a row.