Strawberry Fun With the Federation of Children’s Book Groups

It sounds awfully serious, doesn’t it, the Federation of Children’s Book Groups? On the one hand, it has a very serious purpose indeed – to share great books for children – but on the other hand…well, we all like a bit of a party, don’t we?

I was invited to speak at the FCBG conference over the weekend – the pre-dinner slot on Saturday evening, just before the Gala Dinner with their special guest, the Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. At first I was really stumped as to what to do in my half-hour event. The hundred or so librarians had spent the whole day listening to speakers, andΒ I was there to tell them a bit about A STORM OF STRAWBERRIES, out at the end of June. My lovely publisher Piccadilly had produced some sweet little samplers of the first two chapters of the book, so I had to at least mention it – but how to do it without boring the pants off everyone?

Below you can see the results of my ponderings…a Great Big Strawberry Quiz, with three main rounds: a general knowledge round (everything from the ingredients in a strawberry daiquiri to the name of an obscure Shopkins character), a picture round (book covers with titles or author names blanked out) and…(because this is me, and ANY EXCUSE for a dress-up)…a ‘design a Flower Fairy Strawberry Fairy outfit’.

Just as I was getting started, Chris R himself turned up and offered his services as my glamorous assistant, doodling on the scoreboard and providing a tie-break question (that was FAR too easy, in my opinion!). I had an absolute ball πŸ™‚ Photos below of the mayhem and laughter…

Cocktails and Strawberry samplers!
I had a brand-new strawberry dress for the occasion
Chris explains that the two teams will need a name each, and suggests places where strawberry-pickers come from
Early rounds of the quiz – I read the questions and Chris doodles on the strawberries
The dressing-up begins! Chris Routh from Leighton Park is a good sport!
Chris and Zoe Toft, the model for the other team, in their final outfits!
Zoe’s outfit even has a superb green bow at the back
Chris Riddell takes the judging very seriously
Chris Routh, me, Chris Riddell and Zoe Toft
I gave out handmade strawberries as prizes
I was really touched to be given this lovely bracelet by the very kind and lovely Bev Humphrey, who told me I should have it because it had a strawberry on and it matched my outfit perfectly! Thank you Bev πŸ™‚

Many thanks to the FCBG team for inviting me and to everyone there for participating with such enthusiasm! And thanks to those whose photos I have shamelessly stolen from Twitter πŸ˜‰ In these days of uncertainty over the future, and the feeling that many of us have that progression with inclusion and diversity are stalling, it is so uplifting and encouraging to be with people who value children’s literature so highly; who pride themselves on being able to provide the right child with the right book at exactly the right time…and who don’t mind dressing up as a strawberry flower fairy if the occasion demands it!

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One comment

  1. I so wish I could have come along – Chris M had mentioned it to me, but it will have to wait for next year. Aren’t Chris and Zoe such good sports? Fab outfits, you and them!. Do you think Piccadilly might spare me a sampler? Can you let me know who to ask?

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