It’s been another busy week, with a visit to Beachborough School in Brackley on Tuesday (hello, Anna! Hello, brilliant kids!) followed by a drive up to Leicester for a day with the organisation Whatever It Takes (WiT), part of the Schools’ Development Support Agency. Cerrie Burnell (latterly of CBeebies) and David Harmer and I all travelled up the night before in order to sign a LOT of books – WiT has funds to buy a book for EVERY SINGLE CHILD attending – and that’s around 600 per day! How absolutely wonderful is that?!
I thoroughly enjoyed my day of events with four secondary schools: Soar Hill, Judgemeadow, Beaumont Leys and Crown Hills. They all laughed at my jokes and didn’t seem to mind my dramatic face-pulling…
I wore my new strawberry-themed frock for the event, which I liked so much I wore it again on Friday (fear not, I washed it in between!) to the amazing annual event that is the Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award, hosted by the House of Commons! Organised by a group of wonderful people at CILIP SLG and SLA, many of them librarians themselves, it celebrates the achievements of young people in secondary schools who volunteer in their school libraries. As an attending author (there were over twenty of us!), I was lucky enough to be allocated to one of the eight Finalists, Maia Hipwood, to sit with her and read out a citation provided by her school (Howard of Effingham). I was thrilled not only to meet Maia (currently in Y11) but also to meet her librarian Cathi Woods, with whom I had briefly corresponded. Maia’s citation was superb and I felt really honoured to be among so many young people who were passionate about books.
Tanya Landman gave a witty and wonderful speech (I will never forget the story of Kevin and Susan) and then to my sheer delight, Maia was declared the winner! She and Cathi were both over the moon.
After the event, we all trooped out to Downing Street, where the Finalists delivered letters they had composed about the importance of school libraries and why it’s vital that they must be protected.
It was a truly inspirational and heartwarming day and I was honoured to be a part of it. Many thanks to all the organisers involved.