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The whirlwind of World Book Week

I know I'm a couple of weeks behind here, but this is the first opportunity I've had to write about the amazing (virtual) author visits I was lucky enough to be part of during World Book Week at the start of this month.

Oh. My. Goodness. I had the BEST time beaming into different schools and chatting to them about 'Old Enough to Save the Planet' and being a writer of children's books! It was so exciting seeing a screen full of smiling faces and being blown away by the questions and ideas the children shared. It was also very humbling, though not in any way surprising, to see the enormous efforts all the teachers had gone to in immersing their classes in the book and in celebrating reading and writing. (It was slightly unnerving that my two younger children had to research me as part of the prep work before the calls with their school, but we laughed through the weirdness!)

Under pre-Covid circumstances it would have been wonderful to see all the children in person and to speak to them in real life but actually, there's no way I would have been able to visit all the different places if I was having to physically travel between them, so the not-insignificant silver lining was that I got to spend time with lots more bookworms than I would have done if things were 'normal'. (Although on a side note, I'm increasingly uncomfortable using that word because what is 'normal' anyway? One person's normal looks very different from someone else's and I think we all hope that there are things about 'normal' pre-Covid life that we won't be returning to anyway...).

Some of the older children I chatted with had some very insightful questions about the future of our planet and hearing what they were worried about, along with their hopes for the future, was really valuable. As I said to them, children often have the best ideas, and it fills me with optimism that these young people are so positive about taking action to change the world.

On top of talking about the content of the book, it was also a joy to talk about books and writing in general. I know how hard it can be to imagine yourself into a future job and if there's anything at all I can do to demystify what's involved in making books (despite very much not considering myself to be an expert!) then I want to do it. Dreaming big starts with knowing what it is you're actually dreaming about and I'd love for all children to be able to see themselves as a writer if that's where their hearts lie. The questions the children had about making books showed just how interested they are in books and reading (my heart sang!) and I hope my answers cleared up some of the fuzzy areas... They were astonished to learn that it often takes over a year to write, illustrate, design and print a book, as well as how the whole process is a collaboration between so many different people.

Just before I sign off, I want to celebrate the work of one budding author from a wonderful infant school I spoke with. Beatrix put her hand up to tell me about a book she'd written herself (with some production assistance from her mum!) entitled 'Make The World Happy Forever'. If that's not an inspiring and uplifting theme, I don't know what is! We'd been talking on the call about what we'd do to change the world and I'm so pleased that Beatrix shared her story, because it's so special and demonstrates just how we could change everyone's lives if kindness and community were our top priorities. You can see a couple of pictures of Beatrix's amazing author debut at the top of this post – I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for more from her, and all the awesome children I met during World Book Week, in the future!

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