Wednesday, 17 February 2016

World Book Day 2016: It's Almost Here... by Emma Barnes

World Book Day 2016 will soon be upon us! The official date is Thursday, 3rd March, but like many other children's authors, my World Book Day tends to spread out over more than a week. I get invited to lots of schools, and perform tasks as diverse as opening new libraries or judging fancy dress competitions (impossible!). But always, always I'm spreading the word about love of books and reading.
Talking about books

There's been a few new books since
signing for pupils

Enjoying the new library

Travelling has its compensations

Another school library!

Somebody's listening
An unfortunately placed arrow

This school were prepared!

Reading aloud is vital

Here's just some of the things I try to do:
- talk about my own favourite books and why they got me writing
- help kids see books can be an escape into another world
- show that love of reading is a life-long gift
- read aloud to the kids, and get them engrossed in an exciting, funny or dramatic passage
- explain that being a good writer is not mainly about punctuation and spelling: it's about imagination and being able to make a reader feel “What happens next?”
- ask the kids about their own favourite books
- acknowledge that not everyone likes reading – but sometimes its just a matter of finding that special book that gets you excited and into that reading habit.

I often do writing workshops with the kids, and I've got aims for those too. I try and do activities that reflect the way I work as a writer, and which will either complement what the children do in school, or else show them an entirely new way of doing things. The National Curriculum can be extremely prescriptive, and its exciting and liberating for children to find that they don't always need to plan a story a particular way (or at all) – and that “real” writers work in different ways, and so can they. Some of my principles are:
- reading aloud gets the imagination working
- it's about the process, not the result (children shouldn't feel afraid to fail)
- all writers have different methods
- there's a time to worry about spelling and a time to go with the flow
- everyone should be able to join in
- writing can be fun and playful
- let's celebrate the (funny, moving, scary, atmospheric, always imaginative) results.

And finally here's some of the things I will try not to do:
- get lost on the way to school
- take the wrong exit on the motorway
- forget my Sat Nav
- forget my memory stick or “clicker”
- forget my lunch
- get locked into the school car park
- trip over a cable or crash into a whiteboard
- eat too many biscuits or (horror of horrors!) use somebody's favourite mug in the staffroom.

It's going to be a full-on, fun, exhausting, time. I'm looking forward to it – and I'm looking forward to coming out the other side too.

Happy World Book Day (in two weeks from now) to you!

Emma's Website
Emma’s Facebook Fanpage
Emma on Twitter - @EmmaBarnesWrite
Emma's Wild Thing series for 8+ about the naughtiest little sister ever. (Cover - Jamie Littler)
"Hilarious and heart-warming" The Scotsman

 Wolfie is a story of wolves, magic and snowy woods...
(Cover: Emma Chichester Clark)
"Funny, clever and satisfying..." Books for Keeps


Penny Dolan said...

Love those photos, Emma. You and the children look so enthused and happy - a nice reminder of the good times and the fine sights to come as I'm trying to work out how long it will take to drive to some of "my" schools over the next week or so.
Have a great World Book Day fortnight, everyone!

Joan Lennon said...

Yes - the enthusiasm bubbles out of those photos - you're a natural, Emma! Happy Book Day/Week/Fortnight to all!

John Dougherty said...

Blimey! Almost March already! I do love this time of year, but can't believe it's upon us.

Anne Booth said...

That was really helpful. I have started giving workshops this year and am really enjoying it but am still very new - so reading about what you do (which looks wonderful) is inspiring! Thank you.