Saturday, 17 February 2018

My Manic Schedule during WBD by Chitra Soundar

Every year schools across the world celebrate World Book Day, which this year falls on 1st March 2018.

Most schools (not all) decide to celebrate books and reading during this time of the year and on the day itself, children and often teachers dress up as book characters too.

For writers like me who go into schools to talk about writing and reading for pleasure, this is the busiest period of our annual schedule. I wrap up all my writing the week before the World Book Day and I cannot get back to my desk for almost a month.


It is amazing to visit schools, to meet with children and introduce my stories to them. It is heartening to see how schools practice reading for pleasure and incorporate books into their daily lives. Often the teacher or librarian (if the school still has one) who organises these events is doing this over and above their day job.

However many writers like me do wonder if there are alternatives to this adrenalin charged 2-3 week period of WBD tour most of us embark on. So if you’re a teacher or a librarian who organises events for schools, maybe some of these other ideas might appeal:

a)    A Day a Term – perhaps it would give a lot of focus and help with planning if there was one day in every term focussed on books and reading for pleasure where the school can come together. Or this could be a week.

b)    Alternate Days to WBD – As a writer from Asian background, I pulled together a list of dates where it would be lovely to bring in authors and books from different perspectives. Click here to download. 

c)     Virtual visits – some of us visit schools via Skype too. But it is tough to do virtual visits during the same week as WBD celebrations. Planning ahead will help you get both paid and free events with a multitude of authors into your schools. Check out Virtual Authors here.

d)    Patron of Reading – as Patrons of Reading, we visit our schools 3-4 times a year and use a whole day to connect with children about stories they love. Find out more here.

As a children’s writer, one of the biggest rewards of the job is to be able to go into schools and meet with children. It is a way to connect with our audience and also share the love of stories and reading. It is fabulous when we can inspire new writers and storytellers.

But it would be good that we can do this all through the year and not just during late February to early March. We do love to get away from our desks, washing-up and filing other times of the year too. So ring me right after Easter and we can get plan a school visit.

Are you a writer or a librarian or a teacher who has a different idea? Do you already do something amazing in your school that involves author visits but on different parts of the year? Tell us about it in the comments below.


Penny Dolan said...

Good luck with all your visits, Chitra and all other authors & illustrators.

I do find the heart sinks when school's requests start coming in, and all for around the same day and week. A rush of early starts & travel, as well as unusually long "speaking" days can be hard on an author's voice & health, especially when the weather can still be wintry.

The flurry of visits requests may well link in to the end of a school's financial year, a time when certain school funds must be spent or lost, so what better an excuse than an author? However, spreading the visits out across the school year - during the gaps between testing perhaps? - would be so much more sensible an idea.

Chitra Soundar said...

Yeah I’m most paranoid about my health this month than any other time.

Chitra Soundar said...

At our Picture Book Den blog, we have an alternate solution being discussed too.