On Wednesday 9 May we welcomed the illustrator Lynne Chapman and the author Chris d'Lacey to the Junior School.
Lynne Chapman travelled up from Sheffield and spoke to our Primary 3 pupils about her work and life as an illustrator. Her colourful book display and easy manner immediately caught the children's attention and it was a real treat for them to watch her draw and create her characters right before their eyes.
Lynne explained to the children that, as an illustrator, she rarely meets the author of a book but communicates through the publishers. Sometimes it is only when a book is published that the she meets the author! The humour in every day life situations gives Lynne the ideas for her characters. Our pupils were spell bound as she drew pictures and explained how they had evolved over time. She talked about the process of her drawings; rough sketches followed by lots of attempts to adapt and improve them before the final illustration is complete. Lynne encouraged the children to become involved in doing a monster of their own, which she then drew, following their instructions. She responded very sympathetically to all their suggestions, and produced an amazing creation with an unusual name... The children then set to work on their own illustrations and there is no doubt that they enjoyed this interactive session and gained a great deal from it. Lynne drew many pictures during her day with us. They are displayed all around the building and are very much admired!
Edinburgh is a city that Chris d'Lacey is always happy to visit, and we were delighted when he agreed to travel up from Leicester to spend the day speaking to our Primary 6 pupils. Chris was an inspirational speaker and the children were entranced for an hour and half by his stories and anecdotes. He explained how everyday events and objects could provide inspiration for his books. A newspaper article about a crate of yellow plastic ducks going overboard in the Atlantic Ocean provided the germ of an idea for one of his earliest novels, Dexter's Journey. Buying a fluffy polar bear one Christmas for his girlfriend, now his wife, produced a story which led to Hole in the Pole, a story for younger readers. He also showed the children the pottery dragon, bought at a craft fair, which gave him the idea for his latest, very popular Fire series about dragons. Through his good humour and consummate storytelling skills, Chris won over his young audience and left them all eager to read his books, with many aspiring to be authors.
Book Week came to a wonderful end with our biannual Book Fair run by 'The Travelling Book Company'. Once again the colourful book stands, the wide range of books, and the competitions meant that there was something for everyone.