Seven Stories

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The ‘Seven Stories’ centre is the National Centre for Children’s Books. The building has indeed seven floors (each a storey!), playing on the theory that there are seven basic plots, or story themes, on which all stories are based. Well known for its excellent exhibitions, it is a wonderful place that celebrates all elements of children’s literature. 

There were lots of duffle coats and marmalade sandwiches on the sixth floor in the Paddington exhibition. 

  Full of images of the lovable bear across the years, the exhibition includes original art work from Peggy Fortnum. Some of the early copies of the books on display brought back so many memories as they were the versions we had when I was young.  

 

Full of images of the lovable bear across the years, the exhibition includes original art work from Peggy Fortnum. Some of the early copies of the books on display brought back so many memories as they were the versions we had when I was young.

 

  Having finished my trip down memory lane, I went to the 'Rhyme Around the World' exhibition. Packed with things for children to engage with, there is also plenty to interest adults with nursery rhymes from many cultures and lots of stunning artwork taken from Over the Hills and Far Away - A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes from Around the World collected by Elizabeth Hammill (initiator and co-founder of Seven Stories) and the classic Lavender's Blue illustrated by Harold Jones (published in 1954).   

 

Having finished my trip down memory lane, I went to the 'Rhyme Around the World' exhibition. Packed with things for children to engage with, there is also plenty to interest adults with nursery rhymes from many cultures and lots of stunning artwork taken from Over the Hills and Far Away - A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes from Around the World collected by Elizabeth Hammill (initiator and co-founder of Seven Stories) and the classic Lavender's Blue illustrated by Harold Jones (published in 1954). 

 

  The whole gallery was delightful and well worth the time I spent lingering over the beautiful illustrations. Over the Hills and Far Away is a real treasure trove of rhymes and illustrations, perfect for parents, teachers, librarians... everyone really!  

 

The whole gallery was delightful and well worth the time I spent lingering over the beautiful illustrations. Over the Hills and Far Away is a real treasure trove of rhymes and illustrations, perfect for parents, teachers, librarians... everyone really!

 

The next floor down holds the Michael Foreman 'Painting With Rainbows' exhibition. What a treat to see so many examples of this amazing artist's work in one place- I went round this gallery twice! Everything is laid out beautifully and presented with great care and attention to detail.

On the seventh floor, in the attic, there were Hallowe'en story telling sessions taking place, based on the 'Funnybones' books. There was also a display of the new artwork from the Harry Potter books. Large scale pictures made a great backdrop for children to play around- and there were lots of very happy children enjoying themselves when I visited!

Seven Stories is an amazing place which is safeguarding so much of our children's literature heritage for future generations. It is an exciting place to visit- no matter what age you are- and I would encourage everyone to make at least one trip to enjoy the wonders it holds!