More Hay Fever!

Friday was my last Hay-Day this year and it was a wonderful way to finish my visits this year!

My first event was Jo Cotterill, one of our 2017 longlisted authors in the Moving On category. You can read a review of 'A Library of Lemons' here. Sharing activities designed to encourage us to think about and understand the feelings of others, she explored empathy skills, based on her new book, A Storm of Strawberries. Her event was part of the work of Empathy Lab, a new organisaton 'passionate about the power of stories to build empathy and the power of empathy to make the world a better place.' You can find out more about this organisation on their website.

Empathy Day is on the 13th June this year and Jo encouraged everyone to share ideas of books which could be used to develop understanding and empathy. It was a fascinating session.

Next, I caught up with the very lovely Martin Brown, another of our long listed authors- this time in the Information Category. It was lovely to say hello and have a chat!

I also managed to catch Pippa Goodhart, short listed in the NSTBA Quality Fiction Category 2015 (our first year!) for her book, 'Raven Boy'. You can read our review here. She had been in the Storytelling Nook, sharing her picture book, 'A Bottle of Happiness' You can read our review of this here.

I was so excited when I spotted a new book by my 'Literacy hero', David Crystal! Full of humour and wisdom, his books are always a joy to read! I'm looking forward to hearing him speak at the 'Getting It Write' Conference at CLPE in a couple of weeks.

The afternoon's events started with Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Peter Bunzl talking about their new books, 'The Island at the End of Everything' and 'Moonlocket'. 'The Girl of Ink and Stars', Kiran's first book, has been longlisted for this year's NSTBA Moving On Category.

They made an excellent pair, working really well together and discussing the questions that they are most often asked by children. Peter had children- and Kiran!- improving their deportment by walking with books on their heads like Lily had to in 'Cogheart'! Their session was really thoughtfully put together with lots of pictures to illustrate their points.

You can read our review of 'Cogheart' here. It was a lovely event with two lovely authors!

At this point, I popped into the Make and Take Tent, a wonderful, lively place full of children laughing and creating things. Lisa Stickley, author of 'Handstand' and 'The New Room', both of which we have reviewed. It was wonderful to meet her at last and see her in action, creating her lovely pictures!

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My next event was chaired by Nicky Parker from Amnesty International UK. Gill Lewis, GillianCross and Francesca Sanna came together to talk about their books and to inspire the audience to draw or write a message of welcome on postcards to asylum seekers around the UK.

Each of their books After Tomorrow (Gillian Cross), A Story Like the Wind(Gill Lewis) and The Journey (Francesca Sanna) consider what it might be like to be a refugee, each powerful, thought provoking and emotive in different ways.

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Matt Sewell was talking about his first book for children, 'The Big Bird Spot' which we reviewed here.

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My final Hay event this year was the 'YA Book Prize and the Costa Book Award'. This was a brilliant event with the panel all responding really well to each other and showing a real interest in each other's books and opinions. It was a great way to finish my Hay days this year!

Lisa Heathfield, author of 'Seed' and 'Paper Butterflies' (reviewed here), Martin Stewart, author of 'Riverkeep' and Brian Conaghan, author of 'The Bombs that Brought Us Together' have all been teachers and all seemed to use this experience to guide their writing. Brian Conaghan comented that he always has those who hate reading in his mind when writing- partly because he was one of them when younger. It was an inspiring talk! 

So- Hay, for me at least, is over for another year! It is a wonderful festival- everyone should go!