I cannot believe it's been two years since we launched our website! The 4th August 2015 found us gathered together with much cake and chocolate to press the button and go live...and it's been non-stop since then.
So much has happened over the past two years. Several of us have changed jobs/ schools and there have been the usual ups-and-downs in education! Through it all, we have remained dedicated to reading, promoting, celebrating and sharing the best children's books, bookshops, events and locations that we can find!
We have shared about 20 Brilliant Bookshops so far and I am on a mission to visit as many as I can over the summer. Working full time tends to get in the way, but in the holidays, I do my best!
Schools in our group have had visits from about 20 authors/ illustrators who have entertained and inspired hundreds of children. Steve Antony, Dave Rudden, Amy Wilson, Tracey Corderoy, Steven Lenton, M.G. Leonard, Clare Bevan, Sharon Tregenza and Huw Powell to name a few of them have shared their wonderful stories and artistic skills, bringing the joy of reading to our pupils. And where would I have been without the wonderful staff at Waterstone's in Weston helping me out with book orders? They don't often hide when they see me coming..!
There are now two teacher book groups running in North Somerset and we have been working hard on our Members' Section to offer resources and support for our colleagues to use/ adapt for their own settings. We'd love to get more groups going- each MAT should have one, making sure all teachers are talking books! Carousel, that wonderfully book-ish magazine, is now found in many staff rooms across the county and with the help of the lovely Caroline at Reading Zone, we have more teachers engaged in reading and reviewing books for that website.
We have tried to attend as many author events, book launches, parties, conferences and festivals as possible to make sure we are as up to date as possible with our reading and knowledge of books.
Amongst others, we have been to YALC, Telling Tales at the Globe, Hay Festival, Bath Festival, Oxford Festival, Turn the Page in Totnes... and are always trying to fit in more! Once again, teaching really does get in the way- and travelling - and money- but we do what we can!
Visits to Seven Stories, The Story Museum and the Discover Centre have only made me wish even more that we had a similar book haven in the South West. If anyone wants us to develop one here- we'd love to!
Reviews have been posted on an almost daily basis, offering hundreds of suggestions for those hunting for a good book. We know people find these useful and we'd like to thank all the lovely people who have contacted us to to tell us they have bought/ read books that we have reviewed and enjoyed them- and shared them with children. We read far more books than we can ever post about and I hate the fact that there are so many lovely books that I simply have not had the time to review on the blog- but I try to by word of mouth!
And we have held two very successful award ceremonies and are planning our third this November. Every author, illustrator, publisher and guest who attended has been wonderful, making the occasions very special. Our third will be held in November and will hopefully be as lovely as the others.
So many books, so little time- but what fun trying to read as many as possible! Here's to the years ahead...