Back at Hay today for a full programme of events and the first was ...Sophy Henn. Sophy's events are always a complete joy because the way she interacts with children is brilliant.
Full of energy and enthusiasm, Sophy started by telling us about when she was little and about all the sketch books that she keeps. She showed us how she gathers ideas in them, emphasising that they need not be neat, but can hold all sorts of gems that might spark an idea later on.
As an example of this, she showed us a picture of a bear she had painted which she said wasn't very good (it was!). This image led to the idea for her first picture book, 'Where Bear?'. Her next book, 'Pom Pom Gets the Grumps' was inspired by someone she knows very well having one of those moments when they get very angry. Sophy changed the character from a child to a panda and the wonderful Pom Pom was born.
Sophy then taught us all to draw her new character, George. Like us all at times, George lacks the confidence to do things and won't try for fear of failing. This lovely story shows the importance of trying new things and it was so inspirational to hear her convey this message to everybody in the room.
The drawings of George were amazing. Sophy broke him down into easy to follow steps which the children loved. The little girl next to me (aged 5) drew a fantastic picture which she (and her mum) were very proud of!
Next, we drew Bear. Once again, Sophy's guidance made the process so achievable and we all enjoyed the 'professional scribbling' that gave Bear her fur. Sophy mingled with the audience, offering praise and encouragement wherever she went- really helping the children believe that they could achieve 'almost anything'!
Bunny ears next! Sophy's enthusiasm and energy are boundless as she kept all the children (and adults) happily occupied. If the session had been two hours, she would have had plenty for us all to do; However, it had to come to a close, but not before she had given us all George and Bear's Guide to doing Almost Anything five top tips!
In the signing queue afterwards, it was a pleasure to overhear some of the conversations about just how good the event had been and how much the children had enjoyed themselves. It's always a delight to attend one of Sophy's events- and I'm most definitely not the only one who thinks so!
'Almost Anything' is one of our 2018 long listed Picture Books.