We are so delighted to receive funding from the government's Culture Recovery Fund enabling us to be Here for Culture. All through this ongoing crisis we know that books have been an invaluable help for children, their parents and teachers. Our children need the joy and comfort that books can bring more than ever before.
This funding will enable The Children's Bookshow to bring the best literature from around the world to children and their teachers. Although we are unable to do this through our annual programme of theatre events, this funding means we can find other ways to connect with our audience to bring the joy of reading to children across the country.
Here is what we are doing:
What Makes You Smile
We asked 10 international, award winning illustrators to create a picture of what makes them smile and we have posted these on our website and social media every day. We know that children across the country have had varied and unique experiences of lockdown and all need support to reintegrate and to reflect on their experiences, deal with the present challenges of daily life and look ahead to what the future holds. We want this project to give children and their teachers an opportunity to discuss and reflect upon the things which make them smile as well as being introduced to new artists and books.
We are running a competition with Tes to win £150 worth of art materials and £200 of books for the winner's school. To enter, children need to send us their picture of what makes them smile.
Let's Celebrate Black Lives
In response to the Black Lives Matter Protests, and in acknowledging and understanding how much more needs to be done in our sector for there to be parity for black artists and illustrators we have been thinking about what The Children's Bookshow can do. Following on from our Summer Reading list, which celebrated some of the great black artists with whom we have worked in the past and some whom we really hope to work with in the future, we are launching an important new project called Let's Celebrate Black Lives to introduce children and their teachers to elements of our history that have been overlooked. We want to celebrate black lives, both the ordinary and extraordinary.
We are offering 80 schools a free set of 6 Black History wallcharts created by The Guardian, 30 free copies of The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander for children to keep, and a set of teaching resources.
“If we are able to connect the past with the present, we might do better.”
Gaverne Bennett, Creative Director and Educationalist, The Guardian
Although we are unable to stage our live performances we want to be able to offer children the chance and experience of engaging with authors and illustrators. We are working on launching a trial digital author event that will take place in classrooms later this year followed by an online writer in residence allowing children to talk to an artist and share their creative work together.