The Children’s Bookshow team has really missed the excitement and thrill of our live theatre performances this year - there is nothing quite like seeing an auditorium full of smiling children and their teachers waiting for an event to start.
However, last week we felt the buzz of live performance once more as we trialled our first digital event, with author and illustrator Alexis Deacon being beamed into the Year 2 and 3 classrooms of five London schools.
Children were enthralled as during the course of an hour Alexis read his books, Ergo (created with illustrator Viviane Schwarz) and Croc and Bird. As well as drawing live, Alexis showed a series of different egg illustrations, and asked the children to guess which creatures grew inside which egg. It was great fun!
There was a Q&A session where children from some of the schools were invited up onto the virtual stage to ask a question to Alexis in person. It was wonderful to see children in their classrooms enjoying the event, and heartwarming to hear their questions. Teachers were also able to ask questions and write comments in the ‘chat function’ throughout our time online.
The event ended with Alexis explaining how he got the idea for his classic picture book Beegu and his process in developing the story and the character, and then finished with reading the story - complete with amazing alien sound effects!
Teachers, children and the Bookshow team felt it was an excellent success all round.
Tatiana Goodchild from Blue Gates Field Junior School said:
Thank you very much for organising such a wonderful event. It was a real treat for the teachers and the children!
Sana Khokar from Bangabandhu Primary School said:
"What a lovely event this morning!
The children really enjoyed it and found Alexis's performance thoroughly hilarious with his fantastic expressions."
We were thrilled that every child participating received a free signed copy of Beegu from us to take home and keep.
As a bonus follow-up activity, Alexis shared a video with the teachers - ‘How to Make an Alien’ workshop - and asked the children to create their own alien. Teachers will be sending the children’s aliens to Alexis who will choose some to make one large collaborative artwork.
You can see some of them here:
We will be announcing details of a series of digital events to run in March 2021 around World Book Day, so watch this space!