Last weekend saw the first birthday of the book group I run for 8-12 year olds at the local public library. On Saturday we celebrated with lots of games – book spine poetry and book charades (where titles had to be those of books we had read or discussed during the past year in book group) causing the most laughter. There were also lots of bookish treats:
On Monday we had an amazing trip to a local arts festival where we saw Michael Morpurgo retell his book The Mozart Question, accompanied by a fabulous set of musicians who played music matching the storyline. The show was wonderful, powerful and moving and Michael very generously made time for the children in my book group to interview him over a slice or two of birthday cake – what better first birthday present could there be?
Members of the book group presented Michael with a copy of the anthology they’ve written this year, and which they have been selling to family and friends to raise money for Michael’s charity Farms For City Children. They had each practised their “author signature” and signed the anthology. It was a proud moment to see it in Michael’s hands!
Before the fun and games on Saturday we spend some time preparing for our interview with Michael by reading lots of past interviews with him, highlighting things we found interesting and making a note of questions that we couldn’t find answers for. I found this a really effective way of encouraging the group to think of questions more unusual than the ones that so often arise when authors do a Q&A with children, such as “Why did you become a writer?” or “What tips do you have for aspiring authors?”.
Looking back over the year, it’s a delight to see how the book group as grown. Initially it was a determined, constructive response to my eldest being bullied at school for being a bookworm, and out of that stressful situation something lovely has blossomed. I’ve been supported along the way by many people and I’m really grateful to them all, especially the authors and illustrators with whom the book group has tweeted and the library staff who have helped with book reservations.