When the Manchester Children’s Book Festival was asked to organise an event as part of Chris Riddell’s Book Trust Children’s Laureate Tour, of course our response was a huge “YES!”
UK Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell is currently touring the country and wanted to include Manchester schools in his schedule. Yesterday 300 excited school children congregated at Cedar Mount Academy, part of Gorton Education Village to meet him. Pupils from Stanley Grove, Plymouth Grove and Rushbrook, joined pupils from Cedar Mount and Mellands for an afternoon celebrating all things books.
Before Chris arrived direct from a show in Blackpool for 500 other lucky youngsters, the children were occupied making lanterns featuring Chris’s aliens ready for an event that MCBF are organising with colleagues from Stanley Grove at Longsight Library on December 17th.
Chris arrived quietly, setting himself and his visualiser up at the side of the stage. After an introduction by Stanley Grove’s Artist in Residence, Emma Martin, designer of the lanterns and architect of our event in December, the audience quickly fell silent as Chris sketched his hello in the person of an alien holding a lantern.
In the darkness, ‘GREETINGS EARTHLINGS’ appeared magically on a large screen at the front of the auditorium and, for the next 50 minutes, pupils and teachers were mesmerised, as stories and anecdotes were illustrated before our eyes.
Chris also shared his love of books, joyfully telling the audience about his own excitement at seeing his work in print and causing the whole audience to collectively “Oooooh” as he showed the beautifully gold-sprayed edges of his book Goth Girl.
In a world of high-energy, high-impact, high-tec entertainment for children, it was a delight to be in a whole room of youngsters totally engrossed and listening intently to every word uttered and mark made by this wonderful storyteller.
Finishing with the Brian Patten poem ‘The Minister for Exams’, Chris inspired a spontaneous round of applause before signing off and then staying to sign copies of his books for huge queues of children and teachers.
Topping off a fabulous afternoon, the great news for MCBF is that Chris says he has our Festival firmly on his radar and is looking forward to visiting us soon. So watch this space…
Come along to our next event as we make Chris Riddell lanterns and celebrate all things poetry and stars at Longsight Library and the Islamic Centre next door on Saturday 17th December from 12-4pm. Our lantern parade starts at 4.30 from the library. Everyone is welcome. More information coming soon.