I’m still gathering my thoughts from the wonderful experience that was the IBBY Congress in London Thursday to Sunday 23-26 August. Four days of inspirational speakers and meeting kindred spirits from all over the world. I’ve now added a selection of photographs to our Flickr – you can see them here. I haven’t quite finished tagging and describing yet, but I’m getting there… and here is a smaller selection for you to enjoy on the blog – again, I’ve numbered them so that I can come back and label them!
A London children’s theatre company Theatre Peckham helped the Opening Ceremony go with a swing with their delightful performance of an extract from the theatre adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Then fuelled with a piece of Wally’s delicious 25th birthday cake (but where was he? Answer: everywhere, in the guise of the very game Imperial College staff!), we headed back to the auditorium for our first plenary session – and what a line up! Three UK Children’s Laureates – the current reigning Julia Donaldson and two of her predeceesors, Michael Morpurgo and Anthony Browne.
Each spoke about what particular passions they had brought to their role as laureate: Michael described how he and poet Ted Hughes had first come up with the idea, and how Hughes had been instrumental in making it all happen; Anthony played the ‘shape game’ and showed how it appears everywhere in his work and outside it; and Julia talked of the three areas close to her heart: enhancing children’s experience of reading through drama; keeping libraries open (a big issue in the UK); and promoting stories for and about deaf children.
Julia and her husband Malcolm, on guitar, then showcased some examples of what theatre can do to enhance literacy, from the chorus of a very fast Italian pasta song written while on holiday in Siena, Italy, to a virtuoso performance of The Gruffalo in French, German and (its most recent language) Scots. In between, we were treated to the song that inspired Julia’s book A Squash and a Squeeze with audience participation… and I say treated, well, it was a real treat for me as I got to be the hen! Thanks to Australian author Susanne Gervay (yes, that was one of my top thrills of IBBY, meeting Susanne in person…), you will shortly be able to see it on Flickr too – don’t laugh too much!!
Well, that was just the first few hours of the Congress – I will certainly be writing more about it over the coming weeks. In the meantime, hello to all those PaperTigers friends I got to meet for the first time in real life – Shirin Adl, Candy Gourlay, Dashdondog Jamba; and to old friends and new. I’ll now be dreaming of IBBY Mexico 2014… In the meantime, head on over to Flickr and enjoy my photos – and much better ones on the official IBBY Congress 2012′s photostream.