Last week the Hull Children’s Book Awards took place. It’s an event I’ve attended for three years now, first as a school librarian, second as a teacher, and this time I went as a volunteer for my old school, partly because I didn’t want to miss out, and partly because I was keen to see my a piece of my freelance work in use.
The awards are organised by Hull Libraries, a dedicated team of people ready to turn preconceptions of libraries upside down with events throughout the year. They had asked me what I thought to creating a booklet for the children who attend on the day, summarising the nominated books, giving them some info about their favourite authors and generally keeping them busy with quizzes, puzzles, and interviews to read. I thought it was a great idea and agreed to write the content for it. What I didn’t expect was just how busy it kept all the students on the day! Walking into a room of hundreds of 11-15 year olds and being able to hear yourself speak because all the students are busy completing word searches was a big novelty!
The day was a massive success, as always. Seeing so many young people get to meet the authors of the books they’ve been reading since the start of the year reminded me why I loved working in education – they’re so enthusiastic! It didn’t take long for the students to catch on that I’d created some space in their booklets to collect autographs too, and what started off as a simple reading booklet quickly became a keepsake for many of them.
When I went freelance I decided I wasn’t going to specialise in any particular area, not wanting to risk eliminating myself from appearing an all-round writer, but since doing this, and another project for Hull Libraries, I’ve decided it’s not a bad thing to play on your strengths and begin promoting myself as an educational writer.
All of my other services will remain on offer and exactly the same, but together with another project I’m working on, and with my background in education, the resources I already have mean I could create some really fun pieces of work for schools and organisations. There’s already a particularly exciting one in the pipeline. Stay tuned…