The first week of February is special for two reasons – it is the National Storytelling Week and the end of the week was the National Libraries Day. I usually mark these dates with tweets and Facebook posts of cute quotes.
But this year, I had a fantastic opportunity to celebrate both with bells on. I was recommended by the charming and gracious Jan Blake to CLPE as one of the storytellers at their Wonderful World of Stories event. What a joy it was. The amazing Ann Lazim and her team had put together three of us – June Peters and Patrick Ryan and the newbie me to tell stories to school children across London.
Sat in the Julia Donaldson room at CLPE, I told stories from India – from tricksters to creation stories, from animal stories to stories filled with food. We had crocodiles and turtles, crows and cockerels. We had Birbal walk the floor with the great Emperor Akbar. One class surprised me and asked me gory stories and how lucky I had been reading a few to find some Halloween ones.
The sweetest joy was also that June and Ann had a free slot in the last session and they came to listen to my stories.
On 6th February, I was invited to Hillingdon to tell stories from my books – it was the celebration of National Libraries Day and what better way to spend the day. My dad was visiting and I took him with me too. I was going to tell stories from my books – and we got an instant audience when the carpet was unfurled and a real drumbeat started.
We had kids from three years old to twelve and everyone joining in. I had my drums and cow bells and the kids started to play some of them and we had a noisy session. Even the shy ones who pretended who were not listening were actually listening. And then they came to me when I finished to ask me if I would come again. Aawww! What better compliment could I get.
A big thank you to Helene Roome and CWISL of course for making this happen. We were in this library as part of CWISL’s Shoutwest festival a year ago. Then Helene kept in touch and asked me to visit once before too. There are many kids from Asian families in the neighbourhood and she was keen to bring me to tell stories from India to them.
All in all, a special February so far with my finger in the story-pie. Check out my events on the website to find out where I would be visiting next.