Saturday 21 September 2013

Night Walks

The extraordinary Maggie's Culture Crawl took place last night. Hundreds of walkers assembled in the early autumn evening sunshine in Victoria Embankment Gardens. The walk kicked off with music, a rousing warm up, and the fabulous Dame Harriet Walter and husband Guy Paul reading selections from Dickens' Night Walks to see them off into the night.  Later, actors Jamie Glover, Harry Livingstone, Sarah Whitehouse, and GAB's own the wonderful Helen Mumby read poems from Josephine Hart's anthology Catching Life by the Throat in the exotic surroundings of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Walkers came, stopped to listen, were gripped and then walked on to taste Fortnum & Mason's tea before walking away into the night.
At the end of the 15 mile walk every walker was given a copy of Night Walks as a memento by Give a Book, who gratefully acknowledge the generous help of Penguin in doing this. It was all in aid of the excellent Maggie's Centres whose new centre opens in Aberdeen on Monday. And GAB was pleased to be part of it. Onwards. And please go on to Give a Book so that we can keep this going.

Thursday 19 September 2013

First Story Festival

First Story held their annual Festival today: around 700 kids from all over the country turned up in Oxford to spend the day talking to writers and writing. Their enthusiasm was infectious. At the end a handful of them, beautifully orchestrated by poet Kate Fox, stood up before the crowd and read from the work they'd done during the day: the talent was prodigious. They were warmly supported by amongst others, the Childrens' Laureate Malorie Blackman, Deborah Moggach, Oxford City poet Kate ClanchyMark Haddon, Stephen May and Salena Godden to name but some of the wonderful writers who join in to help First Story.
One of their alumni, award-winning poet Azfa Awad, wrote this for Give a Book:
"I really enjoyed the 'Staying Alive Trilogy' and was inspired by many of the poems. The fact that someone was generous enough to donate the anthologies is incredible and the fun and inspiration we had from the anthology was priceless."
So now please go back to Give a Book to help us keep this going.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Reading for Pleasure

The BBC news recently reported on a study by The Institute of Education drawing on research by the always admirable National Literacy Trust. It's about the importance of children reading for pleasure --even maths scores improve, for example, as well as vocabulary and overall educational level. They urge parents to read with their children. Even 10 minutes a day makes a real difference. And they included the following tips for parents:
Even 10 minutes a day reading with your child is a major help
Choose a wide variety of books to introduce different types of language and style
Take turns to read aloud to each other. They can learn from your expressive reading and you can check they are not struggling
Ask questions about the book - maybe about what might happen next or a character's motivation
Make sure they understand any new or unusual words or phrases
Enjoy it - "try and lose yourselves in a good story!"
Now you can go back to Give a Book.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Books for Family Days in Prisons

We've had more lovely feedback passed on to us by Prison Reading Groups--thank you for that. It's so nice that we reproduce it here:

The [books] were delivered the day before our family day, just in time. In the end as we had 2 adult ed tutors who had delivered the Hungry Caterpillar we set aside a quiet area and put the books on low tables surrounded by soft chairs and allowed the children in their own time to "find" this area. When a child showed an interest then either a parent or tutor went over to assist with reading if necessary.
When the child had looked at several books they were allowed to choose a book to take home and at that point they were given the book bag, notepad and if appropriate, pencil and pen.
When [the facilitator] spoke to the families the feedback was ... fulsome and they expressed absolute delight and amazement that any one would give their child a book bag with a choice of book too.
The facilitator added that [she] was delighted to have been given the opportunity to see the children choose books and sit and read them when there were so many other activities available. As some-one who has been involved in education from community-university it strengthens my belief that books are still the most important avenue through which young children can acquire information, develop interests, learn the art of reading for pleasure a pursuit which can be done with others or on your own.
Many thanks for the books.
And many thanks to all who generously support Give a Book for making this possible.