While it was going on there was hardly time to think! I felt a bit like the woman pictured here on a no-hands-free, bad-hair-day! Book Week Scotland was Scottish Book Trust's first time organising a whole week celebrating and promoting reading in all its forms right across Scotland.
Here in Orkney the library was well ahead of the game. Before this Reader in Residence was even a twinkle in Scottish Book Trust's eye, the staff at Orkney Library and Archive had organised a whole programme of activities. There were events for all ages, from babies and schoolchildren to adults. The library was buzzing.
Book Bug is Scottish Book Trust's project to encourage reading in children by catching them young. Very young! At Book Bug sessions run in different parts of Orkney by Louise and Patsy, Amber and Jane, you will find babies as young as a few weeks old as well as toddlers and pre-schoolers. They bring their parents along too, mums mostly but some dads. And sometimes grandparents. Through songs and rhymes and actions children learn that reading and books are fun.
In the special Book Week Scotland Book Bug, the room was crowded and it's clear that the sessions are very popular. When you come to think of it, there aren't that many public spaces that welcome large groups of parents with babies and young children, and even fewer that encourage the whole group to sing and recite rhymes and look at books together. But libraries do! The places traditionally associated with stern librarians shutting people up - how cool is that!
The children love it. Take Cole Mitchell, here on the left with his mum. I wrote about him in the blog a couple of weeks back. The first time I met him was with his granny. He was racing about the library, thoroughly at home. Cole dressed up for the special Book Bug session in a tartan shirt and dungarees with a picture of a tractor pinned to the front. A farmer, then! His granny and his mum told me he loved tractors and that he was always on the move. But when things go suspiciously quiet, they know they will find Cole with his nose in a book.
Monsters and Primary Ones
Every P1 class in the Kirkwall area came into the library for a story session around the shortlisted books for the Scottish Children's Book Award. The three books on the list for the younger age category were given by Scottish Book Trust to every P1 child in Scotland. So the Orkney children came to the library sessions having read them already and were ready to join in when Louise and Patsy told the stories.
One small boy called Jack was so taken with the fact that the boy in one of the stories was also Jack, that he could barely contain his excitement!
Solomon Crocodile was followed by a song involving crocodiles, monkeys and crazy elephants, along with appropriate actions.
And when asked their favourite of the three books, opinion was divided, but The Day Louis Was Eaten, with its monsters within monsters within monsters tickled the fancy of most of the children who produced drawings of monsters of their own which are still gracing the library wall a week on.
Vikings in Orkney
Orkney has a long and colourful association with the Vikings, so it was fitting that Victoria Campbell should visit and talk about her book to older school children and some adults. There were tales of daring and adventure and tantalising glimpses of a voyage for hidden gold. The story, accompanied by demonstrations of Viking swords and shields, had the P7 children on the edge of their seats.
Next blog will review the events for the big kids - the adults!