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Prep School: Bath Kids Lit Fest and Book Week Blog

Tuesday, 07 October 2014

Bath Kids Lit Fest and Book Week (updated 7.10.14)

Day 1 - Opening Night of Kids Lit Fest and our Art Exhibition at Bath Guildhall

As pupils left school to enjoy leave weekend we set off into Bath as Monkton Prep was chosen as one of the exhibitors of artwork during the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature. The school has several pieces of our pupils’ work on display outside the Chairman of the Council’s office at the Bath Guildhall. On Friday the exhibition was opened by the Chair of the Council, Martin Veal and we joined him with a couple of pupils whose artwork was on display. It was fantastic to see all the creativity and work done at our school on display in a public area and it was especially exciting for the pupils. The art for the exhibit is themed on a favourite book with each child designing their own book cover.  It will be on display throughout the Children’s Literature Festival so please do pop along and see their incredible work. 

Day 2 – Meeting Liz Pichon at Bath Kids Lit Fest

Liz Pichon and Prep School pupils

On the first full day of the festival which we are a Major Sponsor of, our pupils had the opportunity to meet Liz Pichon with her book Tom Gates: A Tiny Bit Lucky. Before the show a group of us sat down with Liz Pichon and asked her a few questions. Our pupils were great interviewers and found out all about how Liz Pichon started her career in illustration before starting to write her own books.  She told us about how she was inspired by her own experiences as a child from her time at school and things she did at home such as making ‘doodle toast’. She also shared with us her original notebooks containing her doodles and ideas, and we saw how these are now transformed into the books that are published today. She gave some great advice saying “Whatever happens don’t give up – you will get better if you keep trying”. 

Liz Pichon and Prep School pupils

After the interview we all thoroughly enjoyed her show and started our own doodling; many of our pupils are carrying on this doodling now….some even went out that day and bought the very same notebook that Liz Pichon showed us for their own ideas and doodles. It’s fair to say we were all inspired – children and adults alike.

Liz Pichon doodle

Through the week we are asking all of the authors we meet to tell us their favourite childhood book. Liz Pichon chose The Twits by Roald Dahl.

Liz Pichon signing her favourite book

Liz Pichon and Prep School pupils

Day 3 – Meeting Laurence Anholt at Bath Kids Lit Fest

Laurence Arnolt

On the Sunday we had the chance to join the wonderful Laurence Anholt at his Big Drawing Workshop. Held at the Holburne Museum, this was an amazing opportunity for children to be taught how to draw a portrait with charcoal by Laurence Anholt himself. He started the workshop by showing us all how to start and draw a portrait and gave us tips on how to use the charcoal with rubbing and highlighting. He also had some great advice for the children, telling them to “be confident” and to tell any bossy, negative voice in our head to go away and instead listen to the Very Best Friend voice in our head being positive, helping us be confident in our work.

Laurence Arnolt

The children then had their chance to get stuck in and with the assistance of some Bath Festival's stewards sitting as models everyone had a go at doing a portrait. Laurence Anholt was on hand along with his wife Catherine to give advice and help the children throughout the workshop. The results were amazing, the children produced some stunning portraits to take home.

After the workshop we were lucky enough to have a chat with the lovely Laurence Anholt and have our photo taken with him. We really enjoyed talking to him and one of our pupils impressed him with his knowledge of capital cities around the world. We had a wonderful time and look forward to putting our new drawing skills into practice at school.

Laurence Arnolt

We asked Laurence Anholt about his favourite childhood book, and he chose one he read to his children when they were young…..The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg.

Day 4 – Book week starts and Marie-Louise Jenson visits……as well as the Book Week bake off

Roald Dahl inspired cake

It was back to school after the leave weekend and we were all in for some treats as children brought in their Roald Dahl inspired cakes for the Book Week bake off. Our bake off raised over £160, this will be donated to the chosen charity of the cake bake winner - Send A Cow.

Roald Dahl inspired cake

Roald Dahl inspired cake

Roald Dahl inspired cake

The Year 8s also had a day of writing workshops with author Marie- Louise Jenson. Working in small groups she talked to them about creative writing and answered questions about her experience of writing books for children. They all had a go at writing themselves and we listened to each other’s work being read out. It was a wonderful opportunity for the pupils to learn directly from Marie Louise and to further develop their creative writing.

We asked Marie-Louise Jenson about her favourite childhood book, and she chose Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.

Marie Lousie Jensen

Day 5 – David Almond visits and talks to pupils in Years 6 to 8 – plus our Book in a Box

David Almond with Prep School pupils

The children (and staff) could barely contain their excitement when David Almond visited the school. Pupils from years 6, 7 and 8 enjoyed an engaging talk about David’s journey to becoming a writer, starting with an imagination experiment and talking about his early love for print. He told everyone to “be brave enough to feel stupid” and that “nobody is perfect”, that all of his perfect looking printed books started out as a mess of ideas that he jotted down. He even showed us what his original notes looked like, and how his ideas looked before he started writing one of his books.

David Almond at the Prep School

David Almond at the Prep School

After finishing his talk and signing some books the winners of our Book in a Box competition joined David Almond in the library where they asked him questions in a small group before having their photo taken with him. David Almond also had a look round at our amazing Book in a Box creations, some of which are pictured here.  You can see some more by clicking on the Book Week at the Prep Gallery which we are updating throughout the week.  This gallery also has all our pictures from the Kid's Lit Fest.

Book in a Box

Book in a Box

book in a box

It was a wonderful, memorable day that helped to inspire us all as we realised that everything in the world starts off in someone’s imagination.

We asked David Almond about his favourite childhood book, and he chose Where the Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak.

David Almond and favourite book

Day 7 – Character Day and Jennifer Gray visits

The school was full of colour and excitement as pupils (and teachers) arrived this morning, dressed in some pretty amazing outfits for character day.

Through the morning some of our pupils have been telling us why they love books – as you can see in these pictures.

I love books because

I love books because

I love books because

In the afternoon it was the turn for our Years 2, 3, 4 and 5 to meet and hear from our next visiting author, Jennifer Gray.  The children really enjoyed hearing about Jennifer’s inspiration for the cat Atticus Claw in her books – her own cat called Henry. The pupils also helped to put together a list of things that authors need to think about when writing a book such as character, appearance, personality, the reasons they are the way they are and what they do. We also tried to think of some more book titles as we noticed that all of Jennifer Gray’s Atticus Claw books have titles that rhyme.

Jennifer Gray at the Prep School

Atticus Claw

The highlight of the talk was the chicken quiz where Jennifer helped us to learn all about chickens, with the most exciting revelation being that they are descended from a T-Rex. Jennifer’s piece of advice at the end of her talk was to think about your characters when writing. She also told us some great advice she received from Anthony Horovitz. He told her that the only difference between an author that is published and an unpublished author is that the published author perserveres.

We asked Jennifer Gray about her favourite childhood book, and she chose Paddington by Michael Bond.

Jennifer Gray with favourite book Paddington Bear

There are lots more pictures to see from Character Day in our gallery

Day 8 - Drop Everything and Read and Library Fun

On the last day of Book Week in school everyone took part in Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) in the morning. This is when the whole school stops whatever they are doing and takes 10 minutes to read a book.

Throughout this whole week children have been enjoying lots of activities in the library from reading Goth Girl by Chris Riddell to doing the Monktathon Challenge in Library Lessons. This challenge involves a range of fun book tasks. One of the tasks was to find out about cookery books and follow instructions, two of our pupils took the task home and brought in the evidence of their work....some biscuits they had baked.

Book week day 8

Book week day 8

Day 9 - Debi Gliori and Anthony Browne at Bath Kids Lit Fest

Deb Gliori

On our final day of Book Week and taking part in the Bath Kid's Lit Fest we had a wonderful day where our families were lucky enough to go along to two more of our sponsored shows. The first show was for our little ones with Debi Gliori. Debi introduced us all to her new book called Dragon Loves Penguin. She talked all about how she came up with the idea for her book and how her drawings were sketched out with charcoal, then as they looked so good she decided to make a change from the norm and used charcoal for her book illustrations. We all then really enjoyed Debi Gliori reading her book to us before we asked her our questions and had her photo taken with her. 

Deb Gliori and children

We asked Debi Gliori about her favourite childhood book, and she chose The Five Children and It by E. Nesbit.

Deb Gliori favourite book

Anthony Brown on stage

In the afternoon we were extremely lucky to meet Anthony Browne before his show. Our panel of Pre-Prep pupils asked some fantastic questions as we found out all about what inspired him and how he started out illustrating cards and other peoples books before he started writing his own. During the show we all learnt about the shape game and took part in creating some pretty amazing pictures out of funny shapes. Then he read his first book Willy the Wimp to us, it was amazing to hear him read to us this wonderful children's classic.

Anthony Browne and Monkton pupils

We asked Anthony Browne about his favourite childhood book, and he choose Fudge in Toffetown by Ken Reid.

Anthony Browne favourite book

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