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Children’s Laureate Julie Donaldson to visit Mansfield library

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Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson will be making a special invitation-only visit to Mansfield Central Library on Thursday as part of her national tour of libraries.

Mansfield has been picked from 100s of applications to be one of only 24 libraries on the English and Welsh leg of the Children’s Laureate Libraries Tour this autumn. Visit: www.childrenslaureate.org.uk

As part of her Children’s Laureateship, Julia Donaldson – bestselling author of over 150 books including The Gruffalo, What the Ladybird Heard and Zog – is embarking on a tour of libraries that will take in England, Wales and Scotland, from John O’Groats to Lands’ End, over six weeks, commencing on 10th September in Thurso in the Hebrides and finishing on 18th October in Carlisle. The tour will celebrate libraries as a precious community resource.

Schoolchildren from High Oakham Primary School, based in Nottingham Road, Mansfield, will be attending the invite-only event, which will see Julia bringing some of her hugely popular stories to life through special dramatisations. Around 60 children, aged seven and eight, will be performing Vegetable Attack in the Dining Room, which is a poem created by two members of staff and involving Julia Donaldson book characters.

Julia Donaldson comments: “Libraries are very close to my heart, and so is performance. This tour is my way of bringing the two together, by visiting fantastic libraries all over the country, enjoying children acting and singing, and sharing my own stories with them. I want it to be a huge celebration of libraries and of the benefits they offer to communities and especially to children.”

Julia will be joined on the tour by her musical husband Malcolm – who recently retired from his career as a paediatrician – on stage at the events and on the road in the Laureate Libraries Tour van. The husband and wife duo, who spent their student summers busking in France, will be celebrating their Ruby wedding anniversary whilst on the tour.

Coun John Cottee, Culture Committee Chairman for Nottinghamshire County Council said: “We are delighted to welcome Julia Donaldson and her husband Malcolm to Mansfield Central Library as part of her Children’s Laureate Libraries Tour.

“Mansfield has recently enjoyed a major investment of £3.4m and is one of a number of libraries in Nottinghamshire which has received investment of this calibre. The county council has a 10-year, multi-million pound commitment to libraries which we see as vital to local communities. This visit helps further raise the profile of Mansfield Central Library and our library service in the county, and it is a wonderful treat for two classes from High Oakham Primary School.”

The school has enjoyed close links with the library. Year Two teacher Michelle Reid is particularly passionate about children’s books, and the school took part in preview visits when the development of the new-look library was in progress last year. Year Three teacher Pauline Smith said: “The children are excited to meet someone who has written some of the top books for children. Children love reading Julia Donaldson’s books and they are thoroughly looking forward to this special occasion.”

Julia embarked on her two year tenure as the seventh Children’s Laureate in June 2011. At the ceremony in which she was awarded the Waterstones Children’s Laureate medal for 2011-2013, Julia announced that her main focuses would be ‘drama, music, stories for deaf children, libraries…. linked to the biggest thing of all – the pleasure and richness to be gained from reading.’

To coincide with the launch of her libraries tour, Julia launched a new website for teachers www.picturebookplays.co.uk on 10 September to help them to use drama and performance to bring picture books to life in the classroom.

The role of Children’s Laureate is awarded once every two years to an eminent writer or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field. Former Children’s Laureates include Quentin Blake, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Rosen.

Julia Donaldson is the author of over 150 books and plays for children and teenagers, including The Gruffalo (the animation of which was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA), Room on the Broom, Stick Man, Cave Baby, Freddie and the Fairy and What the Ladybird Heard – some of the UK’s best-selling picture books – and the award-winning teenage novel Running on the Cracks. In 2010, Donaldson was the most borrowed children’s author from UK libraries. Her latest books Superworm (Alison Green Books) and The Paper Dolls (Macmillan Children’s Books) will be published in autumn 2012.

 

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