Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Simon Bartram at the Science Museum

This event at the Science Museum in London really made Simon Bartram's day - as he got to wear a REAL spacesuit! It was taken out of one of the Museum's display cabinets for Simon to put on after he had done his work (draw an alien, sign books and chat to very excited parents and children who were very pleased to meet him). The NASA suit from the Apollo XVII mission was worn by an astronaut by the name of Cernan - and it was this suit, along with proper Moon Boots that Simon got to wear. Luckily it fitted. After a few star jumps Simon calmed down long enough for us to take some photo's. What a brilliant event - and a real treat for Simon and all of us there. This is definitely one for the scrap book.

Thanks to Rachel and the team from the Science Museum bookshop who made this happen.

P.S. We also went up to the Launch Pad to see the winning drawing from the alien competition held by the Science Museum as Simon was one of the judges. It looks brilliant full size - congratulations to Aishling for a winning design.

Word Up! Festival

Three days at Word Up! the new South London children's book festival held in Dulwich saw Templar's Adam Stower, Emma Dodd and Kelly Gerrard and Simon Bartram play to sold out events. First up with Adam and despite a young fan knowing that the doggy was in fact a bear, and kept on shouting this out - Adam, as ever, was delightful with the children who just love guessing his drawings. The parents are pretty keen on him too!

That was on Saturday, then on Sunday - it was a Roman Rescue graphic novel session with Emma Dodd and Kelly Gerrard - and this being an area of very motivated children they really got stuck in with their graphic novel spreads - based on the Red Riding Hood scene - with Emma scaring herself with her own picture of the wolf. It was one of the children's suggestions that Red Riding Hood arm herself with a gun, but we are pleased to say that no wolves were harmed in this event.

Monday morning, bright and early had Simon Bartram in the main theatre at Alleyns School, which was the venue for the Word Up! festival. Very smart school - even have a Costa Coffee on site. Again, a packed house literally brought the house down with their excitement and shouting. A best alien fancy dress competition was judged - and following the X Factor lead we had best boy, best girl and best group winners.

Simon's writing and drawing workshop was well attended and some brilliant ideas were discussed, drawings done and a superb alien drawn by the children at the end of the session.

Thanks so much to Word Up! for inviting us - its was very well run and everyone enjoyed themselves.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Baking in Bath!

Whew what a scorcher! Another great weekend for Templar authors and illustrators at the Bath Childrens Literature Fest where Jonny Duddle, Sam Lloyd, Jamila Gavin and Dug Steer all enjoyed the welcome given to them by their audiences and Festival support staff.

A gathering of young pirates on Saturday morning could only mean one thing - Jonny Duddle was about dressed in his outfit and looking remarkably cool despite the heat. Over 100 children and their mums and dads filled the Guildhall with their oooaargh's and cheers and listened amazed as Jonny told of his life as a real pirate. Lots of questions followed and an excited band of pirate costumed children lined up to get their books signed and have another look at the maggoty ship's biscuit that Jonny found in his pocket.

Across the city, in the Mission Theatre at lunch time - Sam Lloyd - helped by Middleton Mann - did two lovely events. Sitting down amongst the children on cushions, Sam read her books - the children made masks to frighten off Wendy and they all sang songs, accompanied by Middleton on guitar. Despite the heat the children had a great time and all clearly adore their Monster Mates books - and were keen to get the new Ernie and Norman ones too.

Back in the Guildhall, calm and tranquility followed with Jamila Gavin's atmospheric readings from Tales from India . Again the audience were thrilled to meet her and talk to her about their childhood stories too.

On Sunday morning the pirates in the Guildhall had been replaced by dragonologists - as three Dragon Masters entered The Den. Dug Steer, aka Dr Ernest Drake chaired a panel discussion with Jasper Fforde (The Last Dragon Slayer) and Chris d'Lacey (the Last Dragon Chronicles) in which sightings and encounters with dragons were earnestly discussed.

Enthusiastic dragonologists in the audience tried to find out where to see dragons (Wales according to Jasper is stuffed with them - or St Leonard's Forest in Sussex where Dr Drake thought he caught sight of one).

And this is a little video put together by The Telegraph to get some of the atmosphere at the Festival.