At this rate I’ll start my own festival soon. How does The Bookwitch Festival strike you?
Just joking. I think. You never know with me. Didsbury has its own festival, and it began on Saturday morning. For the witch family it was the Adèle Geras event that got us out of bed. It’s good that the festival organisers recognise the people living in or near Didsbury, and who better to do a book event for children than our Adèle?
It was a children’s writing workshop at RazmaReads, the newish children’s bookshop at one end of ‘downtown’ Didsbury. We were partly tempted by the idea of having some nice elevenses, while hanging out with interesting people. Ended up sharing our little table with a charming toddler who arrived in the most fantastic pushchair I’ve ever seen, and who proceeded not to eat her lovely pink fairy cake. But it looked good, and if truth be told; Daughter had one too.
Adèle actually began by buying some books. Then, as child after child arrived she learnt their names and told them a little about herself, and read short passages from Lizzie’s Wish and Candle in the Dark telling her audience about Lizzie’s walnut tree and Clara’s little Dutch doll. The task she wanted the children to do was to consider what they’d pick if they suddenly had to leave their homes and only could take a few things. And why. (No laptops allowed.)
As the children got going with their thinking and writing, Adèle went round to talk to them individually, giving help and advice in a suitably grown up way. Meanwhile witch and Daughter squeezed up in the minute sofa in the shop window, next to the display of Adèle’s books and half a dozen typewriters.
Lots of people in the shop, with parents sitting on the floor while their children learnt to write novels. Younger non-participants browsed confidently among the books, and I’d say some of them were old hands at this book-shopping, young though they were. There is a rather wonderful pirates’ ship in the middle of the floor, flying the Jolly Roger, and RazmaReads makes a good meeting place. I’d go all the time if I lived closer, and had a suitably aged child. Maybe I could borrow one?