Every year my birthday seems to sneak up on me and take me by surprise so this year I was ready in advance and with my husband off on a Duke of Edinburgh camping trip and my parents helping out my youngest sister with her two day old little girl I thought I would take advantage of the great weather and two lovely invitations and head into London for a day out.
Not only was I lucky enough to meet Lauren Child at the launch of an exhibition celebrating her latest project My Life Is A Story, but I was also able to indulge in some great past times such as hopscotch, skipping and a tug of war up in Coram Fields - a wonderful fun-filled park that was packed to the brim in the April sun with people having an afternoon out.
The excuse for such the afternoon outing was the launch of the Adventure Walks books and a traditional British afternoon tea complete with cucumber sandwiches and jelly and cream! As if this wasn't enough I managed to fit in a spot of shopping and of course the obligatory sorbet from Selfridges! Enough of this birthday indulgence however and back to the books....
The Adventure Walks books are fun, family pocket sized books that encourage the whole family to get outdoor and explore, London and the surrounding area. themed walks take in history as well as geography and even a spot of nature. There is great fun to be had for all ages and lots to be learned. Becky and Clare told me how much fun it had been to go out and do the walks themselves and how fit they had become as a result. It was certainly proving to be a big hit, they were busy signing the copies being bough by eager parents and children were delightedly joining in the old fashioned games as featured in the books.
The contrast with Lauren Child's morning event could not have been more marked yet both were showing how books and their stories are shared experiences. Lauren may have been launching her My Life Is A Story exhibition and the stories of children from Mexico and other parts of the world that she has been involved with through her work as a UNESCO ambassador but she was also sharing with the children who were shy and yet eager to speak to her, the joy and pleasure as well as importance of stories - particularly That Pesky Rat recovered and with all proceeds going to UNESCO. Children loved being made to feel a part of the whole process, finding out about others around the world and working out how they too could be involved.
I had a truly lovely and inspiring day out and now I will be encouraging the children at school to share their own stories and find out more about other children around the world.