How One Early Years Centre Helped Bring Books to Life

Shark in the park
Category: Bookbug

The Live Literature Programme works to bring authors and illustrators from across Scotland into the community. Over 1000 events are supported by Live Literature every year, taking place in schools, nurseries, community centres, and even within local book groups. 

Late last year, I was fortunate to be invited to a wonderful Live Literature event hosted by Granton Early Years Centre in Edinburgh. The 'Bring Books to Life' event, organised by Early Years Officers June Locke and Carrie Buchan, aimed to 'excite imaginations' and 'encourage parents to read and explore books with their children'. 

Dad reading with children
The space at Royston/Wardieburn Community Centre was ideal for accommodating large numbers of families and hosting a range of reading and creative activities on the day. A cosy book corner with cushions and bean bags helped to create a relaxed atmosphere, and parents were also encouraged to get involved in craft activities with their children, including drawing, painting, and collage.

The main focus of the event was a visit from children's author and illustrator, Nick Sharratt. Nick read from his book, Shark in the Park, and the children all had an opportunity to make their own telescopes, like the one used by Timothy Pope in the story. Children were able to ask Nick their burning questions, and some even got to help him draw a very special sandwich for them to keep for their nursery wall! 

Feedback from parents, teachers, and (most importantly) the children on the day was extremely positive. A few favourite quotes include: 

“Much more than I expected. First time I’ve seen her sit still in ages.” (Parent)

“Enjoyed seeing Nick captivate the children and hold their attention.” (Teacher)

“My favourite part was the stories.” (Child, aged 3 years)

“My child’s autistic and I was so relaxed because everyone was so nice. I real

Nick Sharratt at Craigroyston event
ly enjoyed it.” (Parent)

“My daughter really enjoyed it. She was jumping up and joining in the story.” (Parent)

We're very lucky in Scotland to host some of the largest book festivals in the UK. But for many reasons, not all children will have access to the authors, illustrators, and storytellers that visit. As this local event proved, however, Live Literature can support those working with children in the Early Years to bring these creative artists into communities who may not otherwise have access to them. Granton Early Years Centre believe that giving children access to books and encouraging their parent/carer to read and explore stories with them 'significantly improves their emotional wellbeing and helps them to thrive in later life' - this was very much at the heart of the fantastic event that they hosted for their families.

If your school, nursery, or early years group would like to apply for funding to bring in an author, illustrator, or storyteller, you can find out more on our Live Literature pages. Applications are currently open for Live Literature funding for events in January, February, and March 2017. The application deadline is noon on 28 September. 

You can also find out about other Live Literature events that took place across Scotland earlier this year in a special blog published for Bookbug Week.