Imagine Children’s Festival 2014

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The force of the Imagine Children’s Festival has landed at the Southbank Centre this February! Our CEO Vicki and two of our incredibly talented Illustrators Lee Wildish and Yasmeen Ismail attended the opening event on 10th February. There was so much creativity and imagination under one roof – it like a wedding reception for children’s publishers! The entire event plays host to the top names in children’s literature, dance, theatre and art, it is being transformed by children for children. Enjoy free and fun activities throughout the festival or just lap up the atmosphere as children wildly run the show! Colour in the pillars inside the centre, dress up or even listen to Roald Dahl’s Grandpa Joe tell a tale or two from the storytelling bed. Call of the Wild Day, Topsy Turvy Day, Dressing Up Days and The Great Enormo Theme Park Day are just a handful of the wonderful activities to take part in during the festival. Anything can happen when you just let yourself imagine…

Children’s author Michael Rosen spoke about the interpretation of space. He discussed that reading should be fun for children and they should have a safe space devoted to it. Schools need to set aside time and space for a reading groups and book clubs in order for students to feel they are reading in a trusting environment and are exploring the fun side of the literary world – instead of rejecting it as a source of stiff education. Children’s books are not meant to be read in haste and churned out one after the other. ‘Where wild things are’ is a perfect example of a book that needs time and space for retrieval and inference of the text and pictures. Interpretation needs space and therefore children also require this space to get the most from the books we give them.

Horrid Henry creator Francesca Simon spoke about the need to help our children see joy in their books. Rather than parents pushing their kids to improve their reading skills and continuously urge them to climb to the next reading level (or receive punishment), children should be allowed to live to read rather than read to live. Reading is a right all children have, and something all children need to learn to do.

By hosting events and festivals like the Imagine Children’s Festival, we can encourage more kids to engage and interact with each other by talking about what they’re reading.  When you hear that 1/3 of children grow up without books in London, the importance of festivals, youth clubs, school programmes & library events promoting the joys of reading really does hit home. Children should love to learn to read.

The Role of a Bright Agent doesn’t stop when the deal is done and the contract signed. Our agents make sure Illustrators and Authors under their guidance are nurtured and in turn reassured that their work is at the heart of Bright’s priorities. We, as a company, are lucky to have such imaginative and forward thinking publishers to work with our skilled Illustrators and Authors – so attending events like the Imagine Children’s Festival helps all creatives involved to see the good their work is doing for the next generation.

The Imagine Children’s Festival finishes this Sunday 23rd February at Southbank Centre, London.