Last month I attended an event at Under the Greenwood Tree bookshop - a gorgeous bookshop near Clapham Common. The event was to meet up with children's authors, illustrators, teachers and librarians and learn more about a fabulous online magazine called ShoutAbout.
It's a fabulous website where children aged 16 and under can post their creative writing work and illustrations.
The Your Shout section is where to post stories, poems, short prose or even just a sentence and drawings. The Roundabout has loads of things from author notes and ideas, thoughts and advice from artists, as well as interviews, games, puzzles book choices galore!
This is such a wonderful idea. The site really encourages kids to get creative and also prompts parents, teachers and librarians to point younger ones in the creative direction.
During the evening I had the honour of meeting some brilliant writers and illustrators. Margaret Bateson-Hill, author of both fiction and picture books has written fantastic books on dragons. Karen Owen who's debut picture book, I could Be, You Could Be encourages children to imagine themselves becoming anything (an astronaut, a clown, or even a cheeky chimpanzee!). I also met Nicholas Allan - perhaps the most well-dressed illustrator I've ever come across (he was sporting a Rupert Bear patterned scarf which I was most envious of). I discovered he'd written and illustrated several of my favourite children's picture books including The Queen's Knickers, Where Willy Went, and Jesus' Christmas Party. I can't wait to get a copy of his latest book, The Giant's Loo-Roll. I missed out on winning an illustration he made especially for the evening but I did manage to get his card which had a stamp of his wonderful illustration of the Queen an that was just as brilliant.