The former Children’s Laureate hosted a special workshop at the world-famous British Library to mark the start of the programme, which aims to inspire one million young people to read books and create their own stories this summer.
Morpurgo was joined at the workshop by 120 schoolchildren from schools in Camden and Islington. The young people heard how the author created some of his best-loved tales – including War Horse and Out Of A Rainbow, the original story of the London 2012 mascots Wenlock and Mandeville.
The workshop also highlighted other much-loved Great British authors, illustrators, characters and places including Children’s Laureates Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo), Michael Rosen (You Can’t Catch Me) and Anthony Browne (creator of Willy the Chimp), and Richard Adams (Watership Down).
Summer Reading Challenge 2012
During the event, Miranda McKearney, Director of The Reading Agency national charity, introduced Story Lab: The Summer Reading Challenge 2012 – the UK’s biggest books event for primary aged children that aims to get them visiting libraries and reading during the school holidays.
From 14 July until early September, young people aged between 4 and 11 years across the UK are encouraged to join in the ‘Story Lab’ adventure for free at their local libraries and in arts venues and museums. As part of the London 2012 Festival, the Summer Reading Challenge 2012 has a special theme linked to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with all participants who read six or more books from their local library receiving a medal and certificate.
During his talk to the children, Morpurgo jokingly said: ‘Go to your libraries and read at least six books this summer. All six books have to be mine! If you do read books by other writers you will still get a medal, as long as you read six of them. But I will be really upset!’
Jack, aged 10, said: ‘I am very excited. I like War Horse a lot. It is very emotional and made me cry. I’ll read loads this summer.’
The London 2012 Festival is the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration running from 21 June until 9 September 2012, bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.
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