Inspiring Older Readers

posted on 15 Jun 2018

Competition rages in sleepy Budbrooke: The notorious picture book quiz

This is the third time that I have been asked to do a session about children’s books for The Entrust Care Partnership as part of their ‘ Who Cares - We Care’ programme of free informal weekly workshops that are designed to provide support for parents and carers in Warwickshire whose lives are affected by disability in one way or another. This admirable project has a strong commitment to ‘provide short break activities, care, support, training, advice and brokerage tailoring services which are bespoke to the individual’. This philosophy is in tune with the not-for-profit aims of The Letterpress Project so we are always more than happy to do our bit to make it enjoyable and useful. Finding the right place for these workshops contributes their success and this time the venue was very picturesque, in St Michael’s Centre which is in the sleepy little village of Budbrooke near Warwick and overlooks acres of sheep-filled fields.

The point of the workshops is to provide a couple of hours for busy people to relax and enjoy one another’s company in a comfortable and supportive environment. Most members of the group already knew one another and they seemed a very friendly bunch of people, several of whom looked at my books as I was setting out my display. It is always difficult to know which books to bring along to these events but I tried to make a varied selection that I could talk about with confidence and enthusiasm. I also like to use this as a way to introduce more unfamiliar books, particularly ones that have a disability related theme because these are not always available in mainstream shops. A tried and tested way into doing this is my now notorious picture book quiz because a bit of lively competition seems to fire up any group I work with – whatever their ages! The three teams pored over the picture clues remembering to whisper as I had warned of the dire dangers of cheating.

I pride myself on being very generous and flexible with awarding bonus points for interesting information about authors, illustrators and books, but was very reluctant to award anything for someone who said she had met Aled Jones, the singer of the theme to ‘The Snowman’. Against my better judgement, I relented and gave her an extra half point but this was not popular with the other teams. The tension mounted as the scores were added up and the worthy winners were rewarded with a box of chocolate hearts.

I finished the session by reading ‘The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon’ by Mini Grey because experience has taught me that this is always a success. After all, who wouldn’t be moved by the wittily illustrated love story with the powerful message that there is always something to look forward to, no matter what hardships life has thrown up through the years.

I really look forward to doing a similar event with a different group of parents and carers to support the work of the Entrust Partnership in the future.

Karen Argent

June 2018