"You can hold off a child’s boredom and unease for half and hour with a new toy, or half a day with an outing but a new story will keep them going for weeks on end. Nothing kept the children happier or more satisfied than the exotic games and fantasies they developed out of the tales we found them."
Libby Purves from One summers Grace
I know it is late for world book day but the weather seems to have delayed everything else so lets blame that.
Instead of dressing up as characters and talking about books on Thursday most of the children in Britain ended up having a snow day. Its something we don’t get very often especially this far South and West. The Libby Purves quote above comes from her book about their families circumnavigation of Britain by boat. Giving children the gift of stories through travel is great but we have to remember that adventures can be found everywhere in the small things of life. Building snowmen, throwing snow balls and generally being out in the white stuff will hopefully give them tales they can share for years to come.
Book day focuses a lot on favourite authors, sadly one of my favourite authors died this week. Penny Vincenzi wrote books that suck you in. With strong female leads, many characters and complex plots these are proper 'blockbusters'. I'm actually reading one of hers at the moment An absolute scandal and it is just as good as all her others I have read.
There seems to be a lot of very good charity anthologies around at the moment. The second edition of Stories for homes was launched at the end of last year including some incredible authors. Like the first book this one is raising funds for Shelter. Christopher Fielden has also released more of this charity anthologies recently. I enjoyed being part of the second Adverbially challenged. These have raised money for various charities and contain some great tales.
Maybe the accessibility of anthologies and the ease of dipping in and out of stories is what is driving their popularity at the moment. Or am I just more aware of them? Maybe the time is right for a festival of charity anthologies - unless such a thing already exists. Is there room for a sailing anthology - stories from the sea? from women sailors? families? boat children? Just thinking out loud, unless anyone else has a suggestion to make something like this happen.
Finally, Memories of Haslar is an anthology which contains stories from over a hundred people who lived, worked or were nursed at a Naval hospital in Gosport, Hampshire. The hospital was opened in 1754 and served soldiers from the Crimean war, Napoleonic wars, the injured from both sides after D-Day and carried on serving service personnel and civilians until it's doors closed in 2009.
The memories range from VAD’s, through the artisans, choir boys, nurses, sick berth attendants and patients. My memories of eight years there are sat with those of children who grew up within the walls of the hospital and people who spent significant parts of their lives there. The way the book has been put together is very clever, ending on such positive note for the future of this most special of buildings.
As a bonus I'm told that book day will now happen in the youngest deckhands primary school this Thursday instead. I look forward to seeing all the outfits and hearing what books children - and adults - have fallen in love with.