Our First Event at Bags of Books

Well, we went to our first event at Bags of Books last Saturday. The one in which Sarah Dyer read from the latest book she’s illustrated, ‘Bear’s Best Friend‘.

The place was packed! Which was great to see, because when researching my ‘In Town‘ post on the shop, they said that their events are carefully planned but disappointingly, sometimes overlooked.

This is most definitely due to their location, not the quality of the events.

Here’s how the morning broke down:

After reading the story, Sarah showed all the kids how she draws the character of Bear (who has this natty talent for creating ‘tree pictures’ AKA topiary).

woman-drawing-a-bear
Sarah started with Bear’s ears…
a-woman-drawing-a-bear
She drew his body, then his eyes…
a-drawing-of-a-bear
Et voilà! Bear!

Then she lead them in a little try-it-for-yourself. She also drew all Bear’s friends, and then the ‘Best Friend’ he acquires by the end. She (the friend, not Sarah) has an interesting hair situation going on.

children-drawing-bears
Children trying their hand at creating Bear

Sarah then read from our personal favourite, ‘The Girl With the Bird’s-Nest Hair‘*, which she also wrote.

cover-of-girl-with-the-birds-nest-hair-japanese
‘The Girl with the Bird’s-Nest Hair’ – I’ve included the picture of the Japanese co-edition because it looks the same as the English, and anything with Japanese script just looks cool
Image courtesy of sarahdyer.com

My favourite illustration detail in that one is a bird flying through a supermarket with a pork chop in his beak. Pleasingly, Sarah  pointed this very element out to the kids! He’s there below, chasing after Hollie.

a-page-from-a-childrens-book-showing-a-girl-in-a-supermarket
Hollie running through the supermarket with the birds gathering in her hair…
Image courtesy of sarahdyer.com

THEN she showed us some of her sketchbooks; how her ideas become considered by publishers; and then the actual artwork from ‘Bird’s-Nest’.

She explained that she cuts the elements of each picture out and arranges them across the paper by hand before sticking them down. (I really regret not taking a picture of this, but at that moment I knocked over the display table of her books and was in a bit of a fluster).

Sarah doesn’t work digitally at all. I thought this was nice for the kids to hear and see. Particularly as they’ll be growing up in the (frankly terrifying) world of the likes of Google Glass, which my husband – also an illustrator – was talking me through this morning.

There’s another event at Bags of Books this weekend. It’s more suited to 9- to 13-year-olds and will be held at the Buttercup Café (which my next ‘In Town’ post will be about). Tickets are £3 per child.

Christopher William Hill will be reading from his gruesomely funny book ‘Osbert the Avenger‘ and doing some silly story creation with the children.

By the way, in case you think my regular mentions of Bags of Books is bordering on obsessive, I should just say that I’m not working in conjunction with them in any way. It’s just:

  1. They happen to have some great events happening at the moment,
  2. I happen to be passionate about the part children’s books play in their lives and
  3. Sarah Dyer happens to be both a friend and the person who wrote the first Little Lewes ‘Perfect Guests’ guest post.

Also FYI, I am going to be posting about a beautiful book by and celebrating a (now elderly) children’s author and illustrator in a couple of days. I came across the book in, yes you guessed it, Bags of Books.

So indeed, the shop will be mentioned AGAIN this week. But after that, the next posts will be on The Buttercup and a play farm.

I promise Little Lewes doesn’t have a one-track mind!

*This link is to a YouTube clip of Sarah talking about her inspiration for the book!

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I’m Kate, a copywriter, brand consultant and editor who creates messages that are clear and clean. I create these for brands and agencies both big and boutique, in areas including design, homes and interiors, travel, fashion, lifestyle, beauty, food, and kids and families. I believe clear, clean messages bolster brands and businesses. They evoke emotion and ignite inspiration, and when written well, they’re easier to absorb – and respond to. I live in Copenhagen and am half-English, half-Danish. I write as comfortably in American English as in British, and behind the scenes I'm also studying Danish. Need help getting your message out? Contact me.

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