What a whirlwind of a week! International Women’s day today, following on from World Book Day, both snugly parceled within the golden pastry layers of National Pie Week.
I like women and books and pie (with the definite exceptions of my old gym teacher and steak and kidney and I wasn’t bothered about that Booker-shortlisted one about a dentist)
This I suppose, is the last World Book Day I shall experience purely from the spectator’s side of the fence. And from the spectator’s point of view this year has been, as always, loads of fun. I wasn’t challenged too hard in the costume creation department. One son went to school as the young James Bond which just involved hair gel, an ironed shirt and a gun, the other was Billionaire Boy. He was angling for an endless supply of £50 notes but had to settle for a customised loo roll. They went in their minimalist costumes to the marvellous Children’s Bookshop in Muswell Hill to spend their vouchers afterwards and came away with spectacular goody bags of loot.
Next year may involve school visits of my own. The thought of these induces a certain amount of gulping. I know it Will All Be Fine In the End. I have the HUGE advantage of at least starting out on the event trail in the company of Clara Vulliamy who is quite brilliant at making children happy and proud. I sort of thought aloud to her recently that perhaps I might be sent on some event training by persons unnamed and undefined? She gave me a gentle but quizzical look in reply. A sudden realisation that no, there is no induction day where you get given your Official Author diploma and badge. I shall have to rely on my not-as-well-hidden-as-I-might-like capacity for Showing Off.
I was once given a special prize by a frazzled mother at the end of a children’s party for being ‘the life and soul’. I dread to remember how I earned this accolade…
Let me instead show off about two other women with books who should be celebrated this week.
The first is definite Official-Author-with-Badge Helen Peters who came to school last week to talk about her sequel to best-selling ‘The Secret Hen House Theatre’; ‘The Farm Beneath the Water’. I read it in one greedy sitting and found it as gripping, funny, passionate and wise as the first book. I was delighted to attend the (very) proper launch in the headmaster’s house of Roedean and meet Helen’s real life funny, passionate and wise farming family. Plus there were pies!
The second is children’s book blogger and campaigner like no other; Zoe Toft. Following an idle chat about houses built from books on Twitter she took up my challenge to build her own in aid of Book Aid International. She stripped her shelves of over 1500 titles and constructed the most perfect little fairy tale cottage (with a fair few fairy tales in its foundations doubtless). To date she has raised an extraordinary £740. Do go and look at her blog of the process and help bump up that total even more if you can. A true labour of love.
Enough women and books. Not quite enough pie perhaps. I have no pictures of pie. Will you settle for an entirely gratuitous picture of the sloth family at London zoo? I don’t know when International Sloth Day but goodness knows they’re quite as good as women, books and pie together.