Friday, 3 April 2015

China in pictures part 1 - first days at the Beijing Bookworm Literary Festival

My 10 days in Beijing and Suzhou (and a day in Shanghai) blew me away.
Here's the first part mostly in pictures of my story I was lucky enough to live -  of the kids, the places and people, the workshops, talks and fellow authors.
Over Mongolia - on the way to China...
to our amazing hotel designed by a cool Japanese architect
the Opposite House in Beijing.
The hotel is one of the 
Bookworm Festival sponsors and...

after a long flight from London the food and calm is like therapy before

my first Bookworm panel talk that same evening with old friend, the 
author-illustrator Frané Lessac over from Australia and... 
Anette Oster, author publisher from Denmark, Olivia (Liu) Chang of SCBWI China and Niu Shou, children's publisher at Beijing Menxi Jindian.

Next morning up early for my workshop for kids at the Bookworm library...

about illustrating characters, focusing on eyes and expressions...

to inspire stories and 

...the youngest child there manages a whole story 
in less than 20 minutes - beats me!
The following day up early for a long taxi ride through polluted Beijing,
past the China TV centre which Beijingers nickname The Pants ...

to what looks pretty forbidding until

I go down the  path and hear birds calling in the spring sunshine

and hey, I am pinned up in the school entrance hall!

There's a lovely library and school to explore
and brilliant bilingual kid's self- portraits 

and pictures with illustrated text in Chinese

and work by kindergartners (year of the sheep here!) 
right up to posters by 11 year olds.  I love this one about recycling.

Though there's limited time for me get to work with two groups of 6-7s and 8-11 year olds,  both groups really drew, and before they knew it, they were creating characters in surprising relationships to each other - a cast for stories they can write later!
A big cheer for all the kids and teachers - and the lovely technician - for welcoming me to
the happy bilingual Daystar Academy 
where 90% of the children
are Chinese and all are clearly talented writers and illustrators in English and Chinese!

And my gratitude too to Tahirih Senne-Linton for organising the day with the Beijing Bookworm Literary Festival 
and showing me around the school and its great Columbia reading and writing programme
Finally special applause to a 10 year old artist.
She handed me a folded paper after my session and told me to open it up after she left.
In it was this brilliant portrait of me she did during my session! 

Post a Comment