More than 250 local school children packed the library in Weymouth to see Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, bestselling author of over 150 books, bring some of her hugely popular stories to life through special dramatisations.
Weymouth Library, which is run by Dorset County Council, was picked from 100s of applications to be one of only 24 libraries on the English and Welsh leg of the Children’s Laureate Libraries Tour this autumn.
Many of the children came dressed up as favourite characters from Julia’s books, and eagerly grabbed the chance to be on stage with her. Holy Trinity School had been invited to show off their own acting and singing skills during a short performance based on one of Julia’s bestselling books, Room on the Broom’ which they had spent the last week rehearsing.
The children also had a chance to put Julia through her paces when they were invited on stage to ask her questions. They were curious to know how many books Julia had written and who her favourite characters were. They also wanted to know why she had decided to become an author and where she got her inspiration from.
Julia was joined on the stage by her musician husband Malcolm – who recently retired from his career as a paediatrician – and together they delighted the audience with their hour long show which included rhymes, tales and songs. Many of the children were invited to join them on stage and delighted the audience with their spontaneous acting.
At the end of the show, Toni Coombs, Cabinet member for children’s services at the county council, thanked Julia and Malcolm for their fantastic performance and also praised the children for their excellent contribution.
She also presented Julia with a book about Dorset by Thomas Hardy, and photographs of some of the school children dressed up as characters from her books.
The children also had an opportunity to get signed copies of Julia’s books at the end of the show thanks to a temporary bookshop set up by Waterstones.
Julia said:‘Libraries are very close to my heart, and so is performance. This tour is my way of bringing the two together, by visiting fantastic libraries all over the country, enjoying children acting and singing, and sharing my own stories with them. I want it to be a huge celebration of libraries and of the benefits they offer to communities and especially to children.
“I was very impressed with the children in Weymouth and they brought a real magic to the show with their acting skills. I will remember this visit with great fondness.”
Hilary Cox, Cabinet member for Community Services at Dorset County Council, said:
“We were delighted that Weymouth Library was selected as part of Julia’s tour, and the show was a real success.
“These kind of events brings libraries to life and I am sure the children will be inspired to read more books and hopefully also become regular library customers.”