Last week we celebrated World Book Day… correction, we would have celebrated if this hadn’t happened:
Not the cat, snow! Deep snow everywhere closing roads, schools and putting a stop to world book day celebrations across the UK. My events were cancelled but I’ve been thinking back to World Book Day last year, when something magical happened.
I was invited by Oaklands School (for children with additional support needs) to come to watch their performance of a picture book I’d written called Can’t-Dance-Cameron, illustrated by Katie Pamment:
They had turned the book into a multi-sensory story. That means they created a sensory experience for the children to engage in using the story as the journey through the experience. They recorded sounds and children who were unable to speak pressed buttons to make the sound at the correct moment in a story, for example “PING”:
They made props like this amazing tree, giant hazelnut and bird hat:
*By the way, the teachers dressed up in pajamas or so that’s why I’m in my dressing gown and slippers!
The children and support workers made costumes and the children acted out sections of the book while one of the teachers read the story using a microphone:
They invited parents and other schools to come and watch. They invited me to say a few words about a new book Ollie and the Otter, illustrated by Kirsteen Harris-Jones, and I used a squeezey osprey to join in with the muti-sensory theme:
Their performance was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen. I was so impressed by the effort that had gone in to practicing the story and making it so extrodinary.
The whole event finished with a capercaillie ceilidh – the children danced around in wheelchairs while I was trying not to cry.
One of the staff members told me the boy who played Cameron kicked independently for the first time at the kick part of the story – this was really exciting because in the practice the carer had lifted his leg to make him kick! That’s just one of many moments that morning that made me smile:
Thanks to everyone at Oaklands for making World Book Day a day I’ll never forget!