Monday, 29 June 2015

"What is the Worth of Creating for Children?" an SCBWI panel event for Manchester Children's Book Festival 2015

I travelled up to Manchester on the opening day of the Manchester Children's Book Festival to see the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) panel event and it was well worth the trip.

Below is a round up of a few quotes from my notes. The panel event will be written up in more detail by SCBWI member Jo Dearden to appear on the Words and Pictures blog very soon.

Writer Marie Basting and Julia Churchill of AM Heath Literary Agency

Marie Basting had some interesting questions for Julia Churchill, Kate Pankhurst and Jon Mayhew such as "Do we need these books? Are they trivial?" and one that drew boos from the audience "Do we need more issue books and not waste time with adventure stories?".

Julia Churchill said she places no value judgement on books “any book is a good thing” and there should be “a book for every child”. On how she selects books herself she said she looks to be transported - whether it is a story for adults or for kids.

Illustrator/writer Kate Pankhurst and writer Jon Mayhew
Kate Pankhurst said she feels that it is important to talk about children's books at a time of library closures and when space for reading in schools being squashed. She added that there is a need to spread the word about the worth of creating books for children. She believes that the books you read as a child contribute to who you become as an adult – you take something from every book you read.

Jon Mayhew is often asked “have you thought of writing a book for adults” he said he has ideas for books for adults but they don’t call out to him as much as his story ideas for children. He said we should “never underestimate children as an audience”.

As mentioned before this is just a brief taste of what was said at the event, there is more to come on SCBWI's Words and Pictures blog.

Other highlights of my visit to Manchester Children's Book Festival...

Some of Sarah McIntyre's Sea Monkeys (from her book with Philip Reeve, Oliver and the Seawigs)
up for adoption at MCBF to raise money for the Readwell Charity. My daughter named the one I brought home
for her "Tallulah" and it seems to have developed a taste for plastic fried eggs.

 Beautiful Mancunian red brick architecture photographed on the way back to the train station.
Manchester Children's Book Festival opened on 26th June and will continue until 5th July. There are lots of fantastic events in and around Manchester, go to their website for details and tickets


  1. Glad you thought your long trip worthwhile, Amanda. It was lovely to meet you in person and I hope I get to see you again soon. Before everyone defriends me - the questions were deliberately provocative. Of course we need adventure stories - I loved the look on Jon's face when I put that question out there x

  2. Marie, I should have got a photo of you making the stirring motion after you asked the question! You certainly got them talking. I enjoyed the discussion and I look forward to the write up in Words and Pictures.
    Good to finally meet you too.