Wild n Free: Celebrating Literacy and Raising Awareness

I had the most wonderful day in London on Saturday where I got to meet more than 20 of the children whose FAB stories and drawings made it into Wild n Free Too.

I have photos taken on my camera, Dad’s and my brother’s so will pick the best ones and create an online album for those who fancy a gander (no not talking about geese here!) But there is an animal theme of course!

I will also share some on here!

The Wild n Free project started life when I first met children in schools and started talking to them about the work of Born Free as well as teaching the mechanics of good story writing. This is the second book and I am so proud to see the way the children and their families have responded to it.

From a financial viewpoint I do lose out, although Born Free benefit from a royalty — but it’s not about that and when I get to meet the children as I did and see what it means to them, I know I have to do it again! And we are.

I wish I’d had more time to talk to individual children afterwards but the time just flew, but I am so glad I did meet them and their lovely families.

It’s a pity the local press never seem to want to come along because there is so much bad press about literacy in children and this book proves the talent is there and it needs to be nurtured. Schools do the best they can to teach ‘literacy’ but this is a whole lot more than that and story telling is a refined technique and one that requires the great imaginations children have — so we really do need to tap into that more. This book proves not only that children have amazing talent, but represents a wonderful way to teach children about empathizing with other animals. We have a right to protect them and we need to teach this young.

So I hope people out there will not only tell their own children but also can I ask one thing — print out our poster and take a copy to a local school, church, Brownies meeting, library and help me spread the word! Please.

Here is a link to the poster and the current competition is open until January 31st! POSTER

Also do look at getting the book for Christmas: Amazon here and we have a Kindle version! WILD N FREE TOO

Thanks so much for your support!

I will be posting photos here too and on the dedicated Wild n Free Blog that has been a little neglected of late so we also need to start publishing the other stories and drawings that did not get into the book but deserve to be read!

The venue was Millbank Primary School near Pimlico and very well attended. I was delighted to see so many there!

We started with refreshments kindly organised by my lovely mum while my dad and brother sold raffle tickets and books and helped children find their badges and sign a few things for me! I was flitting around!

I was also so thrilled that the amazingly talented multi-award winning children’s writer Gill Lewis and the other multi-talented Dr Who writer and YA novelist Daniel Blythe — two of our main judges, made it along and spoke to the children.  Also thrilled that Anne, the Marketing Director at the Born Free Foundation, managed to find tie as I know she really had other commitments, to come along with lots of goodies for the children and told the about the valuable work of the Born Free Foundation — which is really what this project is about. Thanks Anne!

And of course the real stars of the show are the children themselves who came to the front, one by one, for their moment in the spotlight, that I know would have been a bit daunting for some, but EVERY single one of them did really well!  Made me so proud! Thank you.

I appreciate some of the quiet voices were hard to hear at the back and another time I will try to get a microphone, but I tried to avoid as this can be more frightening for the children.

I so so wish we’d had more time for signing and photos but I think, from what people said, they all had a good time and appreciated what being in this book does for the  confidence of a child. Thank you. That makes me know how worthwhile the project is and why I want to keep it going.

We raffled a few things I bought for the event and made £26 for Born Free which isn’t bad for a small raffle.

I also asked all the children to sign a card for Virginia McKenna that I will be posting off today as well as Darragh’s copy of the book as a runner-up that is now being posted off to Canada!

So more photos to follow but I will leave you with one that shows us all!

Some of the talented children from Wild n Free Too! Millbank Primary School, London, Saturday December 14th 2013

Some of the talented children (and me!) from Wild n Free Too! Millbank Primary School, London, Saturday December 14th 2013

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