Friday, November 09, 2012

Children respond to sea change: new book launch

A new book tackling children’s reaction to natural disasters and the impact on communities was launched today (8 November 2012), at a special London event organised by disaster relief charity ShelterBox and The Reading Agency, the independent charity working to inspire more people to read more, to mark one year of successful partnership working.

Michael Foreman signing copies of The Day The Sea Changed for young competition winners at today's event, along with authors Claire and Heather White. 

The Day The Sea Changed tells the story of  a community hit by a tsunami and the devastating impact it has on them, but how ultimately they come together to rebuild their lives. Aimed at primary school age children, it has been illustrated by children who won a competition led by ShelterBox and renowned author and illustrator Michael Foreman, who also provided an illustration for the book. It ends with a message of hope. 

At the launch event, hosted by The Reading Agency at London’s Free Word Centre, young illustrators from schools across the UK and from the Falklands were presented with certificates, and prizes donated by Hope Education, for their winning entries used in The Day The Sea Changed. Michael Foreman will also lead a workshop sharing his passion for creating books. He says: “We all know how important it is to have shelter, somewhere you can call home. The Day the Sea Changed is a story inspired by those affected by the tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011 and it helps children to understand how ordinary people can pull together and help each other in times of disaster.”

The illustration competition was jointly promoted by Shelterbox, and Chatterbooks, the national network of reading groups for children coordinated by The Reading Agency. It challenged teachers and children to explore a story about a tsunami and bring it to life with their pictures, giving them a unique opportunity to understand how a disaster like this might affect families and communities involved.  Chatterbooks promoted the competition to libraries and library-supported children’s reading groups.

The Day The Sea Changed author Claire White; The Reading Agency’s Chatterbooks programme manager Tricia Kings; The Day The Sea Changed author Heather White; Young Shelterbox project manager Emma Nicholls and Michael Foreman.

Front row, competition winners from Constantine Primary School in Cornwall, l-r: Iola, Ellie, Annie, Vera and Guy (all aged 11, except Vera, who is 10)

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