The Reader were thrilled to welcome Nick Sharratt to Liverpool on the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour. Natalie, Neil and Laragh joined the fun at Stockton Wood Primary School.
In collaboration with Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Friendly Association, The Reader were thrilled to welcome children’s author and illustrator Nick Sharratt to Liverpool last week on the Scottish Friendly Children’s Books Tour.
Nick Sharratt is the prize-winning author and illustrator of beloved children’s books such as Shark in the Park, Ketchup on your Cornflakes? and Caveman Dave. His bold style has made Sharratt one of the most recognisable children’s illustrators around and to date he has illustrated close to 250 books, including the Tracey Beaker novels for Jacqueline Wilson and several for Julia Donaldson.
Liverpool schools were invited to apply for their school to be selected as one of ten in the region which would welcome Sharratt to speak to their pupils. The Reader, working closely with Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Friendly helped to select the winning schools who would host a visit from the author, and neighbouring schools who could be invited to attend. Over the five days Sharratt shared his top tips for illustrations and writing with more than 900 pupils from Liverpool schools.
One such school was Stockton Wood Primary School where The Reader’s Natalie, Neil and Laragh, the school’s Reader-in-Residence, were invited along to join in the fun.
When we met Nick he was very warm and friendly. He told us that he had always felt an affinity with Liverpool. Having spent part of his childhood in Manchester, he once won a drawing competition which had his entry displayed in the Walker Art Gallery. His love of drawing continued from there!
When we arrived on Friday the school hall was full of pupils plus those from visiting schools, St Gregory’s. After an introduction, Nick started with Caveman Dave. He read the book aloud and the children joined in with the rhyming words before creating some of his characters before our eyes. Using a visualiser, he demonstrated how to draw Caveman Dave and Mrs Pirate. Everybody was given paper and a pencil so that we could learn from the master and have a go ourselves.
He taught us the actions to Never Use a Knife and Fork including a demonstration of his jelly juggling skills. Staff members were called out to see who could balance the most bagels on their head (the record was nine plus a packet of jelly).
One of the highlights for me was watching Nick make new animals. Animal names were cut in half and mixed up so that new creatures could be created. What happens if you mix half an elephant and half an alligator? Why, an elgator, of course!
The finale was a shared reading of Shark in the Park on a windy day with actions provided Neil, Laragh and myself.
After the excitement of the workshop was over, Nick was kind enough to sit patiently for a book signing session. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for both adults and children alike, and from our perspective it was wonderful for the children to be able to join in and listen to various book being read aloud whilst having the writer/illustrator bring them to life through his drawing.
In the lead up to the tour Sharratt said:
“I’m really excited to be visiting Liverpool primary schools on the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour. Although I’ve been to Liverpool before and know what a great city it is, this will be my first opportunity to meet and work with local schoolchildren and I can’t wait!
“I know we’re going to have loads of fun sharing books, acting out stories, playing games and writing and drawing together. We’ll be stretching our imaginations to invent new characters and I’m sure we’ll be coming up with brilliant ideas for lots more books!”
We hope to see Nick in Liverpool again next year, so keep your eyes peeled for more updates.
Nick’s drawings of Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants is currently on exhibition at Kirkby Gallery, Knowsley until 22 April.