Posted by: gillarbuthnott | August 21, 2012

Bookfest Blog #5:

I was lucky enough to chair a couple of terrific events in the Children’s programme over the weekend.

Ali Sparkes talked about her Switch series. These are very funny books in which 8 year old twins Danny and Josh are used as guinea pigs (almost literally) by their crazy scientist neighbour, and as a result are changed into various insects and reptiles. This allows Ali to sneak in some very good biology among the jokes and action.  Ali’s talk featured the glorious sight of parents and children accessorized with goggly eyes and orange and green gloves to look like Chameleons and Geckos for a special reptile quiz, among manyother funny moments. The audience included a fan wearing a signed, personalised t-shirt – surely a first – which almost, but not quite,  outdid Ali’s fab, sparkly boots!

Gill Lewis spoke about her books Sky Hawk and White Dolphin to a large and rapt audience, which really did range in age from 8 to 80. Having dressed one of the parents in the audience as an Osprey (another first, I feel), she talked with real passion about ospreys, dolphins and marine conservation. Many of the audience clearly loved her books already, and I can see why: they feature strong characters, emotionally involving stories, great wildlife and an important message that every one of us can make a difference if we care about the natural world. That’s quite a trick to pull off without sounding preachy.

It was a real pleasure to get the chance to chat to two such great authors who write about wildlife in such different ways.


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