I must say staff at the Ricoh Arena looked slightly nervous when we arrived to set up on Friday 6th. I don’t think they had ever had 1000 children through the door for a single event before! But they had nothing to fear. Thanks to the fantastic organisation of the Coventry Schools Library Service team, ably supported by volunteers from the Literally Committee and Warwickshire Schools Library Service, it all went very smoothly and I have to say the audience behaved impeccably!
Francesca Simon arrived nice and early but with a mammoth task in front of her! Signing all 1000 copies of Krazy Ketchup so that every child in the audience had their own signed copy to take away. This is the 23rd title in the hugely popular Horrid Henry series, which has been getting kids hooked on reading for 20 years and during this time over 20 million sales have been racked up! She just had time to refresh herself in the open air green room
Most of the audience were wearing their Horrid Henry masks- especially made for the occasion! Then everyone settled down to hear Francesca tell them about her writing and lots of fascinating facts about Horrid Henry and the real life sources of inspiration she had! But the best treat of all was when she sat down on her golden throne to read us all a story
Nobody can put more expression into a story than the author can! With so many children involved we had to limit the 21 schools attending to asking just their top question and what a fascinating bunch they were. Francesca was particularly intrigued by being asked what Henry’s good points were!
Then it was time for the judging of the create a birthday card competition and the lucky winner from Grangehust school won a complete set of all 23 titles. Runner’s up received the special anniversary edition of the very first title
While Francesca had to speed off to the next event on her birthday tour Horrid Henry stayed behind and every school group had a special photo with him which will no doubt be adorning the walls of their school libraries very soon.
All in all a fantastic way to launch this year’s Festival- and a great practice session for the very special Dame Jacqueline Wilson event on 24th June.
Over the next few days we will be taking one day at a time and giving you more information about the authoirs and illustrators and fascinating events we have laid on. Still tickets available for most events so get booking http://www.literallycoventry2014.eventbrite.co.uk.
For the Festival Finale: the live Wimpy Kid Show at the Belgrade Theatre you have to book on their website http://www.belgrade.co.uk/event/the-wimpy-kid-show