As part of Cruinniú na nÓg, over the last few weeks, Margaret Anne Suggs and myself have been running a series of writing and art workshops with children from Fourth Class in Inchicore. The result is 37 bespoke encyclopaedias written and illustrated by the kids all about the topic they are experts in: themselves. Here is a wee video about the project: Ourselvesopedia!
I've said it approximately 50 million times and a half, but really Baby Book Club rocks. We had this year's final session in Crumlin today and what a party that was!
We read (appropriately enough) Zeki Loves Baby Club, which I accidentally called 'Baby Book Club' throughout the reading. We sang in several languages. We delivered Awesome Baby Book Clubber certs. We ate cake. This year, the babies and their grown-ups were game for every challenge I threw at them: outdoor scavenger hunts! messy play! football! yoga! The group survived chicken pox! snow! hurricanes!
To everyone who attended the sessions this year, to Liz and Jane who were such stars for running things smoothly, and to David who set it up in the first place, a massive thank you. It has been a pleasure and an honour seeing all the wee people grow and get more comfortable around books.
And now, for your delight, Baby Book Club in moving pictures.
Are you sitting comfortably?
“The music of what happens,” said great Fionn, “that is the finest music
in the world.”
He loved “what happened,” and would not evade it by the swerve of a hair.
This quote from James Stephens' Irish Fairy Tales, you could say, had something to do with the workshop I ran recently for the Mother Tongues Festival in Dublin. It was in French and it was LOUD. Young people (ages 3 to 8) and their grown-ups (no ages were mentioned) were invited to listen, to voice and to label the 'music of what happens'.
We guessed what could be making the noises recorded on my phone. We told each other what cows say and how ambulances go. We recognised things and actions from sound words ('bang!' 'ha ha ha!' 'miaou!'). And we looked at orphan sounds: noises that don't have a word to describe them (like snow or skiing or dreaming).
On the day, I was also lucky enough to meet Louise Williams, a radio reporter working for RTÉ Lyric FM's Culture Files (produced by Luke Clancy). We had a great chat about multilingualism, untranslatable words and the language of cows.
You can hear me and lots of other great contributions to the discussion on the show's podcast, right here.
All in all, we had a brilliant time and I'm delighted to be invited by South County Dublin Libraries to run this workshop again (on a multilingual basis this time, not just French) in Clondalkin Library on April 5th. Tickets are free but should be booked, I'm told, on this eventbrite page. This will celebrate nicely the 2018 edition of International Children's Books Day.