Friday 15th April saw over 800 children attend the Dome in Doncaster for the Rio Carnival themed finale of this year’s Doncaster Book Award.
Events kicked off earlier than in previous years to not only welcome our guest authors but to also celebrate both Le Tour Yorkshire and the pending Olympics in Brazil.
Massive thanks go to Kev F Sutherland who did an impromptu Comic master class for one school who arrived early... what a life saver!
Lots of stalls were set up in the atrium for the children to peruse including representation from the Little Theatre, Air Kings Trampoline, Talegate Theatre, Games Workshop, The Doncaster Rovers Foundation, several publishers, ETA Drama Agency, Public Libraries, author Linda Jones and the RNLI. Children got stuck into carnival hat making and figure painting as well as trying to cycle as far as possible along stage two of Le Tour Yorkshire route which finishes in Doncaster and whilst raising money for the RNLI. A real celebratory atmosphere was definitely in evidence as the excitement grew helped along with music expertly played by the Roma Khamoro Band.
We were really thrilled to welcome a last minute guest to the DBA party, Pamela Butchart whose book The Spy Who Loved School Dinners was shortlisted for one of our awards and who delighted us by travelling all the way to Doncaster from Dundee to meet children who had chosen her book to be nominated. Pamela signed books and mixed with the crowds in her splendid sewing machine print dress. I’m pretty sure judging by how the children flocked round her that we will be welcoming Pamela back to Doncaster very soon!
As 12.30 approached children were ushered into the main auditorium to be seated for our special guests. It was obligatory to start the carnival atmosphere off beforehand so a few Samba sessions led by children who had attended our dance workshop ensued with “Carnival Carnival” being the tune and Talegate Theatre’s very own Carmen Miranda and our host for the day threw herself in shaking her electric maracas and sporting a large collection of plastic fruit on her head and clothed in a rather marvellous sequined gown with wonderful ruby red heels, she directed the 100 plus enthusiastic participants beautifully!
After the excitement of the Samba it was straight onto the first special guest Liz Pichon, author of the Tom Gates series of books.
Liz showed the children a presentation sporting some specially commissioned “Tom Gates” high heels. We started off with some of Granny Mavis’s recipes. The concoctions were disgusting - for instance fish biscuits! We then had a game of which Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer was empty followed by a doodle master class, and how to produce a banana doodle... almost nine hundred children drawing together, and you could have heard a pin drop! Liz finished her talk with some music sung by Dog Zombies, Tom’s band in the series of books. Titles included “Delia’s a Weirdo” and “We are one Dude 3”, everyone laughed and sang along.
It was then on to Kev F Sutherland, cartoonist for the Beano, Dandy and Doctor Who comics, to take the stage. Kev wowed the audience with his amazing drawings and comic tales and got children up from the audience to aid him with his cartoons. Kev was in great demand from the start to the finish of the awards due to his ability to draw caricatures at a pace faster than the speed of light! I would say that almost every child left the awards with their own picture expertly drawn by Mr Kev F... what a total genius!
Liz and Kev were then joined on stage by Pamela for a quick question and answer session then the winners were announced.
Classics category: - Michael Morpurgo with The Butterfly Lion
Primary category: - Liz Pichon with A Tiny Bit Lucky
Secondary category: - Cathy Cassidy with Sweet Honey
We awarded Liz with a wonderful ceramic of her book characters and she was delighted. We also had a statement from Cathy Cassidy saying that she wished she could give all the children of Doncaster a big hug!
Massive thanks go to everyone involved but in particular the Dome and staff who were tremendous and Waterstones who sold books like Trojans and sponsored our review competitions.