It was very early on a Saturday morning and right at the end of the school year, as our intrepid band of DBA readers (with some lucky parents and teachers!) set off on the road north to Newcastle and our now traditional trip to Seven Stories. We were all really excited as this fantastic venue never disappoints, and we were especially looking forward to the new exhibition dedicated to the marvellous Michael Morpurgo, an author who is a huge favourite with our young people and whose books regularly feature on our book lists.
Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, is very well worth a visit; with its imaginative and interactive displays, eclectic decor, great activities and friendly staff, it has something for book lovers of all ages. Ours was a very mixed group: students came along from Saltersgate Junior, Park, Willow, Hexthorpe, Owston Park, Shaw Wood and Town Field Primary Schools, Danum and Ridgewood Academies and McAuley High School. We also had some students from the Home Educators community and their parents, as well as my committee colleagues, and absolutely everyone had a wonderful time.
We split off into smaller groups on arrival, with some heading to the Story Station to curl up on a cushion, relax and read, some to join in with the craft activities and others making straight for the galleries or to see the first ‘Daydreamer’ show in the Artists Attic. The Attic was looking marvellous, festooned with twinkly lights and decorated with large cut-out scenes from Diagon Alley, large versions of the marvellous Jim Kay drawings from the new illustrated Harry Potter. Almost everyone spent some time here on the visit running about dressed up in robes, waving wands and creating their own adventures!
There were three main exhibitions to visit and enjoy, ‘Michael Morpurgo, A Lifetime in Stories’, ‘Rhyme Around the World’, and’ Edward Ardizzone – 80 Years of Little Tim’. All were really excellent, featuring interactive exhibits, opportunities to dress up and be creative, short films and lots and lots of original manuscripts and illustrations, which give a fascinating insight into the creative process. The exhibits are beautifully and imaginatively presented and as we moved around each throughout the course of the day it was inspiring to see all our young people so engaged and really enjoying themselves. When we all met together in the bookshop at the end of the trip, everyone was buzzing! Here are just a few of the many comments;
‘I really enjoyed going round looking at the artwork and reading the information, it was very interesting’ - Draven (11)
‘I liked the Michael Morpurgo gallery and the studio because you could decorate the things as you chose’ - Alyssa (10)
‘Seven Stories is amazing – I want to come over and over again!’ - Olivia (9)
‘We liked the Story Station’ - Millie (9) and Darcey (12)
‘It’s a really good place, you can get really interactive with it’ – Jacob (11)
‘My favourite part was the nursery rhyme exhibition’ – Georgia (14)
‘Seven Stories is really good because there are lots of activities’ – Calla (10)
‘I liked the Michael Morpurgo display best.’ Jack (10)
I think I have to give the last word to Tara, age 9 from Owston Park Primary;
‘Seven Stories is excellent, it doesn’t matter how old you are you’ll enjoy it!’
Company Secretary, DBA.