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Children respond to sea change: new book launch
Children respond to sea change: new book launch
A new book tackling children's reaction to natural disasters and the impact on communities was launched today (8 November 2012), at a special London event organised by disaster relief charity ShelterBox and The Reading Agency, the independent charity working to inspire more people to read more, to mark one year of successful partnership working.
The Day The Sea Changed tells the story of a community hit by a tsunami and the devastating impact it has on them, but how ultimately they come together to rebuild their lives. Aimed at primary school age children, it has been illustrated by children who won a competition led by ShelterBox and renowned author and illustrator Michael Foreman, who also provided an illustration for the book. It ends with a message of hope.
At the launch event, hosted by The Reading Agency at London's Free Word Centre, young illustrators from schools across the UK and from the Falklands were presented with certificates, and prizes donated by Hope Education, for their winning entries used in The Day The Sea Changed.
Michael Foreman also lead a workshop sharing his passion for creating books. He said: "We all know how important it is to have shelter, somewhere you can call home. The Day the Sea Changed is a story inspired by those affected by the tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011 and it helps children to understand how ordinary people can pull together and help each other in times of disaster."
The illustration competition was jointly promoted by Shelterbox, and Chatterbooks, the national network of reading groups for children coordinated by The Reading Agency. It challenged teachers and children to explore a story about a tsunami and bring it to life with their pictures, giving them a unique opportunity to understand how a disaster like this might affect families and communities involved. Chatterbooks promoted the competition to libraries and library-supported children's reading groups.
Copies of The Day The Sea Changed are now available from the ShelterBox shop online shop priced at £4 (www.shelterbox.org), via Amazon or by contacting 01326 569 782 or youngshelterbox.org.
The image above shows Michael Foreman signing copies of The Day The Sea Changed for young competition winners at today's event, along with authors Claire and Heather White.
Images of the winning children's illustrations may be viewed and downloaded from flickr.
This special event marks a successful year of partnership working between ShelterBox's Young ShelterBox project, which provides teachers and youth group leaders with the resources they need to explore the difficult and challenging subject of world disasters, and Chatterbooks. Together, they've produced a resources pack for schools participating in the competition, including a further reading list to inspire children's entries, and Chatterbooks is also producing a 'Chatterpack' for its reading groups, based on the new book.
Miranda McKearney, director of The Reading Agency, said: "We're delighted that this competition marks one year of successful partnership working with Shelterbox. Both Shelterbox and The Reading Agency work to inspire and empower children's exploration and learning through reading, discussion and active participation. The Chatterbooks network of children's reading groups is ever-growing, enabling more and more children to make connections, understand better the world and the impact of phenomena such as natural disasters, and to simply have fun reading. Now more than ever, given recent findings on literacy rates in the UK, that feels like a vital shared mission, and we hope even more schools will become Chatterbooks schools."
Emma Nicholls, Young ShelterBox project manager says: "The whole project was based around the Japanese tsunami. We wanted to enable children to explore this emotive subject and to understand the impact of disasters on people. We wanted young people to think outside of their own environment and to think globally, by trying to put themselves in the shoes of those people affected by disaster."
The photo shows: Back row, l-r: The Day The Sea Changed author Claire White; The Reading Agency's Chatterbooks programme manager Tricia Kings; The Day The Sea Changed author Heather White; Young Shelterbox project manager Emma Nicholls and illustrator Michael Foreman. Front row, competition winners from Constantine Primary School in Cornwall, l-r: Iola, Ellie, Annie, Vera and Guy (all aged 11, except Vera, who is 10).
Tricia Kings, Chatterbooks programme manager for The Reading Agency:
It has been really good that we have been able to get together with Shelterbox to develop this partnership. At Chatterbooks and Shelterbox, what we both want to do is to inspire children's reading and children's exploration of the world and their understanding of the world.
At The Reading Agency, which runs the Chatterbooks network of children's reading groups, we have a vision of everyone's lives being enriched by reading, so that is what we develop our programmes for adults, children and young people towards.
Chatterbooks has been going for ten years; there are now approximately 550 groups and 8,500 children aged 4 - 13 years involved. Chatterbooks focuses on reading for pleasure, which boosts children's reading attainment and confidence. It also builds adults' confidence in inspiring children to enjoy reading.
So with this illustration competition with Shelterbox, it has been great that, as well as working with schools that we have been able to involve libraries and library staff as well; libraries are a very special partner for The Reading Agency. We are delighted today to be celebrating the results of our partnership, including what children have produced and talked about and what has come out of children's creativity in schools and libraries across the UK.
Tim Bunting, Shelterbox UK general fundraising manager:
Over the last 12 years Shelterbox has responded to 200 disasters in 280 countries. The locations where it currently has teams include Cuba and Northern Iraq, where they are working with people displaced by fighting in Syria.
For this illustration competition in partnership with Chatterbooks, we have been delighted to receive entries from right across the UK and Ireland. The standard of entries was huge, and the judges had an incredibly tough job to choose the winning illustrations and get the book together.
Our inspiration is that as many people as possible get to see The Day The Sea Changed, because the children's winning illustrations bring the book to life; they tell a story of the Japanese tsunami and what happened afterwards. Shelterbox is all about people helping other people, so I would like to thank all the children whose illustrations have been included in the book, on behalf of all the families we will be able to help, for all the time and effort that you have put in.
James Webb is a Shelterbox response team volunteer, who tomorrow (9 November) will be flying to Haiti for Shelterbox to work with families whom Hurricane Sandy has left without shelter. James is one of 220 Shelterbox volunteers around the world who can be dispatched at any point to help respond to a disaster.
James asked attendees what 'the seaside' meant to them, and agreed that for most people it evoked images of fun and holidays. But he explained that, in some parts of the world, it can also be a very devastating element, such as after the March 2011 tsunami, in response to which Shelterbox had volunteers on the ground within 24 hours, and Shelterboxes within 48 hours. In total Shelterbox dispatched 1,680 boxes, which James explained enabled them to 1,680 families, reminding them that there were people around the world who cared about what they had been through, and cared about their lives. He told the winning young illustrators:
"You have already thought about what has happened to these families, and drawn some amazing images. In The Day The Sea Changed, these images will have a real impact; they will help to raise awareness of the issues facing millions of people every year. On behalf of them, and everyone at Shelterbox, thank you for your wonderful drawings."
The Reading Agency is an independent charity working to inspire more people to read more. It is funded by the Arts Council, and has a formal partnership with public library services (www.readingagency.org.uk)
ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disaster worldwide (www.shelterbox.org)
The Day The Sea Changed children's illustration competition: There were 20 winners from ten different schools across the UK. This is the third in what will be a series of six Shelterbox disaster books, all stimulated by the imagination of children.
Young ShelterBox engages young people in the UK with ShelterBox's disaster relief work, providing positive avenues of response and aiming to empower children as global citizens with the knowledge that their actions can make a difference. (www.youngshelterbox.org)
Chatterbooks is a reading group programme for children aged four to twelve, and encourages a love and enjoyment of reading. Chatterbooks groups run in libraries and schools, or other places where children do fun and creative activities. Libraries and schools also use Chatterbooks to help meet statutory targets and standards. (www.chatterbooks.org.uk)