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Gruffalo scribe wows bookworms in St Helens
GRUFFALO author Julia Donaldson had her young audeince spellbound during her visit to Central Library. Photos DAVE GILLESPIE.
CHILDREN’S Laureate author Julia Donaldson leaves you in no doubt about her passionate belief that libraries should play a vital part in all our lives.
Julia, best known for her creation The Gruffalo, had been in St Helens inspiring schoolchildren from St Aiden’s Primary and Eaves Primary schools.
The writer enthralled the youngsters during a visit to Central Library as part of her six-week nationwide tour, bringing all the magic of her work to life.
Later speaking to the Star, Julia told of her passion for libraries and their importance to children Pupils from the Billinge and Sutton schools had been hard at work, practising their own performances which dazzled the award-winning writer.
The Gruffalo, which tells the story of a mouse's walk in the woods has sold more than 10.5 million copies.
She said: “I love libraries and I want to celebrate all the things that happen within them. I’m hoping that by doing this tour, I will be able help draw attention to some of the great things that libraries are still offering.
“It’s too often that we hear about the less good things that are happening to libraries because a lot of councils are closing libraries and cutting staff.”
Julia, 64, has actively fought for funding for libraries and protested against closures which are happening throughout the UK. The children’s author also spoke about the importance of libraries to younger people.
She said: “I think libraries are incredibly important for children and used so well. People don’t realise that with the libraries that are still around, children’s attendance has been going up, not down.
“Libraries don’t just have the book borrowing, they offer so many other services for children and adults to take advantage of. Toddler groups, pre-literacy and pre-reading groups are happening in libraries, helping younger children become better acquainted with language and rhymes.”
The Children’s Laureate continued to say how libraries ignite a passion for reading among children, who otherwise would not be able to access literature easily.
Julia continued: “Discovering what books they like is huge part of reading for children and I don't really see how they can easily do that without libraries. The great thing about them is children can just grab a stack of different books and decide who they like and who they don’t like.
She said: “I hope that we come out of the recession and that perhaps because of all the campaigning and fury there’s been, a great future for libraries exists.
“Libraries are great community centres, especially in a recession, where people need a nice place where you don’t have to spend any money.
“Free facilities exist which allow people to have fun without worrying about money.”