Feedback and quotes from participants in the What about me? event at Imagine Festival
The Inclusive Minds track at Imagine was a brilliant day. I've done a lot of literary festivals and workshops over the years, and I've never seen so much thrilling enthusiasm. Allowing kids to put themselves front and centre seemed to work perfectly. May there be many more!
'What About Me?' was such a bright and
refreshing event. Superbly child-friendly, genuinely inclusive and starring a
cast of exciting illustrators and authors. The canvas on which children could
freely draw was inspired and a beautiful celebration of the event's aim:
allowing all children to see themselves in stories. Surely there's no
better way to encourage a love of books and reading amongst all children. Our
only 'complaint' would be that for inclusive events to be truly truly
inclusive, they should take place centre stage!
Let's get it into the foyer next year!
Letterbox Library team
Just wanted to say what an absolutely
terrific day that was on Friday and how phenomenal I thought
you both were - the thought of arranging and entertaining and educating such
massive numbers of people makes my head spin.
A huge thanks to all of you for asking me to be involved
in what was a marvelous event - rammed with children and adults. To me it spelt
out 'SUCCESS'! It was thoughtful, surprising, and enlightening: as a 'helpful
Artist', my role ranged from drawing alongside a 3 year old autistic child to
being interviewed at length by a tenacious 6th former - who was in the process
of writing her own book about being brought up in a same sex family - which she
fully intended to publish! The next 'inclusive' generation in the making.
Carol Thompson, artist
Thank you so much for inviting me to 'What about me?'. It was a brilliant and unique event - I've never been to any event which managed to bring together children, parents, authors, illustrators, educators, distributors and publishers! I hope there will be more events like it. The work you are doing is really important.
Vanda Carter, artist
hope that you and Beth are both purring with satisfaction at how very many
happy children you created yesterday .... and happy authors and artists
too. What fun, and important too.
Pippa Goodhart, artist
We were honoured and delighted that you asked
Life & Deaf to be involved in the fabulous Inclusive Minds event held in
London’s Southbank Centre during the Imagine Festival. The Inclusive Minds event sought to promote
inclusion and accessibility for all. It was such a vibrant and meaningful
event, bringing together authors, illustrators, families and most importantly
children to explore a vision of literature where all children are seen and
heard. The event
had a serious message that was beautifully wrapped in a fun-filled, creative
and inspiring day filled with activities for children of all ages, families and
professionals. As Mayuri, a
young deaf Londoner says ‘Change is in the air' and change can make us ‘feel
alive’. Thank you for including us in your exciting and important
event that is sure to lead this essential change. Kind wishes and thanks to you and your
colleagues and collaborators.
Life and Deaf organisation
The event was marvellous, well done to Beth and yourself for hosting a great event, it had a massive turnout. It was enjoyable and informative; I was learning on the job! Hope there are many more Inclusive Minds events to come in the future.
Lee Marshall, BSL interpreter
I wanted to share with you
something really positive that I took from Friday. I am not a bookie and so I
was perhaps not expecting such a return in my day out with my
girls!! I am a fair few years older than Carmen and that together
with us being gay parents and with all the baggage that I carry from my
generation means that I often feel judged and challenged in big social
situations like Friday. I can feel judged by people looking for a label – am I
Mollie's grandma or Aunty. Am I Carmen's partner or parent. It's judgement that
I often find uncomfortable and look to avoid. It's debilitating and something I
work hard to try and overcome on a daily basis! I had the luxury of spending 2
days on a Stonewall leadership course a couple of years ago which massively increased
my awareness of my own barriers and has helped me articulate all of this.
Anyway, Friday was a joy. I felt liberated, totally
un-judged (I know that's not a word!!) and that feeling is why it is so very
important to me that you and Carmen and all your allies keep going with your
work because Mollie must not feel those judgements or those barriers.
It was a fantastic day, you should be very proud and thank you for letting us
the BEST day today. Thanks so much, you guys did a wonderful thing.
Kristen, The Curved House Kids team
I thought yesterday was an absolute triumph. Well done.
What About Me? was great fun
as well as being really important. Children’s books should represent all children, just as the pleasure
they give should be for all
children. It’s a brilliant addition to the Imagine festival and we hope it goes
from strength to strength.
Every kid I saw
seemed to be having a good time. I don’t think I even heard any tantrums except
some minor ones over crayons. That’s pretty impressive. We
met some kids who really grasped the idea of braille, and seemed genuinely
fascinated that this was how some people learned to read. It was a real
eye-opener for some parents/carers too. One boy left intending to learn the
whole alphabet (he’d already grasped most of it before he left- and was helping
other children braille their names- we largely handed that over to him for
about 20 minutes!) and a parent has asked for information and a loan of books
to teach her class about braille and VI next term.
Alex Britton, Director, ClearVision Project
There needs to be more space to
explore diversity (in all its forms) in children’s books, because very few
people have just one identity.
Zara Todd, panel member/chair
Taking part in
the event was really uplifting and rewarding. As
well as realizing what a lot of work there is to do, it was also reassuring to
meet so many really interesting and thoughtful people working
towards common goals. I hope you get the opportunity to organize many
more events around this theme. It will
certainly help to spread the word.
Sue Baker, publisher
an amazing event! I think it balanced
well, the info for adults as well as creativity for the children. – Every adult
I spoke to ‘got’ the message and loved the thinking behind each activity. Yes it
was busy, but that’s a good thing, as people who did drop by stayed and
got involved. You can never predict how many people will
turn up when you don’t have the booking system, but its better to be open as a
couple mums said they don’t like the ones you have to book as they prefer to be
more flexible with their time and that those events gets booked up so fast so
it was nice for them to have us to come along to.