Thursday, July 05, 2007

Field studies

Yesterday I donned my Waterstone's Marines cap and went out in the field to sell books to reluctant readers at a local school. At least that's what I was expecting, but in fact the children were completely different from last week's selection. Nobody shuffled their chairs, everyone was well behaved and after the event, we sold quite a few books. Why were the schools so different? School no.2 wasn't particularly middle-class, but there seemed to be fewer boys with strange haircuts and earrings.

Yesterday' s author was Linda Buckley-Archer, whose tales of 21st century kids accidentally finding themselves in the 18th century not only gripped thousands of young readers but also had my children's bookseller wide-eyed with enthusiasm. Until last week I hadn't done a school event for several years and I'd forgotten how rewarding they were. It's great seeing a hundred children getting genuinely excited about a book. I wish that I could take every old person who complains that children are only interested in television and computer games and show them how wrong they are.

Linda Buckley-Archer was great and handled 120 children as if she'd been doing it for years. Later on I discovered that she had.

After the event we talked about the questions that children ask. No matter which school the author visited, they were remarkably consistent:

  • How much money have you got?
  • What car do you drive?
  • When did you decide to become an author?
  • Have you ever been on telly?
After the event, the author signed copies and we handed out free bookmarks. In today's consumer society it was amazing to see how much excitement a simple bookmark generated. What a refreshing change to the increasing number of people who, to quote Oscar Wild, know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

1 comment:

Gonçalo Veiga said...
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