Southbank Hampstead hosts an inspiring World Book Week

From 02 to 09 March, Southbank International School, Hampstead was even more alive than usual with the spirit of the written word.

Our World Book Week started with a visit from writer/comedian Dave Smith, who spoke to students across 4 grades about his career writing to entertain and Dave was followed on the Tuesday by children’s author Helen Moss, who ran inspiring workshops with Grades 3 and 5 on descriptive writing through an exploration of her ‘Adventure Island’ series and her new novel, “The Phoenix Code”.

Wednesday’s visitor was the energetic storyteller Katy Cawkwell. Visiting everyone from the Early Childhood classes to Grade 4 Katy wove real enchantment with her fund of folk and fairy tales and showed students how to find magic in the most everyday things.

On Thursday our ‘in-house’ book activities took over, with Daunt Books providing a brilliant on-site bookshop and our courageous team of library helpers engaging in ‘Random acts of reading’ all around the school. Most Upper Primary students also had the chance to test their own (and their colleagues’) descriptive and inventive powers by taking part in extremely lively sessions of ‘Speed-sharing a book’.

The whole week built to a lovely climax with students (and some staff) dressing up on the Friday as characters from their favourite books (some of the student costumes were amazingly good). This provided a very colourful audience for ‘The Books Factor’ – our book-themed Town Meeting at which 10 brave members of staff entertained students, parents and their colleagues with ‘performance readings’ from fiction and poetry. At the end of the event the students had the chance to vote for their favourite performance and the well-deserved, landslide winner was Ms Shirley, with a bravura performance from Dick King-Smith’s ‘Friends and Brothers’.

Even after that we still had space, on the following Monday, for a visit from renowned children’s picture-book author Jeanne Willis. Jeanne entertained students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 with her tales (and examples) of animals she had known and then led creative workshops based on her book, “The Bog Baby” – at which the students made their own (really beautiful) bog babies to take home.

In all, we had a lovely week celebrating books and creating memories and inspirations that will flow on through the year to come.