On October 21st, My Big Brother JJ author Odette Elliott met the children at Salusbury Primary School in North West London. Salusbury is billed as the most ethnically diverse school in Brent, which is quite a claim in the most ethnically diverse borough in London! Odette addressed the whole of Year 2, who had all read JJ with their teachers. Each class had five copies of the book. Odette answered the children’s questions and conducted a signing.
On Friday and Saturday 16-17th October, Tamarind ran a stand at the annual Special Educational Needs Show in the Business Design Centre, north London. The entire list was on display to the five thousand specialist teachers, carers and consultants who visited for the workshops, seminars and resources at the show.
The Silence Seeker went down particularly well. Several attendees stood round the stand, quietly reading the lyrical story. Many buyers planned to use it for assemblies and class discussions, and to use its stylish, intricate illustrations to encourage interest from reluctant readers of all ages. The friendship without words in the book has special resonance for teachers of children with little English and those focused on social inclusion. Several Tamarind titles feature disabled characters and SEN themes, such as self esteem, inclusion and bullying. The books provide excellent support for SEN practitioners.
Comments on the day included:
“My kids loved Caribbean Animals. They were asking me questions about the animals for ages!”
“I want to buy them for my own children – not just for work.”
“You’re my favourite publisher.”
“The day has been amazing and getting The Silence Seeker is the perfect end.”
On the 5th – 9th October, the Shoreditch Trust held its first children’s literary festival in Hoxton Square. At the StarLit Festival, which coincided with National Children’s Book Week, pupils aged 5-15 from local schools participated in a week of workshops, book sales and signings. The guest authors included former children’s laureate Michael Rosen and RHCB author Catherine Johnson.
Tamarind authors and illustrators were invited to host workshops. Gillian Swordy, first-time author, joined the festival from Gloucestershire, and was delighted to see her book, Reading between the Lions, fly off the shelves.
Karin Littlewood, illustrator of Siddharth and Rinki and The Dragon Kite, led teachers and children from Burbage Primary in drawing their own dragons on a flowing frieze. Pupils at Randal Cremer Primary each designed their own noisy city scene with Carl Pearce, illustrator of The Silence Seeker and The Night the Lights Went Out.
Specialist children’s bookseller Victoria Park Books facilitated sales, and all the Tamarind titles sold out.
On Wednesday 7th October, illustrator Patrice Aggs came up from Sussex to meet author Odette Elliott and launch their picture book My Big Brother JJ. The launch was held at a school local to Odette, Leopold Primary School, Willesden. The event was covered in the local press, and sales were organised by the Willesden Bookshop. Every copy of JJ sold out on the day, and 50 Tamarind catalogues were also snapped up by parents. Willesden Bookshop have arranged a further book signing date with Odette for lucky locals.
On Friday and Saturday 2nd and 3rd October, Tamarind exhibited its list at the annual Times Education Supplement Show. TES is one of the biggest shows for teachers, pre-school practitioners and education decision makers. It provides a great opportunity to get an overview of the education market and meet new buyers. Over 250 books were sold and 450 catalogues given out. Several buyers also signed up for our e-newsletter. Keen buyers had travelled from as far away as Bermuda, South Africa and Saudi Arabia and expressed an interest in purchasing Tamarind books nearer to home.
Tamarind’s first activity pack is now available for free in hard copy and to download. The pack includes six pages of activities with a maze, word games and quizzes, plus a double-sided poster.
Each sheet is connected to one or more Tamarind titles:
The pack is proving to be a popular resource for primary teachers, parents and librarians. Packs are also distributed at events and by Readathon, Askews Library Services and Peters Library Services. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for hard copies.