File 004Michael Morpurgo, A Lifetime in Stories; an exhibition curated by Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books, Newcastle upon Tyne 2nd July 2016 - June 2017

This is a unique opportunity to visit this remarkable collection of notebooks, manuscripts and correspondence that have been part of Michael Morpurgo's story writing, life and dreams. The exhibition combines much of his life and ethos and is woven into an iconic display, on the fourth floor of Seven Stories.

Take your time…. This exhibition requires that you stop and dream a while, reminisce or ponder on the way Michael can find stories in places, wherever he is; stories from the past, stories of animals, children and people, from war time and in present day. He is a great story teller and story writer and the author of over 150 books for children, Children's Laureate and a voice for reason and peace.

This blog will take you on our journey through the exhibition and point you in some directions, we hope it will mean you also will have chance to make this journey one day over the next year. It's worth it!

Michael Morpurgo was born in 1943 and went to boarding school at seven, and eventually into military officer training at Sandhurst and then he became a teacher. He found the military life difficult and as a teacher he wanted to help children to be creative, give them opportunities, take them out into the world and fire their imaginations, tell stories. There was a clash between curriculum driven tasks and this approach. Later, with his wife Clare, they moved to Devon, where they developed the City Farm for children.

He became friends with Ted Hughes and learnt that as he said, "I have a story of my own to tell and a voice of my own with which to tell it."

Interesting quotes from the videos at the exhibition in the Dreamtime corner are;
"Live an interesting life. Fill your head with this world, of which you are part, care about it deeply, make up your mind to write about events, memories, conversations and something will emerge."

"Lose yourself in the story, get into it and go for it; know the people, the place, let the dreams in your head reach the pen on your page, tell it as if to your best friend, as a secret."

There are many orange notebooks in the exhibition, school notebooks filled with Michael's writing, thoughts, changes, crossings out and revision. He works and receives inspiration wherever he is, but his favourite place is his converted shepherds hut.

There are too many books to mention them all, but my favourites are; War Horse, which only sold a few thousand copies until it was made into a stage production and is now his most famous book, Farm Boy, the sequel to Joey the war horse, Why the Wales Came, set on Samson island in the Scillies, the Wreck of the Zanzibar, Alone on a Wide, Wide, Sea, The Dancing Bear and Waiting for Anya.

I will follow this blog with something more, there is a curiosity about the books, the man and his talents at finding the story and retelling in a wonderful style, which will mean further reading and an excuse to add more of his titles to our bookshelves.

A final quote,
"I know it, lying under the sun on a summer's night. I know it watching buzzards floating over the valley where I live. It is a learnt belonging from children who stop to gaze, to breath in the world about them, to feel part of it."

Michael Morpurgo, A Lifetime in Stories at Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books, Newcastle upon Tyne. A digitised archive is available on 7 storieswww.sevenstories.org.uk/collection

Sue Martin Books Go Walkabout and Dolphin Booksellers

 


Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.


Image 1Kevin Crossley-Holland,celebrated author and President of the School Library Association, delivered an enchanting and beautifully crafted lecture:

'Footprints on the Grass: Speaking of Gardens and Children's Books' to a full house at Homerton College Cambridge on 6th September.

The theme of gardens was delicately drawn into ways in which children use imagination within places where there is space, beauty and security.

Kevin talked about John the Peddar from Norfolk, is journey to London following a dream about a pot of gold, only to turn back and return home where the pot was in his back garden.

' The greatest treasure in the world is on our doorstep, but you may have to go away and come back to find it.'

There were many references to Philippa's writing, and especially her most famous book, Tom's Midnight Garden.

Philippa Pearce died in 2006, but respect and affection for her writing is as strong as ever. In her memory, a series of lectures is now underway, each intended to celebrate excellence in writing for children.

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The inaugural Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture was held on 11th September 2008, at Homerton College, Cambridge, and focused on Philippa Pearce's own writing and contribution to children's literature. Subsequent lectures have ranged more widely and speakers have included Michael Rosen, Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman and Malorie Blackman.

The 2014 Lecture will be given by Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Kevin's speech was filmed and will be available on the Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture website soon. http://www.pearcelecture.com


Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.


book5Crossing Boundaries:Translations and Migrations

33rd year of the Ibby World Congress 23-26th August.

Imperial College, London

A wonderful exploration of how books and stories for children and young people can cross boundaries and migrate across different countries and cultures.

Globalisation, cultural exchange,dual language texts are amongst the discussions.

People from all over the world interested in children's books with space and time to be creative and talk about bringing books to children across a global village.

Anthony Browne, UK Children's Laureate, will be there, along with Julia Donaldson and Michael Morpurgo.Aidan Chambers, Shaun Tan, Beverley Naidoo and Candy Gourlay plus many more...

We hope to share some of the Books go Walkabout project and just spend some time talking to others from different countries. Sharing stories, finding ways to bring books and stories to children.

What could be better?

Sue Martin

Books Go Walkabout Dolphin BooksellersIbby 33

Image from 33rd Ibby International Congress

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Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.


war horse

 

War Horse, that amazing book written by Michael Morpurgo, and dramatised in the West End at the New London Theatre will shortly be available at the movies.

 

Steven Spielberg's latest film production, War Horse, is opening at cinemas on January 13th. It has already been acclaimed for its powerful and thought provoking message.

With a great line up of actors, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Emily Watson and Peter Mullen, and over 200 horses, trained by Bobby Lovgren the film shows the story of the relationship between a boy and a horse.

But yet, there is so much more.... more than a million horses were sent to the front during the first World War,only 62,000 returned. The horse, Joey,is taken through so many different places and into such horrendous situations. It is a tale of endurance, courage and the pitiful way that war treats humans and animals alike.

There are many newspaper editorials, but try The Observer or The Guardian for some extra information.

A remarkable film, an outstanding theatre production and an even better story, written and developed by Michael Morpurgo.

See you at the movies

Sue Martin

You can buy the book through Dolphin Booksellers- the best in children's books always on line


Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.


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Grendel the monster stalks the land

After struggling to make any sense of the awful and indescribable events in Oslo and Utoya I happened to listen to a radio programme with Michael Morpurgo.

Legends and folktales, he said, “ are warning tales, to alarm and terrify us, and to remind us of our own frailty.
The tales of Beowulf and Grendel in Norwegian folklore are bold and scary, Grendel preys on people, bringing death and destruction. Beowulf confronts Grendel and kills him but this is not the end of it. Evil is not so easily vanquished.

'Whatever the evil one is called, - witch,devil, troll or dragon, we have to be watchful and wary."

The last in the Harry Potter series, The Deathly Hallows part 2 shows the horrors that confronting evil can bring.

Books for children have a way of dealing with this through story, adventure, spine chilling experiences. Not all children's books are there for the happy ending, it is the way that children can understand the emotions that are most difficult. We put those emotions in the cupboard at our own expense.

As Michael Morpurgo says, “ The monsters are out there, and they are not like Shrek, they are like Grendel.”

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Sue Martin
Dolphin Booksellers the best in children's books always on line


Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.


beach hutAugust and at last a space in the diary for clearing the store of books. Well that is in the plan.

There are approximately 8,000+ books. What is it about books from the past, those children's novels that just have to be re-read? From The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner and The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo to 100+ways to make paper aeroplanes.

booksWay back in the winter we completely changed a school library into a community library. It's a fantastic space, with comfy chairs, computers, smart shelving units and books, of course.

Some of the sorted books will be going back into school, but the majority will be taken to places, mainly overseas, where books are in short supply. We are lucky that people we work with have many contacts with groups and can get the books direct to the children who need them.

So, I'll just read one or two more, then get back to packing into boxes.

Dolphin BookBox will give you information about our Community Library service, plus other things that we can supply too!

Visit the home page of Dolphin Booksellers for latest information.


Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.