Endangered SpeciesI'm talking, of course, about librarians. They are disappearing at an alarming rate, and if they are allowed to become extinct, here's what will happen:
– Your local library will turn into a BLOCKBUCKS. This is an alternative to libraries, and is a combination of Blockbuster and Starbucks. Yes, libraries need to move with the times, but these are exciting times where the written word is concerned, full of possibilities. We need to E-X-P-A-N-D choice, not limit it. Think of all the gazillions of books that have been published since 1439, not all of them by Jacqueline Wilson.
– Your school library could disappear overnight. Yes, this could really happen! For all I know, it has already. You need your school library; where else are you going to hide when you haven't done your maths homework?
The good news is, you can do something about it! Check out Alan Gibbons' blog for more info about his Campaign for the Book.
Me and JK Rowling
I know about the Campaign for the Book because I went to a big conference for children's writers at the weekend. We were in a large hall full of some VERY FAMOUS children's writers. Like Philip Pullman! Michael Rosen! Ann Fine! And many, many others, all together in the same place. Just imagine.
Well anyway, I mention this because I'm always being asked if I know JK Rowling. And the answer is no, I'm afraid I don't. In fact, I don't even know anyone who knows her. I think she only hangs out with the Queen and Stephen Fry. But I do know some other wonderful writers and illustrators, and here to prove it are some pics of me with them. That's me with Kath Langrish, Jane Ray and some teacups...
And here I am with Catherine Johnson, Dee Shulman and invisible teacups.
Among other things, I got to hear from Celia Rees about how she does her historical research, and learned all about William Nicholson's career as a novelist and screenwriter. It was tremendous! Oh, and Joyce and Polly Dunbar were there. I'm still not related to them.
This is a long post, because I was away in Scotland with my family. A friend told us not to go to Scotland, because it was full of midgets. I said, 'that's OK, I'm vertically challenged myself.'
Then someone else said the same thing.
Then we found practically everyone we met was saying, 'don't go to Scotland, it's full of midgets'.
And I started to feel sorry for all those Scottish midgets, so lonely up there in the blustery braes, with no-one visiting them because everyone's telling them not to. So we jolly well went. And it was FANTASTIC.
We climbed down this (we came back up a different way!).
...And this is what the beaches are like:
But what about those midgets? Well, as those of you who've been to Scotland in the summer/live there will already have guessed, all those people were talking about midges. Yes, there are those too, but it's Not That Bad! And other places have mosquitoes. We had a wonderful time.
We even came across the odd endangered species (see what I did there? Back neatly to my opening theme). Here I am with one very rare beasty:
And finally, here I am with one very wee Scottish person (but not a midget). Her name is Isobel Gunn, she is my oldest cousin, and she is lovely. She ran a shop in Kingussie for sixty years, and still sings in the church choir.