Julia Donaldson is one of the U.K’s best-selling authors. Her most famous creation, The Gruffalo, has not only sold millions of books worldwide, but as an animated film is becoming a family favourite at Christmas time with the voices of Robbie Coltrane as the Gruffalo. The Gruffalo was recently chosen as the favourite book amongst parents and children by a survey from the free reading scheme – ‘Booktime’. It was also voted the nation’s favourite bedtime story by BBC Radio 2 listeners. More locally, she is regular and popular visitor to The Cheltenham Literature Festival, where many Gloucestershire schoolchildren have seen her perform from her wide range of books from Room on the Broom to The Snail and the Whale.
Julia has lent her support to those campaigning to raise awareness of the value of public libraries, particularly for parents and children, and during times of economic crisis:
“I think it is very short-sighted to close libraries, especially because that is where a lot of children gain and develop a love of books and reading and can extend their repertoire. Sometimes governments and local authorities seem to forget that children are the adults of the future. I used to love going to my local library as a child, and quite possibly if it hadn’t been for my excellent librarian who introduced me to a wide range of books I wouldn’t be an author today. (After 50 years I am now back in touch with that librarian.) My own children also used to enjoy their jaunts to the library, and when they were small it was the main way they and I found out and sampled the wide range of books which are out there but which are not always evident in bookshops with their 3-for-2 policies. In any case, with so many bookshops closing, there is even more of a need for libraries. What’s more, many libraries are venues for mother-and-toddler rhymetime sessions and the like, so their closure would be a big blow to those children, parents and carers. Maybe the thinking is that it’s an easy way to save money, but I don’t believe that’s the case, as a less literate population will be one with more crime, social problems and all the attendant costs. So keep our libraries open!
Many many thanks to Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries for passing on this contribution to the library-cause!