This week on Our Time of Gifts, we visited the London Children’s Book Swap at the Southbank Imagine Children’s Festival.
We’re regular frequenters of our local library. It’s great to have an almost bottomless supply of brain food, without having to fork out for it.
But giving books away?
To be honest, I find it incredibly difficult to part with anything I’ve enjoyed reading. Even a newspaper.
Children, on the other hand, grow out of books. I couldn’t have borne to give away any of their old favourites. Even those soulless ‘That’s Not My…..’ books are tinged with memories of sitting with a soft bundle on my lap, reaching his or her chubby arms out to touch the pictures.
But we do possess a fair few tomes that neither of the children have ever taken to. So, under the buggy those books went, and off to the train station we tramped.
And it was worth it: for the pain of parting with books that will never again be picked up, we managed to acquire some good quality volumes, including Dinosaur Sleepover by Pamela Duncan Edwards (which I’ve already been asked to read six times by Austin).
The Bookswap was part of a London-wide initiative, with events in a few different places, including the Polka Theatre, Barbican Children’s Library, and Discover Children’s Story Centre. It’s been running for three years now, and I hope that, with the growth in popularity of World Book Day, it’s likely to continue. At the Southbank, the London Book Swap was accompanied by a children’s clothes exchange and, even though we only set out to go there for the morning, we ended up spending most of the day out and about.
I’ve written about a more recent trip to Imagine elsewhere on this site. During this 2014 trip to the Royal Festival Hall, Austin, Gwen and their friends were entertained by a time machine, where they grooved around in front of the camera, then watched their dance sequence played back, either slowed down or in double-quick pace.
A thrifty week, then, this one. We gave away some books, and took some free ones back in exchange.
Valentine’s Day also fell in this week. D and I aren’t big on giving each other cards and flowers, unless it’s when the mood takes us. In fact, D was away on Valentine’s night, so I spent the evening blubbing over a girly film (Never Let Me Go – the sort that he would shift and sigh through, if I had made him watch it with me).
But the week wasn’t without its romance. The kind people at Imagine offered me press tickets to see Polly Dunbar (creator of Tilly and Friends) in a performance based around her new book. I wasn’t able to go with Gwen, so I offered the tickets to D. He, in turn, has guest written a post for this blog, which saves me an evening’s work.
Do go and check it out. It’s well-written; I might even consider giving him a regular slot…what do you think?
Click here to read more about Imagine Children’s Festival.