As some of you will know, we at Touchscreen Tales are based in the North East of England. This is a wonderful thing for all sorts of reasons but this weekend the one that stands out was our trip to Seven Stories.
I once overheard someone describe it as a ‘sort-of museum for children’s books’. And I had to stop myself going over and correcting them because although, I suppose, you could agree that was the case, at its heart Seven Stories is a celebration of imagination and probably the funnest place you can take kids.
“There’s a Gruffalo. A real one.”
You see this weekend we visited Seven Stories and took along a friend and her children after our daughter kept telling their daughter how fantastic it was. “There’s a Gruffalo. A real one.” It was difficult to explain outside of the obvious, to the adults at least, what to expect… Well there are seven floors… seven stories and, well… the exhibitions aren’t really like exhibitions… they have original artwork and the kids can play and dress up and…
In the end our friends came out of Seven Stories saying “Wow, that place is just so amazing, we have to come back…” just as we really knew they would.
It’s all about the story. Seven Stories.
When we started Touchscreen Tales, we started with the story. And everything we do, everything we will do on our future apps will be built the same way. When ‘I Don’t Like Spiders, They Walk On They Sky‘ was written it was written not as an exercise in what could be done with an app but how a good story could be added to. First with illustrations, then with interactivity and narration and so on…
But as we built our storybook app we also visited Seven Stories. Saw the Charlie & Lola exhibition, the Nuffin Like a Puffin and now the Julia Donaldson installation (with a real Gruffalo!) and we looked at how the established writers and illustrators did it. And we dressed up as dragons and princesses and we did sticking and gluing. And we listed to stories being read in the story attic and we tried our best to take in as much of this wonderful place and all the inspiration it offers and pour a few drops into what we were doing.
And occasionally we would have little daydreams about Touchscreen Tales appearing at Seven Stories one day. But mainly we just got the family together and enjoyed it.
On Saturday when we arrived the fabulous Jan Fearnley was in the story attic ready to read her new book ‘Harry and the Jaggedy Daggers’. We were nearly late and rushed in and she was warm and welcoming and read two of her stories to us (and the kids of course) as well as leading a little craft event making hats for the children. She was even on hand to personally help me out when I was completely unable to get the peak glued on! Jan was fantastic, and we would thoroughly recommend her new books (as well as any of her previous ones!).
You see Seven Stories is as much of a fuel to the imagination for grown ups as it is for children, it’s a unique and wonderful place that celebrates writing and reading and inspires kids in so many ways. So that is why we love Seven Stories and that is why whether you live in the North East or somewhere a little further afield you should come and see what the fuss is all about. You will absolutely not regret it!
Oh and a message to Jan Fearnley if you ever see this post – sorry about the photos, I seem to have caught you pulling funny faces!