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  • matthewsoare


For those of you who don’t know or haven’t worked it out from the tweets on this site, I am a librarian. I work in a library. It’s brilliant. I love my job. Because it means I get to be involved in work like I am about to write about.

About a year ago was asked to help out with the Stan Lee Excelsior Award organised by the pretty legendary Paul Register a school librarian from Ecclesfield.

The Excelsior award is a book award for graphic novels, voted for by 11-16 year olds. Which is a brilliant idea (as well as having approval from the big man himself) to help encourage kids to read more, by reading graphics which can seem less intimidating.

This was the first year schools from Hull took part and on Friday last week I was lucky enough to join a coach full of students from two hull schools on a visit to Paul’s school in Ecclesfield.

Right from the outset it was a fun day, with the children, school librarians and an art teacher (with an impossible anagram) laughing and joking, with some drawing and ‘discussion’ over which Pokemon is the best (I will admit they lost me there).

When we arrived at the school (admittedly a little late) I was pleased to find out that Paul had held up proceedings a little so we didn’t miss too much. Upon arrival we all received a free comic ( as a ‘grown up’ I got one of each) and we headed to the already very full lecture hall.

Paul then fired up the massive screen behind him for some audience participation…. 4 comic related images with a link. What’s the connection?

Guess the connection and win a badge, then spot which of the four is the odd one out, and why…. Guess correctly and win a badge!

After a couple of these everyone was getting involved. Including I have to say me. I had my hand up with all the students trying to guess and win a badge (I didn’t) but it is not important. What is important is the number of people with their arms in the air wanting to answer questions…I have to say that this really got everyone laughing and involved and I might steal it for our own awards events.

The key speaker for the day was Emma Vieceli, a well known graphic artist who has worked on some of the Manga Shakespeare books. Who spoke very enthusiastically about being able to work in the industry.

A show of hands asking those present who draws, who writes and who has made their own comics produced a large number of hands in the air.

After an unknown amount of time talking (not too long despite her concerns) and a rapturous applause for Emma, Paul returned to the stage and announced the winners. The first award was announced which was the Judge A Book by It’s Cover (JABBICA) which is voted for by the school librarians. I’m not going to tell you what won.. Go to the official website. Read it there (www.excelsior I’m also not going to tell you what the top three books were, you’ll have to find out for yourself.

What I am going to say is that I had a truly amazing day and it was awesome to see so many students engaged in reading and talking about books. The return journey was much quieter as people were reading the new books they’d bought and I could finish my book too 😉

I would like to thank Paul for organising what is obviously such a popular event, and the staff and students from the schools in Hull for getting so involved and making me look good.

Same time next year? Oh yes!

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