With Roald Dahl Day falling on a Saturday this year (13 September), I knew the library would celebrate it in the week leading up to that date. And as it was my first big book event in St Aidan’s, I decided that the whole week would be devoted to Dahl.
As this year is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we used that novel for our theme. The week before our events, our newly recruited army of pupil library helpers prepared the library, with the help of some talented S6 pupils, by turning it into Wonka’s chocolate room, complete with a chocolate river flowing through the centre and an Augustus Gloop-filled pipe. By the start of our Roald Dahl Week, the scene was set.
Monday lunchtime introduced pupils to the characters of Charlie… as they were given the opportunity to interview Mr Wonka and an Oompa Loompa (aka a couple of very game teachers!) and find out about their lives in the chocolate factory.
On Tuesday, the chocolate room truly lived up to its name as pupils were invited to make their own sweets from mixed fruit, marshmallows and the contents of a chocolate fountain. Beforehand, pupils enjoyed some time standing about in the playground as, in pure synchronicity, the school fire alarm happened to go off at the same time as I accidentally burned the chocolate in a smoke-billowing microwave. (I will remember that moment should I ever be interviewed for CILIP Update’s “Most embarrassing professional moment”.) Back inside, and with fresh chocolate, pupils were also able to sample some teacakes gifted to us from Tunnock’s as well as goodies provided by our pupil Fair Trade group. And all this to the accompaniment of my dulcet tones reading aloud Augustus Gloop’s story – a warning about chocolate-gluttony if ever there was one.
Wednesday was a much more peaceful affair, with our writing group creating adverts for their Roald Dahl inspired inventions. Top inventions included the Eye Glass (texting, facetiming and TV watching all available via your lenses when you put your glasses on), Hover Boots for when you’re tired of walking, and the Clobber Cupboard (giving you complete, ready-to-wear outfits). After all that excitement, we needed a relaxing finale, so we ended the week with a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film show (accompanied by the left-over teacakes).
The week’s events have seen our lunchtime visits soar, a trend which will hopefully continue over the next few weeks as we launch the Scottish Children’s Book Awards.