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Hay Festival: James Mayhew
IT’S quite something to hold the attention of an auditorium full of young children, but James Mayhew, one of a plethora of hugely talented children’s authors and illustrators at this year’s Hay Festival did it with ease.
He gave a succinct and inspiring account of his artistic beginnings, touching on his early fascination with great works of art, something which was to directly influence the creation of his first book – Katie’s Picture Show, which features a little girl who can magically climb into paintings, and kicked off series which continues 23 years on. It’s even spawned a stage adaptation – Katie and the Mona Lisa.
The meat of the matter was James – also the creator of the Ella Bella Ballerina series and illustrator of the Mouse and Mole books, telling stories and illustrating them upside while holding his young audience mesmerized.
If I needed any further proof that this was pure inspiration for a six-year-old, I was presented with it the next morning when my son painstakingly recreated one of those spontaneous illustrations.
It’s worth being realistic about how much you can actually do at the festival with young children before it all ends in tears.
But if you can make just one or two of these, it’s pure gold.