Local pupils at leading Hertfordshire prep school, Edge Grove school, welcomed award-winning children’s author and illustrator Lauren Child, through its school gates for an exciting and inspirational visit. The popular author of Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean shared her writing technique, gave insight into her ideas and her plans for future projects.
Years five to eight were treated to an illustrated talk on Lauren’s newly completed Ruby Redfort series followed by an interactive Q&A session. Pupils quizzed the imaginative author on her creative process and how she turns her ideas into finished books.
Ben Evans, Headmaster at Edge Grove commented on the children’s enthusiasm, “We were very impressed by the thoughtful range of questions that the pupils came up with, especially the practical issues regarding publishers and her reaction to becoming famous. It was a great opportunity for the children to see first-hand how a widely recognised author generates ideas for stories and we hope her visit will inspire even more creativity in school.”
Years three and four had an illustrated talk on Clarice Bean and Lauren explained how this was her favourite series and that she had refused to allow it to be made into a TV programme. The pupils were shown how the talented author had used a different writing technique with some of the Clarice books such as beginning the story on the inside cover, this way Lauren gives Clarice a child’s voice that speaks directly and immediately to the reader. The subsequent discussion ranged from who has to share a room, like Clarice, to why Lauren takes and uses photos of the food her characters dislike such as peas and fish fingers.
After the discussions, pre-prep were treated to a mesmerising session where Lauren read her new Charlie and Lola book, One Thing. They then watched Lauren use a series of props to show how she illustrates her books. She explained how she uses both tidy and ‘messy’ colouring in her work, with ‘messy’ colouring conveying energy and interest to the reader.
Much of Lauren’s illustrating involves collage so she showed pupils how she draws and cuts out Lola and then places her against a variety of backgrounds (sticky backed plastic, wallpaper etc.) to bring the scene to life. Holding up images of an artichoke or an advert for household goods, Lauren demonstrated how these could be used to make a glamorous dress for Clarice’s mother.