Books, books and books!
I was sitting at home this morning in the quiet after everyone had left for school and work thinking about what I would write about today and my idea was ‘Seven stories’ in Newcastle upon Tyne. It is the national archive and gallery which celebrates children’s books. Then a coincidence happened, I was watching BBC breakfast news and Julia Donaldson (author of ‘The Gruffalo’, ‘Room on the Broom’ amongst many others) was on the sofa talking about her new exhibition at ‘Seven Stories‘!
I have a love for Newcastle upon Tyne. It is an incredible city for which I have a great fondness. I was at university there for 5 years and my sister has lived there for years until very recently. Obviously the advantages that I take from Newcastle are very different now from my student days but that’s what makes this city so great. It has so many different sides to its personality, something for everyone.
We have visited Seven Stories many times and always had a super time. It really is an interactive children’s museum of books. The building is actually seven storeys high and is set in Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley. This is just out from town but easily reached by the yellow Quaylink bus (Q2) from The Haymarket in town.
Seven Stories has regular exhibitions. At the moment it is Julia Donaldson and Jacqueline Wilson. You can meet a full size Gruffalo, climb into Cave Baby’s cave and perform on a stage in costumes of Julia’s most popular characters. A few years ago there was an exhibition on Judith Kerr who wrote’The Tiger who came to Tea’. My girls still remember the full size Tiger and sitting in the exact kitchen from the book which had been recreated in the exhibition, even down to the pattern on the plates and cups which was exactly right! Creating memories like this is priceless!
There are arts and craft sessions for children every weekend, creative writing workshops for the over 11’s and even events for adults! The cafe is great for a coffee or lunch and you can watch out over the water of the River Ouse.
The bookshop here is fantastic. I love children’s book so much and luckily both my girls love books too. For me personally this is so important. My eldest daughter is severely dyslexic and my younger daughter will most likely follow in her older sister’s footsteps. They both have a passion for books and stories and if my eldest is asked what she would like to be when she grows up what she she will answer ‘an author’. I am so proud of their positive attitude towards books and reading, it is something I have tried so hard to encourage. I still read to both of them every night. This enables them to enjoy stories and books which would otherwise be hard work for them.
This bookshop is heaven for them, they would buy piles of books if they could! On occasions I have come back to Seven Stories on my own just to enjoy the bookshop, to browse at my leisure rather than follow very excited children round the shelves! (you can just come to the bookshop without paying admission to the exhibitions)
If you love books and your children do too or if you want to encourage a love of books then this is a super place to visit and I would really recommend that you find time to come. The best places to visit are often hidden away as is ‘Seven Stories’. Find your your way down to the Ouseburn Valley and you will pleased you came to ‘Seven Stories’.