Top author from Wareham gives boost to local library

Successful children’s author Rachel Bright has cleared a space in her busy autumn diary to support her local library in Wareham and to help pass on the joy of reading to young children.

Rachel, of Wareham Forest, was thrust into the spotlight when England soccer captain Harry Kane chose to read one of her books on the BBC – at the same time as she started a national tour to launch a new book, The Gecko and the Echo.

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Rachel Bright at work in her studio in Wareham

Drawing and roaring at Wareham library

But she was determined to fit in a rare live reading at her local library in Wareham, a half-term ‘drawing and roaring’ session for children aged from three to eight years old on Thursday 27th October 2022. It’s proved so popular that it’s already sold out.

Rachel was shocked by recently published figures that nearly 20 percent of children aged between five and eight years old do not have a book of their own at home.

She says that access through books to worlds where anything is possible and children can become anyone they want is one of the most important elements of growing up.

Her two young daughters enjoy books including You’re A Bad Man, Mr Gum, by Andy Stanton and Jacqueline Wilson’s reimagining of an Enid Blyton classic, The Magic Faraway Tree.

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Rachel Bright and illustrator Jim Field at the book launch

Fascinated by The Never Ending Story

Rachel said:

“We are still very much knee deep in picture books at home, of course, and the girls love them. I never pick one of my own to read to them, but my partner does!

“I grew up in a home with so many books – my favourites were Winnie the Pooh and The Never Ending Story – I was fascinated by the little boy who was so obsessed with a story that he became the hero of it.

Rachel will host a roaring and drawing event at Wareham Library

“I wanted to support the local community”

Rachel added:

“I am delighted that I am able to attend the event at Wareham Library over half term where I will be doing a drawing of Goldy the gecko and reading The Lion Inside – but perhaps not quite as well as Harry Kane did!

“I very rarely get the opportunity to do live events because I am so busy with everything else and I’m a very dedicated mum as well!

“But we use the library all the time, I know the librarians at Wareham really well and wanted to support both the library and the local community.”

England and Tottenham striker Harry Kane read The Lion Inside – one of Rachel’s earliest books – on the CBeebies Bedtime Story slot on Monday 10th October 2022, and the programme can still be seen on the BBC iPlayer.

CBeebies

England captain Harry Kane read Rachel’s book on CBeebies

Very excited about Harry Kane’s book choice

Harry told the BBC:

“One of my favourite things is to sit down with my children before bedtime and read them a book. I enjoy this quality time with them.”

Rachel said that she had only been told about Harry Kane’s choice of book the morning before the broadcast and had been very excited.

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Some 4 million copies have been sold of The Lion Inside in 42 languages

Translated into 42 languages

Rachel said:

“I’m told that Harry wanted to choose a book to coincide with World Mental Health Day, and The Lion Inside is about empathy, friendship, confidence and self-esteem.

“But it was wonderful to hear that his three children love the book, and the best publicity I could have received!”

The Lion Inside has been translated into 42 languages since its publication in 2015 and has sold about 4 million copies.

Rachel and illustrator Jim Field have since collaborated on another five books and the latest, The Gecko and the Echo, has just been published and featured at the Cheltenham Literary Festival.

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Meet Goldy the Gecko, star of Rachel’s latest book

A real Garden of Eden on earth

Rachel said:

“I set it in Hawaii, which is my spiritual home with its rainbows and sunshine and beaches – a real Garden of Eden on earth.

“Our previous books have been set in Africa, Australia, Canada, the Artic and beneath the ocean, so this time I was able to send Jim photos and reference points from a real place and of course they are full of vibrant colours.

“The unique thing about picture books are that the illustrations can be shared between adults and children, and with the rhyming text it is accessible to everyone, whether they are two or 102.”

Hachette Childrens’ Books

The launch party featured an icing model of Goldy the gecko

Kindness makes the world a happier place

A launch party for The Gecko and the Echo featured a cake with the star of the show in icing, a gecko called Goldy who is obsessed with fame.

Goldy learns a valuable life lesson when a performance starts to go wrong – – that friendship means so much more than fame and treating people with kindness makes the world a happier place.

Further information

  • More about Wareham Library is on the Dorset Council website
  • Details about Rachel Bright’s books are on her website

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