This time last week I was in sunny Newcastle visiting the wonder that is Seven Stories. For those of you who don’t know who Seven Stories are, here’s a bit from their website:
We celebrate the art of children’s books, their place in our childhood and in our culture. Seven Stories opened on the 19th August 2005, to showcase a national collection of manuscripts and illustrations of some of the UK’s finest authors and illustrators for children.
There are 3 main parts to Seven Stories. Firstly there’s the archive, which I’ve been lucky enough to have a look through on a couple of occasions. They want to create an archive of children’s literature that covers the actual making of the book not just the finished artwork or manuscript, so they have early drafts, rough illustrations, letters between the author and publishers as well.
The collection includes original artwork and manuscripts by around eighty authors and illustrators, including Philip Pullman, Robert Westall, Edward Ardizzone and Judith Kerr, and about 30,000 books. This means that for Judith Kerr they not only have the original Tiger Who Came to Tea artwork, but also drawings she did as a child.
Just over the bridge they have the main Seven Stories building. This houses their shop, event space, a café with amazing cakes and their exhibitions WHICH ARE INCREDIBLE. I am not going to go on about them, you can see for yourselves from these pictures:
There are 2 exhibitions on at the moment, Julia Donaldson and Jacqueline Wilson. In the Jackie exhibition they have even recreated her childhood bedroom.
The third part of their work, when not saving vital manuscripts for the nation and entertaining the world, is the wonderful outreach work they do. They have brilliant teachers’ resources, run school events, help libraries and generally act as a bastion of all things wonderful.