Look! Seawigs have reached Germany! Here are some young rambling isles who we met last week at the European School Rhein Main in Bad Villbel, near Frankfurt.
Dressler, our German publisher, had asked Sarah McIntyre and I to go and visit some international schools to spread the word about Oliver and the Seawigs, or ‘Schwupp und Weg’ as it’s known in those parts.
Me, Stephanie, McIntyre and Mystery Guest.
Our main host was Stephanie von Selchow who is the librarian at the European School in Frankfurt. She’d arranged for us to do two sessions there, for her own students, and a visiting class from the Textorschule in Sachsenhausen. A lot of the kids had already read Oliver and the Seawigs, so after we’d talked a bit about it we went on to cakes in Space, which has just been published in Germany as Kekse im Kosmos. Most of the audience spoke good English, and it seemed to go down well – of course, some of the show needs no translation; the bit where Sarah hits me over the head with a mandolin case goes down well in any language. Ow.
That afternoon we had a quick wander around Frankfurt, and tried to draw some of the odd but attractive pollard linden trees which line the riverside.
Then it was off to the Goldmund Restaurant at the Literaturhaus, where we had dinner with Stephanie and some of her colleagues from ESF and other schools. As you can see, it was very grand, and the food was lovely.
The next morning we were picked up by Manuela Rossi, who whirled us down the Autobahn to Bad Villbel, where we talked Seawigs and Cakes to some of the students of the European School Rhine Main. Utte, the librarian there, showed us some of the great artwork the children had produced, including this fantastic tower of houses. It looks a bit like a Traction City from my Mortal Engines books.
Best question of the day: “Where did you get those GIGANTIC SHOES?”
We’d met Samantha Malmberg and Caitlin Wetsch from the school at the previous night’s dinner, so it was good to see them in their natural surroundings, and meet their students, who were VERY EXCITED TO SEE US. Some of the classes had done whole whole projects on Oliver the Seawigs, complete with some great drawings.
Samantha Malmberg with one of the drawings we did at accadis…
…and the seawig Sarah drew for Caitlin.
And after that we had a little bit more time to mooch around Frankfurt, in the guise of Mitteleuropean crime-fighting duo Peek & Cloppenburg.
Strange things were going on in Frankfurt city centre. Nobody seemed to be bothered by the fact that the shopping mall was being devoured by a freak wormhole…
Oliver and the Seawigs has won an award in Switzerland! It’s the Prix Enfantasie, organised by Payot bookshops and the Swiss Institute for Youth, and Sarah McIntyre and I are very pleased about it! Here’s her blog, with all the details. And here’s a little video we made since we couldn’t get to the award ceremony. Lots of people know McIntyre for her fabulous illustrations, but did you realise she can also throw a book more than 200 miles with pinpoint accuracy?
It’s been nice to see Cakes in Space turning up in some of the festive Best Children’s Books round-ups. I won’t link to them all because that would be Showing Off, but Sarah McIntyre and I both liked this review from 5-year-old Alan on Space on the Bookshelf. And I love the accompanying pictures, which prove – should you be hunting for last minute presents – that Cakes in Space and Oliver and the Seawigs do fit neatly into a Christmas stocking…