Comedian and author David Baddiel was in the good books with hundreds of Doncaster school children - when he kicked off a prestigous reading scheme.
The former Fantasy Football and Three Lions star spoke to nearly 800 youngsters at The Dome this afternoon to unveil this year’s Doncaster Book Award and also inspire children to turn over a new leaf and enjoy reading.
He said: “I hope the children here like my books and might be inspired to start writing themselves, or reading more books.
“Children are very creative and I hope that what they read in my books sparks off that creativity. The children’s book section is a growing market and I love talking to children and listening to their ideas because there are no boundaries on their imaginations when it comes to ideas.”
The stand-up star was in town for the 12th annual ceremony which encourages children from across Doncaster to pick their favourite children’s books from a shortlist.
David’s book The Parent Agency is on the long-list in this year’s awards and he talked about his first children’s book as well as his new book The Person Controller which tells the story of children being able to control the world using video games consoles.
He added: “I got a letter asking me to come to Doncaster and read my book and so here I am. I can’t remember if I’ve ever played in Doncaster before during my stand-up tours, but it is great to be here and seeing so many children who have hopefully enjoyed reading The Parent Agency.”
Lesley Hurworth, Doncaster Book Awards chairman, said: “We know that lots of students and young people who came along to the launch were inspired by his funny stories and they met him afterwards.
“Each year we organise a long list of the best in new children’s fiction and there is also a ‘classics’ list on a particular theme, this year we are ‘going global’ with titles from around the world.
“We were thrilled to work with Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust to launch this event the Dome and look forward to working with them as our long list becomes a shortlist and for the finale in the Spring.”
The Doncaster Book Awards is a volunteer led, not for profit, organisation committed to improving literacy levels in the town by getting all Doncaster children reading for pleasure.
Michael Hart, chief executive of Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust said: “We were proud to host this year’s Doncaster Book Awards and the launch event with David Baddiel was fantastic.
“We are sure that he will inspire lots of young people with his stories and we are really looking forward to working closely with the Doncaster Book Awards to get Doncaster reading.
At the event, DCLT launched a bookmark scheme where children, via their parents, register and are issued with a bookmark from their teacher. By writing a review of their first book they will receive a stamp which entitles them for a free visit to a DCLT leisure venue.
“Children are very creative and I hope that what they read in my books sparks off that creativity.”David Baddiel
“Children can then keep reading more books, to receive more stamps and exchange them for more free visits. This is a great way for us to get children from across the borough reading, writing and keeping fit,” said Mr Hart.
For further information visit www.doncasterbookaward.net