I gave a hands-on, illustrated talk to the Burwell WI this week about writing picture book texts and illustrating.
Writers and illustrators shouldn't dismiss the WI when planning their calendar of engagements. The audience in Burwell spanned a range of ages - mothers and grandmothers. They were informed, interested and asked many questions. As well as receiving a fee, I was able to sell a lot of my books; the WI taking a small commission - 10% - for their funds.
Afterwards, two of the audience, a teacher and a school librarian, approached me about possible visits to their respective Primary Schools. The school librarian told me she was on the panel of the Kate Greenaway Award this year.
I've worked with older people on other occasions, during community residencies and found these events rewarding. On one, the inmates of a residential home were given sketch books and encouraged to write and draw in them. Several said they couldn't begin to write but I found they were natural story tellers when asked about their WW2 childhoods. Their vivid tales and anecdotes were recorded and later shared with some year 2 pupils.
All this makes me recall I'm a granny too - an overseas granny who only sees her grandchildren twice a year; missing, in between, all the little milestones of their development - first laugh, first mouthful of solid food, first steps, first sentence.
However, I'm compensating for this absence by creating new picture book stories with them very much in mind. Maybe if I were with them all the time I wouldn't feel the need to do this or I'd find there wasn't the time.