This week Olympic silver medalist Christine Ohuruogu, helped us celebrate Black History Month with a wonderful day of events in East London. Fans were able to ask Christine questions and have their copies of Camp Gold signed.
In the morning she spoke to hundreds of fans at the Stratford Picture House before moving onto Redbridge Primary School. She was given a more than warm welcome by the students who had made a giant banner for her.
Christine was kind enough to let the students (and some members of staff!) try on her silver medal. We can confirm that it’s very heavy!
It was a fantastic day with a sporting superstar. What more could we ask for?
This year, Shell celebrates the 10th anniversary of its staff African Network. As part of the celebrations, Tamarind and various African and Caribbean exhibitors were invited to sell at the Shell African Network Expo yesterday. After spending two hours in security (!) we set up a stand with lead titles and discounted overstocks for sale. Staff on their way to the cafeteria or the company gym stopped to admire the stalls and buy art, fashion, furnishings and of course, books. The network’s chair led by example, buying over £30 worth of books for her children. Over the lunch period we sold 112 books, including 15 copies of the Barack Obama biography.
Tamarind catalogues will also go into goody bags for another network event tonight, where the star of one of our biographies, Attorney General Baroness Scotland, will be speaking.
Our most prolific author this year, Malaika Rose Stanley, launched her latest book, Miss Bubble’s Troubles, yesterday at Brecknock Primary School. Around 100 students from Years 1 – 4 attended the very special occasion. Malaika read an extract from Miss Bubble’s Troubles and then asked students to help her perform the “Brecknock Rap”: an original rap about Brecknock school and students, which Malaika composed herself. At the end of the launch, students helped Malaika officially ‘launch’ the book by counting down from ten to blast off! The launch was also attend by journalists from the Camden Gazette, Ham & High and Islington Gazette.
This time of year is always like a military operation at Tamarind. The editorial staff become booksellers on the road, couriering a mobile shop to education and cultural events, and meeting readers old and new. Boxes of books, hundreds of plastic bags, posters, rubber bands, table cloths and paraphernalia clutter up the office.
Every day for a week we’ve been either preparing for an event, or at an event. The first weekend of October loomed large and busy too: two days at the Times Educational Supplement show in Kensington Olympia, meeting educators, local government staff, nursery owners and trainee teachers. We discounted our overstock titles to £1 each especially for the show, a perfect offer in a time of budget cuts, and gave a poster to each buyer to bring positive images of black children to their homes and classrooms.
In 2 days, with 4 staff, in 5 square metres of space, we sold 1,054 books!
At this week’s second event, Tamarind set up shop in the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, Southwark. We sold 101 books to educators, local parents and trainee teachers who come to the centre each year to find resources that make every child feel included. Comments from attendees show how hard it still is for them to find quality multicultural resources in mainstream bookshops.
This year London Mayor Boris Johnson cut funding for Black History Month from £132,000 to £10,000. Consequently, various multicultural events and festivals are feeling the pinch or closing down. Despite these cuts, Croydon Council’s annual Multicultural Resources Fair expanded this year, filling a meeting suite at the local Hilton hotel and attracting exhibitors such as Oxford University Press, Hodder and Tamarind. This year’s event was rebranded as an Inclusive Resources Fair, reflecting the broader range of products and services.
Although many teachers had tighter book budgets, Tamarind’s timely overstock sale went down a storm. Local teachers bought 389 books, giving Croydon schools fantastic resources for BHM and a truly integrated library all year round.
Just yards away from where George Michael ‘whammed’ into a wall in his jeep, Tamarind launched its first novel. Author Ken Howard’s local Waterstone’s on Hampstead High Street hosted the event, with posters displayed in the windows and 70 books ordered for sale and signing. The beautiful upstairs space was opened up and librarians, booksellers, supporters and friends gathered to celebrate The Young Chieftain.
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From Ken Howard’s blog piece ‘Launched‘:
“Verna Wilkins, spoke movingly about her 23 year struggle to provide books for a multicultural society and quoted a glowing commendation for the imprint from Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen. Commissioning Editor Patsy Isles brought the company up to date with its first fiction title – The Young Chieftain – and I told the story of how it had originally been conceived as a movie with the giant Disney Corporation…
Suddenly it felt like the book was really published and my Young Chieftain was setting out, hopefully to survive and prosper in a tough world.”
All the books sold out that evening, and The Young Chieftain remains among the Top 10 bestsellers in the shop. Thanks to all the staff at Waterstone’s Hampstead, to Adam, Boji and Daniel for their superb reading, to Jonathan Ricks for the photographs and to everyone who made this a warm and inspiring event.
Tamarind will be on the road again this autumn, sharing the list with education practitioners. We’re visiting the Hilton hotel in Croydon on 27th September to meet local needs for inclusive resources. All the schools in the borough have been invited. It’s always a great exhibition to be at.
Here are some pics from last year’s show:
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Pore over a range of resources that you couldn’t find elsewhere. Equip your school with inclusive resources. Enjoy workshops and meet the people who create and distribute multicultural books. Tamarind will be among the exhibors at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) book fair. Several titles will be selling at only £1 each.
Multicultural Resources Fair
Wednesday 29th September 2010
12pm – 6.30pm
CLPE, Webber St, London SE1 8QW
CLPE is holding its seventh multicultural book fair where specialist booksellers and publishers display and sell their books and resources. The book fair will be of interest to teachers, early years practitioners, parents, librarians and students. www.clpe.co.uk
Last month, Class 3O at Brecknock Primary School studied the work of Tamarind author Verna Wilkins. They each wrote her a letter asking questions about her life. On Thursday, Verna visited Class 3O in person! Their teacher Siobhan reports…
Class 3O have been studying many books by the author Verna Wilkins, including biographies of Stephen Lawrence and Benjamin Zephaniah, as part of the Literacy Unit Authors and Letters. When they wrote to her to ask her to come and visit, imagine their surprise when she did! Especially as they were to first to hear her read her new book, Abdi’s Day which is not due out until September 2010. Here are some of the class’ comments about her visit:
Danae: “It was delightful that what I wanted to happen happened on Thursday because Verna Wilkins came when we wrote letters to her.”
Josh: “It was extremely good that our dream to meet Verna Wilkins came true. She is an extremely nice woman and she told us about how she wrote her books.”
Merrill: “It was amazing to see Verna Wilkins and her telling us her new story, Abdi’s Day. I asked her if she would ever write her autobiography and she said she would get to work on it when she gets home!”
Amal: “It was so outstanding to meet Verna Wilkins because I really want to be an author when I grow up and she told me everything about how to be a writer.”