David Baddiel took to the stage to launch this year’s Doncaster Book Awards to a packed house of children at The Dome (1st October). The DBA, for who I vounteer as treasurer (amongst other things) is now in its twelfth year. We've got a simple goal: to get every child in our town reading for pleasure. Given the amount of children queuing up to get their books signed, our mission is now one large step closer to being accomplished!
Baddiel’s children’s book, ‘The Parent Agency’, is on this year’s DBA longlist. It’s the story of a boy who becomes tired of his parents and so visits the titular agency to choose new ones. Fears that this could be another ‘celebrity cash-in’ are soon evaporated - it is a funny and original read, with its contemporary themes and outlandish characters particularly likely to appeal to boys, a hard-to-reach group as any teacher will tell you. However, I think it’ll be Baddiel’s computer games themed follow-up ‘The Person Controller’ (premiered at this event a week before its official release date) that’ll give that other comedian-turned-author-called-David a run for his money!
I also got to go on stage to 'gallop' through this year's longlisted books. I got this down to five minutes (for all 20 books), including very short video clips of kids from my class reading laughing (and screaming) at the books. I've done the gallop before but always find it difficult to make it entertaining (and short). I think I've got it down to a tee now - this year it went down really well and got plenty of laughs!
Children will now read and vote for their favourite new books of the year (as well as the ‘Classics’ list, which this year have an international theme) at www.doncasterbookaward.net, before the winner is announced at a Brazilian Olympics themed extravaganza in the Spring.
We also host free drama, animation and dance workshops on the literary theme, with all events open to both primary and secondary school pupils - so if you know a school that isn’t taking part, be sure to put them in touch.
David Baddiel 'The Parent Agency' review... celebrity vs 'proper' authors