Recently my daughter Anna was invited to the grand opening of Jacqueline Wilson’s exhibition, Daydreams and Diaries at Seven Stories in Newcastle. We took two trains and a taxi to get there, and were very impressed by the amazing Seven Stories building which is a converted Victorian mill right next to the river.
Inside there are seven levels with a lovely café, a big bookshop, a library, storytelling areas and lots of wonderful displays. This special centre for children’s books has a collection of work from many famous writers and illustrators, and they have lots of great author events all through the year.
This was a very exciting day for us because Anna’s artwork was on display in the exhibition! Naturally I had to take pictures of everything!
There was a lovely tea all set out for us, with elegant cake stands, delicious sandwiches and even sweets in glasses you could just nibble to your heart’s content! Among the drinks on offer was pink milk for the children. I used to love that when I was little, and I must say I was tempted…
The exhibition tells the whole story of Jacqueline Wilson’s life, from her childhood when she wrote her first stories in little notebooks to her huge success as a children’s author today.
This is what you see when you first enter the exhibition. It looks like every book Jacqueline has ever written is covering the floor. We love the illustrations Nick Sharratt does for Jacqueline’s books, so it was great fun to examine every one (and Anna has read them all!) She took this picture, so you can see she wore her special shoes for the occasion.
The wall devoted to Jacqueline’s fans is covered from top to bottom with letters she has received over the years. These come from children all over the world who love her books. They send her drawings, story ideas and sometimes even gifts! Two of these (soft toys her fans have made for her) are in special cases mounted on the wall.
Anna feels really lucky to have several of her hand-drawn cards to Jacqueline on the wall. One is in its own case, and below it in another case is the card Jacqueline wrote back. (If you look closely you can also see the little lemur we made for Jacqueline for her birthday.) We are delighted that Anna’s work will be on display for a whole year, and then it might go on tour!
The exhibition is excellent and really worth a visit. You can see Jacqueline’s toys and favourite books when she was little, look at paintings that she once had on her bedroom wall, learn all about her first job writing for a magazine, and look at all sorts of amazing illustrations by Nick Sharratt.
You can also imagine what it would be like to be Tracy Beaker! Here is one of the rooms in the exhibition, a recreation of Tracy Beaker’s dumping ground where you can watch Tracy on the TV.
Anna might like to be a writer and illustrator one day, and Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt are both huge inspirations for her. We’d like to say many thanks to the Seven Stories team for inviting Anna (and her mum) to such an amazing event!