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  • Writer's picturehannah brailsford

World Book Day 2024 - The Story!

The whirl of World Book Day, or should I say World Book week/fortnight 2024 is finished! It is always one of the busiest times of the year for me in schools and this year was no exception. I visited 7 primary schools and two nurseries over a two week period ( and still have one more to go next week) and told stories to all ages from 2 to 11 in state, private and SEN settings in both Kent and Essex. Days were packed, miles were driven, although thankfully this year I had more local schools and stories old and new were told. As ever, I have pushed myself more than I promised myself last year I would, but the stories and more importantly the listeners have carried me through.

Approximately 1,824 young people engaged with and contributed to the stories and made the long days a delight. The tales were fresh minted with each new group's ideas and responses and I was once more inspired by their imaginations and reminded of why it is I love my job. We all need to earn a living at the end of the day, but our work is so much more than the financial gain and that is why I count myself very privileged to play a small part in igniting young peoples love of stories and feel a great responsibility too. Sometimes that responsibility to make sure that the young people are given a positive experience to interest and inspire them, feels very weighty and I always question whether I did enough. The feedback from the schools has been lovely and that helps and I always try to find a special moment to remember when doubt niggles; when it all seems just too much of a burden to bear. This year it will be 60 year 1 children walking out of the hall holding their piece of the story and one particular child turning to me and whispering, "I'm never letting it go". That right there is what carries me through, lifts me up and inspires me to be better, because being told stories matters no matter how old you are.

I just want to finish by referencing the image I have used for this post. Ideally, I would have an image from the schools I have visited, but they are like fairy dust - rare to get hold of and so I turned to AI. When I asked for an image of a woman telling a story this is what the computer magic created. There are things I like about it, mainly that I can see lots of stories waiting to be discovered in it, but more importantly it will serve as a reminder that no matter how clever AI is, it can't capture or ever replace the magic of being a living, breathing storyteller.

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