The vast range of leisure and entertainment opportunities available to children and young people across different media and platforms often means time for reading faces great competition. In comparison with many other pursuits, reading is less immediately accessible. A written book reveals little until it is picked up and the words are being read. It requires a leap of faith on behalf of the readers. For those who are less confident or skilled as readers, this can be a large hurdle to overcome.
Since its opening, Seven Stories, the Centre for the Children’s Book, based in Newcastle, has always excelled at bringing the world of books and stories to life. Its range of interactive exhibitions, the opportunities it provides to interact with the inner imaginative world of different books and authors, gives body and structure to the artform, while its unique archive of original manuscripts and illustration offers a rare glimpse into the creative process of some of the most innovative and influential children’s book creators.
Few exhibitions have embodied the immediacy, and also the power of children’s stories in transcending media as Seven Stories’ latest exhibition, ‘Moving Stories’. At its heart lies a dozen stories, plucked from the bookshelves. Stories include classics like J. M. Barries ‘Peter and Wendy’, tried and tested modern favourites like Julia Donaldson’s ‘The Gruffalo’. Each of the stories has been adapted into film releases and the relationship between story, book and film are explored via a range of original illustration, set construction and design, scripts, costumes and extracts of the book. Opportunities for children to actively participate abound allowing audiences the opportunity to fully enter the world of book, story and movie magic for themselves.
Do you find that film adaptations cause a peak in interest in the books they are inspired by? Have there been films that you feel have conjured the mood and magic of the story they stem from incredibly well? Likewise, are there any you feel that have simply strayed too far? We’d love to hear your views.