Saturday 7th June was my first Reading Force event. I confess that I was curious and concerned as to how it would all go. But all trepidation was instantly swept away by the wave of enthusiastic librarians. When I arrived, I found Emma and her energetic team busy in the midst of excited preparations. They were displaying bright bunting over a large party table topped with a deliciously decorated Reading Force iced cake, tempting strawberries and assorted fruits for children to savour.
Colourful carpets were being rolled out for the service families to banquet on. As soon as Reading Force representative Elaine Boorman arrived with armfuls of stickers and books too tempting for any reluctant reader to resist, we were ready for the off and the event started.
There was a tremendous family atmosphere that proudly celebrated the love of books and sharing these stories with children and their service parents. For such little ones to sit and listen intently to my Noisy Jungle tale and watch them wildly colour in their character masks and join in the jungle tale was inspiring.
However, the lucky children went on to hear another special story told by a dad in uniform who had brought two of his own toddlers, yet still made the time and space to read to everyone. That reading was the icing on the Reading Force cake which, I hasten to add was polished off well before the end of the event. Organized chaos was the order of the day and it was tremendous fun.
Reading Force is a new discovery to me in how books of all kinds are connecting families separated by distance, duty and daily routine. To see families bond and engage through a love of reading was such a joy. The experience was invaluable and this inspirational event was due to the dedication and commitment of Reading Force in providing the perfect platform for all families to unite through story.
Special thanks to my publisher - Little Tiger Press for generously providing a selection of my books for eager little hands to carry off and thanks to Marianne Pateman for designing such fantastic, fun animal masks to accompany the Noisy Jungle tale.