This time last Tuesday I was anxiously awaiting my turn to speak in front of an audience of about 100 very influential ladies. These ladies had assembled from various WI branches to put four of us through our paces as potential WI registered speakers. The WI aims to ‘inspire women’. I was hoping to inspire in this particular group of women a love of picture books.
The WI auditions all potential speakers and so to be accepted onto ‘the list’ is a pretty big deal. The aim of my talk was to instill an appreciation of the variety and quality of picture books available today. I wanted to encourage them to think outside the obvious best sellers and to make bold innovative exciting choices when next shopping for books for their children or grand children. Luckily, with the tremendous range and quality in picture book publishing, the books do the talking. I distributed my collection of carefully chosen picture books through the audience; fiction, non-fiction, wordless books, picture-less books, hardbacks, softbacks, board books, books with challenging content, lyrical, rhyming, gentle books, different illustrative styles. Collating my list has been a tricky task but has made me appreciate the variety in picture books all the more.
The books must have done the trick because I have now been told that I made the grade and I hope I will be unleashing my enthusiasm for picture books on WI branches in the not too distant future. This means I get to talk about picture books for 30-40 minutes in front of people who actually want to listen instead of my long-suffering friends and family! I can’t wait!