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Guardian Children's Book Editor Drops in at University

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Writer and Guardian Children’s Book Editor, Julia Eccleshare, shared her experiences with students at the University of Worcester during a visit last week.

The University is renowned for its expertise in children’s literature, in both writing and illustration, and Ms Eccleshare’s visit was one of a number of recent and planned events promoting this work.

Ms Eccleshare spoke about the great tradition of picture books in the UK and the changes in making them and reading them as the new technology of ebooks and apps is developed.

“Children’s books are more important than ever right now,” said Ms Eccleshare. “Not just for children but also as the fount of culture of all kinds. They provide the ‘stories’ which excite and delight listeners, readers and viewers.

“Students like those at Worcester have a thrilling creative future in their hands; they need to be familiar with the very best traditions from the past while also embracing the exciting – and challenging – opportunities of the future. How we entertain and teach children in the best possible way is vital; today’s students can make it happen. It was a pleasure to meet the new generation of creators.”

Julia’s visit was organised by Jean Webb, Professor of International Children’s Literature at the University, with Ali Stevenson, Children’s Book Design lecturer, and Piet Grobler, Illustration lecturer.

Ali Stevenson said: “The Children’s Book design module, as part of the Graphic Design and Multimedia course, provides students with the opportunity to not only learn about the design criteria and techniques specific to children’s books but to also understand where children’s publishing is heading in the future. Julia’s wealth of knowledge in this area and her dedication to ensuring that children are provided with the very best in publishing, whether it be in book or app format certainly communicated itself during her talk.”

The University has a long-standing commitment to children’s literature. It runs an annual children’s storytelling festival, called Beeline, which last year involved around 500 local schoolchildren. There are also two Professors of Children’s Literature, and modules on the graphic design and illustration courses preparing students for work in this field.

The University is currently also involved in creating one of the largest children’s libraries in the Country, inside The Hive, Worcester’s joint public and university library opening in July.