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Suitcase of Stories

Writer, Sita Brahmachari, and illustrator, Jane Ray, inspire Year 7s with the Suitcase of Stories.

Our ex-Patron of Reading, Sita Brahmachari and the amazing and acclaimed illustrator of children’s books, Jane Ray came to the library on Thursday 19th May to spend time with a small group of Fortismere Year 7s.  Jane and Sita have been working with a local refugee centre and are using their skills and knowledge to create resources for PopUp Festival, a non-profit organisation which fosters a love of books and reading through creative festivals around the country.  Sita’s SOS – the Suitcase of Stories – was opened to reveal a huge quantity of objects which could evoke memories; one of our students also noticed that SOS could also mean a cry for help.  Each child was encouraged to talk about which objects they would take if they had to move away, and we had some surprising and often moving discussions about the choices.  Jane helped the students illustrate their suitcases and contents, and the lovely results will be made into a little book which we will keep in the library.  Both our visitors have the incredible knack of interacting with our students and building their confidence to enable them to talk about quite emotional subjects.  A lovely and worthwhile morning, enjoyed by all who attended; indeed, one student couldn’t believe she had been working in the library for two whole hours!  Quote of the day from one of our students to Jane Ray, illustrator of over 80 books: “You should be an artist”!