My children’s reference & storybook is now fresh off the printing press this week. Naturally, published by Dragonweb Publishing ( my company), this is the book I simply had to write in order to bring awareness of our traditional holidays and festivals. Having 4 children of my own, it’s been quite an education to see how many of their peers have almost no idea about the wonderful history behind our most commonly observed holidays. During my early research days across Key Stage 2 children, I was often amused, if a little surprised by some of their ideas. On occasion, it transpired that the ‘gift of Easter’ was in fact ‘a car’, that Halloween came from America and that Guy Fawkes invented fireworks! Of course, this isn’t always children’s philosophy and schools are very good at raising awareness across all festivals and cultures these days. However, the ‘essence’ of our holidays and festivals seems largely diminished from that of around thirty years ago, when I was a child.
I can remember the first ever Halloween party I attended when I was aged nine. It was during the 70’s when all the commercialism of shop-orientated outfits hadn’t hit the UK and children were still carving swedes for lanterns, not pumpkins. I had been invited to my cousin’s party which my auntie held at home. I can remember being completely fascinated at the party as the whole garage had been festooned with countless lanterns hanging from the rafters, home-made ghosts and witches dotted about and a ‘wizard’ who visited us to tell some fabulous stories. We played apple bobbing and hunting weird Halloween gifts. I thought it was the most magical and amazing thing I’d ever experienced and it stuck with me forever. It was all built on an awareness of a festival and a boat load of creativity.
I have since continued with my own parties and passed down the tradition to my own children.
That kind of experience cannot be bought when it comes to igniting a child’s imagination. Children are wonderful at being given a seed of an idea and just running with it ad infinitum. Awareness, knowledge and imagination are, after all, the foundation of some incredible inventions. But in a day where we rely so largely on screens to entertain our offspring, I feel it is more important than ever to maybe pull the reigns back inwards a little and re-educate our children to appreciate the things around us every day.
The vast majority of our traditional holidays and festivals in the UK are borne from a wealth of cultures and beliefs over centuries gone by. They have evolved and changed enormously over the years and the stories behind even fairly innocuous events such as the British bank holiday are fascinating; even sometimes funny.
The Children’s Fab & Funsome Book of British Festivals aims to educate, amuse and ignite the imaginations of primary age children so they can approach our well known holidays with more knowledge and excitement throughout the year. Each month includes facts and an accompanying story (written by myself) about the holiday or festival. In- keeping with my whole philosophy that children should be given a chance to shine, the illustrations are provided by school children from Bristol and North Somerset.
The book is currently available on Amazon :
Please request a reference copy for reviews.
T E xx