Ambassador Amanda Taylor shares her experience at the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) Festival in Wiltshire, UK. She shared stories and enjoyed a wonderful weekend of art, dance and music!

A weekend of storytelling at WOMAD? YES, PLEASE!

It didn’t take me long to accept the offer of a free weekend at WOMAD in return for one hour of story reading a day. With a list of Barefoot Books, all of them featuring the Festival’s theme of ‘floating and flying’ to read from, I was counting down the days.

The storytelling tipi in the children’s area was a calm and inviting space away from all the other brilliant attractions. But would the children come to listen to a story when they could also be watching Punch and Judy, designing coiled pots, having their faces painted, hanging out in the pom pom parlour, learning the West African harp…?

Oh yes, they would and oh yes, they did! Hooray! Every afternoon, I had a very engaged group of little ones who were keen to listen to more and more stories from our collection. It was so heartwarming to see how these children of ALL ages loved to hear a good story, loved to join in and to guess what might happen next, loved to help to tell a story, loved to look closely and for a long time at the illustrations and, most importantly, were willing to hear the stories again and again.

I came away from the festival feeling completely chilled (who cares about a bit of grubbiness when it comes with so much fabulous art, music and storytelling?). Not only had I managed to entertain groups of children for a good length of time, I had also been reminded of how such brilliant story books with engaging illustrations really do make a difference and how important it is that children continue to have access to them.

Do it again? Without hesitation!

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