EAFOL: Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature 2014

March 16, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

We attended the Friday and Saturday EAFOL events again this year.

Julia Johnson presenting her new book The Turtle Secret

I started with the presentation by Julia Johnson on her new book The Turtle Secret. It is a chapter book intended for ages 8-12. The characters are Emirati and the story revolves around sea turtles, poaching, and the need to protect these endangered animals. I picked up two copies, one for me and one for my library. It is excellent. I would love to have a class set (20+ copies) so that our students could read it together. We need many more titles like this written with local interest and in the English language. These are crucial in helping students learn English.

Jim Al-Khalili presenting about his book Pathfinders

Next was Dr. Jim Al-Khalili. This was the best presentation I attended. Very interesting. They should have given him two hours instead of just one. I purchased his book Pathfinders: the Golden Age of Arabic Science. I hope it is as interesting as his oral presentation. I hope that they invite him back next year and give him more time.

panel discussion

Charlie Higson and Philip Reeve had to carry on without Eoin Colfer who was unfortunately ill and absent. These authors are very humorous and enjoyable to listen to. After this session I’ve put Reeve’s King Arthur book on my list to buy.

Sally Gardner presenting her fairy detective series

I had not heard of Sally Gardner before and found her very interesting. She has dyslexia and has had to find ways to cope with the challenge that presents when writing stories. She is a staunch advocate for changes in education to help students who don’t fit the “normal” pigeon hole. I look forward to reading her books.

Philip Reeve and Sarah Mc Intyre on stage

Next was Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre promoting their collaboration Oliver and the Seawigs. One of the best parts of going to all the children’s literature presentations is that they are usually interactive and the audience (filled with kids and parents) are responsive and enthusiastic.

Sarah McIntyre and her sea monkey drawing

The villain’s minions are sea monkeys, so Sarah walked us all through the process of drawing our own sea monkey. Here is mine:

pencil drawing of a sea monkey

Time for a singalong:


Charlie Higson

Charlie Higson, again, very interesting to listen to and gives the kids in the audience good advice about writing.

Eoin Colfer on stage

Eoin Colfer recovered enough for the second day. He spent the whole time telling funny stories, mostly on his own children. He was originally intended to promote his new book series W.A.R.P., but he took a look at the age of the audience and decided the book wasn’t age appropriate. He had them laughing with several bodily function stories (involving the phrases “pee pee,” “poo poo” and “pee poo!”) He’s an excellent storyteller. I picked up a copy of The Legend of Spud Murphy which is a story about a mean librarian. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I’m tempted to read it to my students.


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