Making children's fairytales come to life
Best-selling authors, musicians and other famous West Country people are backing Somerset County Council's campaign to recruit more adopters during National Adoption Week.
Terry Pratchett, creator of the Discworld series, and Tommy Banner from The Wurzels, are among those who have backed the 'Time for a Story' campaign by sharing their favourite memory of reading a children's story with a loved one.
Sharing a children's book can create some of the most magical moments of both childhood and parenting. The 'Time for a Story' campaign aims to get people talking about these special moments and thinking about adoption.
Members of the public are also being encouraged to post their own fondest moments of being read to or reading to their child on the organisation's Facebook page.
Two adoption information events are being held in Somerset during National Adoption Week next week. They are an opportunity to find out about adoption, ask the council's adoption team questions and speak to adopters about what it is really like to adopt.
One is being held next Monday at the Holiday Inn, in Taunton, between 7pm and 9pm. The second is being held on Wednesday, at the Northover Hotel, in Ilchester, between 7pm and 9pm.
Councillor Frances Nicholson, cabinet member for children and families, said: "Anyone thinking about adoption can come along to an information event to find out more. And if you want to help but don't have the room or time in your life for a child, help spread the word about adoption by liking us on Facebook, getting involved in our children's book poll and posting your own memory of sharing a children's book."
Author Terry Pratchett said: "I think the first book my wife Lyn and I read to our daughter Rhianna was The Maggie B by Irene Haas, which she greatly enjoyed, and she had two library tickets of her own before she could read. Later she came to love Tove Jansson's books, as I had copies of every one."
Tommy Banner from The Wurzels remembers reading bedtime stories to grandson Oliver. His favourites were Fireman Sam, Roary the Racing Car and The Gruffalo.
Mr Banner recalls: "I think I enjoyed reading to him as much as he enjoyed being read to because it gave me the chance to do the different voices and he loved that. I'd go upstairs saying 'you're getting one story, maybe two', then end up reading three or four."
Exmoor-based wildlife photographer, author and television presenter Johnny Kingdom said: "When I was growing up it was Robinson Crusoe that really made an impression on me. It's a great book full of adventure and exciting far away places. The palm trees the long white beaches seemed like a different world and I loved hearing about them. I passed it on to my children who have passed it on to theirs."
Charles Hazlewood, the renowned British conductor who hails from Somerset, said: "I have spent many happy hours reading the astonishing and mildly surreal Moomintroll books to my daughter. Written by the extraordinary Finnish painter/author Tove Jansson, these sagas encapsulate the mystery, joy, black humour and bizarreness of life in a wondrously playful way.
"Despite their fantastical setting, these books are absolutely about life and the challenges of being a human being; my abiding memory of the shining look in my daughter's eyes, her sense of wonderment, as well as joy in the wicked humour and madness of the books, will remain with me forever.
"Children are more sophisticated and wise than we will ever give them credit for."
For details, visit www.adoptioninsomerset.org.uk or call 0800 587 9900