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#YALC2018 #BeaCraftivist Activity Guidelines

IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU WANT TO TAKE PART IN THIS ACTIVITY IT WOULD REALLY HELP IF YOU HAD YOUR OWN NEEDLE (with large eye) AND SCISSORS (nail scissors) with you or back at your accommodation. I will not have enough of these to issue. Also feel free to bring your own thread.

We all know that book people are passionate people but, that at times, passion and fighting injustice can be draining. That is where Craftivism comes in. I found Sarah Corbett and her Craftivist Collective https://craftivist-collective.com/our-story/ through Unbound https://unbound.com and was intrigued by the concept of gentle/quiet activism.

The Pitch

What does reading mean to you? Want to save our libraries? Love crafting?

With a tv adaptation depicting Ray Bradbury’s Book Burning dystopia Fahrenheit 451 out this year and the failure of our government to protect our libraries or to properly fund school libraries the time for us to craft/write/speak up is now.

Come and take part in a craftivist event at YALC to create a wall of quiet activism. On Friday/Saturday come and collect your Craftivist pack and spend the evening reflecting on your love of books. Bring your completed crafts to create a wall of book love that will be shared on blogs, social media and with MPs. And, if I can find somewhere that accepts it it will be moved to be displayed at a library/bookshop after the event.

Kirsty Stanley is an Occupational Therapist, writer and book blogger at Books, Occupation… Magic! She can be found most places online @kirstyes. Along with her friends she turns 40 this year and is organising this to celebrate the importance of books and reading to personal development. With amazing YA literature being released today we need to ensure teens can get their hands on it.

Here are some links on underfunding of our libraries:

https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2017/oct/19/uk-national-public-library-system-community

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-42095945

Collect your pack (Fri or Sat)

I have around 350 packs available and I’ll put half out on Friday and half on Saturday. Come over to the Craftivist wall to collect your pack (I might not be there so just help yourselves – on a first come first served basis) and then over the course of the day or evening create your own “Craftivist book” to come back to hang on our wall of quiet activism by 11am Sunday. As soon as it’s ready feel free to add it straight to the wall. You might inspire others with your words.

Basically we will be recreating the YALC wall of books with our own.

If you are only attending YALC on Sunday or you simply want to get stuck in beforehand in case I run out of packs feel free to create your own “Craftivist book” out of materials you have at home and share it on the wall by 11am Sunday.

Craftivist Book Activity Guidelines

Each pack will contain a foam mobile phone case, a material insert, a length of wool, a heart hanger and sticky Velcro hook.

Additionally decide if you want to write or sew your message, and if the latter collect some thread from the box too. If you are writing use the Sharpies provided to write your message but please leave them at the wall for others to use.

Here is my step by step example as one idea. Feel free to tweak or to use your own embellishments.

Step one find the cut thread on one side of your mobile phone case. Unpick it down one side and along the bottom so it opens like a book (leave one side threaded) and leave your unpicked thread attached to use later.

Decide which is going to be the front cover of your book. I think the white side might be easier because you can write on it.

Title your “book” and add your name as the author of your message.

Next is the most important part – decide what your message is going to be. Why are books and/or libraries important to you?

Depending on how much time you have you can either write or sew your message. You can see I did both, and I used my writing as a guideline – no way could my brain work out freehand sewing 🤯. I also chose to share a quote that I love about libraries but do share your own stories and words too.

Then I used the unpicked thread to sew the pages into the book finishing at the top where I then threaded the excess through the wooden heart and tied it off into a knot too big to slide back through the hole.

Add your sticky Velcro hook to the back of the heart which will enable you to stick your message to the book wall.

Finally bind your book and your message with the wool. Take a picture and share. Use the hashtags #beacraftivist and #yalc2018 in your posts. Also feel free to come back here and leave a message in the comments about how you found taking part in the activity and what went through your head whilst creating your Craftivist book. Sarah terms these Crafterthoughts.

Book Wall Display

By 11am Sunday I’m hoping everyone will have shared their books so do come back to take a look at everyone else’s messages, take photos and tweet them out – especially to your local MP. You can find out who that is here – https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

I would dearly love for this display to live on beyond YALC so if you are happy for that to happen just leave your book on the wall.

IF YOU ARE A LONDON LIBRARY OR BOOKSTORE WHO WOULD BE HAPPY TO DISPLAY THIS AFTER YALC PLEASE CONTACT ME HERE. THANK YOU.

Thanks to Dorset Scrapstore for letting me purchase the mobile phone cases and fabric for £7!!! – I cleaned them out of the former. I thought the adaption of mobile phone cases into books was kind of ironic.

Find your local scrapstore here.

https://www.scrapstoresuk.org/scrapstore-locations/scrapstores-directory

If this activity has got you quietly fired up do consider picking up a copy of How to be a Craftivist by Sarah Corbett from your local friendly bookstore or, better yet, if you still have one, ask your library to stock a copy.

Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter – #YAShot2018 Blog Tour

Happy International Women’s Day everyone.

Today I’m pleased to be hosting an interview with author of Being Miss Nobody Tamsin Winter as part of the blog tour for #YAShot2018.

YAShot is the brainchild of author Alexia Casale and is a one day book convention taking place this year on April 14th. The theme for the programme this year is Human Rights and Being Miss Nobody is a perfect selection.

Synopsis

I have not been a very nice person

I have lied to a lot of people I know

I have done some bad things

All of these things I have done pretty much deliberately

…I am Miss Nobody.

Rosalind hates her new secondary school. She’s the weird girl who doesn’t talk. The Mute-ant. And it’s easy to pick on someone who can’t fight back. So Rosalind starts a blog – Miss Nobody; a place to speak up, a place where she has a voice. But there’s a problem…

Is Miss Nobody becoming a bully herself?

Interview with Tamsin Winter

What is selective mutism?

Selective mutism (SM) is an anxiety disorder which makes it very difficult or impossible for someone to speak in certain situations. In Being Miss Nobody, Rosalind can speak completely normally in front of her immediate family, and her slightly batty next door neighbour, Mrs Quinney. In front of anyone else she can’t say even one word.

What is the worst thing about having it?

Not being able to ask for help, not being able to make friends, not being able to express yourself freely. SM is a condition which makes so many situations incredibly difficult. During my research for Being Miss Nobody I read about a young girl with SM who broke her arm at school but was unable to tell anyone, and nobody noticed she was in pain. For Rosalind, the worst thing is the terrible bullying she experiences at school. She is known as the weird girl who can’t speak and, because she remains silent, the bullying goes (mostly) entirely unnoticed.

What is the most positive aspect of having it?

SM is an anxiety disorder which, believe me, is not very much fun! But, people who have anxiety are usually hyper-sensitive. I can remember being called sensitive like it was a bad thing, and I used to think so too. But now I don’t agree. Being sensitive means you have a high level empathy, that you experience emotionsdeeply, and that you know what it’s like to not find life very easy. An anxiety disorder is not exactly a party, but it isn’t a death sentence either. Living with a mental health condition can make achieving things really, really hard. But it doesn’t make it impossible. Rosalind finds an awesome friend in Ailsa, who accepts her condition, supports her and most importantly of all – shows her kindness.

One of our human rights is the right to freedom of speech and peaceful protest. How do you think Rosalind’s blog Miss Nobody fits into that?

For Rosalind, her Miss Nobody blog is the only way she can speak out about what’s happening to her at school. She names the bullies and exposes them for what they are. She reaches out to other people who are being bullied, and she tells everyone exactly how it feels to be a victim of bullying. But she does all of this anonymously. Social media can be a wonderful way of speaking out but, as Rosalind discovers, it can easily spiral out of control.

Another right is the right to education. What would be your top tips to teachers and fellow students on helping someone with selective mutism to access school life?

The first step when teaching or communicating with a child who has SM is always acceptance of the condition. Accept that your student or classmate may not be able to respond through speech, but provide alternative ways for them to communicate their thoughts and ideas. Do not put them in a situation where they are expected to talk, or put under pressure to talk, as this will only make them feel more anxious. Do not exclude them from discussions or group work, instead find ways for them to join in. You have to be creative and you have to find out what will work for the individual student in your class because obviously, they are all different. Rosalind is given a set of cards she can use to signal different things like she needs help, or she needs the toilet, but she finds it very hard to use them at first because she doesn’t want to draw attention to herself. She is given a notepad by her teacher which she uses to have silent conversations with her classmate Ailsa. Many young people with SM get excluded from activities, so it is important to involve them in the lesson and in conversations, but allow them to express themselves without speaking. The absolute most important thing is to show them kindness. Living with a mental health condition is really hard, especially at school. It makes an enormous difference when people are kind.

Obviously speaking up is a big theme of the book. Why was that important to you?

I’ve worked with so many young people who find it very difficult or even impossible to stand up and say what they think. It’s something I found extremely difficult as a teenager. I think we’ve all been in situations where we’ve been unable to speak up for ourselves but, for me, it is a crucial thing to be able to do. It’s important for friendships, for protecting ourselves, for showing people our true selves, for romantic relationships, for achieving what you want in your career, for sticking up for your beliefs and values. Speaking out takes an enormous amount of courage sometimes. But if you can do it, even for a moment, then you have the power to change your life.

Bullying is also a major issue in this book. What advice would you give to someone being bullied?

Tell someone you trust. Then tell someone else, and then tell someone else. Keep telling people until something is done about it. So many victims of bullying stay silent. It’s one of the ways bullies operate so effectively. I’ve read so many heartbreaking stories of bullying that ended in tragedy, and the question is always the same – why didn’t they tell anyone? People stay silent about being bullied for all kinds of reasons. They are scared it will get worse, they feel ashamed, they don’t think it will make any difference. We need to make it a lot easier for young people to speak out if they are being bullied.

And what advice would you give to someone who has realised they might be bullying someone else?

I don’t believe that anyone is born mean. I don’t think that bullies are happy, fulfilled people. I think there are some young people who have had hate poured into them, and it comes out in bullying behaviour towards others. If someone gets kicks out of being mean to someone, then they’re probably in a home environmentwhere they don’t get shown very much kindness. If you’ve realised that you’re bullying someone, then I’d suggest owning up and asking for some help. Your victims may not be ready to hear an apology directly, so the best apology is changing your actions. I hope Being Miss Nobody ultimately has a positive and important message about bullying. We always have a choice in anything we do, so we can always choose to be kind.

What I thought

I really loved this. Ironically Rosalind had a very strong voice throughout and she really went on a journey of development, but one with a realistic ending, where everything isn’t completely perfect.

I adored her brother Seb and once again thought that it was a wise decision not to have Rosalind’s selective mutism arise as a result of his ill health.

The power of social media to give people a voice is explored so well and is balanced alongside the notion that it can also be used to silence or speak over others. It’s a tool that can be used in many ways and I think this book does a great job of addressing how to use it morally.

Huge thanks to Tamsin for taking the time to answer the questions. Join her and a host of other authors at #YAShot2018 – http://www.yashot.co.uk/.

To win a signed copy of Being Miss Nobody (UK only – winner selected after Sun 11th 5pm). Post the following to Twitter with your own response to the …

Being Miss Nobody by @MsWinterTweets is about speaking up. I found my voice when … (#yashot2018, @kirstyes @yashotmediateam)

2018 – The Year I Turn 40!!!!

Yes, I know I look, and act, waaaaay too young to be turning 40 in 2018 but I am! I’m not making New Years resolutions but I will be trying to practice better self care, and I am setting myself two ’40’ challenges.

40 Special Things to do for my 40th Year

Dated Events

1. See Dreamgirls

2. See School of Rock

3. Harry Potter studio tour solo trip

4. See Sunset Boulevard

5. Harry Potter exhibit at Poole Library

6. Pierce Brown tour

7. See Cursed Child again with Cath

8. Be Bridesmaid for my sister and do all the hen do fun

9. Blood Brothers musical theatre workshop

10. See Hamilton

11. See Sarah Millican again

12. Go to YALC again

13. New Forest Fairy Festival

14. See Cursed Child again on my actual 40th birthday!!!!

15. Fab and Forty Cake Smash Photo Shoot with besties

16. Visit Prague

17. Harry Potter Studio Tour Halloween

Undated/Dates to be confirmed

18. Read 150+ books again including but not limited to Obsidio, Nevernight Book 3, LIFELIK3, Iron Gold, Dark Age, State of Sorrow, Vengeful, A Court of Frost and Starlight, TOG 7, Queen of Air and Darkness, The Witch’s Blood and #40YRS40BKS Reading Challenge (see below)

19. Reading weekend with Elizabeth and Rachel (to help with above)

20. Finish first draft of middle grade book

21. Complete a polished copy of a novel

22. Submit above novel to Agents

23. Self Publish some Poetry

24. Make excellent use of My cineworld unlimited card (see at least 40 films)

25. Watch a sunrise

26. Watch a sunset

27. Do a bat thing with Steph

28. Go to Chained Library at Wimborne with Stacey

29. Weekend in Cornwall with the family

30. Cornwall Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

31. Bounce Below

32. Actually sit out in garden in summer (i.e. de weed and sort garden) and have birthday BBQ

33. Host Harry Potter Quiz (for Charity)

Crafting

34. Complete bookcase quilt

35. Make Seraphina Picquery Cosplay

36. Make Hogwarts model for front garden

37. Make a thestral model

38. Make Knight Bus model (3D puzzle now)

39. Host a craftivist event

40. Daily Happiness Journal (to have a lasting memory of the year)

#40YRS40BKS Reading Challenge

A number of my booksy besties all turn the big 40 over the next year so we’ve come up with a #readingchallenge between us that we’d love people to join in with. The rules are simple. There are 40 reading prompts – 10 each from 4 of us. During 2018 you just have to make sure what you read adds a tick against all 40 prompts. Personally I’ll be aiming for 40 separate books but you can count one book for multiple prompts if you like. Now go forth, read and help us celebrate. @kirstyes @catrad @svmitche @jkkenobi (Also feel free to substitute bookstagram for any online forum).

My other booksy aim for this year is to be a lot more on top of my reviews.

What’s on your list of things to achieve/experience/live/do this year?

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