Glasgow's Debi Gliori at the Book Festival
Capturing hearts, imaginations and library space
‘You can expect to see a slightly wrinkly writer-illustrator,’ offers children’s favourite Debi Gliori of her Book Festival appearance, ‘who will attempt to regale all present with stories, drawings, anecdotes and chat about books in general, books in particular and books she has made.’ And she has made a few. From the woodland wonder of her Mr Bear series to the sibling comedy of her Witch Baby stories – not to mention her zoological ode to unconditional love, No Matter What – Glasgow-born Gliori’s words and drawings have increasingly occupied children’s hearts, imaginations and libraries since she started writing in 1976.
Aimed at four to seven-year-olds (and their carers), her event will feature ‘rabbits, dragons, seals, foxes, polar bears, owls and possibly Woodtrolls’, focusing on Gliori’s cheering bed-time tale, Stormy Weather, with a cameo from her cute environmental parable, The Trouble with Dragons. Whether assuaging nocturnal angst or heightening kids’ awareness of climate change, her significant messages are conveyed with humour, love and honesty.
‘My job is not to frighten children,’ she advises, ‘but sometimes addressing [their] fears and concerns within the safe boundaries of a picture book can fill me with an awesome responsibility to be as truthful and transparent as possible.’ And which authors most informed Gliori’s own childhood? ‘I loved all of Tove Jansson’s books, but Comet in Moominland, in particular, was such an epic tale; it got under my skin in a way that I can only appreciate now, many years later,’ she marvels. ‘Powerful things, stories and pictures …’
RBS Corner Theatre, 0845 373 5888, 18 Aug, 1pm, £4.