‘Northern Dreaming’, a special book of new children’s stories, has been officially launched at Armley Library.
Eighteen original poems and short stories, one for each year of childhood, have been brought together in the specially commissioned book, which will be given to babies born in the city during the Year of Culture.
LEEDS 2023 and the British Library created the book with early career and published writers, including the current Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho; poet, playwright and broadcaster Lemn Sissay OBE; BBC Young Writers’ Award winner Elena Barham and up-and-coming poet – and newly qualified doctor – Safia Khan, to share their unique imaginations for the next generation of dreamers to enjoy.
Officially launched at Armley Library’s Story & Rhyme Time, 13,000 copies of ‘Northern Dreaming’ are now freely available for parents and carers with children born in 2023 to collect from Libraries and Children’s Centres across the city.
Storytelling performances of the first part of the book, aimed at 0-7 year olds, are touring to Early Years settings and schools, as well as community settings such as libraries, community centres, social clubs and parent and toddler groups across Leeds. There will also be storytelling sessions at the LEEDS 2023 shop in the Trinity Centre on Monday 30 October.
Kully Thiarai, Creative Director and CEO of LEEDS 2023 said: “In this, our final chapter of our Year of Culture, I am delighted to be able to share my love of books with the young people of the city through this gift specially created for the children of Leeds.
“Books have opened up the world to me in so many ways; the stories and adventures offering fuel for my own imagination and acting as a compass bearing throughout my life. In giving a copy to children born this year, I hope that it will be something that they and their families treasure as they grow up and feel proud that in the year they were born, Leeds prioritised and celebrated culture and the power of storytelling.”
The ‘Northern Dreaming’ book is split into three sections by age group: 0–7 years, 8–12 and 13–18, with five or six stories or poems in each, authored by both established and early writers, many of whom have come from or have ties with the North of England.
Stories from ‘Northern Dreaming’ will also be brought to life in ‘The Gifting’, an original new show this December from the imaginations of Kully Thiarai and Alan Lane and the final chapter of LEEDS 2023. Tickets are now on sale here.