Children’s book author Anne Bryant , who has some 125 books under her belt, held a book signing and readings for pupils St Paul’s School. Ms Bryant is a prolific author in children’s fiction and primary music resources. She melded her love for reading and music during her interactive book readings which the school children thoroughly enjoyed.
Ann Bryant is well-known for her Café Club, Ballerina Dreams, and Step-Chain series with her books often sharing positive messages and contemporary versions of traditional stories.
Pupils at St Paul’s School enjoyed learning, reading and even taking part in a fun ‘tractor dance’ inspired from Ms Bryant’s book ‘Hurry Up’ about a sluggish tractor causing cars annoyance by slowing down traffic.
The fun event saw children laughing and taking part in the interactive lesson. Afterwards many were excited to have their books signed by Ms Bryant.
For Ms Bryant this was the first time she had visited Gibraltar, having become good friends with St Paul’s School teacher Cathy Batchelor.
They had met annually at the School Music Association conference in the UK when Ms Bryant was a music educationalist and then a children’s author.
For Ms Bryant it’s great to see young children grow up with a love for books.
“The more we can get children reading the more that they are going to succeed in life and be happy in life,” she said.
Over the past few years devices such as tablets and the internet in general are being relied on more for entertaining and teaching children.
In an era of tablets Ms Bryant said she still sees children with an appetite to pick up books and read.
“I do still see it, but not in absolutely every single child,” Ms Bryant said.
“It is a problem. Screens in one respect are very good, but in another respect they are quite harmful if the children are just gaming. They become involved in that world and I have heard cases of where they can’t even leave the house because they have to be inside that world in their screen.”
“Books are a beautiful, healthy alternative to that. Most children do seem to still like reading hard copies as well as having their screens.”
“I personally do a lot of reading on kindle just because I can fit a lot of books into it and I can read a lot. But what I don’t like about kindle is that I can never see the cover title because you just switch it on and there you are in the middle of the book, so that’s a bad aspect of kindle.”
Over her career Ms Bryant has seen the interests in reading in the generation of children change and develop.
From the Harry Potter era to fantasy and now she added that ballet series are becoming popular.
Ms Bryant has written her own ballet series called Ballerina Dreams and has ghost written another ballet series.
“There is room for many different ballet series because they are all different styles so according to what the child identifies with,” she said.
“It is just the greatest feeling if they can find a book whether the characters or subject that they can personally identify with.”
Another book series Ms Bryant has written is called ‘Families in a Step-Chain’ which discusses blended families.
“For children with step families they can really identify with those blended families in the books,” Ms Bryant.
Ms Bryant has a “creative spirit” and after writing some 125 books there’s no sign of a writer’s block in sight.
She spends her time writing poems and songs, and even thinks of words to get to sleep at night.
“Words are my business,” she laughed.
“When people say where do you get your ideas from? It’s just from all around. If I have been stuck behind a tractor I think ‘well that’s good for a book’.”
Her recent book ‘Code breaker’ resonates with children quite well, she added.
“It’s about a boy who thinks he’s pretty useless at the beginning and has very good self-esteem by the end of it,” Ms Bryant said.
“I think a lot of children like to read emotional books where the protagonist in those books becomes empowered to achieve whatever they couldn’t at the beginning of book.”
For Ms Bryant emotional books are what she’s “known for” and she enjoyed sharing the stories of characters who develop over the storyline.
In Code Breaker the protagonist Joe panics when he needs to write a school report about his life, then he finds out about the Enigma Machine famously used by the British to crack German secret codes during World War II.