In the warm, sandy sun of Dubai, our band of librarians and teachers have been meeting since September, and we have all relished the hour and half we have to look at lots of wonderful children's literature and talk about how we can develop a reading for pleasure pedagogy in our schools. When I set up the group with our Head of English, I was trying to find ways for school librarians and teachers to work more collaboratively together, and so it was a prerequisite that any librarian who came to our meetings had to bring at least one teacher with them! A local children's book shop very kindly sponsored our group, and supplied us with a magical box of fifty books – picture books to YA fiction – and we sit with some literary themed biscuits and a cup of coffee pouring over everything from Aaron Becker's wonderful wordless picture book trilogy The Journey to Will Hill's After the Fire. We have all been enormously inspired by the fantastic range of titles we have looked at, and it has been wonderful to see teachers enjoying the books which we as librarians recommend to children, and for us all to be able to spend some time immersing ourselves in new children’s literature.
The majority of our group are from one school, so we have decided to work collaboratively on one or two whole school projects with all of us borrowing and sharing our work. I have found it challenging to keep the momentum going between meetings, and we need to find a better way of communicating; our WhatsApp group is only fairly successful, and the same can be said of our Padlet which we are using to share reviews of books we have read. However, our collective enthusiasm for and enjoyment of the meetings and the importance of what we are doing to promote a culture of reading for pleasure has definitely started to take root in our schools, libraries and classrooms. Now all we need to do is slow down time a bit, so the end of the year doesn’t come too soon!