Penguin Random House Children’s Summer Party boasted a magician, ice cream created with liquid nitrogen and two “magic wonder” trees.
Authors such as Charlie Higson, Julia Donaldson, Robin Stevens and Nick Sharratt mingled with debut authors and illustrators such as the O’Hara sisters and YouTuber Connie Glynn at the event at London’s Somerset House on Monday evening (26th June).
Around 400 guests attended the event, which was based around the theme of “magic and wonder” and included trees for people to hang their “most inspirational quotes” on.
In her speech Francesca Dow, m.d of the PRH children’s division, stressed the importance of literature in encouraging empathy in the world. She said: “A statistic [through stories] becomes a human being when you tell their story and you begin to care for someone you have never met and that is special and important magic…that words and literature can perform. And perhaps this is the best the type of magic.
Francesca Dow, m.d of PRH children’s
“Thanks to you – our talented authors and ill – none of us is ever just a statistic.”
Dow also discussed how instrumental books are to a child’s development and suggested that the division might invest more in early years books.
Simon Mayo, Emily Barr, Natalia and Lauren O’Hara, Francesca Dow, Connie Glynn, Robin Stevens, Nadia Shireen, Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt
She said: “You offer in the very best sense an education and there is nothing at the most basic level more magical than helping a young child taking their first steps in the wonderful journey to books. As they begin to understand and connect and feel a sense of pure joy and fun and we do so much of that at Penguin Random House and we are going to do so much more to help more children share in this joy [of reading] and fun.”
The magical theme of the evening correlated with one of the biggest publications later this year: the first instalment of Philip Pullman’s new companion series to Northern Lights, The Book of Dust. The first book, La Belle Sauvage, will be published by PRH Children's Books and David Fickling Books on October 19th.
Guests included PRH Childrens’ editor Tig Wallace, rights agent at the Madeleine Milburn Agency Alice Sutherland-Hawes and junior agent at LBA Danielle Zigner
Dowd said: “Give them stories said Philip Pullman, stories are what we need most in the world and how right he is and how lucky we are to publish his Book of Dust, a magical and inspiring and thoughtful and alive with the sense of inquiry.
“Give them stories because as Roald Dahl’s Matilda knows so well, somewhere inside of all of us is the power to change the world.”