Love Letters

I seem to be writing love letters this weekend ... well, not just writing. First off, here's some video love for the Theresian School of Cavite who are having a book fair today! 

(If you haven't ever heard me speak Filipino English, here's your chance!)

Tall Story wins the National Children's Book Award!

And here's more love: for the PBBY (Philippine Board on Books for Young People) and the NBDB (National Book Development Board), two organizations that have done so much for the blossoming children's book scene in the Philippines. 

I am so proud to announce that last Saturday Tall Story won the National Children's Book Award, awarded every two years by the PBBY and the NBDB. Six books were named and I am told Tall Story is the first teen novel to win the prize. Here are the winners.

Being far far away of course, I couldn't attend so my mother (center in electric pink) accepted the prize on my behalf. Here's buckets of love to you, Mom.

[UPDATE! Here's a video excerpt of Mommy's thank you speech - awwww, Mom! Thanks for the video, Zara! Pssst SCBWI - we should have balloons like that at our next party!]

I Loved the Olympics Opening Ceremony

And then of course there's the Olympics, right here, right now in London! 

There's a lot of grumpiness about hosting the Olympics in a time of austerity but that stunning Opening Ceremony blew the nation away. 

I had a little party on the night - we had a barbecue!

Heh - it didn't rain for too long. It was a beautiful evening
(as 12 million viewers in the UK can attest)

And I got to display my Philippine flag!

I wrote a piece about the Opening Ceremony for Rappler, the Philippine social network,  here's an excerpt:

"It was an emotional interlude in the midst of all the superlatives. Here, I thought, was the Britain I had come to know in the 24 years I’ve lived here. Buttoned up but with an unexpected funny bone, and behind the famous upper lip, emotions that run deep and strong." Read the article

Watching the Opening Night, I had a nagging feeling of recognition - somehow I felt like I knew that warm-hearted,  generous, all-embracing ethos.

Then, reading the reviews the next day, there it was - the storyboard was written by children's author Frank Cottrell Boyce, possibly the nicest man in the children's book world. No wonder there was such a BIG nod to children's books!

Voldemort vs Mary Poppins, why not? Thanks to Matt Lancashire for making this photo available on Creative Commons.

If you've read Frank's books - Millions, Framed, Cosmic, The Unforgotten Coat - you will totally get what I mean. I was chuffed to find that Frank had written about the making of the Opening Ceremony -

If you're trying to celebrate a nation's identity, you have to take things that are familiar parts of the landscape and make them wonderful. On to the wall went GK Chesteron's great aphorism: "The world shall perish not for lack of wonders, but for lack of wonder." Go, go and read it!

Update! Just had to share this freshly drawn cartoon by my
illustrator pal Sarah McIntyre 
And isn't it our ability to wonder that makes us continue to read, continue to write, continue to dream?

So here's some big love to Frank and the Olympics Opening Night team for a WONDERful show!

Here's the Queen and James Bond again (look at those shots - what a great city this is!):