22 CREAM CRACKERS TALL / by Tim Hopgood

So what have you learnt this week that you didn't know before? Well, as it happens quite a lot! Last week was Week ONE of the Northern Childrens Book FestivalThis year the festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary, which is quite an achievement considering the political backdrop of major spending cuts throughout the North East.

The festival aims to bring authors and illustrators to as many schools and libraries throughout the region as possible. During the course of the week I spoke to well over 700 children and visited Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead, Durham and North Tyneside. I was out and about reading my new book BIG (Picture Corgi) and because it's a book all about growing bigger, I incorporated some measuring into my events.

Did you know that most 6 year olds are between 18 and 22 cream crackers tall? And that your average 5 year old is 88 popcorns tall? And the majority of teachers I met last week were 5.5 pizzas tall. Do you know how tall you are in the alphabet? Most of the children I met were between P and V, although one lad did make it way past Z!

So what did the children I met learn about me? Amongst other things,they learnt that as an author/illustrator I have two desks, (each 40 paperclips long) one for writing and one for drawing. They learnt that the only certificate I ever won at school was for 100% attendance (or a failure to catch chickenpox!) and that my career as a picture book creator started by my writing a note to myself which read 'STOP WATCHING EASTENDERS'. Seven years on, 12 books published and I've not watched an episode since.