It was Bookshop Day – and the end of Library Week – but Jason spent the morning at a new family cafe in Liverpool instead.
“Why not take the books directly to the children I want to read them – or hear them?” he concluded, as he got as close as possible to making good on a pre-Covid pledge.
Before the pandemic, Jason had been planning to do a reading of both I Like To Put Food In My Welly and What Can You See? at the Wigwam Coffee Shop in the Mossley Hill area of south Liverpool – a child-friendly cafe where he had frequently taken his own children.
Sadly, the business was one of the many casualties of the Covid restrictions. But in the spring of 2021, two of the cafe’s customers, Liz Wilson and Seán Gleeson, took over the venue and re-opened under the new name of The Little Peacock Coffee Shop.
The name was different, but the warm welcome, home-made cakes, breakfast and lunch favourites and child-friendly vibe were the same – with a sensory room added to the toys and books available for babies and younger children.
Jason joined the regular Saturday morning crowd and read them his books, interacting with the children who pointed to elements of Hannah Rounding’s illustrations in What Can You See? and laughed at the surreal situations in I Like To Put Food In My Welly.
With so much going on at The Little Peacock, some of the younger children became distracted, but most kept coming back for more pointing and laughing.
The event was enhanced with a handful of props to engage the children and activity sheets for them to take home with them.
Many of the parents expressed their gratitude for getting to meet an author and hear a book reading, with some of the children not even having been born when the arrival of the coronavirus made such events impossible.
“It’s so good to be back meeting young book lovers inside again, after all this time,” Jason enthused.