Putney’s Mini BookBench Trail

A new story unfolds inside the Putney Exchange

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As Londoners enjoy the trails of benches shaped as open books placed across the capital for the National Literacy Trust’s ‘Books about Town’ public art project, the story looks set to unfold even further as Putney gets its own miniature version.

Four mini BookBenches, including two designed and decorated by local primary schools will be displayed in the Putney Exchange throughout August. The BookBench trails aim to raise awareness of the importance of literacy, explore the capital’s literary connections and enjoy art from some of the country’s top artists.

Alongside the public art event, the National Literacy Trust is running a project for primary and secondary schools in London. Books about Town for Schools, offers teachers training in teaching whole texts and quality children’s literature as well as promoting reading for pleasure in their schools. As part of the project, schools received their very own BookBench to decorate with their favourite story including two from Putney.

Brandlehow Primary School - The Borrowers
Brandlehow Primary School in Putney was inspired by Mary Norton’s The Borrowers for their BookBench. The Borrowers is a children’s fantasy novel featuring a family of tiny people who live secretly in the walls and floors of an English house and ‘borrow’ from the big people to survive.

Hurlingham Primary School - Katie in London
Hurlingham Primary School in Putney chose Katie in London by James Mayhew for their BookBench. “Our youngest children enjoy finding places they’ve explored within the literature they read and one firm favourite is Katie in London.” (Jonathan Brough, headteacher)





Local artists
The other two BookBenches, going on display inside the Exchange, have been designed by two local artists. Mandii Pope, (pictured left creating the Agatha Christie bench), who also created the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Agatha Christie BookBenches, was inspired by her friend Zella’s book that will be published in September. In An Elephant for Breakfast a group of cousins receive a parcel from their Uncle Cosmo each summer, but this summer it brings with it a mystery.

Mar Rubio and the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability worked on a bookbench together. Mar Rubio is part of The Redgate Collective, a Putney based artist collective. She chose The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to illustrate her BookBench “mainly because the main character has a behavioural disability. All my life my family and I have been involved in activities related to learning difficulties as my sister has Down’s syndrome. I believe it is important to support literature that gives people more understanding and tolerance towards this sensitive issue.”

Children’s Writing Competition
To further support this project, Putney Exchange are running a children’s writing competition in partnership with Waterstones in the centre this summer. Children aged 4-11 years are being tasked to write a creative story set in Putney with a £50 Waterstones voucher being offered as the first prize. Entry details are in store at Waterstones or on Putney Exchange’s website. Entries should be posted in the gold box by Waitrose in the Exchange. A Family Activity Pack to support the mini BookBench activity is also available to download from the website: www.theexchangesw15.com/events-whats-new/

Says Centre Manager, Anne Partridge;
“We’re looking forward to sharing the mini BookBenches with our customers throughout August. They will be on display in stores throughout the Centre raising awareness of the importance of literacy and the joy of reading for pleasure”.


August 15, 2014

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