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Journey to Jo’burg

Journey to Jo’burg

Seven Stories National Centre for Children’s Books in Newcastle and The Academy at Shotton Hall came together yesterday to celebrate 30 years of the award winning children's book – Journey to Jo’burg by Beverley Naidoo. 

Beverley Naidoo met students to talk about Journey to Jo’burg before handing over to the Academy's Year 8 drama club who performed a play inspired by the story. 

Year 7 students also had the chance to showcase the work they had done towards their Arts Award that was inspired by the book.

Kathryn Ackley, community arts coordinator at the Academy said:

"This has been an exciting project that has empowered arts teaching and learning within our school community. The project has enabled students to access high quality arts experiences, as well as meeting and speaking with Beverley Niadoo and having the chance to perform at a local theatre venue 

"The Academy recognises the power of arts and the impact arts has for individual students however, this project allowed us the freedom to explore new and innovate ways to produce creative work."

Beverley Naidoo grew up in South Africa under apartheid and her first children’s book, Journey to Jo’burg, was banned in South Africa until 1991. Naidoo has gone on to have an impressive career, writing many award-winning books for children often exploring issues of racism, prejudice and diversity.

Seven Stories is delighted to acquire Beverley’s archive which adds richness and diversity to the museum’s collection.  Journey to Jo’burg was also included in the Diverse Voices Top 50 book list that launched in October 2014 which celebrated cultural diversity in children’s literature. The National Centre will continue to use the archive to enrich its award-winning learning programme as well as preserving an invaluable resource for academics and enthusiasts to access.

Debbie Beeks, Learning and Participation Manager at Seven Stories said:

“Journey to Jo’burg and Beverley Naidoo’s archive are a valuable gift to the region and the nation. The partnership work with The Academy at Shotton Hall has revealed how relevant the story of apartheid is to young people today. Beverley’s archive is full of research material, drafts and letters from school students. Unearthing the story through this material has been an inspiration to students. ”

You can also read Beverley Naidoo's blog about her day with our students.

Take a look the video below to see a interview with Beverly Naidoo and clips from the event.