Monday 20 April 2020

Grandma on Demand by Jane Clarke

Grandma On Demand

I have four granddaughters, now aged 2,3, 5 and 6, two live in the USA and two in the UK. All my grandma-ing has had to go online, of course.  I had visions of grandma Skype sessions consisting of me reading a different picture book each time from my extensive collection - to calmly-seated small people. 

Books patiently waiting to be read:

In practice, I generally get to see them at the end of the day when concentration is hard, so the session starts with a lot of pushing and shoving as each granddaughter tries to get as close to the iPad as possible, occasionally licking the screen - or they are jumping up and down or whirling round in a blur. So I thought it would be useful to read a story online and put it on You Tube so they could have a grandma story on demand.

At  the end of March, the publisher Nosy Crow sent out blanket permission to authors and illustrators to do this, and Five Quills also emailed me to encourage me to do this.  A You Tube channel seemed the way to go. Setting up a channel and putting videos on it was a steep leaning curve for me, but I figured it out (in a meta manner, thanks to You Tube videos). I’m two weeks in to this now and the goal of putting a story on a day for my granddaughters has given a structure to my day. I’ve moved on to my out-of-print backlist, now I don’t need to ask publisher permission to read those online as the books are no longer selling.

Is it a success? Measured in clicks, no not at all, there is no danger of this going viral. But it gives me something to do, and, more importantly, my granddaughters get 10 minutes or so of calm grandma story time at whatever time of day they want it.

So now, when we Skype - we do important things like seeing who can pull the funniest face, play screen peep-bo (with puppets), and share air hugs and kisses. And read the occasional story picture book story  ‘live.’

Air Hug: 

You can see Jane reading Neon Leon, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup here

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