‘I’m the co-director OF an arts organisation called Capsule, that runs the Supersonic Festival. When I had my daughter in 2010 I felt that I was going to find it difficult to maintain that pace of work and that I needed to do something flexible to fit in around raising a young family but still be creative. We bought the caravan in 2014, and spent a year converting it – it took that long as our two children, Mabel and Molly were still very young. The aim was to create a magical space where children (and adults) can feed their curiosity.
We champion beautifully crafted and inspirational books for kids, to inspire creativity in whatever form that may take. I don’t expect all children to take up art but I think that creativity is a relevant and much undervalued skill, that can help children in whatever path they end up taking.
My first outing was to the Just So Festival last August. We’ve also visited The Grand Cross Fayre, and taken part in two events with Square Pegs in Liverpool. I had a lovely week at Packwood House, a National Trust property in Lapworth in the October half-term, and we tour seasonal markets.
The shop is set up for selling books, but we also offer activities which differ in terms of scale depending on the event – we might make paper planes and have a flying competition, and we always have lots of colouring-in sheets based around artwork from the books we stock.
I’m really enjoying taking the van to schools – many of the titles that I have are probably not the usual books that kids will be able to access. Most kids just run straight into the caravan, some are a bit more timid but it does inspire a lot of jumping which I have to try and minimise to prevent wobbling and the risk of books falling from a great height on to small children!
My dream is to have a permanent bookshop and exhibition space. I find it frustrating that we have a lack of cultural spaces for children in the UK. But for now I’m happy touring the shop for a few years.’
SUMMER READS - Jenny recommends her favourite books
The Bumblebear Norman the bear has a cunning plot to trick the bees and steal their honey – by wearing a bee onesie! Nadia Shireen’s beautifully illustrated books are funny, touching and a little bit odd.
Moon Man Moon Man longs to be on earth so he catches a lift on a shooting star, but finds out that its not quite as easy as he thought to join all the people dancing there. Amazingly weird and wonderful story by Tomi Ungerer.
The High Street Sally has a list of shopping to get, so she heads off down the High Street to see what she can find, Alice Melvin has created the kind of High Street that you dream of but rarely find today, take a peek into all the different shops as each page fold outs to reveal the treasure contained behind every door.
Who Will Comfort Toffle? If I was asked to pick a favourite book, it would be hard, but I think this would have to be it - Tove Jansson’s Moomin-starring, heart-warming tale of a shy and lonely creature who doesn’t know that to make friends all you have to do is say hello, not hide away.