Bookworm brings characters to life

Jonny Wollett  from Morpeth's branch of Waterstones
Jonny Wollett from Morpeth's branch of Waterstones
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WORK doesn’t stop for a dedicated Morpeth book seller.

But acting graduate Jonny Wollett isn’t complaining about it because he loves flicking through the latest reads to find the best books for his young customers.

Mr Wollett reads up to 20 books for young readers a month in a bid to keep right up to date with the latest page-turning trends in his role as Children’s Book Expert at the Waterstones’ store in Sanderson Arcade.

He said: “It’s really important that I know the books if I’m going to recommend them to our young customers so I can end up reading up to 20 new books a month, from smaller picture books for really young children to teenage novels with really involved story-lines.”

The assistant also enjoys calling on his drama experience to encourage children to develop an interest in reading, organising reading groups and story times at the store, and even acting out the stories.

“I love the interaction and organising events so I try to really bring the books to life and get the kids talking about their favourite stories,” he said.

The book store often hosts school visits and Mr Wollett takes pride in finding the right kind of book for even the most reluctant of readers.

“It’s often a matter of finding out what young readers are interested in and finding a book that will tie in with their interests,” he said.

“I think the best children’s books are the ones that allow the kids to use as much of their imagination as possible.

“There’s a book I often recommend called How To Blow Up Tollins that really gets the imagination working. If I asked ten children to draw a picture of what a Tollins looks like I would get ten very different pictures.”

Mr Wollett is now busily drawing up entertainment plans for the half-term school holiday, starting with special events to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Matilda by Roald Dahl on Saturday.

Nigel the storytelling parrot will present puppet stories on Bank Holiday Monday, children can exercise their imaginations in Create A Story Day on Tuesday, and on Wednesday it is Make Us Laugh Day at the store.

All events and activities will run from 11am to 3pm daily.

The book seller is also working on his favourite school holiday reading recommendations for youngsters, drawing up top ten reading lists of books for five to eight-year-olds, nine to 12-year-olds and children over 12s.

Sanderson Arcade Centre Manager Medi Parry said: “We’re really lucky to have Jonny working here at the arcade. He is so enthusiastic about getting children into reading and his story times are always really popular with our younger shoppers.”

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