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Free online exhibition to inspire reading and writing

Seven Stories

An online exhibition has brought together inspiring materials from hundreds of authors and illustrators in one place for the first time.

Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, launched to showcase their collection of over 100 years of author and illustrator works to ensure it was accessible to more children than ever before – and it makes the perfect learning resource for your classroom or library.

The website hosts hundreds of items including 360-degree tours of the galleries, interviews with top authors and illustrators, previously unseen archive materials such as first drafts, planning notes and initial illustrations for well-known books, as well as stories about the making of the books, and stories which have been inspired by the books.

Richard O’Neill, creative lead in residence at Seven Stories, explains:

“It’s vitally important that children and young people have access to the widest possible range of reading material – diverse in origin, creation, characters and story – but also that they see the process that goes into making books too: the mistakes, the crossings-out, the editing and the often scruffy annotations.

“This site has enabled us to showcase these extraordinary items and reach more young people than ever to inspire and encourage the next generation of authors and illustrators.

“The site also features video interviews with people from a range of backgrounds.

“It’s crucial that children from all backgrounds can see themselves represented not only in the stories they’re reading but reflected in the industry creating the books too.

“We want them to see that if these authors and illustrators can do it, so can they.

“This is just one of the ways we work with schools and we’re constantly developing the projects and ways to interact with teachers and pupils to support school curriculum with our unique Collection and experiences.”

Earlier this year, pupils from Welbeck Academy in Newcastle upon Tyne were inspired by the Seven Stories Collection to produce creative writing of their own.

Welbeck Academy teacher Rachael Miley said:

“Our pupils thoroughly enjoyed looking at the collection; it made the authors real to them, they could see their writing process and how they make mistakes and have to edit their work.

“It allowed the children to understand and appreciate how everyday items can inspire stories and to see the wonder in the world around them – helping them to build their imagination, which we’re now seeing in their writing.

“It also helped our children to see how they too could become authors; inspiring them to keep their notebooks and drafts.”

The digital exhibition site has been developed so that children can browse independently or enjoy the site with teachers, parents or carers, at home or school.

Each story or collection item is represented by a clickable tile which opens to reveal the story inside, in a highly-visual, interactive and playful exploration of the museum’s archive.

Eileen Armstrong, librarian at Cramlington Learning Village explains how they have been using the site across the whole school:

“This is the literacy resource teachers and librarians have been waiting for. 

“Not only does it allow students to access the archive material in an engaging way, it also really brings the book creation process to life.

“Our book clubs have loved exploring the different tiles, discovering the bitesize ‘stories behind the stories’ and competing to find the most interesting facts about their favourite books and authors – finding something new every time.

“The ‘Try It’ ideas, from word games to drawing tutorials, are also brilliant for including in book club sessions, English and art lessons. 

“Schools developing a book-based curriculum will find fascinating resources on a range of topical issues in science and humanities such as climate change and refugees, which are easily embedded into schemes of work and will inspire further reading.

“Careers leaders too need to have this site on their radar for short, snappy interviews with a wide variety of book industry practitioners, from authors and illustrators to literary agents and conservators.”

The digital exhibition site is free to access and is continually evolving as new stories and collection items are added for visitors to explore and enjoy.

If you’re interested in working with Seven Stories through school trips, book subscriptions, author or illustrator visits (digital or in-person), facsimile hire, visits or residencies from our team, or joint projects or research, email or direct message on Twitter.

About Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books

Seven Stories is a registered charity and an Arts Council accredited museum based in the north of England.

It is dedicated to sharing and creating stories through celebrating and protecting Britain’s literary heritage, showcasing how children and young people’s books are made, how they’ve developed over time, and highlighting their impact on the industry, peers, readers and communities.

Its collection includes work from some of the best-selling and influential authors and illustrators of the last 100 years including Philip Pullman, Kaye Webb, Leila Berg, Nick Sharratt, Pearl Binder, Tony Ross and Judith Kerr.

The Visitor Centre is based in a seven-storey listed building in the popular Ouseburn neighbourhood of Newcastle upon Tyne, and comprises three floors of free galleries open to the public seven days a week, a specialist children’s bookshop, a café and a coffee shop.

The Seven Stories team provides extensive programming for schools, communities and the general public, both face-to-face and online, including author events, creative workshops and themed special events.

It is committed to providing opportunities to local and regional authors and those from underrepresented backgrounds through artist meet-ups, promotion and partnership-working across the country.

Find out more at


Seven Stories
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