New children’s literature exhibition opens with a first for a British cultural venue


Time to Get Up, a brand new exhibition at Seven Stories, the UK’s National Centre for Children’s Books opened on Thursday 29 March 2018 and encourages children and grown-ups to engage their senses and touch, smell, listen and see stories in a whole new way.

The original artwork and manuscripts from Judith Kerr, Nick Sharratt, John Burningham and many more are displayed using an entirely new method inspired by touch and feel boards, a first for a British cultural venue.

This unique method of curation enables children to explore new, immersive and inclusive ways of engaging directly with the original artwork in the gallery. Young story explorers can see, touch, smell and hear their way through a variety of sensory activities, all linked to the exciting new experiences and routines that every young child encounters.

The exhibition also feature two brand new, specially designed Sensory Backpacks, complete with a beautiful, interactive blanket, a book and a selection of sensory props to help young ones of all abilities to explore the exhibition in the most appropriate and exciting way.

Children and families are invited to step into their favourite stories and explore their daily routines with all their quirks, calamities and surprises; discovering new titles and family favourites in a new and exciting way through original artwork and creative activities. From getting up, playing at home, meal times and going to nursery through to having a bath and snuggling up for bedtime, everyday life and family routine is celebrated through interactive reading and creative experiences.

Alison Fisher, exhibition manager at Seven Stories, said:

Every day, all around the world, people get up and prepare for the day ahead. This is a universal experience that we all share, but our routines are completely unique to our families which I find fascinating. Janet and Allan Ahlberg capture these differences beautifully in The Baby’s Catalogue, where families get up and prepare for the day. The exhibition also explores classic stories like Sunshine which follows one family’s morning routine through a completely wordless story, giving the reader the chance to explore and discuss the illustrations.

Kate Edwards, chief executive at Seven Stories, said:

The first few years of a child’s life are full of new experiences, and a lot of new routine. From getting up to going to bed, reading books together can offer reassurance and encouragement whilst sharing books can also make the everyday exciting!

 Time to Get Up is packed full of wonderful stories all about day-to-day activities. With old favourites and new titles, and amazing artwork by super-talented illustrators, get ready to look, talk, play and read together.

Louise and Rowan (who is almost two) from Kingston Park were one of the first visitors to Time to Get Up. As Rowan happily played in the exhibition Louise said:

The whole exhibition is brilliant, there isn’t a single part that he hasn’t enjoyed. We enjoy sharing stories at home and we always have bedtime stories so it is great to see them brought to life in such an imaginative way. Rowan has loved the shop area and the kitchen in particular. The sensory elements are fantastic and we have enjoyed exploring the artwork together, especially pushing the buttons to hear all of the sounds around the gallery.

Time to Get Up is part of the Read North East initiative from the North East Literacy Forum, which Seven Stories is a member of. The creative campaign is led by the National Literacy Trust and aims to raise children’s literacy levels in the North East.

Clare Argar, Head of Campaigns and Programmes at the National Literacy Trust said:

It’s never too early for parents and carers to start sharing stories with their child – just 10 minutes a day is enough to make a difference. We hope the Time to Get Up exhibition will encourage more families to make reading part of their daily routine, setting their little ones up for a brighter future.

The National Literacy Trust is thrilled to be working with Seven Stories on the Read North East campaign and we are looking forward to inspiring more children across the region to fall in love with books and reading.

The exhibition runs until Sunday 27 January 2019. To find out openings times for your visit, book your tickets and plan your day please visit and share your photos using #timetogetup on social media.


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Special World, from Inclusive Technology, is a free website linking 125,000 special education teachers, speech therapists and occupational therapists in 150 countries. Special World readers and contributors work with children who have additional needs or special educational needs including those with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities.

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