Last Thursday, on publication day for Body Brilliant, I had a lot of fun launching the book in Haggerston School, Hackney. You may or not remember that I collaborated with the school on the book so it was only fitting that we should launch it together in the school. The students had contributed throughout the process, generously giving me their thoughts and experiences for me to add to the book. They are all thanked by name in the acknowledgements, of course.
I’ll be quite honest and say I was a bit stressed before it. My life has been a bit full-on in recent months and it had been difficult to focus on books and writing. I’d had to reserve energy for particular events that required a lot, so I just wasn’t able to think about this fun launch as much as I should. But the students and librarian made it so lovely and relaxing and happy.
They had made some excellent displays. I’m loving the blue colour from the cover – and Asda had the perfect paper napkins 🙂
We had lots of food. Thanks, Haggerston – very generous and great choices!
The head teacher came to see us and Dr Parris, the wonderful librarian, spoke about what an opportunity it had been for the students and school as a whole. I made a totally impromptu (honestly – not my usual habit but, as I say, I have had no time so just thought I’d say whatever came into my head), empassioned speech about why I chose this school; why body image is so important and complex; and also about FOOD.
Looking at the array of food around us which was rich in variety and abundance, I wanted to make the point that food is for fuel, so we must eat enough of it, and also for feasting and celebrating with, so it’s right to enjoy it and not obsess about whether one food is “healthier” than another in some way. A healthy diet isn’t only about the vitamins it might contain, nor indeed the calories, but about having a good relationships with food so that we enjoy it and eat a wide variety. I said that their bodies are brilliant because of all the things they can do and I hoped they would respect and look after their bodies so that they would have the best chance of being able to do everything they were capable of. I said it a lot more eloquently than that!
And the students presented me with a wonderful, enormous, hand-made card, which they’d written lovely messages in. I didn’t really know what to say!
I presented them each with a bag containing a signed copy of Body Brilliant and Positively Teenage (thanks to Hachette Children’s Group for donating them) and some chocolate and fruit (variety, you see…)
Finally, we ate cake! I was delighted at how many of the students came back for more and took some away with them.
After I’d gone, they raced to try to find their own contributions in the book.
Enormous respect and thanks to the students and staff of Haggerston School. There’s something I can’t announce yet but …. 😉
Meanwhile, have a wonderful, well-deserved holiday!