National Portrait Gallery launch new activity book at Evelina London

Posted on Thursday 27th October 2016

Patient Selsabil shows off her work with poet John Hegley.

The National Portrait Gallery celebrated the launch of their new children’s activity book inspired by the work of world famous authors including J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis. 

Activity book, My Magical Journeys, was launched at Evelina London Children’s Hospital with a workshop hosted by one of the featured writers, poet John Hegley and the book’s illustrator, Lizzy Stewart. John performed some of his poems and sang for children and young people being treated at Evelina London during the school holidays.

Evelina London patient, Selsabil Bouraoui, 10, was one of the first children to get a copy of My Magical Journeys. She said: “It’s a great distraction when you aren’t feeling well. I like to make up and write my own stories but this book has given me loads of inspiration for new ideas!”

Her mum, Sadjia agreed: “This book will be brilliant for when Selsabil is too ill to take part in other activities at the hospital because you can read, draw and write even if you are in pain. The activities in the book are great for the imagination which is so important for children staying in hospital.”

The National Portrait Gallery has been working with Evelina London for over 10 years, running art workshops with children and families. Janet Powell, Director of Nursing at Evelina London, said:

“Our play specialists can work with up to 100 children a day and have found the support of the Gallery immeasurable. Through their workshops they have opened the minds of so many children to the world of art. We constantly see our work with the Gallery resulting in happy, smiling faces, providing a welcome distraction whatever their reason for being in hospital.”

My Magical Journeys takes its inspiration from writers and poets in the Gallery’s Collection and the fantastical and mythical worlds and characters they have created. The other authors chosen by young people in hospitals to be included in the book are: Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams, Malorie Blackman, Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, Michael Rosen, Benjamin Zephaniah, Edward Lear, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and J.R.R. Tolkien.  

Evelina London play specialists will be able to give these free activity books to children and young people throughout the year.

You can find out more about the National Portrait Gallery’s work with children’s hospitals by visiting their learning pages.