Children’s book tour turns into a London-wide competition backed by educational prizes offered by major London kids brands

A book tour has seen Francesca Lombardo, author of London-inspired book series Beatrice and the London Bus, present her books and run drawing workshops across 10 Southwark schools and three libraries. The tour turns into a real life experience with prizes offered to schools which won the drawing competition by major family brands (Coca – Cola, London Eye, The London Transport Museum,  KidZania, The Classic Tour).

The book series spin off events and workshops are also now part of a sister educational project called London meets its children which aims to help London children engage with their city.

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But what is even more interesting is that all the four prizes had a special connection to Beatrice’s travels and adventures in the book series.

Just like the Beatrice and the London Bus book series, KidZania, learning educational center’s objective is to help children experience the world of the grown-ups, offering in addition unique roles playing experiences in working and city environments that reproduce all the key aspects of a real working city.

‘This is just brilliant! When I was eleven, for me happiness was sitting at the front of the top deck on a double-decker bus … Beatrice’s bus! You can see forever! We will be so very happy and proud to welcome Beatrice to KidZania London – after all, it takes someone special to drive a bus!”, said Dr Ger Grauss, OBE, Director of Education and Partnership of KidZania and Founder of the Children’s University (CU Trust & CU Trading) about the books and the prize offered to the winning kids.

As for The ClassicTour Prize, the only sightseeing tour in town catering to kids that use a real Routemaster Bus –  the bus Beatrice drives around London –  families and kids get to tour around the town and learn about many important London landmarks, just like Beatrice does. ‘Such a delightful and inspiring story about a girl whose dreams are not defined by traditional gender roles! Something to take in for readers of all ages. Fortunately for the Classic Tour there’s more than 1 Routemaster left in the world!’”, says Kristina Andrulyte from THE CLASSIC TOUR.

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The London Transport Museum, which now sells the Beatrice and the London Bus book series in the gift shop, is featured as a speaking character in the books as well as being the home of  the London Bus, RM 168 via Waterloo. The Museum’s prize is a Joseph Clough workshop and a visit to the Museum, perfect for helping the children learn about Bus heritage and immigration’s history.

The London Eye, the apple of the eyes of  the London Bus, is a real and much admired beauty that spins tourists around “just for fun”, was the perfect prize-experience for the kids that read the books and won the competition. “We’re thrilled that the Coca-Cola London Eye has been included among Beatrice’s travels!  This is a great book for getting children engaged with our wonderful city,’ says Lauren Mitcham from Coca- Cola London Eye.

The author of the book series, who ran the events and drawing workshops and is also the organiser of the drawing competition and the creator of London meets its children project was on all the four trips with the winning classes. “It was a real joy to see children who read my books being able to transport the books stories  into their life experiences and re-enact Beatrice’s travels. This helps children understand that books are an inspiring living thing and are very much intertwined with our daily life,” says Francesca Lombardo author the prizes and the competition. “And, I am very grateful to Coca-Cola London Eye, The London Transport Museum, and KidZania and the Classic tour,  for playing a key role in  making this happen” she adds.

The day out-prizes which will see the winning schools going with the author on a tour on the London Eye, on a real Routemaster Bus, visit the London Transport Museum, and educational centre KidZania, will take place between 18-21 October, just before half-term time. Particularly relevant to the Bus heritage theme of the Beatrice and the London Bus drawing competition is the London Transport Museum’s prize which consists of a workshop about Joseph Clough, the first black motor-bus driver in the London Transport history.

Following the success of the first London-themed drawing competition and of the books events across schools and libraries in Southwark, Francesca Lombardo is now planning to roll out her London meets its children project across all London boroughs and is  in talk with the GLA to broaden the educational prospect of the project.

LONDON MEETS IS CHILDREN’s MISSION

Through a series of London-themed events, seminars, performances, workshops and competitions about London that are a spin off of the book series, the  London meets its children objective is to engage children with their capital, its history and heritage and, in line with Mayor Khan London Is Open campaign, as well as to encourage integration, social cohesion and tolerance across all London’s boroughs so that all children, especially the more marginalised ones, can feel a vital part of their city.

London Bus RM 168 via Waterloo, featured in the book series, becomes the project’s symbol of equality and unity across all London boroughs, being the travelling recipient of people of all sort of backgrounds who are united by the same  experience: hopping on and off a London Bus.

Beatrice and the London Bus Book series is currently available  from selected central London bookstores (Foyles and Waterstones), WHSMITH and Barnes and Nobles online and  some independent bookshops, 12 Southwark Libraries and 25 online global stores.
The book series follows the journey and the adventures of a 9-year-old child who dreams of becoming a bus driver and her imaginary friend, a talking London bus who introduces her to a city full of secrets where all the London tourist attractions and buildings – fully talking characters –  have, just like her, secrets, unfulfilled dreams and problems of their own, including the Mayor of London and the Queen of England. The book series  also encourages children to learn about the world of the grown-ups,  work hard to pursue their dreams, and trust their imagination to build self-esteem and overcome prejudices and marginalisation.

OCTOBER HALF TERM ACTIVITY Half-term activity

Bookshop event of Beatrice and the London Bus book series with drawing workshop will be held at the Travelling Through Bookshop the 22nd of October, 2.30pm- 131 Lower Marsh, SE1 7AE .
Ticket £ 5.99 includes a signed copy of the first volume of the book series.
To book a ticket email office@travellingthrough.co.uk

THE AUTHOR

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Francesca Lombardo is a London-based Italian journalist and entrepreneur with a degree in Media and Communication and a master’s degree in print journalism from the prestigious LCC. After a career in the corporate world working for Thomson- Reuters she briefly trained on business desks of the Sunday Times, Sunday Express and Daily Mail and since then contributed to publications including Financial Times, Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Herald, The Sunday Business Post, Irish Times, La Repubblica, Il Sole 24 Ore and Vogue. She has worked as editor of an inflight magazine for INK GLOBAL, as consultant for educational EU-funded projects, and as co-producer of the multimedia project, Vampire Wedding at Castalides Pictures. She currently works from London for SKY, interviewing Hollywood actors and  filmmakers and is the creator of London Meets its children educational project and the founder of Daily Fairy Tales.

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