Signed Stories celebrates Children’s Book Week

ITV is launching a unique online collection of animated nursery rhymes created especially for deaf children, to celebrate this year’s Children’s Book Week (5-11 October).

Eleven new versions of traditional rhymes – created by young North East animators mentored by Bob The Builder creator Curtis Jobling – will feature on ITV’s awardwinning website

The Handy Rhymes collection was created in partnership with Northern Film and Media and will be part of Open House – a new zone on the story-telling site – which is viewed daily by thousands of children across the UK and abroad.

Curtis said: “Signed Stories has huge potential to reach an audience which can sometimes be neglected, and I’m excited by the prospect of providing deaf children access to animated entertainment.

“The North East is a hotbed of talent in this industry, and it means I’m putting further roots down of my own in a region that is very much my second home.”

Handy Rhymes features work by two deaf animators. Newcastle-based illustrator Paul Miller, whose works include The Beach Tree and Rory’s Teeth, said of the website: “It’s really good for deaf children as it’s extremely visual. It’s also good for hearing children who are learning sign language as they can relate to the words and subtitles.”

And Gary Sturrock, a technical operator at ITV who animated Little Miss Muffet, said: “Deaf children might not always appreciate the nature of rhyme because they can’t hear how it sounds, but that doesn’t mean they should miss out on some wonderful stories.”

Children from across the north east have been invited to Newcastle City Library on Friday October 9 for the launch, which will also feature stories signed live by ITV deaf presenter Joseph Sheridan.

Music for all the nursery rhymes is by North East composer John McGregor Cook.

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