The woman who brings story magic to Sunderland

Children's book author and illustrator Laura Smith of Ryhope, Sunderland.
Children's book author and illustrator Laura Smith of Ryhope, Sunderland.
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A BIG year beckons for popular author Laura Smith – and she’s hoping it will include an award.

Laura, who founded Popple’s Tales three years ago, has been nominated for a What’s On Where title with one nominee saying: “Popple’s Tales delivers an engaging, inspiring and fun experience to the children across the city.”

Ryhope-based publishers Popple’s Tales produces children’s books and also delivers activity days, craft adventures and story-telling throughout local schools, libraries and other venues across the region.

But Laura is planning a new arm to the venture for 2015. She said: “Every year, I have something new and exciting and this year, I am predominantly focusing on the storyteller side of things. I am setting up a character who will be the storyteller. That is what this year will be all about.”

Laura herself will play the part of the storyteller and she added: “I will be dressed up and my character will have thousands of stories in their head that they want to tell. It is all about a bit of theatre.”

Laura may only have been in operation as Popple’s Tales for three years but she added: “You always hope for the best when you set up something like this and I am excited by every step.”

She described her nomination for an award as “really exciting.

“It is always good when you get nominated for anything but it is even better when it is something like this.”

The nomination for Popple’s Tales added: “Laura’s energy is infectious and it is wonderful to hear the children cheer when she arrives.”

The awards are held in association with our weekly entertainments guide, Wow 24/7, and aim to reward the elite in everything from restaurants to children’s venues, takeaways to parks and community areas, and hotels to the best shopping experience.

We want you to nominate your favourites in each of the categories listed on this page. The deadline for entries is February 5, next year.

•Enter your nominations here