The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has held a story session at The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth in celebration of World Book Day.
Year 5 and 6 pupils of St Padarn's Catholic Primary School listened intently as the First Minister read extracts in Welsh and English from Wales’s infamous books of myths and legends - the Mabinogi strands.
Schools across the country are taking part in World Book Day’s ‘share a story’ campaign, in a bid to spark imaginations and make story sharing a habit of a lifetime.
During their visit to the Library, the pupils got to examine a facsimile of the White Book of Rhydderch which contains the earliest known copy of the collection of legends referred to today as the Mabinogion. These tales continue to inspire films, television series and books around the world.
It is thought that Celtic storytellers wandered Britain and beyond sharing stories for food and lodging before ending up in written form, with the Mabinogi being the oldest recorded prose of its kind. The White Book of Rhydderch was produced in the mid-fourteenth century and is part of the National Library's collection of treasures.
An expert from the Library's Archives and Manuscripts Department showcased to the First Minister some of Margaret Jones' iconic visual illustrations that have shaped the way people imagine the Mabinogion.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
"Stories are our most captivating way of communicating, and we should grasp any opportunity to encourage our children to get lost in their magic. Through them a universe of endless possibilities spark limitless imaginations. Through them complex worlds and different viewpoints can be understood. Let’s be a nation that ignites the love of reading in our young people on World Book Day by continuing our long cultural tradition of storytelling.
Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian of the National Library of Wales, said:
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome the First Minister here to the National Library of Wales as part of the national 'Share a Story' campaign. Given that one of the Library's main priorities is to offer children and young people access to the history and culture of Wales and to inspire them to learn and develop new skills, a better location could not have been chosen!
“The visit is also a great opportunity for the First Minister see the support of the Welsh Government in action as part of the cultural vibrancy and bustle of the National Library as we prepare to develop the Library's strategic plan and vision for the period of 2021-26.