Elmer Day celebrated in Suffolk Libraries

Written by MiriamSpall on Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 10:28

Several Suffolk Libraries will be celebrating the most colourful day of the year this month with the return of Elmer Day on Saturday 26 May – and a special guest at Ipswich Library.

Elmer Day celebrates the ongoing popularity of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant who has featured in more than 30 books by David McKee. Elmer Day is also a celebration of reading, of elephants and of accepting yourself and others. Activities will be taking place across the country with children being encouraged to dress up in bright colours.

The first Elmer book was published in 1989. It was inspired by an incident where author David McKee’s mixed-race daughter was verbally abused. His stories promote acceptance both in other people and ourselves and have sold millions of copies round the world.

Elmer Day will be particularly special in 2018 and 2019 as the county gets ready for ‘Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk’ which will see St Elizabeth Hospice team up with Wild in Art and Andersen Press for their next fundraising art trail.

Following the huge success of 'Pigs Gone Wild' in 2016, the hospice will be setting up a special trail in Ipswich featuring 50 statues of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, and around 100 ‘young Elmers’. The 2019 event coincides with the 30th anniversary of both St Elizabeth Hospice and the first Elmer book.

St Elizabeth Hospice are lending Ipswich County Library the original Elmer the Patchwork Elephant sculpture for this year’s Elmer Day activities. He will be in the children’s library from Friday 25 May before appearing at the Suffolk Show on the following Wednesday and Thursday.  

The hospice are looking for businesses who would be interested in sponsoring their last few statues; to find out more visit www.elmersbigparadesuffolk.co.uk/partners-and-sponsors. They are also keen to talk to schools and youth groups about the campaign’s learning programme, which includes the opportunity for groups to own their own ‘young Elmer’. Information about this can also be found on the website: www.elmersbigparadesuffolk.co.uk/learning

As well as Ipswich County Library the following events are taking place on or around Elmer Day:

Saturday 26 May

  • Bungay Library – 11am to 12noon. A free activity with crafts, colouring, books and stories.
  • Chantry Library - 9.30am to 5pm. Young children and their parents/carers are invited to join Elmer-themed crafts and stories as well as an elephants’ parade. Come dressed in your most colourful outfit for the chance to win a knitted Elmer toy!
  • Great Cornard Library – 12pm to 2pm. Dress up in your most creative outfit for Elmer-themed crafts, refreshments and prizes.
  • Hadleigh Library – 11am to 12pm. Children are invited to wear their brightest clothes for Elmer-themed crafts, storytelling and games.
  • Ipswich County Library – 2.30pm to 3.30pm. Children and their parents/carers are invited to help celebrate Elmer Day with stories and crafts. Come in your brightest clothes and help raise money for a new rug in the children’s library by colouring in a rectangle on a giant Elmer picture for 50p.
  • Stoke Library in Ipswich – 9.30am to 12.30pm. Dress in your brightest colours and come along for crafts and a game of pin the tail on Elmer.

Tuesday 29 May - Broomhill Library – 10.15am to 11am. Young children and their parents/carers are invited to drop in for Elmer-themed crafts and stories, as well as refreshments.

Friday 1 June – Southwold Library at 2pm. Children and their parents/carers are invited to celebrate with stories, craft and art.


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