The Children’s Festival of Literature

Today I am pleased to publish a guest post from Zoe Toft from Playing by the book, a wonderful site that reviews books and the crazy, fun things they inspire us to do. Zoe share my thoughts about books. They are a magical, wonderful and necessary part of life. Children should be encouraged on every level to put down their game consoles and delve into a book instead! Today Zoe is sharing details about The Children’s Festival of Literature, a wonderful opportunity to engage your children in reading and to inspire existing passions.

Save the date! Saturday November 9 is the day you could brunch with multi-award winning author David Almond, lunch with illustrator-like-no-other James Mayhew & have afternoon tea with former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo… all in central Birmingham.

Yes, just after half term a Festival of Children’s Literature is taking place in the Birmingham Conservatoire (right next to the Town Hall and Museum and Art Gallery and the old Central  Library). The Festival is all about bringing kids together to meet some of the very best authors and illustrators. To inspire them. To excite them and to show them just how much fun books can be.

You may have seen the news last month that research has also shown that the children who read for pleasure are likely to do better in maths and English than those who rarely read in their free time. So not only can reading be hugely enjoyable, it can have a significant, positive impact on the rest of your child’s life.

How do you encourage a  love of reading?

How can you encourage your child to delight in  books?

One of the simplest things you can do as a parent is to take your children to meet an author or illustrator. A little bit of the ”celebrity” gold dust will likely rub off on them, and they’ll see what passion and skill and humour they bring to creating books. November’s Festival of Children’s Literature offers you just such an opportunity.

As well as the chance to meet the creator of the Katie series of  books, the author of Skellig, and the writer synonymous with War Horse, you could also meet Emma Chichester Clark, perhaps best known for Blue Kangeroo (though she has illustrated over 80 books). You can also meet  Clara Vulliamy an established author and illustrator for young children (who also happens to be the daughter of Shirley Hughes).

As you’ll see there’s a mixture of workshops and talks for all ages. If you or your children are keen on sewing and habadashary, like Loubelle, you might particularly enjoy the workshop being run by Clara Vulliamy, who is herself passionate about felt, buttons, ribbons and all such gorgeous notions. They are bound to make an appearance in her mini puppet toy theatre workshop based on Bubble and Squeak, a book specially written for her to illustrate, by James Mayhew. Would you like to participate in an awesome party? Try the Kingbike beerbike in Budapest.

The Festival is being organised on an entirely voluntary basis by members of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups , a UK-wide charity who are all about bringing books and children together.