Tag Archives: Bradford on Avon

The things we do for love…


GillLewisTwo-79-1024x683For the last two years, a bunch of possibly insane local authors have pulled together to put on an absolutely free, absolutely sensational, mini book festival for children in the tiny town of Bradford on Avon.

Bradford is a bit of a gem. Tiny, perfectly formed, in every way perfect but for a road cutting it in two. However, it has two very precious resources, a library, staffed by fantastic knowledgeable librarians, and a tiny bookshop a melange of old and new, set in the middle of the incredibly visitable shambles.

In order to keep both, and to help the children and parents of the town access both, it seemed like a good idea to run the festival the first time, and again, the second – and now, the third, approaches.

This time we have two uber, special guests.  The sensational Gill Lewis, this time talking about puppies but I’m sure up for digression into her books for older readers, including A story Like the Wind – AND we’ve also nabbed David Solomons, the author of the My Brother is A Superhero books.  Both are doing events, both will have books to sign, places to sit and chat.  And both are completely free – although you need to reserve tickets.


There will also be lots of other things going on, including menagerie making with me and Ian McKay, a long read of Matilda, and a stack of events you can find here

In fact – you could fill your day in an utterly delightful way.   All for nothing.


Tiny Free festival for children and their books….


This weekend in the tiny town of Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, something kind of remarkable is happening.  A teeny weeny free book festival for children.  It’s the brainchild of Anna Wilson and Alex Campbell – and it’s grown – only a little to include me, Angie Morgan, Maudie Smith, Catherine Bruton (AKA Cate Shearwater) and actually, Jeremy Strong.

It works on a first come first served ticket basis – Jeremy Strong is booked out, but there’s a waiting list, the workshop on Saturday afternoon is almost full, but there are still some tickets available for Maudie Smith (little children’s event in the morning, 7+ totally fab event in the afternoon) Cate Shearwater (gymtastic stuff at middayish) Angie Morgan (Stories for the very small at middayish) and a REALLY BRILLIANT PANEL EVENT on Friday night.  This has Anna Wilson, Gary Parker (writer of Millie Inbetween) Catherine Bruton and Alex Campbell all chaired by Maudie, blethering away about the tricky business of writing for young people.  If you are remotely interested in writing for young people, this event is for you.  Actually, if you’re interested in writing for anyone, this event is for you. For further details check out the BOAMBF website, to reserve tickets, ring the library 01225 863280 or email them : libraryenquiries@wiltshire.gov.uk

See you there – I’ll be building model villages and building stories and generally getting in the way.

Volunteering for the Summer Reading Challenge


Yesterday I cycled into Bradford on Avon and I was inducted into the finer details of the awesome 2014 Summer Reading Challenge, Sarah McIntyre’s Mythical Maze.   This means that I am no longer an observing parent but an official volunteer at the library and can find out, face to face what children between 4 and 11 like to read and help them choose the next book in the challenge.

I know I meet children all the time in schools, but this is different.  This isn’t about suggesting my books, it’s about suggesting all books and hopefully because I read so many children’s books I can recommend books that they’ll like and they can come back and tell me about them later on in the summer.

So I’m really looking forward to it.  It’s a little like bookselling – another thing I totally love.


Since yesterday I know that:

Children under 4 don’t do it, but they can do the Booktrust Bookstart Bear Club.

I know that there are scratch and sniff cards in the librarians’ box of rewards

I know that there’s an app that parents can download and that the children can then get extra little stories from special posters dotted around the library.

I know that there’s a special wristband reward for reading 4 books

I know that if you go on holiday you can visit a different library and get the books signed off but you have to go back to your own library so that they can officially enter your achievements in the register.

I know that the medals for six books are pretty awesome.

I also know that loads of children have already signed up, but that there’s plenty of room for more.

And that’s just for starters.


As I cycled home, I wondered if any other children’s authors or editors had volunteered for the Challenge, because if you’d be even remotely interested, you may find your local library still has gaps in the schedule, and they’ll probably welcome you with open arms.

Or, there’s always next year.