Norfolk Children’s Book Festival 2015

On a sunny June afternoon, some of our team headed to the Norfolk Children’s Book Festival taking place at Norwich School, located in the shadow of our city’s wonderful Cathedral. A brilliant day was had by all, as one of our Librarians, Harriet, describes below:

‘A cloudless blue sky, a green playing field surrounded by the grey and yellow stones of sunlit medieval buildings and softened by trees gently swaying in the fresh – stop! I obviously need an awful lot of help from one of the many wonderful attendees at the 2015 Norfolk Children’s Book Festival, both adults and young people. 

Perfect conditions helped make this a memorable day, but the real stars were the brilliant authors, the fantastic Norwich School organisers led by librarian Cheryl Wood, and the 650 pupils from Norfolk (and one Cambridgeshire) primary and high schools.

Norwich School planned a full day of author talks and workshops, with time allotted for book buying and signing (though the books were selling so well, and the authors chatted so nicely to every single young buyer, there was barely time to fit in a trip to the ice cream van as well…).  Books were supplied by Jarrold’s, and there were also displays and activities from the Norwich Writers’ Centre, the Rotary Club, the Young Walter Scott Prize – and ourselves, Norfolk School Library Service.

The pupils were treated to talks by Dave Shelton (A Boy and a Bear in a Boat) and Annabel Pitcher (My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece) about how they were inspired to write and how they got published; to performances – there’s no other word for it – from poet Paul Cookson and non-fiction writer Nick Arnold, the latter doing experiments and inviting volunteers up to help, like a magician and his assistant. Steve Feasey (Mutant City) entertained with a discussion about genre in fiction and film.

Processed with Moldiv

(The above photos are courtesy of Rob from Jarrold’s– Thanks, Rob!)

Many thanks to Norwich School for their generosity in organising such a treat.  It was a memorable day indeed, inspiring and full of encouragement for young people to not only keep reading, but get creative themselves.  I’m sure any one of them could compose a far better introduction than mine…’

Our library assistant, Zoe, had this to add:

‘We spoke to lots of staff and children throughout the day, discussing books and our services. One girl told us about the numerous stories she has written and how she hopes to publish her books when she is older, explaining that is why she is teaching her younger brother to read; so he can read them!

Paul Cookson called by the stand and spent a few minutes discussing poetry and we told him how much we had enjoyed his session in the main marquee.

Paul Cookson SLS stand

(Hi Paul, thanks for posing!)

Steve Feasey also dropped by and had a chat with us. He is a great supporter of libraries, saying that reading is extremely important to a child’s development, so it comes as no surprise to learn he works as a volunteer every week at his local library.

The children queued patiently to either buy books or wait for them to be signed; a credit to all their schools with their behaviour during the day.’

Thanks to Norwich School for an excellent day- we can’t wait to see who you book for next year!

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