With Norwich being a brilliant cultural hub of arts, we’re incredibly lucky to regularly have at our disposal lots of amazing events for young and old alike. Today sees the launch of this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival, the flagship arts festival for the East of England. The festival itself is one of the oldest within the UK (a history lesson here) and has since 1988 been an annual event, showcasing talent from across the globe. There are lots of amazing things taking place over the next few weeks and in particular, there are a plethora of events aimed at families and children, details of which you can find here.

Another local celebration of the arts, The Young Norfolk Arts Trust offers a year round programme of creative projects and events by and for young people. The Young Norfolk Arts Festival represents the peak of its activity and this year most events will take place between 28th June and 10th July. There will definitely be something for everyone so keep an eye out for the Festival brochure which will be published at the end of May and also check out the website; www.ynaf.org.uk.

Highlights of this year’s festival include:

  • 28th & 29th June: The YNAF and Garage stage at the Royal Norfolk Show
  • 30th June & 6th July: The Hip hop Shakespeare Company performances at Norwich Arts Centre and St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth
  • 2nd July: Dancing Gods: an Indian Dance Performance at the Norwich Playhouse
  • 4th July: The Norfolk Children’s Book Festival in Norwich Cathedral
  • 8th & 9th July: Various performances during the Lord Mayor’s Celebrations including young musicians performing on the new Lost River stage.
  • 9th July: War Horse concert performance with Michael Morpurgo in St Andrew’s Hall

In particular, we’re very excited about the 9th of July; Michael Morpurgo himself will be joined by acclaimed and former War Horse National Theatre songman, Ben Murray, who accompanies him with the rousing yet haunting songs specially composed by John Tams for the National Theatre’s award-winning production of War Horse. More information about the concert can be found here ; we can’t wait!

This week’s Friday Reads are below and our lengthy archive can be found here

Apryl: Wild Animals of the North by Dieter Braun

NORTHI’m very behind on my Carnegie reading but on the upside, I’m doing really well with making my way through the Kate Greenaway shortlist; this, by Dieter Braun, is one of this year’s nominated titles and one of my favourites from the list.

As Braun himself writes in the introduction: ‘This book takes us on a journey to the farthest corners of the northern hemisphere’ – and throughout, we’re presented with many wonderful creatures, a significant number of which are endangered or at risk from disappearing from the wild altogether. By pairing his unique illustrations with facts, Braun’s book is a perfect example of how non-fiction can be both visually pleasing and informative!

(Flying Eye Books, £20 hardback, ISBN 9781909263963, find it at a Norfolk Library)

Harriet: Old Hat by Emily Gravett

OLDEmily Gravett has done it again! This is a very funny, simple story about the folly of trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, and how it is much more rewarding to be yourself.

However hard Harbet tries, he never has the latest fashion in hats, but his solution is funny and satisfying. It is a joining-in noisy tale, with lots of opportunities for hat designing, making and wearing!

(Two Hoots, £11.99 hardback, ISBN 9781447274018)

Zoë: The Circle of Power by Sheridan Winn

CIRCLEThis is the first in the series about the Sprite sisters; four girls with magical powers. When Ariel reaches her ninth birthday, she is the last sister to realise her special gifts. All of the sisters have their own gifts which link to the elements; they have to be careful to not reveal their powers to others, including their own parents!

Sprite Towers, their home, is a happy place, filled with love and laughter. However when an enemy from their grandmother’s past is intent on bringing darkness into their world, the girls must work together to protect themselves, their family and their home.

It’s an enjoyable, straight-forward story for independent readers. I liked the plan of Sprite Towers at the front of the book; also the Circle of Power describing the girls’ attributes, although I found the background used to distinguish two sections a little too dark to read the text clearly.

(Sheridan Winn, £7.99 paperback, ISBN 9780957164826, find it at a Norfolk Library)


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