When I was little I used to love it when my parents read to my sisters and I before bed time. It was a chance to hear about another life, and get lost in the characters who enjoyed magical experiences. As an adult I now know how important those bed time stories were. Even though they were fictional, it helped me realise my love of literature, and has encouraged my love to turn into a job, as a freelance writer. Thus it is with great joy that I present the Festival of Children's Literature at Birmingham Conservatoire, which is where I'm taking my little nieces and nephews.
The Conservatoire has been a site for events over the past 30 years. And this November they are playing host to the Festival of Children's Literature, which is more than an overview of a few key books on the novel scene.
The Festival of Children's Literature will be an all-day event starting from 10am on Saturday until 5pm. The festival will cover workshops, the spoken word, and discussions suitable for under 18's.
The weekend festival begins with James Mayhew's workshop about illustrating to live music (£11.00) (performed by musicians from the Birmingham Conservatoire), using Benjamin Britten's music for T. H. White's King Arthur book, The Sword in the Stone. A public performance by participants follows shortly after the workshop in the Adrian Boult Hall at 1pm. Workshop participants must be available for the performance.
The recommended age group for this event is 10-14. Parents will not be able to accompany children while they are in the workshop, so if you're son/daughter is happily independent, great. Parents whose children are part-taking in the workshop will need to purchase tickets for the performance at 1pm.
Skellig author David Almond will be celebrating the novel-to-stage adaptation of his infamous book. I recall reading this short story at school, and absolutely hating it. If Skellig was up your street, however, you and your kids might want to attend this 30-minute spoken word discussion (£5.00).
Festival of Literature
Here's something for the youngsters: Clara Vulliamy is hosting a mini puppet toy workshop, suitable for 4-7 year olds. Adults must accompany their children for this session, of which there are free tickets, when a child ticket (£5.00) is purchased.
I loved puppet shows as a child, for me, they were like 3D cartoons I could interact with. This workshop is guaranteed entertainment and laughs for all.
The final instalment of children's festival fun will be a spoken word session hosted by Michael Morpurgo and Emma Chichester Clark. This insightful session will be about children's literature as a whole. Parents might want to sit in on this one because both authors are esteemed novelists, and Morpurgo is the author behind the celebrated War Horse.
Children's literature is an essential part of growing up; it broadens your vocabulary, widens your imagination, and is a key element for developing minds. Giving life to a few paragraphs, can be the start of a clever mind; reading encourages questions, and knowledge is power. Tap into a novel which your child enjoys, and wants to read more of and you could have the next prime minister on your hands. Or at least that's what my parents said when I fingered the spine of Homer, age six.