Oxford Children’s Book Group

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Stories reach our innermost hearts; they help us to confront our deepest fears; they facilitate our understanding of our own stories and of those of those around us. Stories bind us together: adults, children, cultures.  They provide escapism and they help us to cope with difficulties in life.

The Jean Russell Storyteller Project focuses on bringing the joy of stories to children in hospital, in schools, to young carers and to children in deprived communities across the UK. Jean Russell was a member of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups in its early days, working closely with founder, Anne Wood. She was always passionate about stories, as they had helped her when she was ill in hospital as a child.

OCBG will hold a very special two-day STORYFEST on the 17th and 18th November.  We are delighted to have been awarded a grant by the Ragdoll Foundation to run our Storyfest and to work with Anna Conomos, who is an internationally renowned storyteller.

Anna will be coming to Oxford in November to work with children from three Oxford schools: St Ebbe’s, East Oxford First and New Hinksey. Naturally, Anna will entertain the children in her own lovely and inimitable way, by telling and sharing stories but she will also help the children and their teachers to develop their own storytelling skills.

To find out more about Anna Conomos, click here: http://performancestoryteller.com/

Previous events

Oxford celebrated National Share-A-Story-Month’s “Stories in Unusual Places” at The Painted Rooms, 3, Cornmarket, Oxford on Saturday 14th May from 10.30 to 1pm. Visit our National Share-A-Story-Month page to read all about it.

Oxford CBG organised an Alice day in celebration of Alice in Wonderland‘s 150th birthday:

Oxford Children’s Book Group organized two Dragon events for NSSM during May.

*a storytelling session at Kennington Library with Deborah Cooper on Wed 27th May during half term.
*Dragon Frolics on Saturday 30th May, A Dragon morning for families!


Latest News

John Radcliffe Hospital: Oxford Play specialist Erica Watson, is given over £100 worth of new books by Oxford Children’s Book Group committee members, Erica Davis, Jackie Holderness and Moira da Costa to celebrate World Book Day.  Each book has an Ex Libris book plate with the new OCBG logo designed  by illustrator Terry Milne.  Erica and her team were delighted with the gift.OCBG2JR OCBGIMG_0590



Click here to download Oxford CBG’s January 2014 newsletter

Click here to download Oxford CBG’s Winter Newsletter 2013.


Ways into Reading
Autumn Conference 12th October 2013

What an exciting action-packed day it was! How did we manage to pack it all in? We took the theme of ways of getting children reading by less conventional means and we certainly learned a lot. Beginning with Professor Victor Watson, formerly of Homerton College Cambridge, who talked to us about his fascination with series fiction and the reasons it helps children to feel safe, where each new book is like entering ‘a room full of friends’, we then enjoyed a thought provoking talk about Project X and the role of reading schemes in the lives of 21st century children from Andrea Quincey of OUP.

After coffee we enjoyed a taste of the ways that author Tracey Corderoy engages children on school and festival visits with costumes, craft, animals and LOTS of imagination, and heard about The Phoenix Comic (a real comic not a TV tie-in magazine) and how it engages children in the pleasure of reading.

After an excellent lunch we had more treats in store, firstly Vineeta Gupta talking about creating the Oxford Children’s Dictionaries from the children’s corpus and then the wonderful Andy Mulligan talking about Dangerous Books and the role edgy fiction can play in drawing in the reluctant older readers.

Finally a special storytime for us all with the lovely Bill Laar, ably demonstrating that enthusiasm and storytelling are important in bringing children and books together.

We’d like to thank all of our speakers and the publishers who supported the day, especially Oxford University Press for allowing us to use their beautiful venue, and also Mostly Books of Abingdon for running a very popular bookshop for us.

To see the full programme, please click here.

What others said about the day


Click here to download Oxford CBG’s Spring Newsletter 2013.


Oxford Children’s Book Group were delighted to hold their 20th Birthday Party in October 2012. The very appropriate location was The Story Museum in Oxford which was decorated with festive OCBG bunting, posters and photographs.

Our guests included authors and illustrators we have worked with over the years, many of our members and other amazing people who have supported the Oxford Children’s Book Group. We all enjoyed looking at the scrap books showing 20 years of activities and a display of books written and illustrated by many wonderful authors and illustrators who we are proud to say have become our friends. Many who could not attend sent us special messages of congratulations.

One of our founder members, poet John Foster, entertained us all with storytelling and poetry, our Chair Moira da Costa gave a speech of course, as did Helen Taylor who has been a member since she was a little girl. Ted Dewan gave tours of Mr Rochester’s fantastical StoryLoom and Bill Laar sent us on our way with inspirational words about the importance of children’s books – but not before we cut the wonderful cake, decorated with the birthday year logo designed by two young members.

We are looking forward to the next 20 years!

Click on any of the thumbnails to see larger pictures of Oxford CBG’s 20th birthday event.

Click here to download a recent newsletter.

Jackie Holderness
email: jh@wordscapesint.co.uk
telephone: 01865 862640