What is happening in the children’s book world this autumn?

The Children’s Book Show tour started on 20th September with Valerie Bloom at the Royal Exchange in Manchester and features an international line-up, with Marianne Dubuc coming over from Canada and Fabio Geda from Italy. This autumn the Children’s Bookshow will be collaborating with The Discovery Museum, The Migration Museum Project and Seven Stories, exploring children’s literature, including poetry, on the themes of migration and refugees. Nicolette Jones, Sunday Times Children’s Books editor, will be talking to Fabio Geda about how he came to write the remarkable true story of ten-year-old Enaiatollah’s five-year journey alone from Afghanistan to Italy. His ordeal took him through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Greece, enduring unimaginable hardships and challenges. Jones and Geda will be joined by young actor Samuel John, whose brilliant readings from the text will bring alive this universal story of courage in the face of fear. This event takes place at the Bewick Hall in Newcastle’s City Library on 4th October.

The Children’s Bookshow brings some of the best children’s authors from the UK and abroad to local theatre venues all around England giving children an amazing opportunity to hear diverse, multi-award winning world-class artists talk about their work. Other authors involved this year include: Jessica Souhami, Jo Empson, Rachel Rooney, Guo Ye and Clare Farrow, Benjii Davies, Michael Rosen, Sarah Ardizzone and Bruce Ingman.

Live Tales,  a new creative writing centre for young people, has been launched by Live Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne and opened its doors for its first visits by school children on 15th September. Live Tales offers fun interactive story writing in free workshops for Key Stage 2 classes. During their visit to Live Tales pupils collectively start to write a story with each child writing their own individual ending. Live Tales workshops encourage and inspire young people to explore their imagination and develop communication skills and confidence.

Christina Castling, Education and Participation Worker at Live Tales, said: “Children can let their imaginations run wild to write a fantastic original story through a fun, creative story writing process. Creativity is being increasingly squeezed out of the curriculum and teachers facing more and more pressure to focus on the bricks of creative writing rather than enjoying its architecture. Live Tales workshops have been specially designed to ensure we’re allowing children to experience the fun and excitement of exploring their imagination whilst supporting teachers to deliver curriculum aims in a creative and enjoyable way.”

Local award-winning David Almond is a champion of the writing centre and he said: “What a joy it is to have Live Tales here on Tyneside. This is an important and optimistic project of national significance. Children and young people are at the beating heart of our culture. They are our future. We all have a great deal to learn from their energy and creativity.”

Offered initially on Thursday and Friday mornings the workshops are available for KS2 school classes during term time. Teachers bringing a group for a free two-hour workshop also receive a free pack with practical information to help plan their visit and activities to do with their class before and after their Live Tales visit. A new education centre, Live Tales is an extension of Live Theatre’s successful writing and drama projects with schools. It is also part of an international network of writing centres, including Fighting Words in Dublin and the 826 group of writing centres across the United States that encourage young people to develop their creative writing skills.

And finally…

The award-winning duo Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre celebrated the launch of their fourth collaboration Jinks and O’Hare Funfair Repair in London’s Southbank on Friday 16th September, dressed in their now famous book-themed outfits. At the launch they announced the first #PicturesMeanBusiness Talk Show to be held at the Imagine Children’s Festival in February 2017. More about this will follow nearer the time.

Philip and Sarah were also presented with their award as the winners of the Children’s Category in the Independent Bookshop Week Book Award 2016 for their third book together, the bestselling Pugs of the Frozen North (published September 2015).

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