Children’s Book Festival - Staffordshire Libraries

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Children’s Book Festival, Newcastle and Leek Libraries, Staffordshire Information and Library Service

Libraries in Staffordshire in the Newcastle and Leek Districts delivered a Children’s Book Festival in celebration of the National Year Reading–for the week beginning 16th June 2008. This including the setting up of a children’s reading group, author visits, Teddy Bear Picnics and a Bookstart Coffee Morning. We worked in partnership with schools and also local Community & Learning Partnerships, who assisted us in funding the authors and the tea-sets for the Teddy Bear’s Picnic!


Visiting authors

The visiting authors included Malcolm Rose, a forensic scientist who writes thrillers and crime novels for teenagers and Lynne Chapman an author and illustrator for younger readers 7-9 year olds, using the theme of sport to support the promotion of Team Read this year’s Summer Reading Game. The children attending the Malcolm Rose events were 10-11 year olds in a bid to encourage children of this age to continue reading beyond the primary school and into the secondary school. This author was also selected to attract both boys as well as girls due to subject matter of his novels i.e. forensic science.

Children visited libraries in Newcastle Library and Leek Library for Lynne Chapman, Clayton Library and Blythe Bridge Library for Malcolm Rose. A total of 487 children attended these author events across the two districts.

Children's reading group

Clayton Library also started a children’s reading group as part of this project in April and then the children met the author after reading his book Four Degrees More during the Children’s Book Festival. This further cemented their commitment to this regular monthly reading group.

Teddy Bear’s Picnic Storytimes

We also held a series of Teddy Bear’s Picnic Storytimes at Newcastle, Kidsgrove, Silverdale, Leek and Biddulph Libraries with colouring competitions for different age groups including a Design a book cover for 7-11 year olds. We had a great turnout with 149 children in attendance.

Bookstart Coffee Morning

At Newcastle Library we held a Bookstart Coffee Morning during the Children’s Book Festival. The Bookstart bear attended to promote Bookstart to parents as part of a Baby Bounce and Rhyme session.


The Children’s Book Festival with its many successful National Year of Reading events attracted 636 children overall. The feedback was glowing with 125 stating they were very satisfied with the events and 410 stating that they were extremely satisfied and many requests for similar events to take place. We will be looking to build on this with further similar events.

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