Excited about the long summer holidays? Or slightly daunted wondering how to fill the weeks ahead? Clare Burkhill-Howarth of the Book Events for Children website rounded up our pick of the best book-related events across the country to keep your family entertained. And don’t forget to sign them up for this year’s Record Breakers themed Summer Reading Challenge.
Alice in Wonderland at 150
Celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland reach their peak this summer. In London, join The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and meet The White Rabbit at Foyles Summer of Fun. Elsewhere in the capital, witness Alice’s enduring appeal in The Alice Look exhibition at The V&A Museum of Childhood. For Alice-themed magic tricks head to Magic, March Hares and Mad Hatters at the Cartoon Museum, whilst a truly other-worldly experience awaits you at the Adventures in Wonderland experience at The Vaults in Waterloo.
Outside the capital, Guildford Castle opens its doors for an ‘Inspired by Alice’ Family Fun Day, complete with a costumed parade. Somersault Festival in Devon promises a theatrical Alice-themed spectacular.
Heading to Wales? Visit Llandudno, where the ‘real’ Alice holidayed with her family and follow The Alice Trail through the seaside town. In Scotland, Alice-themed performances feature at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe and across the Irish Sea, Linen Hall Library in Belfast invites Alice fans to participate in Wonderland readings and an art workshop.
YA events at The Edinburgh International Book Festival range from dystopian thrillers to mental health discussions via teenage pregnancies. Author highlights for young adults include Matt Haig, Marcus Sedgwick and Sophie McKenzie. Treats for younger readers include Sarah McIntyre, Frank Cottrell Boyce, and Debi Gliori.
Pop into The Scottish Storytelling Centre for more spoken word and theatrical events.
Belfast Hills Heritage Festival celebrates its link with Gulliver’s Travels author, Jonathan Swift and catch a theatrical adaptation of the classic story the Lyric Theatre, Belfast. Traditional tales are retold with performances of Jack and the Beanstalk, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Red Riding Hood and Into The Woods.
Yorkshire and the North-East
Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books reopens this month following refurbishment and offers three new exhibitions featuring Paddington, nursery rhymes and the works of Michael Foreman. Author events include Nick Sharratt, Adam Stower, as well as events with Artist-in-Residence Jonny Duddle.
The Railway Children – also currently being performed at London’s Kings Cross Theatre – returns to its York roots with amazing staging at the National Railway Museum. The Yorkshire scenery is the backdrop to festival appearances from Blue Peter Book Award winner Andy Seed (at Galtres Parklands Festival) with Gary Northfield and WBD15 illustrator Sophy Henn appearing at Deer Shed Festival.
Book now for workshops with several authors and illustrators-including , Teresa Flavin and Stephen Waterhouse at Breeze Arts Festival, Leeds.
Various author appearances await young festival goers in the north-west with Lytham’s Festival of Stories welcoming Cathy Cassidy, Liz Kessler and Demolition Dad author Phil Earle. In Cheshire, meet The Gruffalo, as well as authors Paul Stickland and Emma Carroll at Just So Festival.
Elsewhere, Jacqueline Wilson launches her latest book, Katy at Simply Books and enjoy outdoor theatre with The Wind in the Willows and The Jungle Book.
Drop into the Draw Me A Story and Time for Bed exhibitions at The Story Museum in Oxford and sign up for their Summer Story Makers writing courses. Youngsters will love Fantastic Storytelling Yoga and their weekly ABC…Story sessions.
Join workshops with Tracey Corderoy, Emily Gravett and Ian Whybrow amongst others at Cirencester Children’s Literary Festival.
Highlights of the live author events at The Roald Dahl Museum include Rastamouse creator Michael de Souza, Rob Biddulph and Paul Lyalls. Don’t miss Roald Dahl’s original writing hut too.
The magnificent castles of Wales play host to theatrical productions including The Three Musketeers (Harlech Castle), The Reluctant Dragon (Conwy Castle) and Charlotte’s Web (Oystermouth Castle).
Sign up for a Dylan Thomas-inspired creative writing course (10-16 year olds) or a writing course for 8-12 year olds with You’re a Hero Daley B! author Jon Blake. Visitors to The Green Man festival can catch Can’t-Dance-Cameron author Emily Dodd.
London and the South-East
Parents as well as children will love the Ladybird by Design exhibition at the House of Illustration. Over at Discover Children’s Story Centre, catch the ‘Once There Was…The Wonderful World of Oliver Jeffers’ exhibition.
Theatre highlights for youngsters include The Gruffalo, Tiddler, Gorilla, and The Magic Porridge Pot. Older children will enjoy the latest instalment of Horrible Histories:Barmy Britain, Matilda, Hetty Feather, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as a Timmy Failure-based comedy show and outdoor performances of The Wind in the Willows. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Gielgud Theatre will appeal to book-loving teens.
Other live author events in London include Cerrie Burnell and Nicola Davies. Further south meet Philip Ardagh and Piers Torday at Lymington’s Curious Arts Festival.
The area hosts performances of Mr Stink, The Secret Garden and The Lone Pine Club, inspired by Malcolm Saville’s popular series. Fans of Edward Lear will enjoy The Owl and the Pussycat’s Treasury of Nonsense.
Foyles Summer of Fun extends to Bristol with appearances from Nicola Davies and Petr Horáček.
Clare Burkhill-Howarth runs Book Events for Children website, listing author events across the country and also organises school visits for authors across Yorkshire and the north of England through Book Events for Schools. Follow @ChildBookEvents on Twitter.