Arts Derbyshire


Children and family book fun at Derby Book Festival

Children and family book fun at Derby Book Festival

Derby Book Festival will be offering lots of book-related fun for children and families at its Summer Festival (30 May – 5 June) in partnership with Down To Earth Derby, Derby Museums, Art in the Park, Waterstones, Derbion, QUAD, Derby Theatre and Kedleston Hall.

Professor Keith McLay, Provost (Learning and Teaching) at the University of Derby and Chair of the Festival said: “It’s never too soon to introduce children to the joy that books bring to our lives – even if they can’t yet read, they can always enjoy seeing pictures and hearing stories. We hope the events will inspire the next generation of readers through exciting events that bring books to life.”

One of the main events will be with Down to Earth at their Electric Daisy Community Garden, which will host ‘Bookworms: The Kids Takeover’, a day of storytelling sessions with local children’s authors, activities and nature discovery, such as with Worm Expert, Anna de la Vega, and seed bomb making with the Down To Earth volunteers. The authors will be running craft activities from the Electric Daisy chalets as well as selling children’s books.

On Wednesday 29 May, Derby Museums invite all curious creators to their ‘Ingenious Creations’ sessions to build and make mini-inventions, to be displayed for one day only at the Museum of Making. This event is inspired by the 2024 Derby Children’s Picture Book Award shortlisted book, Ingenious Edie: Master Inventor of Tiny Town by Patrick Corrigan.

On Thursday 30 May, the STEAM Babies event at the Museum of Making will be an exploration of the sea through books and play. Facilitators at the museum will help babies and their adults investigate different materials and get creative with ways to play.

On the same day Derbion is hosting Storytelling sessions in a teddy bear’s picnic-themed area featuring classic tales such as The Gruffalo, Elmer and The Tiger Who Came To Tea.

On Friday 31 May, children and young people are invited to the Art in the Park studios in Markeaton Park to discover the secrets of Manga illustration, inspired by the work of Sophy Henn in her ‘Pizazz’ books and Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet series.

On Saturday 1 June Waterstones Derby is hosting storytelling and a meet and greet with Pippa Curnick, author of the ‘Indigo Wilde’ series. This is an opportunity to ask an author anything and follow along as Pippa teaches illustration in a short draw-along activity. Throughout half term, children and their families are invited to Kedleston Hall to learn about book conservation and cleaning in the beautiful library. Waterstones is hosting daily, drop-in Storytelling in the Children’s section.

Also on 1 June, Derby Young Writers are holding a special Festival Workshop on the theme of Diversity. This is a fun and sociable session, perfect to develop any young writer’s skills.

In addition, the annual Meet the Author events for schools, sponsored by Cosy, will be held the following week by invitation only at Derby Theatre. This year’s events are with author and illustrator Sophy Henn and award-winning writer, SF Said (Tyger, Varjak Paw) and there will be over 1000 children and teachers meeting the authors in-person with a further 10,000 children joining the event online in their schools.

The Festival also organises its successful annual Derby Children’s Picture Book Award. This year’s winner, voted for by six- and seven-year-olds in the city’s schools, is Thunder Boots by Naomi Jones and Rebecca Ashdown. Schools enjoyed virtual visits to 170 classes from Naomi and Rebecca in May.

Full listings for the children’s events can be found on the Festival’s website.

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