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Hertford Children’s Book Festival 2016

Hertford Children’s Book Festival — organised by locals Freya North and Maureen Pegg — is now in its 5th year and it’s going from strength to strength.  There’s loads going on this year, based at Hertford Theatre, and if you’ve got a young bookworm in the house, they’re going to love it.


It all kicks off later this week with Dame Jacqueline Wilson and John Hegley (not a Sir yet? he should be) reading and talking —  as well as a short film featuring illustrator Nick Sharratt (just love him) teaching you how to draw one of Jacqueline Wilson’s characters.

That event’s pretty much sold out, though, but it’s just one of the fantastic goings-on throughout the festival.  Here’s a couple that caught my eye in particular…


Pictures at an Exhibition


James Mayhew — the acclaimed author and illustrator — is teaming up with concert pianist Alexander Ardakov for a performance the like of which you’ve probably never seen.  While Ardakov plays Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Mayhew will be painting the story as the music unfolds.  Seriously.  How cool will that be?  And, even more, the resulting paintings will be given out at the end.  Looks and sounds like it will, er, look and sound amazing.

The Word Wizards Guide to Roald Dahl


For the Roald Dahl fans among you — and really, what human bean doesn’t love a bit of Dahl-esque nonsense? —  you can join in with the Word Wizards Guide to Roald Dahl.  Bring your sense of the absurd and swashboggle your way through the whizzpopping (how rude!) world of words created by the man himself. word-wizards-guide-roald-dahl/

Swallows and Amazons


Having just thoroughly enjoyed the new Swallows and Amazons  movie — reliving my childhood reading in glorious technicolour — I couldn’t help noticing that there’s a special screening at the Festival.  Not only that, but three of the stars — Jessica Hynes, Orla Hill and Bobby McCulloch — will be one stage afterwards to answer your questions and tell you all about the transformation of the Walkers and the Blacketts from page to screen. swallows-amazons


That’s so not all, though.  There’s the Theatre of Widdershins, more John Hegley, and — of course — some Michael Morpurgo.  And a great chance, as always, to share books you and your children love.  If there are tickets left, don’t let them go to waste.   Think how lonely and unloved they’d feel…

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