Wokingham Children’s Book Festival- Saturday October 19 and Sunday October 20

Wokingham Children’s Book Festival returns this month and hot off the press Wokingham Library has announced the latest additions to their immense line up of hugely talented authors, amazing illustrators and inspirational story tellers.

This eagerly awaited community event, which will be taking place on 19-20 October at both Wokingham Town Council and Wokingham Library, is set to be bigger and better than ever welcoming a host of well-known and award winning authors to get everyone excited about books and the creative processes behind writing.


Saturday Highlights

Tony Bradman, winner the Historical Association’s Young Quills Award for his novel Anglo-Saxon Boy, will be hosting the session on the Saturday afternoon titled ‘Winter of the Wolves with Tony Bradman’   where he will be sharing the  story of Beowulf, the inspiration for his eagerly awaited new book “Winter of the Wolves”.

Holly Webb, author of amazing Star and The Runaway, will be also be dropping by on the Saturday afternoon to host a session ‘Winter Animal Stories with Holly Webb’ where she will be sharing the inspiration behind her latest incredible book ”Star”

Chitra Soundar, an Indian-born British author and storyteller, will also be hosting the session on Saturday, “Making Magic and Baking Cakes with Chitra Soundar” and will be reading from her brilliant new book “Manju’s Magic Wishes”.


Sunday Highlights

There will be some fantastic sessions taking place on the Sunday as well with author Nadine Kaadan hosting a story and drawing workshop ‘’Tomorrow’s a story from Syria with Nadine Kaadan’, which is about the daily life of a little boy during the Syrian conflict.

Mary Rosambeau  will be sharing the heartwarming  story of her childhood in this WW2 themed session, A Wartime Mystery with Mary Rosambeau , where she will be introducing characters Rory and Paul in her thrilling book “Secrets and Spies”.

Author Candy Gourlay will be asking ‘ Is it a mermaid?’  in her magical storytelling and story-making session courtesy of her magic fish bag!

Something for everyone

“We are delighted to once again put on the Wokingham Children’s Book Festival thanks to the support of a number of local partners including morearts and WHSmith. The Town Hall and Library will be full of inspirational authors ready and waiting to capture your imagination and transport you into the heart of their stories,” said Cllr Sally Gurney, chairperson of arts and culture at Wokingham Town Council.

“I’ve been an avid reader all my life and the Children’s Book Festival is a way of sharing that joy with others. I hope it helps kindle a love of books in all those who attend.”

Whether you are; a budding writer, interested in developing characters, a bit of a poet, a fan of picture books or simply love illustration, then the Wokingham Children’s Book Festival will have something for you.

“It is fantastic to see the children’s book festival back and I am really pleased to see that we can offer even more sessions for all our children to enjoy,” said Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure.

“This year Wokingham Borough libraries are filled even more with wonderful books to explore and we’ve got some fantastic authors and illustrators coming along to offer a really unique experience for our children to take advantage of. I am sure the children and families will enjoy hearing the authors speak about their work and appreciate the opportunity to buy signed copies of their books afterwards. With over 20 sessions, there should be something for everyone to enjoy.”


Tickets are selling fast and booking is highly recommended. Further information, including how to reserve your space, is available at www.wokingham-tc.gov.uk/bookfest where you can take a look at what’s on offer and book your places today.

All you need to know

  • Workshops will be held at two locations in Wokingham: Wokingham Library or Wokingham Town Hall.
  • Each workshop lasts approximately 45 minutes
  • Each workshop needs to be booked in advance. Under 12’s need to be accompanied by an adult
  • Workshops are £3 per person
  • Spaces are limited so allocated on a first come first served basis.
  • You may book as many workshops as you like
  • Booking is online, or for those who do not have access to online booking, bookings can be made at Wokingham Library.





Teen Writing Session at Wokingham Children’s Book Festival


Run Wild – Animal Writing for Teens with Igniting Writing

Writing from the perspective of animals is a common across children’s fiction, from classics like ‘The Wind in the Willows’ and ‘Peter Rabbit’ to more modern examples ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ and ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’. But what is it about animals that makes them so engaging to readers? And how do you write animals in a way that makes them feel like distinctive characters, seeing the world from a different perspective than humans? Join Igniting Writing, Wokingham Library’s creative writing group for teens, to explore how to write about animal characters in a way that explores their personalities and brings them to life on the page!

A one and a half hour creative writing workshop, with group discussions, fun writing activities and the chance to read aloud to get some helpful writing critique.

Age range 11 to 18 years old

Igniting Writing is Wokingham Library’s creative writing club for 11-18 year-olds to develop their storytelling and writing skills in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Writing can be seen as a solitary activity, so Igniting Writing offers a great opportunity for teens to come together and write as a group, share their imaginative story ideas with others and build friendships with other young aspiring writers. Sessions are held every Saturday at Wokingham Library and each session covers a different writing topic, from creating characters and settings to exploring genres like sci-fi, fantasy and beyond. Roughly once a month Igniting Writing also hosts ‘guest speaker’ sessions, where local authors, poets, journalists and other people experienced in the world of writing come and share their knowledge and advice – it’s a chance to get the inside scoop from the pros! Igniting Writing has been running since 2014 and is led by Wokingham Library volunteer Alex Baker.

At Wokingham Library Saturday October 19th at  2pm to 3.30pm

Children’s Booklists to support Wellbeing

Children can find it really hard to untable their feelings and moods, and oftern struggle to make sense of experiences such as grief and loss – either in themselves or those close to them.

Books are wonderful way to explore emotions and mental health issues with children. Books can gently introduce difficult issues, develop real understanding and books can get us talking!

This World Mental Heatlth Day, take a look at our book lists that can help support in the following areas:  Feelings and Emotions, Worries and Anxiety, Self-Esteem and Confidence, Resilience, Growth Mindset, Coping Skills and Relaxation.

All the booklists can be found here: https://www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/reading-schemes-for-children-and-adults/reading-well-schemes-to-improve-health/

reading well 3

Story Massage session at Wokingham Children’s Book Festival

Story Massage session at Wokingham Children’s Book Festival

Story Massage with Alison from Relax kids will be at Wokingham Library on Sunday 20th October 2019 at 3pm.

Story massage is a fun and interactive way of storytelling.

Story Massage involves the use of simple movement (through clothes) associated with words that helps to build up a story. Story Massage can be shared as a child to child or child to parent activity.

During sessions you will learn the massage strokes for nursery rhymes, stories, poems and songs as well as build confidence in telling your own stories!

Story Massage has many benefits, such as relaxation of mind and body, and improved calmness. Increased self-awareness, self-confidence and self esteem

Story massage is inclusive for all, this session is 45 minutes long and suitable for young people aged 5 to 10 years old.

Tomorrow a story from Syria with Nadine Kaaran at Wokingham Children’s Book Festival

Tomorrow a story from Syria with Nadine Kaaran at Wokingham Children’s Book Festival

Since the age of 8, Nadine Kaadan hasn’t stopped writing and illustrating children’s books – she simply knew that it was her calling in life. She started distributing her first children’s magazine to her 5th grade classmates, and 20 years later she is an award winning children’s book author and illustrator, whose mission it is to spread reading culture in the Arab world, in a way that is inspired by Syria’s rich heritage. Her stories sometimes touch on delicate subjects like children with special needs, or like the current troubled situation in the Arab world, and other times they are just plain fun.

Nadine is from Damascus, Syria, now living in London.                               nadine kaadan

‘Tomorrow’ a story from Syria with Nadine Kaadan

Come and hear the story of ‘Tomorrow’ which is about the daily life of a little boy during the Syrian conflict. There will be an art activity after the story reading.

Suitable for children aged 4 to 9 years old, Tickets are £3 per person and must be booked via:  https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/bookfest/tomorrow-a-story-from-syria-with-nadine-kaadan/e-gqllqa

​Wokingham Childrens Book Festival Returns

​Wokingham Childrens Book Festival Returns

We are excited to announce that the Wokingham Childrens Book Festival returns this autumn and tickets are selling fast!

Taking place on the 19 and 20 October the festival follows on from the success of last years debut event. This year is set to be bigger and better than before, with over 20 author and illustrator led interactive workshops designed to ignite imaginations.

It’s not just little ones who are invited to join in the fun. There are great workshops designed for teenagers too!

Do you know a budding writer that is interested in developing characters, or maybe a bit of a poet, a fan of picture books or simply love illustration? Then why not bring them down to join in the fun?

With award winning authors on hand such as Holly Webb, Tony Bradman and James Carter you know you will have a good time.

Further information is available at http://www.wokingham-tc.gov.uk/bookfest where you can take a look at what’s on offer and book your places today, but hurry as tickets are selling fast.

All you need to know

•Workshops will be held at two locations in Wokingham: Wokingham Library or Wokingham Town Hall.

•Each workshop lasts approximately 45 minutes

•Each workshop needs to be booked in advance. Under 12’s need to be accompanied by an adult.

•Workshops are £3 per person

•Spaces are limited so allocated on a first come first served basis.

•You may book as many workshops as you like

•Booking is online, or for those who do not have access to online booking, bookings can be made at Wokingham library.

•Each workshop is followed by a book signing and we are pleased to announce that WHSmiths will be our official bookseller with stalls at each venue.

•Workshops are aimed at different age groups and the content managed accordingly.

•All venues are fully accessible.

Is it a mermaid? with Candy Gourlay at Wokingham Children’s Book Festival

Hay Festival Portrait- Candy Gourlay

Candy Gourlay is a Filipino children’s author living in London. Her latest novel Bone Talk has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Costa Prize. Her first picture book, Is It a Mermaid, illustrated by Francesca Chessa has been nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Candy lives in London with her family, where she wages war on the snails in her garden.


Is it a mermaid? with Candy Gourlay

A magical storytelling and story-making session with Candy Gourlay. There will be live drawing, strange creatures and stories courtesy of Candy’s magic fish bag!

At Wokingham Library on Sunday October 20th at 11.15am, followed by a book signing.  Suitable for young people aged 3 to 7 years old.


Places must be booked, £3 charge per person, to book visit: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/bookfest/is-it-a-mermaid-with-candy-gourlay/e-mkvkdm



Short Story winners from the Space Chase Competition

Short Story winners from the Space Chase Competition

Children were asked to write a Short Story based on the theme of ‘Space’.

The winners were:

  • Age 4 to 6 years old  First Place – Avani
  • Age 7 to 9 years old First Place – Sonja  Second place – James
  • Age 10 to 12 years old First Place – Mia
  • Age 13 to 15 years old  First Place – Amy

Age 13 to 15 years old  First Place – Amy aged 13

“Phoenix, you’re entering the atmosphere too shallow! You won’t survive!”

“Commander Kelly, this ground control, do you copy? You’re going to crash. Over”

“Commander Kelly, Phoenix, do you copy? You’re burning up, over”

“Sir, she’s not going to make it!”

Personal log, star date- 303436.7563102487, although I guess I should use earth’s date and time- 25 July 2019, 14:00:53

Space. The final frontier.

I loved hearing captain Kirk say that when I was a child. That seems so long ago. Humans have advanced so much since then.

Where am I now? I am currently on my way back to earth after a lifetime on Proxima Centauri b, in Alpha Centauri. My parents were sent there on a research mission, to see if Proxima is as habitable s earth, as habitable as NASA said it should be. Turns out, it’s just like earth, but better. More resources, more life, more new things to explore. So, they stayed put and had me, started a colony of humans in Alpha Centauri, the first humans born on another planet.

Now, I’m heading back to earth. It’s 30% smaller than Proxima Centauri b, and the years are far longer. On earth, I’m 21 years old; on Proxima, I’m 696 years old, nearly 697, which means that one year on Proxima is only 11 earth days.

You’re wondering how I’m getting to earth when it takes 54 thousand years to get to Proxima. Humans have advanced a lot since my parents’ generation left back in earth’s 1991, and even then, NASA had some kind of alien technology that they stole from a crashed spaceship. Details are classified, not even my parents know them.

So why don’t I want to go back to earth? Well, I am being torn from my home, Proxima, because NASA wants us back from the research mission. But why don’t they realise how much better Proxima Centauri b is? Earth is a dying rock, Proxima is flourishing and co-exists with its inhabitants-us.

But I had no choice- I had to go to earth. Share our results. And then return home, to the colony.

I didn’t expect to be attacked. I didn’t expect the cloaked ship to appear and fire on my shuttle. I didn’t expect to be sat here, now, recording this log, hoping someone will hear it one day, sat on a dying ship, a thin film of sweat covering my weakened body.  

Earth is getting closer. I can see it through the misty window. The shuttle is losing oxygen, my vision is getting blurry.

The shuttle gets hotter and hotter.

And as I sit here, knowing I will die soon, I have come to a disturbing realisation.

The alien ship that attacked me was the same species that we stole the engines from back in 1991.

And now, they want revenge.

I can hear voices, but I can’t respond.

Be warned-nobody is safe.

This is commander Sienna Kelly, signing off for the first and last time.

Age 10 to 12 years old First Place – Mia aged 10

‘Marcie’s Dream’

Once upon a time, there were two sisters called Kaira and Marcie.

Kaira loved to play outside and enjoy adventure; so did Marcie. Their dreams are completely different though. Kaira dreamed to be an artist but Marcie’s dream was more complex.

Marcie wished that she could one day go up into space and explore the moon. When she was 4, 5 and 6, she enjoyed making cardboard rockets with her sister, then she pretended her toys went into space on the rockets. Now she was 10, she got more serious about it.

For Christmas and her birthday, she asked for books about real rockets that have flown into space and engine powered rocket science kits. Another few years went by. It was now the day before her fifteenth birthday. “Mum, Dad, for my birthday I would really like to go to ‘NASA’ and meet the people there please? And see whether I am old enough to go into space yet?” “OK, darling. We’ll see what we can do,” Mum and Dad ensured her in unison.

It was now Marcie’s 15th birthday and her Mum and Dad had a surprise for her. “Jump in the car! We got a surprise for you!” “Yay! Thanks Mum and Dad! You’re the best!” Marcie replied in great excitement. They drew up outside ‘NASA’ and Marcie and Kaira stared in awe at the building. “Wow! I can’t believe we are really here!” Marcie exclaimed as she walked through the doors to inside the building. You couldn’t see where you were going there were so many people rushing here and there. They walked through the crowd of people and then they got to a quiet and peaceful hallway. They walked down it, Marcie staring at the signs on the doors.

Her parents stopped at the third door down on the right. The door was labelled ‘HEAD OFFICE’. Marcie’s Mum knocked and a deep grunt replied, “Come in.” So the family all went in.

“Young lady, I believe it was you who wanted to come to ‘NASA’. Am I right?” “Yes, you are sir,” replied Marcie, almost going to explode with nervousness and excitement.

Well I run ‘NASA’ as you probably thought when you saw the sign on my door, and, seeing as you really want to go up to space, there are a few places on the space station,” (“Yay!” Marcie thought to herself and the officer continued) “but first I must know how old you are.” “I am 15 today sir,” (“Happy birthday and you can stop calling me sir please,” said the officer) “and what is your name please?” Marcie answered.

“My name is Officer Bob and please may you come back on your 16th birthday and you will be able to start training to go into space,” replied Bob. “Thank you very much” Marcie’s Dad told Bob as they walked out.

They all went home and in bed that night, Marcie knew her dream was going to come true!


Age 7 to 9 years old First Place – Sonja aged 9

The alien adventure 

The train whistled and sped out of the station. I watched the green blur outside the window. I stared for a while, watching mesmerized as it slowly came together. I drew near to the window and suddenly I was falling through a deep dark hole. I stared at the round wobbly green blob, wondering where I was. The ground was soft powder and the air was so thin you could just breathe.

“Who are you?” I blurted out.

I didn’t understand a word he said.

“Um pardon sorry I can’t understand you?”

The blob nodded his head slowly and thought for a moment. He got a small horn out of his body and blew into it. It made a hollow sound and as quick as lightning another blob appeared with a necklace that had a turquoise locket on it. It was beautiful! I carefully took it from him not wanting to break it. I fastened it around my neck and I tried again.

“Um what’s your name?” this time I understood perfectly, his name was Morchikoo. I stared at him in disbelief. Before I could investigate, the blob-which I soon discovered was an alien- beckoned me with his antennae to come with him. I trotted after him quickly, come on he was still super-fast compared to me he was lightning speed he led me to a huge see-through globe and we went inside. I demanded the alien to stop so I could catch my breath to me it looked like he was tapping his foot impatiently once I had got my breath back. We kept charging on through the corridors into rooms through more corridors and finally we came to a large circular room painted sky blue the walls had pictures of different aliens but to be honest with you I would have copied them instead of wasting the aliens time. The alien that was sitting in the middle of the room cleared his throat and said “we that’s us aliens are in danger we need your help” at the end of the long talk I felt faint.

The next morning I woke with a start gosh I had to get ready for battle. Once I’d got ready and went outside suddenly there was a rumble from under our feet, I was ready, I jumped onto the monster back and karate kicked him in the eye, he wriggled his back and I tumbled of his back and I fortunately landed on the soft powdery ground I leaped onto his tail and he lost his balance, I jumped out of the way just in time and landed with a thump. Just to make shore he was dead I stuck my sword in his tummy hurrah he was dead the aliens had no fear now. I woke with a starts were I oh yes I was on the train I peered down at my neck there was the turquoise locket. Was that a dream or did that happen?

Age 7 to 9 years old Second place – James aged 7

Race to the moon

One day Josh and Max were getting ready to have a race to the moon. Josh’s rocket was blue and Max’s rocket was green. They were just getting clipped in and ready to go when mission control said “on your marks, get set, Go!” they were off to the moon. Suddenly Josh was taking the lead. Just then he saw the moon. He thought for a moment “wait, that couldn’t be the moon.” And he was right, it was an asteroid shower! Quickly he dodged in and out of them. Meanwhile, Max was having the same problem, dodging and swerving the asteroids. Suddenly the steroids stopped. “hey” said Josh “let’s eat our lunch and unclip.” “I love that idea” said Max. They unclipped and ground themselves floating around their rockets. Max had a cheese sandwich and a apple, Josh had a ham sandwich and a bunch of grapes. Max was pretending his apple was the moon. Josh laughed “HA HA!!” Max said that he saw the moon, “you mean your half-eaten apple” said Josh, still laughing. “No! I mean the actual moon!” suddenly Josh was clipped in and heading for the moon. Max said “HEEEEEEY!” he was a few seconds behind him, but he soon caught up., but by that time they were only a few meters from the moon. They had a rough landing, but as soon as they touched down they both shouted “I WON!” Josh said again “I WON!” then Max said “NO! I WON!” They both kept on arguing until they realised where they were. They had landed right in the middle of a crowd of giant aliens. “Run?” asked Max. “RUUUUUUNNNNN!” agreed Josh. So they ran back to their rockets, got clipped in and raced all the way back to earth.

The end!

Age 4 to 6 years old  First Place – Avani aged 5


Space is high up in the sky. Space has sun, stars, moon, planets and sky. We name 9 planets: sun, mercury, Venus, mars, earth, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune.

Venus don’t have any water. Venus is the same size as the earth. The sun is hot and big and the sun colour is yellow and orange. The earth is where we live. The earth have water and air. The earth have human beings.

Saturn is the gas giant. Saturn have rings. Neptune is the planet as the sun.neptune have many storms. Mars has a rocky red planet.mars have tall mountains. Mars have two moons.

Jupiter is a gas giant, it has a big moon. It is a biggest planet. Mercury Is the closet planet to the sun. mercury have no moon. Uranus is coldest planet. It have dusty rings.

All of the children have received a certificate and goody bag, Well done to all!