Matlock hosts children’s literature festival

Youngsters learned to love the written word at a literature festival hosted for children looked after by Derbyshire County Council.

The Big Book Bash is hosted by Derbyshire County Council for youngsters in care – and their foster parents and children.

Top children’s authors headline the day, and children get the chance to take part in fun workshops and activities.

More than 800 children and adults attended the event – now in its ninth year – at County Hall, Matlock.

The bash was attended by Councillor George Wharmby, Chairman of Derbyshire County Council, and Councillor Barry Lewis, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Young People.

The Gruffalo, from the book of the same name by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, was there to meet children.

This year’s theme was ‘The Big Book Bash Reading Relay’, to tie in with Olympics. Activities included:

* Cartoon workshops with John Byrne

* Pop-up making workshops with Robert Crowther

* Riddle-solving, code-cracking and memory games with Andrew Newbound

* Further fun with children’s authors Jonathan Meres, Steve Hartley, Steve Cole, Alex T Smith, Ruth Warburton, Anna McQuinn, Phil Earle and Annabel Pitcher.

Councillor Lewis said: ““The Big Book Bash brings books and story-telling to life so children in our care learn to love reading.

“We look forward to hosting this event every year as it is inspiring and really enjoyable for the kids and their foster families.

“It’s all part of our work to give all children the best education and start in life.

“By including the children of our foster carers we bring families together to share the enjoyment of reading and books in a fun environment.”

Children who attend the bash receive free books as well as activity packs to take home.

The first Big Book Bash was organised by the county council in 2004 and was so successful children asked for it to become a yearly event.