BRIGHT eyes and broad smiles were on the youngest of readers, thanks to a hugely successful celebration of reading.
Wokingham Town Hall and Wokingham Library were the venues for two days of talks, workshops, activities and fun for the second Wokingham Book Fest.
Hundreds of young readers descended on the town centre to take part in the activities, which included visits from authors, craft sessions and a ghostly Rhymetime, led by author and illustrator Cathy MacLennan, who read from her book Spooky Spooky Spooky.
The workshops saw youngsters create characters, sang, drew, and worked with the authors to develop fantastically fun stories.
After each workshop, children were invited to a book signing with each author and a chance for a selfie and a chat.
This is the second year of the Wokingham Children’s Book Festival, and this year, during the build-up, children were invited to design their own hero character as part of a drawing competition. Organisers said that there were some inventive and skilled creations across the age groups.
All the winners received a set of Sharpies donated by WH Smith, official bookseller of the Book Festival.
- Ages four to six: Thomas Smith for his colourful Golden Ninja complete with nemesis
- Ages seven to nine: Eve Cutting for the very cute duo Detective Panda and Agent Leopard
- Ages 10 to 12: Jiya Jadav for considering some of the real-life heroes we have with Humanity Hero
- Special prize winner: Arnav Bharadwaj (age 6) for some out of the box thinking designing his character.
Cllr Sally Gurney, Chair of Arts and Culture Committee, Wokingham Town Council, said: “What an amazing weekend that was.
“From the very first visitor shyly peeking around a doorway with stars in her eyes at the prospect of meeting Holly Webb, to workshops full of children with bright eyes, broad smiles, excitedly chattering away.
“Our warmest gratitude to the many authors who gave their time to entertain and enthral their fans. You inspire a generation of young people with your tales and stories, and the sharp minds and creative imaginations we foster today will be our future’s bright stars.”
And the families were just as delighted.
Candy Gourlay said the Is It A Mermaid? session was excellent, adding: “The children were all really engaged. I think we are really lucky to have such a great celebration of books in Wokingham.”
And Katrina Charman praised the Car, Car, Truck, Jeep event. “We enjoyed the Wokingham Children’ Book Festival and hope that the festival keeps running every year,” she said.
As we mentioned on our front page last week, in the run-up to the Book Festival weekend, authors went out into a number of schools across the borough as part of the Book Festival Outreach programme.
Authors Sue Palmer and Elaine Wickson and Poet Joseph Coelho delighted children with fun facts, the stories behind their stories.
Schools that took part included St Teresa’s, Keep Hatch, Westende Junior, Montague Park, All Saints, Farley Hill, Whiteknights, Hillside Primary, Gorse Ride, Shinfield St Marys Primary and St Crispin’s.
The event was a partnership between Wokingham Town Council, Wokingham Borough Libraries, .more arts, WHSmith and Love Wokingham.