The Wokingham Paper

Wokingham’s book festival for children goes online (and best of all, it’s free)

Wokingham Children's Book Festival
Some of the fun at a previous Wokingham Children's Book Festival Picture: Stewart Turkington

YOUNG readers are being invited to turn on their screens and parents will be delighted. 

No, we’ve not gone daft – it’s all about a celebration of the printed word.

The Wokingham Children’s Book Festival is returning once again but, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s taking place online rather than in Wokingham Town Hall and Wokingham Library.

A number of top authors will be taking part, and all sessions will be online.

It will be held over the weekend of October 17 and 18, with sessions focusing on books, author inspirations, illustrations and writing.

There will also be opportunities for families to interact with the authors, ask questions, or for the shy bookworms to just say hello.

It’s all aimed at children aged three to 12 – and best of all, it’s free.

However, Wokingham Town Council, which is organising the event with Wokingham Borough Libaries and morearts, asks that budding writers, illustrators and bookworms sign up in advance.

The first 100 attendees signing-up for each session will also get the option of a free signed bookplate from the author that they can stick inside a copy of the author’s book or put on their noticeboard.

Taking part will be the winner of the 2019 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Onjali Q. Raúf; bestselling author, BAFTA-winning animator, writer and filmmaker, Peter Bunzl, and young Scottish writer, Elle McNicoll – winner of Children’s Book of the Week in The Times and The Sunday Times.

Books will be available on the WHSmith website for children to buy prior to or after the book festival.

School author visits will continue this year, with more than 20 authors and schools from across the borough taking part in September and October.

They include Holly Webb, who has published more than 140 children’s books worldwide, award-winning author and illustrator from Syria, Nadine Kaadan, and bestselling illustrator of the Winnie the Witch series, Korky Paul.

“This is already a much-loved event,” said Cllr Parry Batth, Wokingham Borough Council’s executive member for environment and leisure.

“We’re so pleased it’s still going ahead this year, albeit slightly differently, but still spreading the joy of books among children while also introducing them to our borough’s youngest readers and perhaps future professional writers.”

And Jim Stockley, chair morearts, said: “We are very pleased to continue to sponsor and support the Book Festival.

Despite the challenges it has expanded its ambition and scope.

This should encourage our schools to get involved as well as families.”

For more details, or to book, log on to

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