Festival fever!

Hello again – it feels like WAY more than a week since I last posted anything here as so much has happened in my sparkly, (really quite) little Story Seekers world!

Quite a few people have got in touch, one way or another, to offer kind words of support and advice, for which I am enormously grateful.  Being somewhat of a control freak, I seriously worried about how I’d cope with telling anyone about my Story Seekers plans, despite the fact that I knew the project would be a gazillion times better once I had input from exciting and far better qualified people than myself.  However, I’m actually REALLY enjoying it and it’s already making me see how to make Story Seekers even better than the fantasy I had in my mind.  So thanks everyone – the cakes and/or cocktails are on me!

After the responses I’ve had, in particular to my post about maybe doing a Story Seekers festival, I’m fairly sure that I’d like to do a few preliminary bits and bobs prior to actually getting the Story Seekers classes and workshops going.  I thought I might (if childcare allows) see if I can do some voluntary storytelling sessions in libraries and local bookshops. I’m also going to start using this blog to test out my ideas regarding the actual content of the Story Seekers sessions, so be prepared for some upcoming posts about your favourite children’s books and associated resources!

I think I really would like to do a children’s literature festival though, even if it didn’t actually have any impact on people’s interest in Story Seekers (although hopefully it would).  It just seems like an event that would go down really well in my local area and I’ve been hugely inspired by the tweets and blogs about all the recent events going on in the children’s literature world, such as the Pop Up Festival, The Sun Comes Out On Moon Lane Festival, Manchester Children’s Book Festival, and others.

I’ve been green with envy at those who’ve attended these fabulous-sounding occasions and am now hoping to continue enjoying them vicariously by asking very kindly for any attendees’ advice about their favourite bits.  Having never been to one of these festivals (a situation which I hope to rectify VERY soon), I’m in the dark as to exactly what happens, so the below is my guess as to what would make a lovely event (low key and small scale – I’m thinking one or two weekend days, with maybe some school / nursery / library events in the week beforehand if possible).  If I’m completely off track, please shout!

– Author and illustrator events – am unsure whether the festival should have a pre-determined ‘theme’ of some kind, which might help to tie all the separate parts together, but worry it might also feel too restrictive for the authors and illustrators who were appearing?

– A Bookstart stand – I am pretty keen on libraries (no kidding!) but it took even me a while to realise that there was a Bookstart passport scheme that I could sign C&H up to, so I’d love to help this organisation publicise the great work they do over and above the free books for babies

– We have a park right next to our town library, so I’d love there to be a stand that gives people library information and is promoting signing children up, but I’d also like some events actually in the library as well

– Live storytelling sessions and Story Seekers ‘taster’ sessions – run by me (*shivers nervously*)

– Various activities with crafts linked to books and reading (I’d love to get some of the local businesses and services involved here – cake making, face painting, music, etc)

– I’d love to somehow be able to showcase what charity bookshops can offer as well – we spend OODLES of time in our local Oxfam bookshop and they are so kind and helpful with C & H, as well as the fact that they have cheaper, ‘pre-loved’ books and are supporting a great cause

– It would be great to have dance, music, art and other performances linked to books and reading

– I wondered about having a ‘readathon’ to fundraise for local literacy groups and charities, maybe even 24 hours if people could hack it?!  Perhaps any authors or illustrators who were kind enough to appear could do a 15 minute slot to provide a bit of ooopmh?

And that’s where I’m up to at the moment.  I’ve had some good advice about where I might be able to start looking for funding, so will be exploring those avenues over the next few weeks.  I’ve also had some kind people offering networking support even at this early stage, so I really do want to try and make a go of it – I think it could be kind of awesome.

Thoughts welcome as always!

TTFN

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3 comments

  1. Sounds great! I think you’re right, a theme may be too restrictive. I think most of the book events I’ve seen have a range of themes based on the authors etc involved and that probably helps attract a wider audience as well. I think there’s a blog called Book Events for Children (poss on Twitter as well) – may be a good resource for research if you haven’t already come across them

  2. I agree, sounds great although an incredible amount of work, I hope you have some support on the sidelines to help you out! What is the passport scheme, I haven’t heard of it either.

  3. Yep, I’m going to have to reign in my control freakishness and accept that this is something I definitely can’t do on my own!!!! The next stage is most certainly to try and identify other interested parties and see whether we can work together to develop the idea.
    The passport scheme is basically a little card passport issued to each child (at the library, although it’s a national scheme run by Bookstart, I think) in which they get a stamp every time they visit the library (irrespective of whether they take out any books). For every sixth stamp they collect, they get given a certificate. Not particularly complicated, but adds great fun when they’re younger!

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