Archive for July, 2016

Autumn Children’s Book Festival News

Monday, July 25th, 2016

There’s a bumper crop of children’s book festivals to choose from this autumn; win Roald Dahl tickets at Henley Literary Festival (26 Sept-2 Oct), Bath Children’s Literature Festival (1-9 Oct), Wigtown Book Festival (23 Sept-2 Oct), Chiswick Book Festival (15-19 Sept) and Jersey Festival of Words (28 Sept-2 Oct).


HENLEY LITERARY FESTIVAL – 26 September-2 October



On Friday 30 September at 4.30pm

Some of the UK’s favourite children writers will appear at the 10th annual Henley Literary Festival this autumn with over 50 events for children and families include Lucy Worsley, Julian Clary, One Show reporter Mike Dilger and Tiger Who Came To Tea creator Judith Kerr, as well as special Harry Potter and Roald Dahl events.


Don’t be biffsquiggled! Win a family ticket to come and join word wizards Fiona Ross and Sarah-Jane Arbury as they swashboggle their way through the wonderful writing of Roald Dahl. Through games and performance find out how to gobblefunk with words and find out about the amazing new Roald Dahl Dictionary. Suitable for ages 7+ taking place in the Kenton Theatre on Friday 30 September at 4.30pm.


Click here to enter our free prize draw: we have a family ticket (for 2 adults and 2 children) to give away to the Roald Dahl event on Friday 30 September at 4.30pm. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter. Multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once and the prize cannot be exchanged for cash and does not include transport or accommodation. Draw closes on 29 August 2016. The winners will be chosen randomly from all entrants and will be notified by 2 September 2016.


THE BATH CHILDREN’S LITERATURE FESTIVAL – Saturday 1 October – Sunday 9 October




David Walliams, Liz Pichon, Chris Hadfield, Michael Morpurgo, Malorie Blackman & Simon Mayo, Chris Riddell, Chris Hoy, Nick Sharratt, Chris Packham, Clare Balding, Julian Clary, Lucy Worsley, Axel Scheffler, Andy Day, Cerrie Burnell, Sam and Mark, Lucy Cousins & Maisy, Frances Hardinge and so many more….


The Bath Children’s Literature Festival will celebrate their 10th birthday with an outstanding line-up of well known and much loved authors and illustrators.


Over the last 10 years, the festival has seen over 2,500 events, some 600 school events in central Bath and further afield, and a staggering ¼ million kids and families attending from a demographic range of 50,000 miles. That’s the equivalent of flying around the globe – twice!


To mark this special occasion, the festival’s aim is to create a legacy that will inspire children to read, write, draw and develop their creativity. There are many events for children to participate in such as The Big Bath Read, which encourages children to read and discuss the book Hamish and the Worldstoppers written by Danny Wallace and illustrated by Jamie Littler. There will be an array of creative writing masterclasses including a Dr Who adventure with the author of several Dr Who novels and audio dramas, Andrew Lane; a journalism workshop run the by children’s newspaper, First News; a poetry workshop with performance poet, Joseph Coelho from CBeebies Rhyme Rocket; a collage workshop with award-winning illustrator Britta Teckentrup and writing workshops hosted by Skellig author, David Almond and MA Writing for Young People course director, Julia Green.


The festival is for children of all ages, from 18 months up to 18 years. This year’s young adult (YA) programme includes an extensive range of events including a discussion between Malorie Blackman and Simon Mayo about all things YA; best-selling author of the Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas; Cecelia Ahern and Sophie Kinsella who make their debut into the world of YA and acclaimed and prize-winning author of The Book of Dead Days, Marcus Sedgwick, to name but a few.”


2016 is also an important year for many of the festival’s authors. Peter Rabbit will be celebrating 150 years of Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl’s 100th year will be marked with a workshop to decide his most villainous villain, Winnie-the-Pooh will reach the ripe old age of 90 and Maisy the Mouse celebrates her 25th birthday. Many happy returns!


Tickets are now on sale. To purchase tickets call the Bath Box Office on 01225 463362 or book online at


Book tickets and view the full programme.


Twitter: (@Bathfestivals)



WIGTOWN BOOK FESTIVAL 23 September – 2 October

Every autumn thousands of people descend on a small town in Dumfries and Galloway to experience Scotland’s greatest literary party.

WigtownBF-Tree-LogoNow in its 18th year, the award-winning festival has more than 240 events and activities for all ages across its 10 days, including 35 especially for the 0-12 age group and a dedicated young people’s festival for 13-25s. It has featured many of our most loved children’s authors from Scotland and beyond and this year includes Vivian French, Chae Strathie, Theresa Breslin, Debi Gliori, Philip Ardagh and many more. There are storytelling sessions, workshops and play activities for children, as well as panel debates, dinners and arts events to entertain and inspire the adults.

Anne Barclay, Operational Director of Wigtown Festival Company, organises the children’s festival with input from parents, teachers and children. She says, “We’re really excited about all of the fantastic events we have planned for this year. We have a dedicated venue in Wigtown Primary School which will be decorated beyond recognition and has great facilities all in one place. We’re especially looking forward to our James and the Giant Peach reading den which has been made by local artist Julie Houston.”

As Scotland’s National Book Town, Wigtown offers the perfect space to explore fresh ideas for the whole family – just one reason why it has grown to become the biggest Scottish book festival outside the central belt. Come and join us and inspire our next generation of readers and writers.

Full programme launches in August, for information and tickets visit



Top comedy writers and performers will bring a fresh look to the 8th Chiswick Book Festival, alongside many of Britain’s best-loved novelists, non-fiction writers and children’s authors. Andy Hamilton, Shappi Khorsandi and Mark Watson will talk about their new novels, while the creators of the best-selling ‘Ladybirds for Grown-Ups‘ series, Joel Morris and Jason Hazely, will preview their latest ‘How To…’ books due out this autumn.


Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Cressida Cowell head the Children’s Book Festival line-up, talking about their bestsellers and introducing their latest books. Children will also be entertained by Jonathan Meres (World of Norm), Rob Biddulph (Odd Dog Out) and the Really Big Pants Theatre Company.


All this and much more will take place at the 8th Chiswick Book Festival from September 15 to 19, 2016, in a variety of venues close to Turnham Green tube station on the District Line. The Festival is a non-profit-making community event, raising money for reading-related charities and St Michael & All Angels Church, which organises the Festival.

The full programme is published at the end of July, when tickets go on sale at You can follow updates and join in the conversation on Twitter @W4BookFest #ChiswickBookFest.


JERSEY FESTIVAL OF WORDS 28 September-2 October

The children’s programme for the second Jersey Festival of Words will feature leading writers including former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo. Building on the success of last year’s inaugural Jersey Festival of Words, when thousands of Island children and young adults had the chance to experience top authors at close quarters, there will once again be an extensive schools programme offering free tickets to all schools across Jersey.


Sponsored by the One Foundation, it will feature the entertaining performance poet and writer A.F.Harrold, Jim Smith, author of the Barry Loser series, Chris Bradford’s spectacular Young Samurai and Young Bodyguard shows and for young adults, William Sutcliffe and Eugene Lambert.


For further information and the full line up visit:

CLiPPA 2016 (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award)

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Michael Rosen and Sarah Crossan announced as joint CLiPPA 2016 winners.

Former Children’s Laureate, poet, performer and broadcaster Michael Rosen wins for his collection A Great Big Cuddle, illustrated by Chris Riddell. He is joined by author and previous CLiPPA shortlisted poet Sarah Crossan for her verse novel, One.

John Hegley, Poet and Chair of the CLiPPA 2016 judges praised the winning books:

“The five shortlisted titles are an exemplary spread of what poetry can be. The winning poets both have their very different inspirations so meticulously architected on the page. As one of the judging panel remarked, together the books proclaim,’ it doesn’t matter if you’re 3 or 16, poetry, is for you!’”

Run by the Centre for Literacy in Primary EducationCLiPPA, the annual Poetry Award is the only one of its kind in the UK, encouraging and celebrating outstanding poetry published for children. The winner’s announcement was made at the finale of The Poetry Show at the National Theatre, a lively celebration of poetry with children at its heart. All of the CLiPPA 2016 shortlisted poets alongside poet and chair of judges John Hegley and winners of the children’s Shadowing Scheme performed to a packed house of poets, educators, publishers, media and schools. Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell brought the ceremony to life, live-drawing the whole event from the stage.

Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “At CLPE we are committed to ensuring that poetry is central to children’s learning. Reading, writing, creating and performing poetry is integral to all aspects of developing literacy. The judges have chosen two winners who demonstrate the variety of the poetic form and its wide appeal to all ages. The winning works, and all the shortlisted books, show how important and diverse this art form is and together show just what an accessible and significant contribution poetry can make as children build a love of literature. ”

More than 1000 children from 80 schools took part in the Shadowing Scheme submitting between them nearly 130 films of children performing their favourite poems from the shortlist. The winning performers were invited to the National Theatre to meet the shortlisted poets and take part in specially planned theatre workshops. The winning children then performed on stage alongside the shortlisted poets before the winner announcement.

National Poetry Day’s 2016 theme of ‘messages’ was also announced today with CLiPPA award- winning poets Michael Rosen and Sarah Crossan calling on schools and children to ‘Say it with a Poem.’ Balloons featuring poems from the winning Shadowing Schools and the CLiPPA poets were released into the sky from the National Theatre from a spectacular poetic machine. Conceived by designer David Colombini, “Attachment” allows people to send digital messages, images or videos into the air attached to biodegradable balloons and highlights the power of poetry to convey a message.

Running up to National Poetry Day on 6th October, schools and children can discover the different ways of playing with the theme with a free resources kit for teachers available for download at

Children’s Book Festival News for July

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Camp Bestival – 28 – 31 July

Hoo’s Kids Book Fest Wednesday 31 August

Edinburgh Book Festival

13-29 August

Read on for more info about all the events




28-31 July at Lulworth Castle



















Stepping out of the airlock and into the unknown, The Literary Institute is Spacecamp Lulworth’s epicentre of intergalactic genius. An astronomical oasis of enlightenment. Don’t miss out on the Literary Institute’s cultivated delights when Camp Bestival heads into Outer Space this July 28-31 at Lulworth Castle.

Our learned leader Rob da Bank says: “The Literary institute is a one of the most amazing things at Camp Bestival. Giving the grown-ups a relaxing retreat while the kids have a ball, there’s tons of inspirational stuff from talks and quizzes to some of the best poets around. I always learn something new and amazing whenever I head in there and with this year’s Outer Space theme you can guarantee it’s going to be out of this world!”

Cruising a cosmos of jaw-dropping space facts and heroic ski jumps to the unquestionable delights of a delicious vino, The Literary Institute will have amazing spoken word, quizzes, talks and more, including The Eagle Who Dared with Eddie The Eagle, a mischievous storybook experience featuring Roald Dahl’s Stories with the Imagination Seekers, comedy from The Scummy Mummies Show, Leap – Good Cop Bad War, The Secret Mummies Wine Club hosted by The Scummy Mummies with guest speaker Sara Cox and wines provided by The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club, interactive story workshops from Flash Fiction, The Camp Bestival Space Pop Quiz with John Harris and Lighting The Campfire: Sparks For The Future Of Social Networking With Campfire Convention.

Sharing esoteric and hard to find knowledge has made our How To sessions some of the Literary Institutes’ most popular attractions. This year’s insights include How To Travel to Space with Stephen Attenborough from Virgin Galactic, Bring Out Your Inner Alien with Claire Freedman, Embrace Your Inner Geek Girl with Holly Smale, Create A Children’s Book in a Day with Sam Curry, Have A Beginner’s Adventure On Your Doorstep with Andy Torbet, Create Cured Food Magic with Steven Lamb, Spice Yourself Slim with Kalpna Woolf, Get Kids (And Dads) Off Sugar with Beverley Glock, Have A Happier Household with Gavin Presman, Make People Split Their Sides and Laugh Their Heads Off with Tiernan Douieb, Read Rivers with Kevin Parr, Explore The Last Untouched Places On The Planet with Monty Hall and How To Make Camp Bestival!

And, as ever, we will have some of the very finest spoken word artists around at The Satin Lizard Lounge Curated by Scroobius Pip, including Chris Redmond, Hollie McNish, Cecillia Knapp, Jodi Ann Bickley, Mark Grist, Jess Green, Raymond Antrobus, Rob Auton, and Joe Howell. And we’ll also have performances from the incredible Roundhouse Poetry Collective, with compere Jack Rooke.

Summer is coming and tickets are flying. Don’t miss out. And keep on checking the website





This year the Baillie Gifford Children and Young People’s programme of the Edinburgh International Book Festival will question whether age-related classifications are inhibiting the way people read and perceive certain genres of fiction and authors.

Janet Smyth, Director of the Book Festival’s Children’s programme, comments: “YA author Frances Hardinge won the Costa Book of the Year with her novel The Lie Tree which was published as Young Adult fiction but clearly of a quality to stand alongside any great adult novelist. I do worry that YA fiction, the major publishing creation of the last decade, means many readers will never experience some wonderful writing. Some of the bravest, boldest and darkest fiction is currently being created but it is often too readily overlooked. If Salinger had been writing Catcher in the Rye today it would have been classified as YA.”

Young Adult sales have soared, outselling adult fiction 25:1 in recent years and in 2016 the Book Festival will welcome many leading YA authors including Anne Cassidy, Simon Mayo, John Boyne, transgender author Juno Dawson, Alaskan author Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock and Cat Clarke.

On Monday 22 August the development and future of Young Adult fiction will be argued in the Great YA Debate between Anthony McGowan and Elizabeth Wein chaired by Daniel Hahn, and involving a wider audience that will include authors Annabel Pitcher, Christopher Edge, Jenny Downham and Patrice Lawrence.

Well known for their adult books, PS I Love You and Shopaholic, Cecelia Ahern and Sophie Kinsella will be presenting their first children’s books Flawed and Finding Audrey. Julia Donaldson is back with three new books across four events, including one with the Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler. Famed for The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the Mog series Judith Kerr presents her first new novel in 37 years, Mister Cleghorn’s Seal.

Illustration is a major part of children’s publishing and features widely in the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme. Alex T Smith is the 2016 illustrator in residence, presenting his many characters through fun workshops, Big Draws and interviews. Jim Kay presents the first look at the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone while French graphic novelist Barroux returns to Charlotte Square Gardens and joins Chris Haughton and Emer Stamp in an event highlighting creative practices and techniques for illustrators.

Young children’s favourite David Melling’s Hugless Douglas questions if food can be yummy without honey in his new book Hugless Douglas and the Great Cake Bake. Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell has been invited to present The Siobhan Dowd Trust Memorial Lecture concentrating on the importance of giving all children access to books.   Riddell will also bring his own characters to life, encouraging his audience to ask questions that he will draw answers to live in front of his audience.

Big Draw events have been so popular in recent years that they’ve been increased by 100 percent across the whole programme. The free events in the Baillie Gifford Storybox are a chance for all children to get involved in a major artwork led by an author/illustrator in a community atmosphere where all abilities are encouraged.  Author/illustrators hosting Big Draws in 2016 include Debi Gliori, Matt Spink, Hrefna Bragadottir and husband and wife team, Ana and Thiago de Moraes.

2016 is also the year of big birthdays for many treasured children’s characters. Throughout the Festival there will be parties and events celebrating Paddington Bear turning 60, The Broons and Oor Wullie at 80 and Winnie-the-Pooh reaching 90 and reciting a poem to the Queen.  Other key anniversaries include 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter at 150 and 400 years since the death of Shakespeare.

Word wizards Sara-Jane Arbury and Fiona Ross reveal the wondercrump of Roald Dahl’s vocabulary in their Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary, gloriumptious gobblefunk! The ‘Dick and Dom’ of Australian children’s TV, The Listies, present their disgusting dictionary of revolting worlds, scribbles and poo-etry in Ickypedia.

The Baillie Gifford’s Children’s Programme is an integral part of the world’s leading Book Festival, and this year a new world record will be attempted in Charlotte Square Gardens as authors Craig Glenday and Stephen Daultry present the latest edition of Guinness World Records 2017.

For further information and to book tickets visit:



HOO’S KIDS BOOK FEST Wednesday 31 August – Luton Hoo Walled Garden, LU1 4LF


Books, bears, history and magic in the Walled Garden in August

‘Exit, pursued by a bear’ is a well-known Shakespearian stage direction which we hope won’t be needed for the Hoo’s Kids Book Fest Summer Day on Wednesday August 31st from 10.30 a.m -15.30 pm in the Luton Hoo Estate Walled Garden!

David Litchfield will be reading from his book “The Bear and the Piano” while children can make masks and join his Bear Band to sing favourite bear songs!  Humorous horror stories with Guy Bass from his Stitch Head books can be heard, Nigel Baines, will be drawing live and Lou Treleaven will show you how to make a crazy car!

This popular festival will also feature a two-metre long view of British history by Christopher Lloyd and if you bring a hat you can help Professor Pango Mango create poems in the Poetry Cart.

A celebratory crown with cut paper artist, Vanessa Stone can be made and illustrator, Livi Gosling, will be creating a fantasy walled garden.  Take a tour of the actual historic walled garden designed by Capability Brown where some plants and produce including Luton Hoo honey can be taken home.

Chorleywood Bookshop will be selling books with authors signing them.

Tickets available from 1 July at where you can find full details of the Festival events.

Watch out for exciting updates for our 2016 Festival at and by following us @hoosbookfest , Facebook, Pinterest

July email newsletter

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Welcome to a jumping, joyful, jamboree July for junior readers! We love nothing more than to help you find great books fast with reviews from book experts, for you and great kids reviews for you to share with your kids. Here’s our guide to the best titles around this month, bright new talent and much more.

Stop Press… Branford Boase Award Just Announced

The most important debut prize in children’s fiction has just announced its 2016 winner. Chaired by our very own Julia Eccleshare the prize honours not just the author but also the encouraging and supportive editor. This year’s honour has gone to the very special and highly original Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot  written by Horatio Clare, edited by Penny Thomas and published by the small but perfectly formed Firefly Press.

The story describes how Aubrey, a ‘rambunctious’ boy, receives help from the wild animals in the woods around his home to break the depression that is weighing down his father. Julia Eccleshare said, ‘Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot is beautifully written and highly original, proof indeed that children’s books is a very exciting place in which to write.’ Find out more.

Tips for the Top – July’s Books of the Month

As always, we’ve scoured the colourful world of children’s publishing to bring you the top reads for the month for all ages. We love:

My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord (7+) by David Solomons – a fitting sequel to the hilarious and award-winning My Brother is a Superhero.

Blame by Simon Mayo (13+) – Inspired by a conversation with Michael Morpurgo, a taut, nail-biting futuristic thriller about skewed justice and the sins of the past.

Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith (YA) – Mythological, dystopian adventure for fans of Hunger Games.


Feeling Firsty? – Refreshing Debuts of the Month!

Yet again we have some fabulous first-time novelists to float even the flimsiest of boats! Look no further than:

The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy (7+) – Love warriors? Love cats? You’ll love this! ‘Exciting, touching and thrilling’ (Reader Reviewer).

Ned’s Circus of Marvels by Justin Fisher (9+) – A must for Harry Potter fans.  ‘A thrilling, magical adventure full of terrifying, fantastical creatures and secret worlds.’ (Reader Review).


The Somme Remembered

Marking the Centenary of the beginning (1st July) of The Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in British history, we’ve added an exclusive selection of books to our World Wars category, which aim to educate kids about a vitally important time in our recent past that should not be forgotten.  

Flo of the Somme by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey (5+) has just won the Historical Association’s ‘Young Quill’s Award for Historical Fiction’ (primary school category) and follows Flo’s incredibly brave missions as a ‘mercy dog’ to help wounded soldiers.

Wave by Paul Dowswell is particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ and through Charlie’s moving and vivid story explores how war can having an effect years after the conflict is over.

What Jackie Did! – Brilliant Books by Jacqueline Wilson

Firm favourite and former Children’s Laureate, Jacqueline Wilson has a gazillion fans the world over. So much to choose from, but we recommend diving into Katy (9+), a carefree, life-loving girl whose life is changed forever by a debilitating accident. Little Stars (9+), a Book of the Year 2015 and a danger-filled Victorian drama for Hetty Feather. Also, don’t miss Rent a Bridesmaid (9+), a fabulously funny, beautifully illustrated story about the power of friendship. Find out more here.

Calling all Human Beans! – It’s the BFG!

With the release, later this month, of Spielberg’s film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic story the BFG, we think you should get your hands on a brand new release of the book! Complete with make-it-yourself giant ears to wiggle as you read, this tale of unlikely friendship and beating the bullies has never been more fun! Find out more in our special Roald Dahl Centenary category.

Summer Reading July Highlights

Click on any of the covers and you will be seamlessly taken to our not-to-be-missed jaw-droppingly good summer reading selections, of which these titles are just a taster.

25 Years Young! Farmer Duck (3+)

Simply written by (aptly named) Martin Waddell and illustrated by the Kate Greenaway medal winner, Helen Oxenbury (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt), Farmer Duck (3+) has been a household favourite for 25 years. Now, a brand new large board edition promises to enthral children and parents alike with its charming tale of farmyard friendship and justice. “How goes the work?” is still a phrase that’s used daily in our office!

Let’s Go Fly a Kite! – Out and About Section Refresh!

Well worth a visit at this time of year is our attractively alfresco, omnifarious open-air, brilliantly blue-skied Out and About section! It’s crammed with so many different ways to inspire kids to get out and enjoying the great outdoors, using their imaginations and having a blast together. Check out our horizon-broadening book-fest, here.

P.S. Judith Kerr, author the classic The Tiger Who Came to Tea, has just been honoured with a lifetime achievement award from The BookTrust. Find out more about her amazing body of work.

Most popular books, by age range, on Lovereading4kids 4 – 11 July 2016

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Books for Babies and Toddlers

The Famishing Vanishing Mahoosive Mammoth The Famishing Vanishing Mahoosive Mammoth
Hollie Hughes
July 2016 Book of the Month  Picture book heroes come in all shapes and sizes but seldom has there been a pair of friends quite as eye-catching as Bug and his best friend Mammoth. With huge pink and orange ears, …
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Macavity's Not There! A Lift-the-Flap Book Macavity’s Not There! A Lift-the-Flap Book
T. S. Eliot
July 2016 Book of the Month Young readers will love searching for the mischievous, mystery cat Macavity as they peek under the flaps to hunt for the cat who’s never there, following the clues until they discover the feisty feline …
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Up, Up and Away Up, Up and Away
Tom McLaughlin
Julia Eccleshare’s Pick of the Month July 2016  Inventive Orson builds his own planet with a cupful of rocks, a dash of water, a sprinkling of metal and a lot of nothingness. He loves his planet and is proud of …
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Featured Books for Young Adults

Blame Blame
Simon Mayo
July 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell : tense, unusual thriller   Set in a not-too-distant future in which, following the collapse of the EU and a major recession in the UK (that must feel much more prescient now …
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The Moonlight Dreamers The Moonlight Dreamers
Siobhan Curham
July 2016 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: Awesome Empowerment * Sisterly Support * Pursuing Passions
This inspirational story about following dreams and the power of female friendship is as rich, warm and cheering as being curled up with …
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Children of Icarus Children of Icarus
Caighlan Smith
July 2016 Book of the Month  | In a Nutshell: * Dystopian deception * Greek myth * Survival
A labyrinthine world of brutality, deception and monstrous creatures awaits in this intense coming-of-age fantasy about fighting to survive.
Being chosen to enter …
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Featured Books for 3+ readers

Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats
Alicia Potter
July 2016 Book of the Month The story of the scaredy cat finding unexpected resources of courage to save the day is given a lovely – and literal – twist in this delightful picturebook. Miss Hazeltine takes in all shy …
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The Hippopandamouse The Hippopandamouse
Jools Bentley
July 2016 Debut of the Month   Perfection is in the eye of the beholder says this funny picture book, and we should be slower to write off things judged imperfect. There’s a frenzy of activity at Fuffley’s Toys in advance of …
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Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea
Morag Hood
July 2016 Debut of the Month  Simplicity is the charm of this picture book story of the unlikely friendship between very different vegetables. Lee is a very green pea and so are all of his friends except for Colin who …
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Featured Books for 5+ readers

Billy Button, Telegram Boy Billy Button, Telegram Boy
Sally Nicholls
July 2016 Book of the Month  Meet the Buttons. Mrs Button runs a shop – the nicest thing about it, she says, is the people – Mr Button runs the post office. The story is set in the days before …
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Flo of the Somme Flo of the Somme
Hilary Robinson
Winner of the 2016 Historical Association’s ‘Young Quill’s Award for Historical Fiction’ (primary school category) | One of our Books of the Year 2015 | The stories of the many animals involved in the First World War make a great …
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Mr Birdsnest and the House Next Door Mr Birdsnest and the House Next Door
Julia Donaldson, Catriona Black
Interest Age 5-8  Former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson’s story is a touching adventure told in easy to read chapters. Elmo and his sister want to move to the run down house with the overgrown garden. Instead, their parents choose to …
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Featured Books for 7+ readers

Baby Zebra Rescue Baby Zebra Rescue
Tamsyn Murray
July 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell : animals – friendship – looking after animals
Readers who like animals are going to love Tamysn Murray’s new series set in Tanglewood Animal Park. It’s a dream come true for …
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Half a Man Half a Man
Michael Morpurgo M.B.E.
Former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo deftly captures the devastating and long lasting impact of war in this stunning and beautifully produced short story. Michael’s grandfather is badly disfigured by his horrific experiences in the war. One of only three to …
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Holiday Ha Ha Ha! Holiday Ha Ha Ha!
Various Authors
If there’s any likelihood of rainy days on your holiday, be sure to pack a copy of this sparkling collection of stories written by some of our wittiest and most inventive authors, as it’s certain to brighten the mood until …
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Featured Books for 9+ readers

Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot
Horatio Clare
Winner of The Branford Boase Award 2016. One of our Books of the Year 2015. This is a special and unusual book. It features some beautiful writing, and conjures up the sights, sounds and smells of the English countryside with …
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Strange Star Strange Star
Emma Carroll
Julia Eccleshare’s Book of the Month July 2016 Rich in thrilling details, Strange Star is a cleverly told story-within-a story that draws together true stories with an original adventure. Italy, 1816, Felix works as a servant to the Lord Byron …
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My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord
David Solomons
July 2016 Book of the Month  | In a nutshell : aliens invade Bromley
The follow-up to David Solomon’s prize-winning sci-fi comedy My Brother is a Superhero delivers just as much in the way of tension, adventure and laughs. Still resentful …
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Featured Books for 11+ readers

Such Stuff A Story-Maker's Inspiration Such Stuff A Story-Maker’s Inspiration
Michael Morpurgo M.B.E.
Julia Eccleshare’s Book of the Month July 2016  Award-winning former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo gives all those who love his books a fascinating behind-the-scenes introduction to how he came to write twenty of them. While each story and the inspiration …
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Private Peaceful Private Peaceful
Michael, M. B. E. Morpurgo
It will seem odd when reading this book that the author enjoyed writing it the most of all the 90 or so he has written so far. That’s because it’s the one that most touched a nerve with him, that …
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Over the Line Over the Line
Tom Palmer
Interest Age 10+ Reading Age 8   Football never dies – even during the darkest days of the First World War. Tom Palmer tells the true story of the Footballers’ Battalion. Accused of cowardice because they are out playing football instead …
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Featured Books for 13+ readers

The Otherlife The Otherlife
Julia Gray
July 2016 Debut of the Month Absolutely compelling. I have to admit to being rather surprised by ‘The Otherlife’, I think I was expecting a rollicking fantasy adventure, instead a startling, yet subtle and thought provoking read awaited. Either told …
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Wave Wave
Paul Dowswell
July 2016 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8  World War One didn’t just affect those involved in the fighting but those left at home, and subsequent generations too as this novel shows. Charlie joins up, …
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The Lie Tree The Lie Tree
Frances Hardinge
Winner of the UKLA 2016 Book Award in the 12 – 16 year old category.
WINNER of the 2015 COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR and Winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award  Award-winning Frances Hardinge is spellbinding is this hugely entertaining …
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A chance for children to enter a short story competition

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Hugless Douglas creator David Melling and Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE will judge children’s entries
in the 2016 Dragonfly Tea Short Story Competition.


Award-winning author-illustrator David Melling – whose Hugless Douglas series has sold more than 1.4million copies in over 26 languages – has joined the judging panel for the second year of the competition hosted in partnership with the Henley Literary Festival.


David, whose loveable brown bear is the star of seven books including 2014 World Book Day number-one bestseller (Hello, Hugless Douglas!) and his most recent hit, 2016’s Hugless Douglas and the Great Cake Bake said: “I can’t wait to see the variety of entries. The theme of ‘Adventure’ is broad and exciting, so any outcome is possible – you just need to let your imagination run wild.”


Joining David in selecting the winners across three children’s age categories is television presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE DL – an actress, businesswoman, independent TV producer of award winning programmes, author of over 30 books and children’s television presenter, best known for appearing in or presenting many iconic TV programmes including Play School and Play Away. This year she steps down as Chancellor of Exeter University after ten years and is passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people. Speaking about the competition, Floella explained: “Creative writing is an amazing thing for young people to do – creating characters can teach so much about seeing the world through different eyes.”


Harriet Reed, Events Director at Henley Literary Festival added: “There’s so much going on for children at this year’s festival, from special Harry Potter and Roald Dahl events to a schools’ session with Julian Clary and an exclusive family event with Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain. It’s amazing to think that three budding young writers will have their share of the limelight and hear their stories read aloud by Helen Lederer at the award ceremony in October.”


Also announced this week is a partnership with Waitrose, who have nominated their central Henley store to collect children’s entries at the store’s Welcome Desk from Monday 8 July, via a specially designed competition box. Andrew Godman, Branch Manager at Waitrose Henley said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Henley Literary Festival this year and look forward to collecting all of the great stories entered into this year’s competition.”


The children’s competition has three categories, each with a 500-word limit: 4-7, 8-11 and 12-15 years-old. The winner of each category set to receive £50-worth of book vouchers plus £100 in vouchers for their school.



  • Children may submit their story online or via post, or enter it in person via the competition box in Waitrose’s Henley store (RG9 2BA) from Monday 8 July.
  • 29 August Deadline for entries
  • 2 October Prizegiving event at Henley Literary Festival, hosted by Helen Lederer

The 2016 Henley Literary Festival in association with Baillie Gifford celebrates the festival’s 10th anniversary and takes place from 26 September to 2 October. The Tiger Who Came to Tea creator Judith Kerr, comedian Sara Pascoe, crime writer Val McDermid and guitarist Wilko Johnson all make their Henley Literary Festival debuts, while old friends Anne Widdecombe and Lucy Worsley all return, and 2015 Great British Bake Off champion Nadiya Hussain makes an exclusive trip for her only literary festival appearance of the year. More names will be announced in the coming weeks, with tickets on sale in July at Privacy Policy Disclaimer