Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Hoo's Kids Book Festival - Guest Post and Competition!

This month I'm really excited to be hosting a guest blog from children's author James Mayhew as part of the Hoo's Kids Book Festival Blog Tour!

The Hoo's Kids Book festival is held at the beautiful Luton Hoo walled garden on Sunday 21st April. I'm passionate about promoting literacy in children and a day like this is an ideal way of helping children love to read. There will be a host of fantastic family-friendly activities including face-painting, garden trails, and visits from popular children’s characters .

The festival will also feature  Sally Gardner, who was recently announced as the winner of the prestigious Costa Children’s Book Award, Guy Parker-Rees, official illustrator for World Book Day, and a host of stars from the children’s book world. For the first time ever, Cressida Cowell, author of the bestselling How to Train Your Dragon series and Lauren Child, author and illustrator of Charlie and Lola will be in conversation with Jonathan Douglas, Director of National Literacy Trust, talking about their forthcoming releases and roles as NLT ambassadors in an exclusive joint event. Also featuring in the programme are local authors and illustrators Nigel Baines, Nick Schon, Julia Rigby and James Mayhew.

To find out more about this fabulous festival go to www.hoobookfest.org.uk 

So over to James..

Festival Fever

The funny thing about writing and illustrating books is the need to appear at festivals. I spend so much of my time hidden away in my studio, daydreaming, imagining, conjuring. Stepping out into the sunlight is like that moment you emerge from a cinema on a bright summers day.

And then, of course, you have to perform. And an event with children is always a performance. Whether you read from books, tell tales from
memory or dare to draw in front of your audience, dress as Van Gogh,
paint along to 100 piece orchestras... the high-wire act of keeping
children entertained is one requiring courage and a lot of careful

 For Luton Hoo, my fears are diluted a little. Halved in fact. Because
I’ll be sharing the spotlight with the really rather wonderful Clara
Vulliamy. We met many years ago and immediately recognised each other
as kindred spirits. Of course she is publishing royalty (her mother is
Shirley Hughes), so when she asked me to write a story for her, I was
thrilled but terrified. Another act of courage was required… and it
took a while. But in the end a story emerged. A story about facing
fears, about courage and friendship. And about a mouse and an
elephant: Bubble and Squeak.

Clara’s wonderfully warm and witty illustrations have perfectly
brought the story to life, and we’ll be presenting the finished book
to children for the very first time at the Walled Garden Festival. We
have big plans, and promise a two-for-the-price-of-one extravaganza.
It’s going to be enormous fun, and quite an ambitious presentation.
But we both know it’s worth it, because nothing gladdens the heart
more than seeing happy children listening to stories, watching
pictures grow, or clutching much loved books.

Bookselling is changing. Publishing is changing. But the need for good
stories and wonderful art remains constant, and I am so proud to have
been asked to be ambassador for this fledgling festival that does so
much to promote books and stories and reading.

I also have a fantastic competition for one reader to win a family ticket to the festival (4 tickets minimum 1 adult). To win just share your favourite children's book in the comments box below and leave your contact details. Winners will be chosen from a random draw. Competition closing date 12pm Monday 8th April and I will contact the winner via email. Only one entry per person.

If you have enjoyed reading this why not join the blog tour and hop over to some other great Hertfordshire blogs to read these guest posts...

Jonathan Mere write on www.mummywhispererblog.com

Guy Parker-Rees writes on www.dorkymum.wordpress.com

David Melling writes on www.beingamummy.co.uk



  1. I have very fond memories of The Famous Five however my boys' favourite (and mine) is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. At the moment we are reading Tom's Midnight Garden at bedtime which is a new book to all of us!

  2. My favourite has to be Enid Blyton's Malory Towers series. I can't wait until my daughter is old enough for us to read them together.