Norwich School welcomed around 750 visitors from over 25 schools to its seventh Norfolk Children’s Book Festival on 2 July. With a range of speakers talking about subjects including dyslexia, autism and bullying from How to fly with broken wings author Jane Elson, to growth mindset and the power of reading from award-winning author Bali Rai and an entertaining and informative guide on how to write creatively along with plenty of Irish jokes from Dave Rudden, author of the Knights of the borrowed dark trilogy, there was something for everyone.
In the afternoon pupils joined a variety of break-out sessions including a creative writing workshop with Norwich School English teacher and published author Eleanor Wasserberg, a presentation with live drawing demonstrations from graphic illustrator Woodrow Phoenix, a literary-themed drama workshop with the MissAdventures Theatre Company, and a fabulous session with performance poet Matt Windle, who was able to make up rhymes on the spot inspired by school names and certainly showed pupils a different side to poetry than most had ever seen before.
Jarrold books had an extensive selection of books by the visiting authors available in the Cathedral Cloisters and children were very excited to be able to have their books signed by the author -and of course, take the obligatory selfies too! The Education Library Service ran a Guess the shredded book competition, and a Community Librarian was also available in the Cloisters to chat with children about the Summer Reading Challenge. A Readaxation zone was available with information about the beneficial impact of reading for pleasure.
The Creative Writing Competition run as part of the Book Festival was won by Eleanor Barnes from Freethorpe Community Primary School (Year 6 category), with runners up Holly Sparkes from Lyng Primary School and Harrison Hazeldene from Angel Road Junior School. The Year 7 category prizes went to Mathilda Peale from Litcham School in first place, another Litcham School pupil Max Bradbury in third place, and Dali Brady of Dereham Neatherd High School in second place. The competition was judged by Bali Rai who praised the high quality of writing from all entries.
Some quotes from pupils attending the festival:
“It was amazing”
“I’ve always loved reading but I love it even more now!”
“It has made me realise the importance of books”
“The festival has opened my eyes to reading more”
“I have found out about more authors”
“It has inspired me to continue reading”