The write stuff for chil­dren

Lancashire Life - - LITERATURE -

Well known fig­ures from the arts world are back­ing the sec­ond chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture fes­ti­val planned for Black­burn this month

Afes­ti­val with the mis­sion of giv­ing chil­dren and fam­i­lies from all back­grounds a bet­ter op­por­tu­nity to read books is mak­ing a wel­come re­turn this month.

The first Black­burn Chil­dren’s Lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­val was held last year af­ter be­ing set up by lo­cally­born au­thor Christina Gab­bitas.

‘There are cur­rently more than 350 lit­er­a­ture fes­ti­vals in the UK, but fewer than ten per cent are cen­tered on chil­dren,’ said Christina. ‘We would like more em­pha­sis on en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren, with an in­creased num­ber of ded­i­cated chil­dren’s fes­ti­vals help­ing to bring com­mu­ni­ties to­gether and to im­press on par­ents the im­por­tance of books and read­ing, not just ed­u­ca­tion­ally but so­cially and emo­tion­ally.’

The 2019 fes­ti­val will span four days with a ‘Fam­i­lies and Com­mu­ni­ties Day’ on Satur­day, June 22 at King Ge­orge’s Hall in Black­burn be­tween 10am and 4pm. Chil­dren will be given free read aloud in­ter­ac­tive ses­sions from a di­verse range of artists, in­clud­ing an African rap­ping poet called Dono­van Christo­pher, Bol­ly­wood dance teacher and au­thor, Salma Za­man, and il­lus­tra­tor and Blue Peter Book Award win­ner, Andy Seed.

They will be joined by Christina, who is also an award win­ner, and au­thor Hi­lary Robin­son who has penned over 50 books and pro­duces the BBC Sunday Morn­ing Pro­gramme.

Christina will be team­ing up the Rib­ble Rivers Trust to stage ses­sions from her ‘Save Us’ book which ad­dresses plas­tic pol­lu­tion. ‘It’s great to have the sup­port from the Trust,’ she said.

Lo­cal com­pany Black­burn Chem­i­cals is also pledg­ing to help and Phil Lamb from their

char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion said: ‘We are proud to help sup­port the fes­ti­val. We think that events like this are so im­por­tant and add so much more to the town. It’s a great way to help bring com­mu­ni­ties to­gether.’

Last year, chil­dren at schools through­out Black­burn with Dar­wen were in­vited to at­tend the fes­ti­val and more than 1,200 of them re­ceived free books. Events took place in a va­ri­ety of venues in­clud­ing Black­burn Cathe­dral, Black­burn Mar­ket, The Mall and the li­brary. This year the venues will be Black­burn Li­brary and Black­burn Univer­sity and Mu­seum.

Christina set up a po­etry ini­tia­tive with the Rib­ble Rivers Trust that was launched in Fe­bru­ary to en­cour­age chil­dren to write about the im­por­tance of look­ing af­ter the en­vi­ron­ment. She said: ‘This is the perfect way to en­cour­age chil­dren to learn more about our en­vi­ron­ment and the dam­age that we are caus­ing.

‘We are pleased to have ac­tress Jenny Agut­ter and Michael Bradley, of The Un­der­tones, as pa­trons of Chil­dren’s Lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­vals which now has full char­i­ta­ble sta­tus.’

The week’s events start with

‘An Even­ing With The Artists’ when Michael Bradley will be talk­ing about his life as a mu­si­cian. This will be held in Liz ‘n Lil’s tea rooms on North­gate on Tues­day June 18.

For tick­ets and fur­ther in­for­ma­tion call 0785 2804999.

ABOVE: Ac­tress Jenny Agut­ter is a pa­tron for the chil­dren’s book fes­ti­vals

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