The overriding theme of this year’s May Festival was about inspiring young minds to be
creative, to challenge them with exciting new activities and masterclasses and, most of all,
to enjoy words by celebrating them in both the written and spoken format.
There were carefully researched workshops which gave children the chance to create their very own masterpiece. A highlight of the festival weekend was a children’s theatre group who ran mischievous, interactive and inventive drama workshops, inspired by Roald Dahl’s extraordinary stories. There was also a whole day of free, drop-in, book-related activities in the centre of Shrewsbury and a wonderful ‘Bookfest Quest’ that followed on a winding trail through the town to spot artwork created by local primary schools.
The Big Book Award: A child-led reading development project delivered into Shropshire primary schools to find the book published in the previous two years that children aged 9 – 11 years old love the most.
The first Book Award project in 2010 was an immediate and overwhelming success, so we ran the project again in 2012, 2014 and 2016. We have developed its scope and widened its reach each time.
Over 33 schools across Shropshire took part in the Big Book Award 2018, involving over 1200 pupils. Click here to go through to see who won.
The Picture Book Award: This project was set up in response to demand from the education sector in Shropshire, to follow the aims and ideals (i.e. . to generate a love of reading for younger children) of the established Big Book Award, this time focusing on Years 1 and 2 (children aged 6 to 7 years old). The Picture Book Award followed the aim to generate a love of reading for younger children and to provide a platform to inspire and influence younger pupils. A ‘buddy reading system’ was be implemented where KS2 readers help KS1 readers throughout this project.
From June 2018, Shrewsbury Bookfest distributed hundreds of copies of the four shortlisted titles to 17 primary schools across Shropshire who signed up to the project, The Picture Book Award 2018. Over 600 children read, commented on and voted for their favourite picture book – the result was announced in July 2018 – click here to see who won!
‘Flo of the Somme Writing Competition’
With the help of a generous grant from a local trust fund, Shrewsbury Bookfest put together a competition to help primary school pupils in Years 3 and 4 to commemorate the First World War and to remember the animals that served and risked their lives.
During the first week of the Autumn Term Shrewsbury Bookfest provided 15 primary schools with copies of Hilary Robinsons’s book Flo of the Somme, comprehension worksheets to support class discussions. Children were invited to write a front-page story for their local newspaper based on the book.
And the winners were …………..
ELIZA HOWE from St. George’s Junior School
MEGAN BALDWIN from Martin Wilson Primary
OLIVER EDWARDS from Longden C of E Primary
EMILY STEVENS from Baschurch C of E Primary
JAKE EDWARDS from The Wilfred Owen School
ESME FARMER from St. Winefride’s Convent School
Many, many congratulations to them all and commiserations to those schools who were not successful this time. We had over 800 entries and the standard was extremely high so judging was a difficult task.
Prizes were awarded at an event at Button & Bear Bookshop in Shrewsbury on Saturday 11th November, by ‘Flo of the Somme’ author Hilary Robinson. The Shropshire Star will be publishing some of the winning entries and all the winners will be invited to visit the Star’s offices in Ketley.
The annual children’s literature festival featured, in May 2017, many highlights including Clare Balding, Horrible Histories, Katherine Rundell, Ben Faulks, The Harry Potter Show, The Tiger Who Came to Tea and many more.
This week long, bi-annual during March 2017 project saw 7 brilliant children’s authors and illustrators and a theatre company visit 15 schools across Shropshire to deliver workshops on topics such as creative writing, illustration and mime and movement. Over 1800 pupils were involved.
Leading children’s author, Jacqueline Wilson, opened the May Festival in 2016 and audiences were also treated to workshops and talks by John Hegley, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Lauren Child and also Julian Clary together with renowned illustrator, David Roberts.
Book Award 2016 saw 1076 children from 27 primary schools across Shropshire reading and voting for their most favourite book from a shortlist of 6 books that were published in the previous 2 years. The winning book was ‘How to Fly with Broken Wings’ by Jane Elson.
Mischief and mayhem was guaranteed at this year’s festival thanks to the author of The Diary of Dennis the Menace (Steven Butler). Other events included Holly Webb, Cerrie Burnell, Minecraft handbook creators, Star Wars themed Lego building.
Coinciding with World Book Day, this bi-annual project in March 2015 saw Tracy Corderoy, Andy Seed, Mo O’Hara, Piers Torday, Kate Pankhurst, Megan Rix, Vamos Mask Theatre and John Kirk deliver bespoke workshops for primary schools in Shropshire
Bi-annual, child-led reading development project delivered into Shropshire primary schools
Series of events every November to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.