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The Manchester Literature Festival Blog

Review: Family Reading Day

Young Digital Reporter Rebecca Roe (and her little sisters) spent a boisterous day at the library celebrating books, reading and pirates.

The Family Reading Day was a perfect day out for the whole family. I expected as much of course, Manchester Literature Festival’s events have always been wonderful, especially the ones directed to young people. The Festival is 10 years young this year, and the success of this event shows how far it has come since its creation. When I arrived with my dad and two younger sisters, the event space in the Manchester Central Library was already packed, even though it was only 11am (as a 16 year old, this seems unreasonably early to me but children seem incapable of lie-ins). There were 5 events running consecutively at the Library, with breaks in between to grab lunch and snacks for the little ones from the Library’s cafe. As well as the main events there were activities running throughout to keep the kids occupied, such as some arts and crafts and a reading corner for the children (and the parents!) to quietly entertain themselves with a large selection of books.

The first event I saw was Kristina Stephenson reading her newest book Sir Charlie Stinky Socks: The Pirate’s Curse. This was my five-year-old youngest sister’s favourite out of the events we attended. Kristina was great with the children, getting them involved and asking them questions. She did a dramatic reading of the book with songs and dances, but the thing that stuck with me the most was when she told the kids that “you children are the best writers in the whole wide world” and to “follow your dreams”. Kristina struck a perfect balance between educating and entertaining the kids, which lead to a very enjoyable hour.

The second event I went to was Artful Playground: The Toothy Adventures of Davy Denture. This was my 7-year-old sister’s favourite because of its more interactive nature. This had a slightly different setup than the last one, as it had the kids running around the room acting out characters and scenes as well as using volunteers from the children and making them get their parents involved. The main idea of this event was the importance of brushing your teeth, again having a good balance of teaching the kids and making sure they had fun.

The last event me and my family went to was Jonny Duddle (pictured) reading his new book The Jolley-Rogers and The Cave of Doom. This event was slightly more disorganised than the others and less interactive with the children, as a lot of it was simply reading out sections from 2 of his books, one a picture book and the other a chapter book aimed at older readers. However the kids enjoyed the stories and they loved directing Jonny when he was drawing a pirate. It ended up as a skeleton pirate wearing a frilly dress with a cutlass and a baby, I thought it looked great.

Overall I think my sister’s opinion sums it up quite nicely: “It was so fun! The popcorn was really yummy!”


Image: Jon Parker Lee