2018

How to Create a Picture Book with Benji Davies

How does an idea occur? And how can you get inspired to get an idea for a story? Benji Davies, an illustrator, author and animation director, gives us a quick rundown of his 4 top tips for creating a picture book and where he normally looks for inspiration for a story.
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Ben Faulks in Barnes

Who were you as a child? The clumsy one? The sporty one? Did you want to grow up to be the same as the rest of the children in your class or something completely different? Kids today might think it’s challenging to be different to their peers and feel like they all have to be the same to be ‘cool’, but could it be cooler to be different? Today Ben Faulks, the author of Watch Out for Muddy Puddles with Ben Cort, and What Makes Me a Me, appears with an important message highlighting our differences as individuals and helping children begin to see how we are all unique. 
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David Solomons and Superheroes

Who knew superheroes were so fun to make? David Solomons, author of ‘My Brother is a Superhero’ and the series, gave an interactive talk on the imagination behind his characters and the craft behind his creation.
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Axel Scheffler – In His Own Words

Read our exclusive Q&A with Axel Scheffler, winner of the acclaimed Illustrator of the Year award at the British Book Awards 2018, and the man behind the legendary Gruffalo series, among many other favourites. Here he talks about the method behind his work, what he loves to draw and what's next for his career....
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Sunday’s Spotlight on Volunteers

Everywhere you look at the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival you’ll see distinctive red aprons emblazoned with our logo, dotted among the crowds. Wearing those aprons is our team of wonderful volunteers who make this festival possible. If they’re not helping out behind the scenes, taking tickets at events, helping families find their seats or authors find their venue, they’re providing refreshments, taking photographs, writing up exciting copy for our website and a million other things to ensure it’s a fun-packed weekend for all the family.
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The Not So Feeble Tor Freeman

Want to learn how to draw an emotional sausage (who doesn’t, right)? Tor Freeman is your lady! Renowned and prolific children’s illustrator, Tor, is coming to Barnes with author Michelle Robinson to talk about their latest book, the infectiously funny Ten Fat Sausages. You may well already have some of her books in your kid’s collection – her drawings have featured in Michael Morpurgo writings and The Wind in The Willows, and she has her own popular Olive series too. Well worth a look for little ones from around 4 years old. Just don’t mention walking sharks, OK?
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Sophie Kinsella on Spiders, Snape and Scary Rides….

You probably already know the name Sophie Kinsella. Best known for her wildly successful Shopaholic series (the first two book were turned into a film starring Isla Fisher), Sophie has now turned her talented writing hand to a series of books for younger readers and – good news alert – she's coming to Barnes to talk about them. Hurrah! Sophie's workshop on her Mummy Fairy and Me books will be great for kids of 7 and over and will feature making your own spells and magic as well as hearing Sophie read from the book and find out about Mummy Fairy’s special kind of magic.
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5 minutes with…. Ross Montgomery

Ross Montgomery, author of Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door, The Tornado Chasers and Perijee & Me, is coming to Barnes to talk about his latest book, Max and The Millions. This fascinating book, in the vein of childhood favourite The Borrowers, is all about a deaf boy who discovers a microscopic fantasy world of tiny people living on his bedroom floor no bigger than ants. Ross, who came to writing via the interesting route of pig farming, post delivery, and primary school teaching, will feature loads of fascinating facts about the tiny invisible creatures living around us in his interactive workshop. There will also be activities where the kids can try to imagine what it would be like being ant-sized in a human sized room! The event will feature British Sign Language interpretation. Want to know more about the man behind the books? Read on....
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The Mysterious World of…. Angus Mackinnon and James Thorp

The Elephant in the Room is the fantastically surreal new 'whodunnit' book from James Thorp, complete with psychedelic illustrations by local artist and creative Angus Mackinnon (he's a Sheen resident and a parent of East Sheen Primary). The duo are coming to Barnes on Sunday 13th May to host an interactive reading of this hilarious, madcap mystery. Come along to find out who really did smash The Elephant in The Room...
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In conversation with… Frances Hardinge

Novelist Frances Hardinge has a style of all her own, both in her atmospheric and accomplished writing and with her appearance thanks to her signature black fedora hat. Perhaps most famous for her Costa Award-winning novel, The Lie Tree, Frances will be at Barnes discussing how this book changed her life, and also talking about her latest book A Skinful of Shadows,  a dark, historical tale of a mysterious family’s hidden secrets, and a young girl’s quest to shape her own destiny. An event not to be missed for anyone who enjoys her work and wants to hear more about the inspirations of an acclaimed author.
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The (not so) Magical World of Emily Gravett

Emily Gravett is a name that features on most kids' bookshelves. Her distinctive, interactively illustrated picture books are a firm favourite with kids and parents alike, and have won two Kate Greenaway awards (no one has won three). Her books, including 'Orange Pear, Apple Bear', 'Meerkat Mail' and 'Little Mouse's Book of Fears' are vastly re-readable (a must for books for tinies!) thanks to their witty use of language and interpretive illustrations. Her workshop at Barnes is sure to be bursting with drawing tips, as well as her giving us a sneaky peek of her upcoming book 'Cyril and Pat'. Get your tickets while you can!
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Duncan Beedie on elbows, aircrafts and annuals…

Duncan Beedie’s career as a children’s author started with a bang, when his debut picture book, ‘The Bear Who Stared’ was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2017. He’s gone from strength to strength with his latest two offerings ‘The Last Chip’ and ‘The Lumberjack’s Beard’, both packed with the punch of his trademark, cartoony illustration style, developed while working in animation. Come and see Duncan’s artistry in action at Barnes on Sunday 13th May, where he he will be hosting an interactive story time and live drawing from ‘The Last Chip’, his book all about a hungry pigeon….
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Jay Jay Burridge on Dinos, Darth Vader and Dr Seuss

Jay Jay Burridge, author and creative, is bringing dinosaurs back to life. His epic six part book series, 'Supersaurs', (books 1 and 2 are out now) tells the tale of what would happen if dinosaurs were still walking the earth. They have an augmented reality aspect and come complete with illustrations that will burst to life with the use of the Supersaur app. Intrigued? So were we, which is why we have invited him along to Barnes to talk more about his passion for dinosaurs, how they were first discovered and what they might be like if they really had survived and evolved.
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Andy Stanton on yellow snow and prehistoric sharks

Looking for belly laughs from your Barnes Kids Lit Fest experience? Andy Stanton's your man. The massively successful author, who wrote his first book in several hours one Christmas Eve as a festive present for his family, will be talking about his wickedly funny Mr Gum series. He will also be talking about his latest one-off book of hysterical/historical stories, Natboff! One Million Years of Stupidity, which lives up to the fantastically surreal promise of its title. We can't wait for this one – see you there!
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Bloom in Barnes!

He's best known as CBeebies Mr Bloom, but did you know that Ben Faulks, the man behind every kid's favourite allotment, is also a children's author? Good news alert – he's coming to Barnes! He'll be here on Saturday 12th May to talk about two books – 'Watch Out for Muddy Puddles' with Ben Cort, and 'What Makes Me a Me?' with David Tazzyman. His workshop is ideal for 'tiddlers' (3 and up) and will be an entertaining adventure about what makes us unique and how to get prepared for fantastical puddle jumping excursion! Just don't get him started on eggs, OK?
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A Family Sing Song with Nick Cope

Monkeys, bears, socks and mud – this man sings about all the things children love! If you haven’t seen singer/songwriter/illustrator/author/all-round kids entertainment guru, Nick Cope, in action yet, you’re missing out.
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Lisa Stickley: On Books and Blancmange

The lovely Lisa Stickley is an all round creative power house, bursting with beautiful design ideas and writing and illustrating the cutest children’s books (Handstand, My New Room, Dress Like Mummy and her latest offering, The New Baby). We caught up with her to chat about books, blancmange and everything in between (just don’t mention FROGS!)
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Writing Tips and School Assembly Slips by Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson is one of those rare authors that seemed to burst into children's literature to instant and spectacular success. Her first book, 'The Goldfish Boy' was published in 2017 and quickly became a bestseller that was published all around the world and nominated for a raft of awards including the Carnegie Medal. Her second novel, 'The Light Jar' was published this year to similar acclaim. Read on for her advice on getting started with writing and what she'd be doing if she weren't wowing kids around the world with her thought-provoking yet deeply entertaining reads. Clue: It's not singing.
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In conversation with Nick Ostler and Mark Huckerby

Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler are the Emmy-winning and Bafta-nominated writing partnership behind most of your kids favourite TV shows – Peter Rabbit, Danger Mouse and Shaun The Sheep, to name but a few. Excitingly, they are also currently scripting a new TV show of some of our all time favourite kids lit characters, The Moomins. We can hardly wait! Not happy with conquering the world of TV, this eye-wateringly busy writing duo are a force to be reckoned with in the world of kids books too. If your kids haven't tried their fantastic adventure series, 'Defender of the Realm', we highly recommend it.
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Paper bags and potholes by Clara Vulliamy

Clara Vulliamy is an author and illustrator who has children’s books running through her blood. As it turns out even her jokes have a literary twist. The daughter of Shirley Hughes (who doesn’t own Dogger or an Alfie book?) Clara chose to follow in her family’s footsteps with a career in illustrating and writing children’s books. Hugely successful, she has trodden her own distinctive path. You will know her as the illustrator and writer of many well-loved book series including Dotty the Detective, Mango and Bambang, and Martha and the Bunny Brothers books. Just don’t ask her to go potholing (or look in a paper bag), OK?
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Puppets, paints and superpowers with Polly Dunbar

When it comes to bedtime stories, they don't get much better than the books of multi-award winning author and illustrator Polly Dunbar. Her 'Tilly' book series is so well-loved that it's been turned into a BBC cartoon, the wonderful 'Penguin' is way up in our picture book hall of fame, and her latest offering 'A Lion for a Lion' has all the hallmarks of a classic in the making. Polly has that rare gift of making books and illustrations that kids want to look at over and over again, and that parents genuinely enjoy re-reading to their childrenAll this, and she has a superpower that means NO MORE TIDYING. Seriously, we'll have whatever Polly's having please.
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