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Tag Archive: Children’s Literature Festival


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    It doesn’t get much better than this. The opening night of the Children’s Literature Festival, in association with The Telegraph, sees the return of Gill and John McLay, after a two-year absence, to the helm of the festival they created in 2007.  On stage, the guest speaker is Judith Kerr.  Author, illustrator, master storyteller, she has given us hungry tigers, pink rabbits, recalcitrant cats and gangs of grannies, amongst many other unforgettable characters. Her latest creation is the tale of Mister Cleghorn’s seal.

    The story behind this book is a marvellous one, rooted in Kerr’s memory of sitting astride a stuffed seal that her father kept in his study. The pup had been orphaned during a culling. To avoid its likely death, Kerr’s father took it in. Transporting the small seal from Normandy to Berlin by train he fed it a mixture of milk and cod-liver oil. When that ran out, and the train reached its destination, he caught a taxi to a restaurant to procure some more milk. For a while, the seal lived on the balcony of his apartment, pressing its mournful face against the window-pane. Now on the page it comes to life again in her distinctive line drawings.

    Kerr’s own long and varied life provides much of the material that she has worked into more than thirty best-selling books.  Drawing on her early childhood in Nazi Germany, married life and motherhood in England, the eccentricities of her father, and the studied observation of her household moggies (“There is no question about who is controlling whom”), she has written and illustrated books that defy classification, appealing to the nine-year-old and the ninety-year-old reader alike.

    The delight of the audience is palpable. Laughter sweeps across the crowded room and people vie to ask questions. When her own children were growing up, Kerr says, there was little to ease the transition for the young reader from the shenanigans of Dr Zeuss to the complex machinations of Sherlock Holmes. This is the territory that she has made her own. It all started when she told tales to entertain her daughter. “Talk the tiger,” she was instructed nightly, and so her talent grew.

    Her principal urge is to illustrate, and the story soon follows. Long walks allow rumination on plot and character. The best thing about writing the words to accompany your own illustrations, Kerr confides, is that it means you don’t have to draw things that you don’t want to. Her habit, she says, is to look about her, “thinking that the world is a good place”. And it is her consummate ability to translate such optimism and pleasure at life’s vagaries onto the page that continues to guarantee the enormous popularity of her books.

    Blog Author: Claudia Pugh-Thomas




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    The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival begins on Friday 25th September (through to Sunday 4th October) I’m incredibly excited to be part of it for the first time it this year. It’s something that has been on my bookish bucket list for a while but I’ve been unable to fulfil – UNTIL NOW.

    And when I check things off my bucket list, I do it in style. 😉

    Come the 25th September I’ll be on the train heading straight for the wonderful city of Bath and all the magical literary excitement that awaits. I’ve managed to secure the entire week off work and plan to enjoy my first Children’s Literature Festival to its fullest.

    There are so many things that I can’t wait to see/attend (it’s at these times that you really wish you could make copies of yourself to experience it all). Here are just a few of the things I’m looking forward to:

    Patrick Ness by Helen Giles

    Seeing Patrick Ness again, The Big Cuddle with Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell (which looks too cute for words). Bath Picks 2015 with Sarah Crossan, Sarah Benwell and Virginia Bergin. Then there is Holly Smale who I first met at her very first book launch.

    Michael Rosen hi res

    I’m also really interested to see how The Daily Telegraph’s Diversity Debate goes. Diversity in books is very important to me so I will be paying extra close attention to this one.


    And because I’m fortunate in having the opportunity to review events I get to attend things like Anna Wilson’s Alice in Wonderland Journey or Make Your Own Colouring Book sans child and still have all the fun.

    Countdown begins now…

    Blog written by:

    Luna’s Little Library has been a successful book blog for 3 ½ years. In that time I have read and reviewed over 500 books, from children’s, YA to Adult. There are no plans to stop any time soon.

    This year Luna’s Little Library was shortlisted both for Champion of Diversity in YA and Champion of Content in the 2015 UKYA Blogger Awards.

    Twitter: @lunaslibrary