Bookish Fun with Chicken House

To celebrate our love of books, we made our way to Cheese & Grain, Frome on Valentine’s Day to invite in twelve schools from the surrounding areas to an immense day of bookish fun.

In a rather romantic way, we paired up with Chicken House and Little Things Magazine (both based in Frome) to hear talks from three incredible children’s authors who covered all sorts from witches, to spectres to friendly but deadly spiders. The roof was brought down by over 700 children who made sure to make some noise to welcome Holly Rivers, Emma Read and James Nicol to Frome.

Holly Rivers, author of Demelza & The Spectre Detectors, the first novel in a brand new series of children’s books, had our audience in stitches with talk of the belly button cleaner she fashioned out of an old electric toothbrush when she was growing up – providing the inspiration for her inventor protagonist, Demelza.

Debut author, Emma Read was up next with her tale of Milton the Mighty, the tale of a spider who can either choose to live hidden away in fear of being squashed or befriend his human friend Zoe, who can help him be the mightiest spider in town. Emma’s talk was filled with fun facts, for example, did you know that we’d practically be overrun with all kinds of other bugs without spiders?! They eat over 35kg of bugs a year!

James Nicol ended the day with a magical talk about his wonderful series The Apprentice Witch. We were enchanted by James’ tales set in the town of Lull and his stories of witches who lived in England years ago. Two schools were given a treat of seeing their teachers compete to be the witchiest by battling it out to win a witch’s nose, a broomstick and a rather chunky frog.

Schools left Cheese & Grain with very excitable kids for teachers to chaperone back to their lessons (sorry about that) and bags of books provided by independent bookshop, Hunting Raven, as well as some goodie bags full of treats for them to enjoy.

Thank you to Oakfield Academy, Vallis First School, Trinity Primary School, St Louis School, Rode Methodist First School, Leigh on Mendip First School, Longvernal Primary School, St Michael’s Junior Church School, St John’s Primary School, Hayesdown First School, Mells C of E First School and Beckington C of E School for bringing such an amazing energy to a rather wet and windy Frome.

Find more information about the fabulous authors here:
Holly Rivers on Twitter: @hollyrivers_lit
Emma Read on Twitter: @emmydee73 and
James Nicol on Twitter: @jamesenicol and

Do you have a young future writer in your life? Try Chicken House’s new creative writing challenge Create A Story! Check out their short video, downloadable worksheets, author writing tips and more here.

Did you know that Bath Festivals is responsible for running Europe’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival? For more information, please click here.
If you work at a school and would like to get involved, please email us on and we’ll be happy to provide more information about the exciting line up for autumn 2020.

Bath Festivals runs a thriving year-round creative learning programme of music and literature projects. Find out more here.

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