News | Top 5 Reads from The Children’s Bookshow 2023 | line-up 1

The Children’s Bookshow is back! The writers and illustrators of children’s literature touring the regions of England this year will be offering a fantastic variety of entertaining performances in which artists share stories, poems and live drawing, and talk to children about how they create. Siân Williams, founder of the tour back in 2000, was admirably astute in the way she took author events out of bookshops into much bigger venues, offering a great afternoon out to schoolchildren. The events are not organized from the point of view of the publisher and bookseller whose focus is just on selling books, so the atmosphere is like a gig or stand-up comedy performance and everyone has lots of fun!

#BookBlast is delighted to share with you the first line up of authors and illustrators and their books on show this year. More to follow . . . National treasure, Michael Rosen, will be performing again too.

See Michael Rosen in person: Peterborough – Wednesday 4 October BOOK TICKET(S)

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye,” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Benji Davis copyright Children's BookshowBenji Davies studied animation at university and went on to direct animated commercials and short films. His first book, The Storm Whale was published to great acclaim and won the inaugural Oscar’s Book Prize and Dutch Picture Book of the Year Award. His latest book published in 2023 is The Great Storm Whale.

Little Noi rescues a baby whale washed up on the beach after a storm. He takes his new friend home and keeps him in the bath without telling his fisherman father. But then a discovery is made . . . The Storm Whale is a heart-warming and beautifully illustrated story which addresses feelings of loneliness, the importance of family, and the significance of reaching out to others in need, its themes and illustrations have universal appeal.

See Benji Davies in person: Wolverhampton – Thursday 5 October BOOK TICKET(S)

Kate Wakeling copyright Children's BookshowKate Wakeling‘s first poetry collection for children, Moon Juice won the CLiPPA Prize and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal in 2018.  She regularly runs creative workshops for primary schools and also contributes to the Times Literary Supplement.

 The imaginative and evocative language used in Moon Juice is redolent with vibrant imagery, creative metaphors and wordplay to engage young readers and spark their imagination.  Skig the warrior is more of a worrier . . . A giddy comet skids across the sky with its tail on fire . . . A marvellous new problem-solving machine fits snugly in your pocket . . . an array of  curious characters and strange situations populate Kate Wakeling’s first poetry collection. Oddball, musical and wistful, her poems look at nature, dreams, adventure, and the power of imagination in a weird and wondrous way.

See Kate Wakeling in person: Ipswich – Thursday 2 November BOOK TICKET(S)

“Stories can be like magic. Sometimes they’re the only way to make sense of the world,”  Michael Rosen

Satoshi Kitamura copyright Children's Bookshow Born in Tokyo, Satoshi Kitamura enjoyed reading comics and illustrated novels from a young age. A career working as an artist in advertising led him to London where he lived for over twenty years. His wonderfully imagined books are crowded with unforgettable drawings of sheep, rabbits, dinosaurs and cats to mention only a few of his characters.

 Stone Age Boy is a beautifully illustrated story about a little girl from prehistory and a little boy from today who become friends. Amusing and full of surprises, it encourages young readers to explore new worlds and expand their imaginative horizons. Special features include a timeline and endpapers in the style of cave paintings.

A little boy is wandering through the woods and falls down, down, down a hole . . . When he wakes up he is not with Alice in Wonderland, or with Dr Who in his Tardis, but has been transported back to the Stone Age. On he walks, and meets a girl called Om who welcomes him into her clan. She teaches him how to hunt, make tools, use animal skins and prepare and cook food. When the two friends make a trip to some distant caves, his fate is decided by an encounter with a ferocious bear as they are admiring the cave paintings . . .

See Satoshi Kitamura in person:  Sheffield – Monday 6 November BOOK TICKET(S)

“We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing,” Benjamin Franklin

Marta Altes copyright Children's Bookshow Marta Altés studied graphic design in Barcelona. After moving to England, she attended  the MA course in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge school of Art, and now works as an illustrator in London. She has received numerous accolades within the world of children’s book publishing for her gift for crafting and illustrating compelling stories with wide-ranging appeal.

My Grandpa is an essential addition to a primary school library to help broaden children’s reading and promote empathy for older people. Big Bear is beginning to lose his memory but Little Bear is on hand. An adoring grandson cheers up his ageing Grandpa who misplaces things, sometimes acts like a child, and is suffering from the onset of old age. Funnily enuff the lovable pair have quite a few things in common! My Grandpa is a poignant and beautifully observant picture book.

See Marta Altés in person: Milton Keynes – Monday 13 November BOOK TICKET(S)

“It’s not about being the best, it’s about enjoying what you do and sharing that joy with others,” Michael Rosen

Anna Woltz copyright Children's Bookshow  Anna Woltz is an internationally best-selling children’s author based in the Netherlands. She has written twenty four books for young readers which have been translated into twenty one languages and won numerous prizes. She has an exceptional ability to use language in a way that is accessible to children while still being engaging and helping them to make sense of the world around them. A friendship drama and mystery story, Talking to Alaska won the Zilveren Griffel, one of the most prestigious literary prizes for Dutch children’s books.

Laura Watkinson, the translator of Talking to Alaska, lives in Amsterdam in a tall thin house on a canal with her husband, two cats and lots and lots of books.

Parker and Sven become mortal enemies from the moment they set eyes on each other on their first day at a new school. Each child is vulnerable with a uniquely feisty protective shell; they are linked by an adorable fluffy white assistance dog. Parker has been unhappy much of the summer and wants to be invisible, while Sven is desperate to make an impression and be known as anything other than “that boy with epilepsy”.

Parker discovers her beloved dog Alaska – whom she had been obliged to give away the year before – now belongs to Sven. Upset and hurt, she’s determined to steal Alaska back. How could it be done?  

See Anna Woltz in person: L’Institut Français, London SW7 – Thursday 16 November BOOK TICKET(S)

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Published by

georgia DC

Bilingual editor, rewriter, French-to-English translator. Has written for 3am magazine, words without borders, The Independent, The Lady, Banipal, Prospect Magazine, Times Literary Supplement. Currently writes for The BookBlast Diary. Founder (1997) of London-based writing agency BookBlast.

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