The February MBR newsletter is now available to read. It contains all the details about the Ocean Alive! event that is taking place on the weekend of 5th and 6th March. You can read the newsletter here:
MBR February Newsletter
The November MBR Newsletter is available to read and includes an article about reading reluctance as well as news about the ongoing preparations for next year's Big Read Festival in March. The December newsletter will be available in a couple of weeks.
The MBR October newsletter is now available for you to read. In this month's edition, you can find out more about the plans for next year's book festival (1-10 March 2022) including details about our confirmed presenters. We've also been working on a Book Trail, more details for which are coming soon. There's an article about the benefits of audiobooks and, of course, you can find out about our book of the month. Enjoy!
From this September, the Maidenhead's Big Read team will be producing a monthly newsletter. The September edition is hot off the press and can be accessed here:
Feel free to forward this link to anyone else who may be interested.
Author and illustrator Nick Sharratt joined Cookham Dean school for Maidenhead's Big Read on World Book Day to tell children all about his books and how to draw some of the beautiful illustrations in them. Nick's sessions went extremely well and the children produced some fantastic artwork. Cookham Dean Headteacher Fenella Reekie gave a short poetry recital at the end to thank Nick for his session. Here is her poem.
We’d like to thank you so much Nick
You taught us to draw and you taught us quick
To draw a king in a royal crown
A frog on a lily pad jumping up and down
A parrot on a pirate squawking in delight
And a troll eating goat pie in the middle of the night.
You’ve inspired us to try something different, quite new
And given us ideas during lockdown to do
So we thank you, with our hearts, very much indeed
But we leave you now, we’re going off to read!
Headteacher, Cookham Dean School
4th March 2021
Here are some lovely thank you messages from Year 2 at Cookham Rise school who enthusiastically took part in Arti and Jane's Once Upon a Bus storytelling session. One of the books they read was Stick Man and clearly it went down very well with all the children.
We've had a busy week here at Maidenhead's Big Read!
Simon Mole, the National Poetry Day Ambassador joined us on Wednesday to encourage children to write their own poems and also to talk to them about his book 'Kites'. Simon is clearly a natural teacher and getting the children to produce and recite their own poems was wonderful.
Once Upon a Bus also stopped by with Arti and Jane telling lots of really engaging stories including The Gruffalo, The Witch in the Broom Cupboard and Stick Man. Lots of fun was had by all!
Thursday was, of course, World Book Day and Kate Poels, Nick Sharratt and Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell joined us to present fantastic workshops. The children learned how to plot and prepare a story as well as lots about illustration. All the children took part enthusiastically in all the sessions, asked lots of great questions and many had made wonderful costumes especially for World Book Day.
And we encouraged everyone in Maidenhead to Drop Everything and Read for World Book Day. What did you drop and, more importantly, what did you read?
Maidenhead’s Big Read is set to take its reading festival online this year, starting on February 22nd. Due to the pandemic, the face-to-face events that have been held over the past two years are not possible during the current lockdown.
The Big Read’s organising committee decided that this year’s festival will be entirely online for Borough schools in the Maidenhead cluster. This will enable participating authors, illustrators, poets and story tellers to interact with school children all over Maidenhead, encouraging them to read and develop an interest in reading.
The programme of events quite literally kicks off on Monday 22 February with The Football Reading Game with author Tom Palmer. Tom will host a quiz about all the great things you can read about football, emphasising the joy of reading about something you love.
Maidenhead’s Big Read patron and rowing Olympian Dame Katherine Grainger is also getting involved by reading The Wind and the Willows to children in Reception and years 1 and 2. Dame Katherine became patron back in 2019, inspired by her own passion for books from early childhood. We will also be listening to fabulous interactive story telling from Once Upon A Bus.
Other sessions include author and illustrator Martin Brown talking about some of the lesser-known animals in the world and how to draw them. Also, National Poetry Day Ambassador Simon Mole will be using games and activities to support children in writing their own poems.
Maidenhead’s Big Read centres on World Book Day which falls on Thursday 4 March this year. There will be another Drop Everything and Read that day at 12.15, where everyone is encouraged to pick up a book and read for at least 5 minutes. Hopefully, all of Maidenhead can be encouraged to read at the same time.
Also on World Book Day, author Kate Poels will be bringing her interactive creative writing session to schools in Maidenhead showing children how to come up with cool characters, super settings and powerful plots. Author and illustrator Nick Sharratt will be hosting a drawalong, encouraging children to sketch.
We are also delighted that Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, multi-million-selling, award-winning author, illustrator and creator of the How to Train Your Dragon books and The Wizards of Once series will now be joining us, too.
We will then conclude with author Sue Palmer asking if you could be an astronaut, and our local multi award winning poet Coral Rumble on Riding a Lion.
All in all, there is plenty to keep local schoolchildren inspired and enthusiastic about reading. Furthermore, the Big Read's sequel will be more workshops and a Book Trail event for June. Our current programme of events can be viewed and downloaded here and further details about the June events will be announced soon.
What an action-packed 10 days it's been for this years' Maidenhead's Big Read. Literary events, reading, illustrating and the simple joy of getting lost in a book have been enjoyed by all throughout the town.
Not only did we drop everything and read at 10am on World Book Day, children were also treated to a special visit on Saturday 7th March by Zog, one of Julia Donaldson's much-loved characters. He was a very friendly dragon giving out high-fives and hugs, and he even blended in well with the Big Read volunteers!
On Friday 6th guests enjoyed the an informative talk at the Maidenhead Heritage Centre by Martin Trepte, former Advertiser Editor and James Preston, current Advertiser Editor. The talk gave a glimpse into Maidenhead's past through the Advertiser's photographic archives as a celebration of its 150 years serving the local community. 200 pages of history, starting in the 1860's.
Saturday kicked off with Coral Rumble who gave a high-energy, interactive session, where everyone was encouraged to interact with poems and simple stories. In addition to some poems, Coral read extracts from her storybooks, 'The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat' and 'Mustafa's Jumper'.
At 11am we were treated to a musical interlude courtesy of New Maidenhead Choir, where passers by were offered sheets to encourage them to read and join in, or simply stop and enjoy the music!
Next up was Space Stories - the first child Astronaut with author Sue Palmer. Guests got to hear about Michael May who wanted to be the first child astronaut. They got to hear about his attempt to follow his dreams and learn about real life astronaut training and what's going on in space right now.
We closed Saturday with a unique and interesting talk from the past, entitled The Early Dark Ages - Where History Meets Legend with Tim Walker. He presented his award-winning historical book series, A Light in the Dark Ages, and described how he researched the post-Roman period and his efforts to find evidence of a real historical Arthur hidden behind the legend.
The last day of this years' Big Read kicked off with a very popular talk linked with climate changed entitled "Rubbish, Plastic and Waste: Global Environmental Issues" with Leysa Henderson. During her workshop Lysa touched on the global issues that inspired her to write her books, focusing on rainforests, endangered species and the global impact we as human beings are having on the planet.
We finished with a magical story telling session with Ruth Humphreys who shared her interactive magical tales and original stories all focusing on how to build self esteem, encourage cooperation and kindness.
We have had an amazing 10-days and cannot thank all the authors and presenters enough for giving up their time and sharing their passions with hundreds of people in the town, and to our Sponsors without whom we could not have held this festival. A massive thank you to everyone who came and took part, we hope we have enthused and inspired you to read more and share books with your children, family and friends.
Here's to next year...