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...