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.