Liverpool Children’s Festival of Reading

Liverpool Children’s Festival of Reading was a celebration of books, authors, poets and illustrators for children and young people throughout the city of Liverpool that was held from 22nd June – 12th July.  LLP member schools were invited to take part by attending free author sessions held in school settings across the city.  There were also several events for families held in community venues and businesses in Liverpool.

Our aims:

  • To provide children and young people in the city of Liverpool with opportunities to read for pleasure, both at school and at home
  • To introduce children and young people to a diverse range of literary role models

About the festival:

The CLPE Reflecting Realities report showed that only 4% of the children’s books published in 2017 featured characters from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.  Similarly, there are few books focusing around  children with disabilities or those identifying as LGBTQ+.  We were keen to ensure that the festival events would introduce children to a diverse range of authors and book protagonists.

Authors/illustrators/poets featured in the festival were: Lorraine Gregory, Matt Oldfield, Shoo Rayner, Saviour Pirotta, Gabrielle Kent, Bali Rai, Karl Nova, Tom Percival, Matt Abbott, SF Said, Jen Campbell, Lauren James, Levi Tafari, Jude Lennon and Leonie Roberts.  Throughout the events, authors spoke about their own experiences  of reading/writing when they were younger and the importance of seeing yourself reflected in what you read.

Attendance:

106 LLP member schools booked to attend sessions, with 5864 pupils from across the city having the opportunity to meet the authors listed above.

Resources and Support For Schools:

Attending schools were provided with resources to support teachers in embedding these sessions within the school curriculum.  These resources included lesson and discussion ideas, booklists for further reading and writing frames.  Thanks to a grant from the Unwin Charitable Trust, schools were also provided with a pack of books by the author whose session they were attending for them to use in class or add to their library areas.  In total, 1380 books were donated to schools as part of the festival.

Feedback:

Feedback following the events was overwhelmingly positive with 99% of staff responding that they enjoyed the events and 89% of staff stating that they’d be able to use the event as stimulus for further work in the classroom (please note- not all surveyed staff were teachers so some chose not to answer questions relating to planning/curriculum).

“The organisation of the event was wonderful.  We were well informed throughout and you gave us lots of fantastic resources and books.”-  Miss Keogh, Pleasant Street Primary School.

“This was a brilliant event! It was a great opportunity for the children to meet an author!” -Miss Haynes, Lister Infants School

“Thank you so much for the bag of books and resources – a brilliant idea!”- Mr Gillin, Childwall CE Primary School

“Please arrange more events like this.  We loved it.  Thank you”- Mrs Flynn, St Paul and St Timothy’s Catholic Infant School

“Today gave a fascinating insight into the history of fairy tales that will support our curriculum and topics of study as well as promoting a love of reading and writing.”- Mr Marston, Archbishop Blanch School

“Liverpool Festival of Reading is one of the most organised festivals I have ever been to. Jenny worked tirelessly to create complex resources for teachers so that children could engage with the books in advance; she sent me all the information that I needed to make my job as easy as possible; and when issues occurred on the day that were out of her control and meant one event had to be rearranged, she quickly organised an alternative space which meant I still got to engage with as many children as possible. The focus on diversity and inclusion was also very much appreciated. I would love to see this festival grow and wouldn’t hesitate to work with Jenny and LLP again.” – Jen Campbell, author

To have a look at what happened at the school events please take a look at our blog.

If you would like to find out more about events like this, please contact Jenny on jenny@liverpoollearningpartnership.com