The pressure on school budgets is tighter than ever and there have been several comments on Twitter about the impact this might have on children’s access to authors. While nothing can quite match the magic of seeing an author or illustrator in person, there are lots of online opportunities to hear them talk about their work that are free to access. Here’s a round up for this term:
- Take a look at the ReadingZone Bookclub programme. Still to come this term are poet Joshua Seigal, Kieran Larwood introducing his latest environmental fantasy novel, and a look at The Book of Impossible Questions with author Isabelle Thomas for Non-Fiction November. Events usually take place on a Friday afternoon and last for 45 minutes so are a great way to end the week and you can also catch up on past events.
- The Henley Literary Festival Schools’ Programme (Monday 3rd – Friday 7th October) is available as a free live stream. There’s a star-studded line-up with events for children aged 4-16.
- There are a number of free events to tie in with National Poetry Day (6th October):
- Award-winning poet Zaro Weil joined Mr Dilly to celebrate the launch of her new book When Poems Fall From the Sky on Monday 3rd October. A recording is now available if you missed the live event.
- The Royal British Legion in partnership with the National Literacy Trust is providing a series of four live workshops with poet Tomos Roberts for pupils in KS2. Based on Roberts’ poem Alive with Poppies, the workshops will support students in drafting, editing and and performing their own Remembrance poems. The workshops will take place between 11.00 and 12.00 starting on Monday 3rd October.
- Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho is lauching a series of Poetry Prompts on National Poetry Day. The weekly bitesize videos are designed to celebrate and demystify the reading and writing of poetry. There is also a free poster and accompanying resources from CLPE to download.
- Monday 10th October is World Mental Health Day and the National Literacy Trust is hosting two #Take10toRead events to highlight the positive impact of Reading for Pleasure on mental wellbeing. EYFS and KS1 pupils can join Jordan Stephens and Beth Suzanna as they read and talk about their book The Missing Piece, while KS2 pupils can hear Natalie Costa, author of Love Being You and Know Your Feelings, share tips on how to look after their mental health. Both events take place at 10.00am.
- Mr Dilly hosts monthly meets with children’s authors, illustrators and poets on YouTube. The next Mr Dilly Meets takes place on Wednesday 19th October at 11.00 and features authors Andy Shepherd, author of the best-selling The Boy Who Grew Dragons series, and Kate Wilkinson who will be talking about the Edie and the Flits latest adventures in Paris. You can also catch up on past events on Mr Dilly’s YouTube channel.
- Authors Live is a series of live webcasts with top children’s authors and illustrators. Phil Earle will be talking about his highly acclaimed WWII stories When the Sky Falls and While the Storm Rages on Tuesday 25th October. Award-winning author Keith Gray will be be sharing his writing journey and talking about his latest novella for teenagers The Climbers on Tuesday 22nd November. You can also explore the extensive Authors Live On Demand library to see past events.
- Nick Sharratt, BookTrust’s current Writer-Illustrator in Residence, is doing a live Amazing Animals Draw-a-long for Reception and KS1 pupils on Monday 17th October at 9.30. Join in on BookTrust’s YouTube channel or Facebook page.
- For older pupils, BookTrust are offering a livestream Q&A session with Jeffrey Boakye, author of Musical Truth: A musical journey through modern black Britain, which was shortlisted for the Jhalak Children and YA Prize 2022. Aimed at pupils in Years 5, 6 and 7, the event takes place on November 4th at 11.00 and there are supporting resources to download.
Events for Adults
- There is the opportunity to hear Children’s Laureate Joesph Coelho talk about his new YA verse novel The Boy Lost in the Maze on Thursday 6th October at 7pm. The Boy Lost in the Maze blends the classical Theseus myth with a 21st century boy’s quest for his father and his own journey of self-discovery.
- SF Said will be talking about his hotly-anticipated new novel Tyger at a livestream launch event on Thursday 6th October at 7pm on the CLPE Youtube channel.
- World-renowned picture book creator Oliver Jeffers is talking about his latest book Meanwhile Back on Earth in an event hosted by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) in partnership with HarperCollins Children’s Books and CLPE on Monday 24th October at 7.30pm. Teachers and educators can submit a question which, if chosen, will win them a signed copy of Meanwhile Back on Earth for their school. The deadline for questions is Wednesday 5th October.
If you are interested in hosting a live author event, don’t forget that Authors Aloud, Authors Abroad and Speaking of Books are all organisations dedicated to helping schools find the right author for their needs.