Editorial one-to-ones with Chicken House

Are you a new writer with a brand new children’s book up your sleeve, tucked in a drawer, or just sitting on your computer? If so and you’re wondering what to do with it next, read on.

After the success of her one-to-one meetings with new writers last year, we are thrilled to announce that Kesia Lupo from the excellent Chicken House Publisher has agreed to come to the Bradford on Avon Mini Book Festival again. And this time she’s bringing Rachel Leyshon with her! So that’s not one, but two fantastic editors from Chicken House joining us for the day!

Kesia and Rachel are offering 20 minute editorial one-to-ones for aspiring authors. To qualify you must have written a full manuscript of a book for children and be able to send the first 3 chapters and a synopsis at least two weeks ahead of the day (Saturday July 14th).  

Contact the library to book you slot, but do be quick – there are just eight places available between 10.30 am and 2.30 pm.

Phone or email to book 01225 863280 / Bradfordlibrary@wiltshire.co.uk

chicken house

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We’ve got Grandmas from Mars!


cut out characters_preview

It’s not every book festival that can boast such unusual guests.  But thanks to writer and illustrator team Michelle Robinson and Fred Blunt we are expecting some very special aliens in the library for the Bradford on Avon Mini Book Festival on Saturday 14 July.

Michelle and Fred will be introducing their brand new book Grandmas from Mars

Grandmas front cover_preview


Fred and Nell’s grandma is babysitting, but she’s acting rather strangely… Hang on – is that a spare eyeball? That’s NOT grandma; it’s an alien! RUUUUUUN!

Get ready for a completely crazy and brilliantly bonkers story telling and drawing session.

Michelle Robinson

Quite frankly, anything could happen. Michelle looks the very picture of sensiblenessnessness here, but don’t be fooled, you haven’t seen her dressed up as a sausage!

We can’t wait to find out what excitement she and Fred have cooked up for us this time. One thing’s for sure though – it’s going to be out of this world!

And that’s not all. Fred is running a master class in character creation for all your budding young illustrators. Design a character and put them straight into a story!

Peter Smart Photography-0009_preview

For full details of Fred and Michelle’s events and to see what else is on offer this year, take a look at our Programme Contact the library to secure your FREE ticket.

Oh yes, and do bring your grandma – alien or human – all kinds are welcome 😉


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Hello, Hello.

As the spring races towards us, the good people of BOAMBF pull their heads from their burrows and begin to plan.

So far we have planned over coffee, but now we have begun to plan over soup. soup

Yes, that is soup – butternut and beetroot since you ask.

So plans are afoot – we have SPECIAL guests, we have NEW things – and we have PLANNED things.  And we have a date. 14th July, people. 14th July.

But there almost certainly won’t be any soup.

I don’t think.

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Festival Snaps!

If you’re wondering what went on at the BOAMBF last Saturday, here’s a photographic record of just some of the events in the Bradford on Avon Library.

Kicking off the fun was Maudie Smith reading The Dressing-Up Dad and then getting everyone dressing up – as a giant caterpillar, among other things.


David Solomons gave the lowdown on My Evil Twin is a Supervillain and then met some eager fans.


Gill Lewis came to talk about Puppy Academy. Gill did her best to train a few young pups before signing some lovely books.


Then it was eyes down with Angie Morgan to make personalised comfort blankets to go along with her gorgeous new picture book,  That is Actually My Blanket, Baby!


It was a day full of craft and fun for the whole family. Children…


mums…and dads,


big brothers too…


…and Sharon Tregenza made sure there was something for our very youngest customers. Great pen technique!


Authors read chapters from Matilda while children listened hard and drew the characters, the events from the story, or designed their own versions of the title for our Matilda Hall of Fame. David Solomons couldn’t resist staying on to read a chapter or two.

Nor could Angie Morgan


or Maudie Smith. Don’t read yourself to sleep though, Maudie!


Rachel Ward proved that while crime doesn’t pay it really can be a laughing matter.


Alex Campbell and Angie Morgan sent scores of children home with their own handmade mini books. And Ian the toymaker Mckay and Fleur the thriller writer Hitchcock kept the animal menagerie growing throughout the day.


Oh yes, and well over 100 children signed up for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. We’ve got a lot more Animal Agents out there now.

Huge thanks to all our sponsors: Nosy Crow, Chicken House Books, Firefly Press and BOA Town Council, thanks to all our helpers at the library and in the wider Bradford on Avon community. Special thanks to Carole and Jim from Ex Libris bookshop and to the wonderful Natasha Greig for taking photographs all day long.

That’s all folks! See you next year.

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A Book Party fit for Matilda!


Good old Facebook is showing us memories of our first Mini Book Festival two years ago when Jeremy Strong came along and we basically book partied all day long.

And now we’re going again, for a third time, and we’re putting the final touches to our preparations – bagging up some choice craft materials from the Wiltshire Scrapstore to make dressing up costumes for miniature paper dads, and customised comfort blankets for imaginary babies. We’re cutting out the final templates for the books that children will write themselves, we’re filling the library foyer with cornstarch packing peanuts (because reasons), we’re buying coffee and snacks for our guest authors, David Solomons and Gill Lewis, and our visiting editor, Kes Lupo, and we’re choosing yummy sweets and chocolate prizes for the Book Cover Quiz.

We’re planning to have a ball. Come and join in. This Saturday in BOA Library from 10.00am. It’s all about books and stories, creativity and fun. And it’s going to be better than ever and it’s FREE!

We’re quite sure Matilda would approve., especially since we’ll be reading her story all afternoon.


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Dads in Blankets

If your children like getting stuck into craft then the Bradford on Avon Mini Book Festival on 15th July is the place for you. You can dress up a dad with Maudie Smith at 10.00am, or mess up a blanket with Angie Morgan at 11.00am.  Dads and blankets both provided! In fact why don’t you dress up a dad with Maudie and then put him in his  own blanket with Angie? Sorted!

And if you just want to do craft all day long, you can! Join Ian Mckay and Fleur Hitchcock who will be in the library foyer helping you make and bring to life a whole menagerie of animals – out of this mysterious stuff….


And that’s only the craft. There are books too, and stories, and quizzes, authors to meet, and book-making  and writing workshops. There are books to buy as well, but everything else is absolutely free!

Check out the Events here.

Contact the library on 01225 863280 or email bradfordlibrary@wiltshire.gov.uk for booking details.

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Animal Agents

animal agent

When we ran the first BOAMBF in 2015 we knew exactly where and when we wanted to run it. In the Library, on the first weekend of The Summer Reading Challenge.

Our festival is full of activity: crafts and quizzes, puzzles and talks, writing, workshopping, storytelling, and even chocolate. But it’s mainly about books. It’s about encouraging children into the library and showing them how exciting books can be. Here are the titles chosen by the Reading Agency for this year’s Challenge. From Superpigs to Barking Badgers, from Dave Pigeon to Inspector Flytrap, from fact books to funny books, LiBEARians to Dancing Frogs – there’s something for everyone.


And with a theme like Animal Agents, who better to tempt along to the festival than Gill Lewis who knows, loves and writes so wonderfully about animals – and the humans who live alongside them. Gill will be talking about her series for younger children, Puppy Academy. If you look closely you might find a Puppy Academy book in the collection above.


You can pop into the festival at any time on Saturday 15th July. It’s all FREE. To book your place to see Gill call Bradford on Avon Library on 01225 863280 or email: Bradfordlibrary@wiltshire.gov.uk

And to find out more about The Summer Reading Challenge and how it works, check out this trailer.



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