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If you had walked into Bradford on Avon library today, you would have been hit by a wall of NOISE (and definitely no librarians asking you to “shhh”).

There were mermaids and gymnasts and model villages and ENORmouses (or is that enormice?) and songs and stories and jokes and laughter and even some tears of joy. And there were booksellers and authors and scriptwriters and illustrators and makers-and-doers and librarians and parents and children and babies and toddlers.

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And there was cake. You can’t have a children’s book festival without cake. It is against The Law Of Children’s Book Festivals.

This was the first ever Bradford on Avon Mini Book Festival and BOY, WAS IT GOOD FUN!

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We had over one hundred children come to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge at the library, which means that these children will come in and out of the library over the next few weeks to borrow six books each and read and read and read over the holidays . . .

We also had children writing their own stories and making and illustrating their own characters and mini houses and castles.

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Everyone was a story-builder, brainstorming ideas and drawing inspiration from authors Maudie Smith, Fleur Hitchcock, Alex Campbell, Cate Shearwater, Angie Morgan, Anna Wilson and Jeremy Strong. We also met Gary Parker, TV scriptwriter of the amazing CBBC series Milly In-Between, and creative genius Ian McKay who taught us how to make Crabs and Frogs and Thingummy Bobs and how to build a model village.

For a (slightly) more serious event Maudie Smith donned her Dimbleby hat (very attractively) to ask searing questions to a panel of writers about how they approach their work. She then took questions from the floor about writing for children, writing for children’s TV and illustrating picture books. The audience was made up of adults and young people who are interested in how to get their work published. Some came along to other activities, such as Alex Campbell’s ‘Writing Surgery” where Alex gave top tips to aspiring writers. She was blown away by the talent in our fantastic little town.

Huge thanks to the Ex Libris bookshop, the Bradford on Avon librarians and all the parents and carers and grandparents who brought kids along this weekend. We couldn’t have done it without you! Please come again next year…

And in the meantime – Happy Summer Reading (and writing?) Challenge!