4 November 2019

Over 650 children from 24 London primary schools have taken part in a special book festival aimed at encouraging more children to read for pleasure. The event was the fourth annual BookFest – a free literacy festival organised each year by Coram Beanstalk to get more children excited about reading. 

During the day pupils were inspired by children’s authors, illustrators and performers and even got to take home a free book each thanks to the involvement of the London Children’s Book Project this year. Each school also received brand-new books for their school libraries generously donated by Francis Holland School who each year provide the venue for BookFest in Central London. 

This year there were four events attended by the school children including workshops hosted by Rob Biddulph (author of Odd Dog Out), Onjali Rauf (author of The Boy at the Back of the Class) and Samantha Baines (author of Harriet Versus the Galaxy). In addition The Really Big Pants Theatre Company also performed their hit show Suddenly! 
Ginny Lunn, Managing Director at Coram Beanstalk: “Giving children the opportunity to meet authors, to hear about what inspired them, to learn how they create their stories and illustrations, is such an immersive way of bringing books to life for children. Our BookFest event offers a free and all-inclusive book-filled experience to primary school children, many of whom may not have been to a book festival before and thanks to the London Children’s Book project they even get to take a book home with them this year."
For the first time this year The London Children’s Book Project also took part in BookFest enabling all children to choose a book whilst at the event to take home. The project is a charity-run scheme which places book huts in schools across London filled with gently-used books, to ensure all children have the opportunity to choose and own their own books. 

Each year schools that Coram Beanstalk works with are exclusively invited to BookFest, giving children the opportunity to experience inspiring and interactive book-based workshops which each year different authors and performers generously offer for free to help spread a love of books and reading.

Author Onjali Rauf said: It's an honour to be a part of any movement which helps struggling readers find inspiration and a safe space to share stories. It's an utter joy to be joining the Coram Beanstalk festival this year, and I can't wait to meet all the fantastic beans - big and small! - who are working together to make reading a joy and a pleasure.
Willow and Joe of The Really Big Pants Theatre Company said: This is our third appearance at Coram Beanstalk’s BookFest and we couldn’t be happier to partner with this brilliant organisation, doing such crucial work helping children to read, grow, thrive. Rock on, Beanstalk!
Author and illustrator Rob Biddulph said: “I'm absolutely thrilled to be working with the fantastic team at Coram Beanstalk. They provide an invaluable service to children across the country, helping thousands to reach their full potential through one-to-one reading support. I have seen first-hand how reading can change lives so I am only too happy to do anything I can to support this fantastic initiative."Author Samantha Baines said: I am thrilled to be part of the Coram BookFest and bringing books to all children. I know the day will be inspiring and fun for all attending, me included!Find out how your school can benefit from Coram Beanstalk's reading support programmes and book-based events: