16th October - Swindon - Steve Antony 

Steve Antony, one of our author supporters appeared at a Coram Beanstalk partner school in Swindon. Children from other local Coram Beanstalk schools were invited to come along too!

Steve Antony

31st October - Northampton - Pippa Goodhart 

Coram Beanstalk school, Northampton International Academy hosted Pippa Goodhart for 'spooky tales' for their Year 1 and 2 classes and invited Coram Beanstalk children from other local schools. In addition to the talk the librarian at the school organised face painting, fancy dress costumes and a sing song! 


Pippa worked as a bookseller and as a publisher’s reader before beginning to write books when she was a mother at home with small children.  She’s been writing for more than a quarter of a century now, and has had over a hundred books published ranging from picture books such as You Choose, illustrated by Nick Sharratt, the Winnie the Witch stories written under the pseudonym Laura Owen, illustrated by Korky Paul, and historical novels such as The Great Sea Dragon Discovery. She combines writing with working with primary school children, and teaching adults who want to write for children. 

I was a child who really struggled with learning to read. I watched my friends learn easily, but I was the odd child out, the one who was stuck.  I saw reading as a task to dread because I knew I’d fail at it. Once I got through the mental log-jam of learning enough to get a taste of the rewards to be had from reading, I was launched.  And of course I love it now, both for work and play. Coram Beanstalk is doing a wonderful job at helping the many children who struggle with reading, freeing them into a wider, easier, more interesting world. I’m proud to be working with them.

Pippa Goodhart -You Choose

2nd November - London - Francis Holland School with Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy, Abi Elphinstone, Peter Bunzl and Ross Montgomery

A day of best- selling authors for London Coram Beanstalk school took place at Francis Holland School!


Polly Faber & Clara Vulliamy - Picking Pickle

Meet bouncy Boo-Boo, super-sized Harvey, posh Petunia and more. Picking the right new pet is a big responsibility. Help Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy, the author and illustrator team behind 'Picking Pickle' get it just right in this interactive session with reading, drawing, questions and kazoos!

Polly Faber is the author of the much-loved Mango and Bambang series also illustrated by Clara, and more. She is also as a long-standing volunteer for Beanstalk.

Clara Vulliamy is the illustrator and author of many books including the best selling Dotty Detective series, and the Dixie O'Day books. She collaborated on the latter with her mother; celebrated illustrator Shirley Hughes.


Abi Elphinstone - Sky Song

Catapult into adventure with Abi Elphinstone, a Coram Beanstalk reading helper herself! Abi will take you behind the scenes of her most exciting tales. Recently back from living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia and hunting out the northern lights in the Arctic, she will share photographs, stories and props as she brings her latest book, Sky Song, to life.

The books I read at school shaped who I am today: Lyra Belacqua taught me to be brave, Lucy Pevensie taught me to be curious, Mildred Hubble taught me to be kind. And that’s why I whole-heartedly support Beanstalk, a dynamic charity that strives to give children - from all backgrounds - access to books. I’m delighted to be speaking at their literary festival, Beanstalk BookFest 2018, which brings school children from all over London into direct contact with authors and books.


Peter Bunzl - Cogheart, Moonlocket, Skycircus

Lily’s life is in mortal peril. Her father is missing and now silver-eyed men stalk her through the shadows. What could they want from her?
With her friends – Robert, the clockmaker’s son, and Malkin, her mechanical fox – Lily is plunged into a murky and menacing world. Too soon Lily realizes that those she holds dear may be the very ones to break her heart…
Murder, mayhem and mystery meet in this gripping Victorian steampunk adventure story, featuring two friends, murder and mayhem, airships and automata, and an over-opinionated mechanical fox! 

During my talk I explain how real-life VICTORIANS, AIRSHIPS and AUTOMATA (clockwork robots) inspired my books. I talk about my love of FANTASTICAL FILM ROBOTS and explain how I combined these ideas to create EXCITING CHARACTERS and a SUSPENSE-FILLED STORY.  There's a DEPORTMENT LESSON and the event ends with a BIG INTERACTIVE ROBOT QUIZ and some DRESSING UP! In the Q and A, I like to talk about my inspiring family, early writing, comics and animation, and how I first got into creating stories.

I have been a supporter of Coram Beanstalk for over a year now. They do fantastic work in schools reading one to one with children. I am thrilled to be a part of that and of their festival promoting literacy.


Ross Montgomery - The Space Tortoise

Ross Montgomery is a children’s writer and ex-primary school teacher. Author of Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door, The Tornado Chasers, Perijee & Me and Max and the Millions, Ross has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Award and Branford Boase Award, and nominated for the Carnegie Award. His first picture book The Building Boy with David Litchfield was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Award, and his second Space Tortoise was released earlier this year. Ross lives in London.

In this new collaboration between Ross Montgomery and David Litchfield, a lonely tortoise longs to reach the stars and find other tortoises to play with. One night he thinks he sees a rocket ship on the other side of the park where he lives - he leaves the bin in which he lives and travels across the park to find it. But is it really a rocket ship? And will the tortoise ever find friends?

When fewer and fewer children nowadays have access to books of their own, organisations like Coram Beanstalk are increasingly important. I'm honoured to work with a charity that strive so hard to give all children access to reading and bring to life something that has shaped my life.

2nd November - London - Really Big Pants perform Suddenly! at Chickenshed Theatre 

Really Big Pants Theatre company - their theatre show (with accompanying book) Suddenly!

Really Big Pants is a theatre company specifically for primary-aged children.  They wrote their storytelling show, SUDDENLY...!, to celebrate and encourage literacy, using recognisable elements of traditional tales (and some really big pants) to inspire and entertain, and they have performed it to thousands of children in schools, libraries, bookshops, theatres, and at literary festivals.

In 2018 they were thrilled to launch a chapter book adaptation of the show, plus two further adventures featuring Grandma and Red, to go alongside the audiobook version.

Willow and Joe are both avid readers and love nothing more than a great book.  (Apart from cake maybe.)  This is their second appearance at the BookFest and they couldn’t be happier to partner with this brilliant organisation, doing such important work helping children to read, grow, thrive.  Rock on, Coram Beanstalk!

30th October - Norfolk - Event at Norwich Puppet theatre with storyteller Diana Mullis, illustrator Julia Groves and author Tom Blofeld

A morning of fun and excitement for Coram Beanstalk schools in Norfolk and Suffolk featuring a storyteller, an illustrator and an author!

Diana Mullis

Diana Mullis told stories as a young girl to her dolls and teddy bears, her family and friends, anyone who would listen, and they all did because everyone is a storyteller, everyone has a story to tell. As an older person she has told her tales to children and adults, people facing difficulties with dementia, homelessness and addiction. She has told stories on moorlands, in forests, down mines, in prisons and hospitals and she never tires of sharing her timeless craft. 

Since the dawn of time, storytellers have not just been the tellers of tales, they have been the guides, teachers, entertainers, advocates of change and healers of humanity. Where reading is difficult, through storytelling the imagination can run riot and hopefully one can encourage the other.

Julia Groves

Animal Babies were Julia's first series of baby books and were published in 2016. Rainforest, her first picture book was published by Child's Play last year - Julia really enjoyed creating illustrations of the animals of the Amazon rainforest as they have so many wonderful shapes, colours and personalities. She is currently starting work on a new picture book about the ocean.

She enjoys working with all kinds of materials; especially printmaking, cut-paper, hand-drawn and letterpress typography and combining all of these through the magic of digital media!

Julia also works as a college lecturer, teaching illustration, graphics and printmaking. She lives in Norwich with her arty & musical family.

I am very excited to be participating in the Bookfest, it is always interesting to share my books with children and to see their reactions! I hope to be able to help inspire and encourage a new generation of life-long readers, through supporting the amazing work of Coram Beanstalk. 


Tom Blofeld

Thomas Henry Calthorpe Blofeld, best known as Tom Blofeld, is a writer and the owner and CEO of BeWILDerwood, an adventure park in Horning, Norfolk. Tom is a lifelong fan of children's literature who decided to try his hand finally at writing while he and his friend Simon Egan were in the middle of building BeWILDerwood, the curious treehouse adventure in Norfolk. "A Boggle at BeWILDerwood" and the other books in the series, form a literary complement to BeWILDerwood where children of all ages can follow in Swampy's footsteps, walk the Broken Bridge, get lost in the Muddle Maze, whoosh down the Wobbly Wires, and meet some of the many delightful characters from the book.