19 April 2018

Beanstalk is delighted to announce it is the official charity partner for The Barnes Children's Literature Festival 2018, which takes place on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May. The festival is unique in that it is completely organised and delivered by volunteers ‘for love, not profit'.

Returning for its fourth year, Barnes is now London's largest dedicated children's literature festival with over 80 fun events for young book fans and their families. Some of this year’s big name authors and illustrators include Judith Kerr, Cressida Cowell, Axel Scheffler, John Burningham, Tony Ross, Sophie Kinsella, Frances Hardinge, Harry Hill and Lily Cole.

The partnership between Barnes and Beanstalk is part of the festival’s continued commitment to reach as many children and families as possible with the power of reading, writing and ideas, and will help to raise awareness of Beanstalk’s work which aims to ensure that every child leaves school with the skills and confidence to reach their true potential. The charity does this by helping children who struggle with their reading by providing trained volunteer reading helpers who work one-to-one with children in primary schools and early years’ settings who have fallen behind.

Highlights of the weekend’s exciting programme include talks by inspirational children’s authors Polly Faber, Piers Torday and Abi Elphinstone - all who volunteer their time with Beanstalk every week to help children who are struggling with reading in their local London primary schools. Beanstalk author supporters also appearing over the weekend include Tom Palmer, Maz Evans, Tor Freeman, Lisa Stickley, the Really Big Pants theatre, Lisa Thompson, Lucy Strange, Ross Montgomery and Steve Cole.

On the Saturday (12th May) husband and wife team, and Beanstalk ambassadors, Peter Snow and Ann MacMillan will share the inspiring true stories of spies, great escapes and extraordinary bravery behind their first co-authored book, War Stories. The talk will take place at St Mary’s Church on, 4:30pm to 5:30pm. Tickets for this are still available and £1 from every one sold is kindly being donated to Beanstalk. Book here for tickets.

Lindsay Fox, Area Manager for Beanstalk in London, commented:

“We are so excited to be supporting this year’s Barnes Literature Festival as the official charity partner. Encouraging children to meet and talk to the writers and illustrators of their favourite books can be a magical encounter and at Beanstalk we know that this can be a revelation in encouraging children to read for pleasure. For anyone interested in finding out more about what we do or to enquire about becoming a Beanstalk volunteer or partner school, we’ll have a gazebo on Barnes Green for the duration of the event so do come and say hello!”

Amanda Brettargh, Barnes Festival Director, said:

“At the Barnes Children's Literature Festival we believe that children can live their dreams through the power of reading, writing and ideas. We're proud to provide a platform to promote Beanstalk and the hard work of their many volunteers who make a difference every day to children's lives in London, and all over the UK, by supporting their reading, building their confidence and providing them with the opportunity to reach their full potential in school and in life”.

Tickets for any of the weekend’s events can be booked via the website: http://www.barneskidslitfest.org/.

Education and Community Outreach Pilot Programme

This year Barnes has launched its Education and Community Outreach Programme which is intended to provide an opportunity for all children to experience the Festival especially those who for financial, geographical or other reasons may not otherwise have the chance to do so. On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 May 2018, there will be two days of special sessions for Key Stages One and Two, which the Festival is providing free to every pupil, teacher and librarian in state primary schools in London. For more information visit the festival’s Schools page.