Chiswick Children’s Book Festival, Sunday 12 September

There’s nothing more satisfying than getting a child hooked on a story book. The excitement and anticipation of ‘what happens next?’ and the creative opening of doors is wonderful to behold. The closeness of the shared experience, the laying down of a lifelong shared culture, the basis of ‘in’ jokes and references is a lovely part of parenting. It also has the added advantage of helping to get them off to sleep.

The Chiswick Calendar is hosting the Chiswick Children’s Book Festival in the Boston Room at George IV on Sunday, with three sessions:

12:15-1pm: Meet Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking: Storytelling Performance by Sofie Miller. Age 4+.

2-3pm: Neal Zetter and Joshua Seigal: Performance poets. Ages 5-11 years.

4-4:45pm: Rob Biddulph: Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City. Age 9+.

Images above: Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren

Meet Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking is 75 years old. The children’s books by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren came about because her daughter was off school, ill, and wanted a get well story.

Pippi is red-haired, freckled, unconventional and superhumanly strong – able to lift her horse one-handed. She is playful and unpredictable. She often makes fun of unreasonable adults, especially if they are pompous and condescending. She is a brilliant rold model for little girls.

Like all the best books, the Pippi Longstocking stories were at first rejected by publishers, but 75 years on, they have been translated into 76 languages and made into films and TV series.

Sofie Miller celebrates Pippi in a one woman show created by her mother Danyah. The acclaimed storyteller and performer was due to perform her show at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer when she broke her shoulder, so Sofie took over the role.

The show, which involves audience participation, introduces children to ‘the strongest girl in the world’, who over the generations has inspired women such as Michelle Obama. Lady Gaga, Cerys Matthews and Lauren Child.

“Growing up I always wanted to be Pippi” says Sofie “and I’m so excited about this fantastic opportunity to turn an adverse situation into a joyous adventure – just as Pippi would!”

Book tickets: Ticketsource/ChiswickBookFestival

Images above: Neal Zetter; Yuck and Yum cover; Joshua Seigal

Neal Zetter and Joshua Seigal – performance poets

Joshua Seigal says he realised being a children’s poet could be an actual job only when he read about Neal Zetter in the Evening Standard. Neal was involved in a literacy campaign in schools at the time (2012).

‘I emailed Neal for some advice, and he responded with such warmth and encouragement that I shall be forever grateful. Heck, we are good friends now, and I even invited the man to my wedding. We are also poetical collaborators, and have our second joint book out with Troika in 2021/2’.

Joshua won the prestigious Laugh Out Loud Book Award in 2002. The award winning duo will be performing their poetry.

Book tickets: Ticketsource/ChiswickBookFestival

Images above: Illustrations by Rob Biddulph

Some legends are born, some are drawn . . .

Rob Biddulph is the originator of many a popular children’s character. He is a bestselling and multi award-winning author/illustrator. He is also the official World Book Day Illustrator for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

His first picture book, Blown Away, was published in 2014 and was only the second illustrated book in history to win the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. His second book, GRRRRR!, was nominated for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal and was read as a CBeebies Bedtime Story by Chris Kamara in 2019. His third, Odd Dog Out, was nominated for a total of eight literary prizes. It was read as a CBeebies Bedtime Story by Tom Hardy in 2017.

Sunk!, Kevin, Happy Hatchday, Give Peas a Chance Wide Awake and Show and Tell have all either won or at least been nominated for awards too. His latest picture books Dog Gone (September 2020) and An Odd Dog Christmas (due October 2021) are sure to join them.

What an opportunity to take part in a drawing session with Rob Biddulph on the theme of his latest book, Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City:

‘the first book in his brand new series for boys and girls, fizzing with magic, danger, friendship and art’.

There are more Children’s Book Festival events on the Saturday. To book tickets for any of the children’s events:

Book tickets: Ticketsource/ChiswickBookFestival

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Book Festival 2021 whole programme

See also: Everyone Is Still Alive – Cathy Rentzenbrink book review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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