South Ken Kids Festival


Yesterday, I went to the South Ken Kids Festival for a wonderful day of book-ish delights! There was an amazing atmosphere at the Institut Francais and it was a wonderful opportunity to see some illustrators and authors I had never seen before. It was also fantastic to hear so many different languages being spoken!


Due to issues on the track, GWR didn’t get me to London in time for my first event. However, this meant that I had plenty of time to browse the wonderful bookshop which ‘Tales on Moon Lane’ had set up in the foyer of the Institute. Plenty of treats on offer!


I was delighted to meet Kris Di Giacomo, illustrator of ‘Take Away the A’ (reviewed here) and ‘Enormous Smallness’ (review here), both books which have been on our awards lists in previous years. Although I had missed her session, it had obviously been great fun as there were many happy children milling around! Signing at the same time was David Litchfield, I saw David at last year’s Cheltenham Festival (read about it here) and so knew what a lovely session the children who had seen him had had! You can read our review of ‘The Bear and The Piano’ here. I was delighted to get my copy of ‘The Bear, the Piano, the Dog and the Fiddle’ signed by David who very kindly drew a bear in my book.


The ‘Live Drawing’ workshop with Axel Scheffler, Tor Freeman and Ronan Badel was a wonderfully chaotic, mad session with these incredibly talented individuals drawing whatever the audience suggested. This was in a mixture of English and French and the suggestions came thick and fast, ranging from imaginative to wildly creative! It was incredible to see the illustrators working together and responding to the children’s requests!


Having just bought a copy of ‘Drawing Europe Together’, I was delighted to be able to ask Axel Scheffler to sign it for me. I have seen him speak so many times over the years and we still treasure all the books that he signed for my son when he was little. You can read our review of ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ which Axel illustrated here. Tor Freeman also signed the illustration she has contributed to the book which is a treasure trove of artistic delights! She was lovely, chatting warmly with everyone and showing a real interest in the children she spoke to.


Ronan Badel completely stunned me when he drew an absolute masterpiece in each of my books as he signed them!


I am constantly in awe of people who have such fabulous artistic skill and could have watched him work for hours! He made my day!


My next event was Victor Dixen and Philip Reeve talking about their work for the YA sector. This was a fascinating session which I really enjoyed. I am constantly ashamed by my mediocre ability to speak another language and listening to Victor Dixen speak English, slip into French to answer questions and then translate those questions was quite amazing. I MUST try harder!


Both read from their books. I finished ‘Ascension’ last night on the train home and really enjoyed it so will be reviewing it soon. Philip’s books are always a great read and I loved ‘Rail Head’. More to come on this session soon.


Whilst waiting for my next event, I was delighted to bump into the wonderful Sarah McIntyre and quickly asked her to sign he picture in my ‘Drawing Europe Together’. It was so lovely to have a chat with her before she whisked Philip Reeve off for dinner. You can read our reviews of Jinks and O’Hare here and The Legend of Kevin here . You can read our review of ‘The New Neighbours’ here.


My day finished with having books signed by Charlotte Gastaut and Aurelia Fronty. Once again, I was treated to lovely illustrations in each of my books which I was thrilled by! I can’t wait to show my class each one!


I had the best day and wish I could have returned today! Never mind- next year definitely!