Booky things to do with children this half term – The Guardian

With half term looming, are you stumped for plans? Never fear! There’s fun for all the family to be had across the UK this holiday. Here are our top picks for keeping the boredom at bay…

Our top 10 ideas for half term happiness:

October 24 – October 30 – Stratford-Upon-Avon: Half-term fun with the Royal Shakespeare Company

If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, the RSC is hosting plenty of events for all ages this half term. For die-hard drama fans amongst you, create your own shortened version of Henry V with Play in a Day (26-28 October). Or if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try your hand in a duel with their stage-fighting workshop? Younger ones can join a special storytelling session in The Story Garden (27-28 October).

October 24 – October 31 – Southport: The Atkinson’s Annual Children’s Festival

From comedy-themed sports to Halloween afternoon tea, there’s something for all the family at this yearly festival. We recommend the Bear and the Butterfly storytelling session (26 October) from Theatre Hullabaloo & Theatre by the Lake, as well as the musical I Have a Duck Who Can Roar! experience (29 October) from the Living Story Music Ensemble. There’s also an exclusive launch of Donna Gowland’s hilarious poetry book for children, Goats Don’t Wear Capes (30 October), so don’t miss out!

October 24 – November 1 – Newcastle: Seven Stories

The brilliant Seven Stories returns, and this time they’re marking the 35th birthday of Funnybones – spooky dress is encouraged, and there will be Halloween crafts and activities aplenty! With loads of performances and interactive story-times, this is not one to miss. Plus, if you’re a Harry Potter fan (and let’s face it: who isn’t?!), the Professor Potter show (29 October) will bring the books to life through an amazing interactive experience!

Judith Kerr


Judith Kerr with her lovely cat Photograph: Eamonn McCabe.

25 October – London (British Library): Judith Kerr talks animals and books with Guardian children’s books site co-editor Emily Drabble

Illustrator and author Judith Kerr is creator of some of the best loved children’s books of all time. The Tiger who Came to Tea, The Mog series and her autobiographical novel When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit remain as popular as ever. Judith talks to Emily Drabble, co-editor of our very own Guardian children’s books site, about animals and books, including her wonderful new story Mister Cleghorn’s Seal.

25 October – London (Southbank Centre): What Makes a Good Childhood – Talk with Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo

Beloved children’s authors Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo will be speaking to Jude Kelly about what, exactly, makes a good childhood. The will be drawing upon their own childhoods and revealing their writing inspiration in this fantastic free event. Older fans of the authors shouldn’t miss this exclusive event!

October 26 – Nov 1 – London, Stratford: Michael Rosen’s Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake and Bad Things

The Discover Children’s Story Centre hosts a brilliant exhibition. The creation of children’s author Michael Rosen, this promises to be a fun and lively interactive experience that will explore the inspiration behind his writing. There’ll be an exciting Bear Hunt trail for the younger ones, as well as a chance to create your very own poems!

October 27 – October 31 – Leeds: Hetty Feather at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

Jacqueline Wilson’s best-selling Hetty Feather comes to life at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. The Olivier-nominated production is vibrant, touching and full of adventure, and is a definite must-see for fans of children’s books grand Dame.

October 28 – Bradford: Every Drawing Tells a Story: The Big Draw

Calling all budding artists amongst you! This year’s Big Draw theme is ‘Every Drawing Tells a Story’, where exhibitions Bradford Open 2015, Young Open 2015 and ‘Hands’ (Darren Bake) will be used as inspirations for your own artwork! Join artist Tim Curtis as he takes you through his drawing techniques in a friendly family workshop.

October 28 – October 30 – London: Storystock

Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell headlines the Storystock book festival this half term. He’ll be doing an exciting live-drawing Q&A session, where your questions will receive an answer in pictorial form! Authors Judith Kerr and Jamila Gavin, amongst others, will also make appearances, and fun-filled activities include a Harry Potter show and even Hip Hop Shakespeare!

October 29 – Swansea: Spooky Stories Creative Writing Workshop for Young People with Carly Holmes

Fancy creating a spooky story of your own in time for Halloween? This free workshop will give you the chance to bring your terrifying tales to life! Writer Carly Holmes brings you the best tips and tricks for aspiring young writers (for ages 11-16).

October 29 – October 30 – London: Bedtime Stories

This stunning production from Circus team ‘Upswing’ takes centre stage at the Albany Theatre this half term. With music, animation and incredible circus acts, Bedtime Stories is the tale of a little girl and her imaginary friend, and their adventures using the magic of imagination. The stunning visuals alone make this a must-see for all.

Also look out for:

• Events at your nearest Waterstones. You’d be surprised at the brilliant events hosted by Waterstones. You might even get to meet your favourite author!

• The Family Arts Festival. For the first time ever, this creative festival is extended (now taking place 9 October – 1 November) and if that wasn’t enough, they’ve now teamed up with the BBC Get Creative scheme. The festival brings arts events to families across the UK, with loads of activities for all the family.

Got events to add? Tell us and we’ll pop them on the end of this blog by email childrens.books@theguardian.com or tweet @GdnChildrensBks