Category Archives: Importance of Children’s Literature Festivals

Social Media & StoryArts – please get involved!

Blogging, and Social Media, at StoryArts Festival 101

Social Media Accounts:

StoryArts Festival is moving with the times, and we now have an active presence on Social Media.  And we would love for you to join in.  The more the merrier as they say.


Twitter – @StoryArtsFest

Instagram – @StoryArtsFestivalIpswich


***to the StoryArts Blogging Team, please read all the way to the bottom of this post.  And if you are not on the team, feel free to read the instructions and submit as per instructions***


Please use the following StoryArts hashtags and tags.  Please also feel free to also hashtag and tag your favourite author, illustrator, presenter, or book.

You can also tag us on Social Media, as well as your favourite author, illustrator, or presenter.  Just search for them on the Social Media Platforms that you use.

















No photos are to be taken of children, unless it is of their heads, from behind a large group, with no identifiable children in the picture.  Pictures of authors and/or illustrators with their books are the ultimate pictures.  However, pictures of presenters working their magic are also great.



Feel free to do a ‘write up’ of any session you attend or present.  Technical edits will be done on your submissions.


Send to:

Please send all blog submissions to:

And if you can, please let Sam S know about it.



There is no guarantee that your submission will be published as there are editorial guidelines that must be adhered to.  However, we welcome submissions aplenty.

Daily Sessions – Dave Hackett a.k.a. Cartoon Dave

A snippet of one of the daily sessions for children at StoryArts Festival Ipswich 2013 featuring Cartoon Dave.

Watch the video below to witness the total amazingness that is Cartoon Dave.  Watch him draw at supersonic speeds, boggling the minds of the children in the workshop.

Video Trailer for StoryArts Festival Ipswich 2013

Our videographer Peter Allert has been hard at work again.   Check out this adorable snippet of scenes from StoryArts Festival Ipswich 2013.  We very much look forward to seeing you all again in 2015.


Book Links Writing & Drawing Competition – The Winning Entries!

We are pleased to be able to share with you the winning entries for the Book Links Write or Draw a Funny Story Competition.  Congratulations to all the children who won, and to everyone else for having a go.  Writing and drawing is a fantastic thing to do, so keep practising kids!


The Winners with Andy Griffiths

write funny story James Burford

Blue tongue lizard by jasmine tulloch

funny story comp Lauren Church funny story Ethan and Layla 1 funny story Ethan and Layla 2

Gala Dinner at the Mangy Hound Jazz Club – inspired by “Herman & Rosie” by Gus Gordon

Jazz was the theme of the night, inspired by Gus Gordon’s picture book “Herman and Rosie”.  From the ritzy venue – The Mangy Hound Jazz Club – to the band, and right down to the placemats, this was a night to celebrate all things jazz.


The Mangy Hound Jazz Club had been decorated by the Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network ladies, and what a fine job they did.  The placemats were a standout feature, and many were taken home as momentos of a pos-i-lute-ly stunning evening.

The Fassifern Five provided the music.  They were the bee’s knees, the cat’s miaow, playing jazz tunes from across the decades.  Whenever the tables were clear of food, the dance floor was full of people getting their wiggle on.

Everyone was dolled up to the nines in their jazz garb.  Creative types don’t need much encouragement to dress up.  Clearly there were some prom-trotters amongst us, their outfits were a feast for the eyes.

Gus Gordon was sitting pretty, just in front of the stage.  Word has it that he was absolutely chuffed with the night that was inspired by his picture book “Herman and Rosie”.  Congratulations and thanks must go to the Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network for all their hard work in setting up The Mangy Hound as a swanky venue.

The Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network celebrated the 10th children’s literature festival that they have put on.  I for one hope there will be at least another 10 more.  Congratulations again to the Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network for their tireless work at putting on such a stellar, action-packed Festival that is enjoyed just as much by the adults present as the children.

A brilliant night was had by all the cool cats at The Mangy Hound Jazz Club, if only it were a permanent venue.  Thanks to everyone involved in the making of such a grand night, and special thanks to the Big Cheese Jenny Stubbs for making it all possible.

Andrew King – Ambassador for Science & Engineering to Children

I know Andrew well, we work together with Book Links – the Centre for Children’s Literature.  I know that he is an Engineer, and is not used to working with children.  But I have to say, within 1 minute of this session starting, I knew that this was not a hindrance to him in the slightest.  The kids were rapt that they would be learning about engineering and robots.

Andrew showed a photo of Engibear on Mars, the kids could almost not believe that Engibear was there, but Andrew insisted he was but had hurried home for StoryArts.  Andrew quizzed the kids about the order of the planets and 1 kids said he knew them all. He came up to the front and recited them in order correctly, what a whiz kid.


Andrew showed them a video of a rocket on land to indicate how fast it went, the kids were amazed.

At this point I realised Andrew is gifted at interacting with kids.  He is loads of fun, and the kids felt very comfortable talking to Andrew.   He had checked with the teachers to see if it was OK for the kids to yell out.  They were allowed and did not stop for the whole session.  As there were only 10 children it was not too chaotic.  Even as a fully fledged adult I really enjoyed Andrew’s session.

Andrew told the kids about how he came up with the idea for “Engibear’s Dream”.  Engibear was developed as Andrew and his young son played engineering games.  They drew pictures and wrote stories about Engibear and Bearbots.

Andrew read from “Engibear’s Dream” with the illustrations displayed on the big screen.  The kids acted out some of the scenes, and helped Andrew read some of the words.  I wish I could slot in a video to this post as the kids enjoyed it so much, my words can’t do their joy justice.

Next up was an activity drawing rockets, so the kids could rocket to outer space and “read across the universe” (which was the theme for Book Week 2013 if you did not know).  The only problem was that some of the kids wanted to draw Bearbot instead, and they told Andrew in no uncertain terms.  They all got down onto the floor to draw.Their teacher had a go too, and the kids counted down and the rocket blasted off the whiteboard.

Here are the kids proudly showing off their drawings.


Andrew talked briefly about the next book which features a bridge that looks like a dinosaur, the kids were amazed.


The kids enjoyed this session immensely.  And I have to say that I did too. Andrew really got me thinking about how I may give author presentations in the future.

To find out more about Engibear, click HERE.

Mark Carthew & Mike Spoor

I started this session chatting with a young boy about how he reads “the Moose is Loose” by Mark Carthew to his little brother every night at story time.  The boy told met that his little brother cracks up with laughter every time.  It’s moments like these that make Festivals such as StoryArts seem so worthwhile.

As the kids poured in, Mike did a charcoal drawing of a witch, the kids loved it.  He works so quickly that it boggles the mind!

Mark showed some portraits of himself and Mark at work, some of which were quite funny.  It was be great to see an exhibition of these images ;).  Both Mike and Mark talked about the books they have worked on.  Mark has worked on over 120, Mike on over 350.  I have a lifetime of work to do to catch up with these 2.

Mark told a story for which the kids had to provide the sound effects.  It was about a little old woman who had lost her hairy toe.  He got halfway through the story then told the kids to look up the ending on the website, the kids were disappointed, but I thought it was a great incentive to keep reading beyond the Festival.

The kids joined Mark in a singalong, singing “Skinnamarink” complete with actions.


Mike drew a picture from Romeo and Juliet, though I don’t know what Shakespeare would say about it….


Mark told a few jokes from one of his books, and Mike talked about how he does his illustrations with charcoal.  Mike taught the kids how to make heads out of shapes, and to add eyes, a nose and a mouth.  He showed them how to draw emotions and different hair styles.  Mark explained that Mike is one of the world’s best illustrators, telling the kids to listen intently and practice drawing as all authors and illustrators started out as kids too.  Mike did some great illustrations that the kids were in awe of


Mark told the kids that he loves working with Mike as they have the same sense of humour, and Mike draws really funny pictures.  Mark continued to tell jokes, as Mike drew and drew.

Next up Mark sang a song called “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom”.  He had found the lyrics somewhere in Canada and then wrote the music.  He played the song from the CD, and got the kids to pick out a very cool sound effect of a rocket splitting up.  In the meantime, Mike drew a great picture of a rocket with a very interesting type of astronaut.


The kids joined Mark in singing “Galump went the little green frog” whilst Mike did a drawing of a little green frog.


Mike is famous for his illustrations of dinosaurs.  He gave a demonstration whilst sharing interesting facts about these extinct animals that every child seems to love.


Mark told us how he got the idea for “The Gobbling Tree”.  He was inspired after some children got their things stuck up in a tree in the playground where he was teaching.  He read the book to the children with them providing the sound effects, they thoroughly enjoyed this.  Getting kids involved in reading activities is crucial to keep them interested in reading.  Mark is really good at interacting with kids, so if you need a great author to visit your school or library I recommend booking him as soon as you can.

Mark drew a great interpretation of the Gobbling Tree as Mark read, it shows that Mike likes to use humour in his illustrations.


To find out more about Mark’s books and music, click HERE.  To see some of the 350 books that Mike has illustrated click HERE.