By Heather Gosling
This year’s Cuckfield Bookfest for Children and Young People (which took place on Saturday 6th October) was a whirlwind of creativity. With sessions ranging from telling tales of WWI to learning about dinosaurs, the day was packed with fun for children and young adults.
Tony De Saulles started the day with his Bee Boy trilogy. Tony engaged the audience with drawing bees, quizzes on bees and he even played his Bee Song on the guitar.
The audience were captivated as Tony drew us into his world of writing, illustrating and bee-keeping! The Bee Boy trilogy takes an eye-opening approach to educating people on bees and how they help us. Tony devised a competition to design a poster showing the significance of bees in our world and all the entries were magnificent!
Well done to all the winners who each received two of the Bee Boy books: Bee Boy Clash of the Killer Queens and Bee Boy Attack of the Zombees. The third book of the trilogy (Curse of the Vampire Mites) is to be released in February next year.
The following session was held by Caroline Crowe who read from her two books: Is that an Elephant in my Fridge? and Pirates in Pyjamas. This was an exciting session for the younger audience, who enjoyed singing, dancing, reading, and rhyming with Caroline.
Nicky Dee and Rebecca Skimming transported us back in time to 200 years ago when some of the first dinosaur fossils were found in Cuckfield. The pair taught us about how dinosaurs were discovered and why they became extinct. After much audience participation, quizzes and fun facts we learnt how to walk like a dinosaur!
Alison Milford told the touching story of Sam and Rose, a brother and sister who got caught up in The Great War. Alison skillfully weaved the tale of Sam and Rose and their wartime memories through the letters, postcards and Rose’s scrapbook. The audience were entranced by Alison’s version of the song If You were the Only Girl in the World - there wasn’t a dry eye in the room!
Gillian McClure, Pippa Goodhart and Rosemary Hayes, all three well known children’s authors, gave tips to budding writers, including several young people. This session was extremely thought provoking as it outlined important skills needed to engage the interest of a young reader.
The storm of creativity continued in Joshua Raven’s session. Joshua Raven is a Cuckfield-based author whose books are filled with adventure and fantasy elements - perfect for readers who enjoy a fast-paced narrative that grabs your intrigue from start to finish.
Joshua read from his Five Fingers series and challenged the audience to come up with their own alternative ending. At the end of his session, Joshua unleashed yet more energy when he announced the winners of his creative writing competition.
The day ended as many books do: with a happy ending. What a wonderful end to a very special day; the end of the Cuckfield Bookfest for Children and Young People was enjoyed with music, refreshments and admiring everyone’s hard work. Well done to all the competition winners who will each receive a school visit from either Tony or Joshua. Thank you to the wonderful volunteers and everyone who participated. And of course, a very special thank you to all the generous sponsors - Cuckfield Bookfest wouldn’t be here without you!