Children to dive into jungles and listen to Rastamouse reggae beats at flagship Pop-Up Festival of Stories in Swiss Cottage

09:00 29 June 2014

Dylan Calder, director of the Pop Up Festival of Stories. Picture: Patrick Boyd

Dylan Calder, director of the Pop Up Festival of Stories. Picture: Patrick Boyd

Patrick Boyd Photography

A touring story-telling festival where children can dive into the world of their favourite books is to host its flagship event in Swiss Cottage next month.

Children's author and illustrator James Mayhew's giant pop-up book at one of the Pop Up Festival of Stories events. Picture: Patrick BoydChildren's author and illustrator James Mayhew's giant pop-up book at one of the Pop Up Festival of Stories events. Picture: Patrick Boyd

Renowned children’s authors and illustrators have created unique workshops and events for the Pop-Up Festival of Stories, which will take over the Swiss Cottage Leisure Space, off Avenue Road, in partnership with the Ham&High.

For two days on July 12 and 13, the celebration of children’s literature will try to reignite imaginations, inspire future readers, and build a more literate community by hosting more than 100 hours of free workshops, events and activities.

It is the first time the children’s literature festival, which launched in 2011, has come to Swiss Cottage.

Dylan Calder, director of community organisation Pop Up Projects, which runs the festival, said: “We want to make Swiss Cottage our permanent home.

“Swiss Cottage Library is letting us take over spaces actually in the library and that’s really important, because it’s about making libraries exciting again.

“And it’s free for kids so they can take home a programme and there’s no economic barriers for parents.”

Headlining the two-day festival is co-creator of popular BBC TV series Rastamouse, Michael De Souza, who will recreate the music played by the show’s rodent reggae band Da Easy Crew on July 12.

Kids can also learn how to be a young knight of the round table with Waterstones Children’s Book Award-winning author Julia Golding, or they can help illustrate a giant pop-up book with best-selling picture book author James Mayhew.

Mr Big author Ed Vere will host a jazz club, while Ken Wilson-Max, creator of the Lenny book series, will take intrepid travellers into the depths of a pop-up jungle.

They join 10 others in dreaming up immersing literary experiences for children, including performance poet and youth activist Zena Edwards, illustrator Chris Mould, eco storyteller Rich Sylvester, fantasy author Sarwat Chadda, translator Sarah Ardizzone, fairy tale writer Jane Ray, poet Kayo Chingonyi, African song and storyteller Usifu Jalloh, picture book author Thomas Docherty and the award-winning author of Artichoke Hearts Sita Brahmachari.

Mr Calder, 45, of Riversdale Road, Highbury, said: “It’s very child-centred, it’s not academic, it’s not something where someone talks at you for two hours. Our number one aim in programming is to entrance and captivate kids.”

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