'Wild Wonder at Westonbirt' children's book festival
By David Wood
'A book fires a child's imagination like nothing else', says Westonbirt Arboretum.
Featuring an all-star line-up of children's authors, TV personalities and illustrators, family book festival 'Wild Wonder at Westonbirt' children's book festival returns to Westonbirt, The National Arboretum from 15th to 17th September.
This festival is all set to celebrate and encourage children's joy of reading, inspired by nature and wildlife!
The memory of a book we have read as a child, or that has been read to us, stays with us for life.
When we curl up to read a book with a child, a close bond is formed based on the shared intimate experience and the wonderful journey that the book takes you on, lost entirely in its story and the images it conjures up.
The 2023 'What Kids Are Reading' report, which surveyed children in the UK and Ireland, says the number of books read by children increased by 24% more than the 2020-2021 academic year.
The report also notes that BookTok and other social media trends stimulated interest in reading for young people. This increase is encouraging considering that fewer than 47.8% of children aged 8 to 18 said they enjoyed reading in 2022, when reading for pleasure is understood to be more important for children's cognitive development than many other aspects of their upbringing.
Having plenty of books in the home is also associated with both reading enjoyment and confidence. Of children who report having fewer than 10 books in their homes, 42% say they do not like reading and only 32% say they are 'very confident' readers.
This is why book events, like Wild Wonder at Westonbirt, have a crucial role to play in encouraging young people's love of books.
This exciting, activity-packed event is hosted by Forestry England and Events of Wonder in association with Waterstones Booksellers and sponsored by The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, Kingswood School Bath, Westonbirt School and Norland Nannies.
Gill and John McLay, from Events of Wonder say: "You can't get any better place to sit down and read a book - any book - than in the open air, in a forest or amongst the flowers of a summer meadow.
"The wonder of reading and a great location go together brilliantly. It's very special when young readers lose themselves in a book. They travel deep into their imaginations, completely lost in story, or become enthralled by fascinating facts about our natural world.
"Reading is not just a solo endeavour either - it's so magical to see crowds of kids hanging together on the every word of their favourite author, or inspired to create by a brilliant illustrator who is making magic on the page in front of their very eyes. Festivals can have that effect. The screens disappear - and alchemy happens!"
Watch the introduction video here.
For all booking information and to see the full event schedule and workshops on offer, see Forestryengland.uk/westonbirt/wild-wonder
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