10 things to do before the kids go back to school

Young girl eating an ice lolly


There are still a couple of weeks left before the kids go back to school, which means there’s still plenty of time to get out and enjoy these literary-related events around the country:

Join the comic club at The Alligator’s Mouth in Richmond

Independent children’s bookshop The Alligator’s Mouth in Richmond, South-West London, runs a monthly comics club, which sounds amazing. Aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds, the next session will take place on Thursday 22nd August at 4pm. It’s very popular, so this is one to book ahead. Head to their website for more details.

Explore the world of children’s book illustration at Seven Stories

Former Children’s Laureate, author and illustrator Lauren Child has curated an exhibition at Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books that is well worth a visit. Bringing together some of the most exciting children's book illustration to come out of the UK in recent years, the exhibition showcases the work of ten illustrators that represent the future with their distinctly personal and unique work.

See Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear – the Musical!

The Parrot Street support crew absolutely loved this musical version of one of the books from Andy Stanton’s bestselling Mr Gum series. There are loads of laugh-out-loud moments and brilliantly silly songs, just as you would expect. The adults enjoyed it too! Head to the National Theatre at London’s South Bank where it’s showing until the end of August.

Search for dragons at Waterstones

This is one for all the How to Train Your Dragon fans! Select branches of Waterstones are running a treasure hunt inspired by Cressida Cowell’s fabulous fantasy series. Head to the Bury St Edmonds, Derby, Canterbury and Lancaster branches throughout August, and check the Waterstones events page for details of one-off events at other branches as well.

Celebrate all things James and the Giant Peach at the Roald Dahl Museum

The wonderful Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre is hosting James’s Peachy Summer, a series of creative workshops running throughout the school holidays inspired by James and the Giant Peach – perfect for kids aged 5+. Check their website for a full list of events and to book.

Catch the Worst Witch in the West End

Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches is accepting new students! Featuring all of Jill Murphy’s beloved characters, this action-packed new stage adaptation includes original songs, music, magic and a dose of Mildred’s unique brand of utter pandemonium. Perfect for kids aged 7+. Booking open for performances until 8th September.

Join the Foyles Summer Treasure Hunt

Pop into the Chelmsford or Stratford branches of Foyles to join in their Summer Treasure Hunt. Search for the hidden lollies dotted around the children’s section and if you find them all there’s a special prize. No need to book – just head to the counter and ask for an activity sheet when you arrive. Find out more here.

Sing with Anna Hibiscus at Discover Children’s Story Centre

For younger children, head to Discover Children’s Story Centre in East London where you can join an interactive storytelling performance based on the gorgeous African tale Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke and Lauren Tobia. Performances are at various times until 1st September.

Come aboard the Swallow at York Theatre Royal

I dearly wish we were going to be near York in August because this sounds fantastic. Arthur Ransome’s famous and much-loved children’s classic Swallows and Amazons has been thrillingly brought to life in a gloriously imaginative stage adaptation with original music by none other than Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy. Not to be missed. Details here.

Head to the movies with Horrible Histories

The Parrot Street support crew have been pestering me all summer to take them to see Horrible Histories: The Movies – Rotten Romans. I’m saving it for a rainy day!

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