The Manchester Children’s Book Festival Family Fun Day: A Success!

The 2015 Manchester Children’s Book Festival kicked off with the hugely anticipated Family Fun Day – and it was a roaring success! The university was bursting at the seams with stalls and fun activities for families and children to enjoy.

A whole host of authors and illustrators including Matt Brown, Lizzie Finlay, Steve Hartley, Kate Pankhurst and Ruth Fitzgerald delivered captivating workshops, entertaining families throughout the day. Festival friends and partners including Chill Factore, Play Factore, Z-arts and Blackwells, (and many more!) set up an array of stalls in the jam packed Manchester Metropolitan University atrium. Each stall offered intriguing time-travel inspired arts and crafts and activities for everyone to enjoy!

Little Alf

Hannah Russell, author of The Magical Adventure of Little Alf, was there with the star of her books: Little Alf the Shetland pony. Shortly before the Family Fun Day opened its doors to the public, Hannah told me, “Today is going to be great, lots of authors are coming! It’s going to be fun and friendly.” Even the sun was shining for the day’s activities!

Matt Brown signing books at the Blackwell’s pop-up book shop

MetMUnch were there to provide everyone with fresh fruit smoothies as well as what appeared to be some very mouldy sandwiches! Haleh Moravej, founder of MetMUnch, chatted to me about the appeal of the fun day, “It’s very chaotic and manic, but it’s so much fun.” She added, “There’s a real buzz in the air from very early morning and throughout the day the energy levels are constant. It’s brilliant!”

Microbiologists from MMU showcased their very own Compton Valance mouldy sandwich and we travelled back in time for real with fascinating displays from the Manchester Museum and Imperial War Museum.

Children making hats for the Fancy Dress Parade

Over at ReadWell’s stall, Ally Lee was busy knitting some old friends … Sea Monkeys from last year’s Festival! Ally described what she loves most about the festival,

“I love meeting different people and just being here, really – the atmosphere is amazing! I love making the Sea Monkeys for children who are poorly in hospital.”

This year Ally has been knitting Compton Valance and his friends alongside the Sea Monkeys to raise money for ReadWell, a charity who provide children in hospital with books to read.

In the afternoon, the time-travel themed Fancy Dress Parade made its way around the first floor, led by author Matt Brown. It also included some furry friends, including Mr Pickles from the National Football Museum! After the parade, a variety of art workshops took place, including illustration, pop-up art and the ‘A-Z of Manchester,’ in which children could make a drawing, poem or collage based on their chosen letter.
Alice, 4, who was visiting the Family Fun Day with her mum Kathy, told me, “I’ve really enjoyed the storytelling tent and badge making.”

Alice also said that her favourite part of the Festival was, “All the books!” Dylan, aged 6 added, “It’s been the best day of my life!”

The MCBF Family Fun Day may be over, but there are still plenty of exciting events coming up at this year’s Festival. Check out the festival programme for more information.



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