Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival 2021

Written by on 19th March 2021

Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival announces its stellar 2021 programme as the event grows into a two-day extravaganza of reading, writing and storytelling.

The line-up for the fourth Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival is announced today ahead of a two-day virtual festival celebrating children’s literature on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th May.

Big names and local talent from the worlds of children’s fiction, non-fiction, illustration and storytelling will be taking part in the festival, which is being held online for the second year running. The festival is taking place over two days for the first time this year, with a jam-packed programme of events filled with fun for all the family. 

The line-up includes best-selling author and comedian David Baddiel, who’ll be talking about his latest book Future Friend with BBC Wales and CBBC presenter Alex Humphreys. Popular writer and illustrator Kate Pankhurst, a descendant of Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst will inspire young minds with her new book Fantastically Great Women Scientists And Their Stories. Matt Brown and Hanan Issa, two of the authors behind The Mab, will be introducing readers to a brand-new retelling of ancient Welsh tales The Mabinogion, whose foreword is penned by actor Michael Sheen. Wales’ Children’s Laureate, Eloise Williams will be leading a writing workshop for budding young authors. 

That’s just a flavour of what’s on offer, with more exciting author events, a drawing workshop with children’s illustrator Rebecca Harry where children make their own book, interactive storytelling sessions and much more. 

The Director of Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival, Cerith Mathias, said:

‘We’re so excited to launch this year’s festival, our biggest yet! We have created a weekend of events that we hope young readers and their families will find inspiring and entertaining, that celebrate Wales’ incredible storytellers as well as bringing in fantastic children’s authors from across the UK.’

Children’s Laureate Wales, Eloise Williams, who has taken part in the festival since its launch, said:

‘I love Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival and am delighted to be involved again this year. It’s such a brilliant opportunity to highlight the importance of children’s literature and reading for pleasure. The line up of amazing events and thrilling activities are sure to stoke young people’s creativity and set their imaginations on fire.  What a wonderful celebration of children’s books!’

Little bookworms can now sign-up for events, with the festival operating a ‘pay what you want’ ticketing policy. 

Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival Co-founder Jeff Baxter, said:

‘This our biggest and boldest festival yet. We’re passionate about Pontypridd and our community and want to put a smile back on the faces of our youngest readers after a difficult 18 months. With the festival now a weekend-long event, we hope to grow the event year on year to bring the best in children’s literature to the area and draw in readers from all over the UK.’ 

Tickets are available on the festival’s website from today, with a festival bookshop run by partner organisation and local independent bookshop Pontypridd Books open on BookShop.org 

The festival is supported by Pontypridd Books, Pontypridd Town Council, The Co-Op, Cardiff Book Festival, Monumental Welsh Women and Safer Wales Feminist Library.

Register for tickets on the festival website www.pontykidsbookfest.co.uk

Festival books available from Pontypridd Books https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/ARTticBooks

For updates, follow:

Twitter: @pontykidsbooks #PontyKidsBookFest

Facebook: Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival

Instagram: @pontykidsbookfest

What’s Coming Up in the Children’s Book Festival this year?

10.00am – 10.45 am STORYSMASH
Join Louby Lou for a fast paced, fun filled story making workshop all about SPACE! Create your own alien planets through drawing, games and role play, as we ‘smash out’ an abundance of imaginative ideas that will lead to
your very own spacetastic story!
Ages 3-7

Women have been responsible for many of the world’s most groundbreaking scientific discoveries. Join Kate Pankhurst, descendent of Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, as she tells the stories of some incredible female scientists whose hard work and persistence changed our understanding of science, and transformed people’s ideas of what women can do.
Ages 7-12
This event is in partnership with Monumental Welsh Women

The Valley of Lost Secrets is Lesley Parr’s stunning debut novel. Released in January this year it was immediately picked as Waterstones’ Children’s Book of the Month. The story centres on a lonely evacuee and a spooky
discovery in a Welsh village in September 1939. With a hidden clue to unlock at the end giving readers their own mystery to solve, this is a future classic full of adventure, secrets and heart. Lesley will be talking to Mr Primary, Scott Evans. 
Ages 9-12

Accomplished author, comedian and screenwriter David Baddiel talks to CBeebies and BBC Wales presenter Alex Humphreys about his new out-of-this-world novel. Future Friend is a terrifically entertaining time-slip adventure that combines action, laugh-out-loud humour and the importance of friendship in a story that imagines what it might be like if your best friend came from the future. Delivering all the classic ingredients of David’s bestselling fiction, in a filmic wish-fulfilment fantasy that will appeal to children everywhere, Future Friend is an epic comic adventure of
time travel, talking animals and two best friends who work together to save the future.
Ages 7-11 
This event is in partnership with Pontypridd Books

    A young writers workshop with Eloise Williams, Children’s Laureate, Wales. 
    Oh no! You are going to be sent to Witch Point, a cursed town where strange and creepy things happen. Luckily you are allowed to take five objects in your suitcase and they have magic hidden inside them. What will
    you take with you and what magic will they bring? Only you can decide! A fun workshop for budding young writers based on Eloise Williams’ latest book Wilde. 
    Ages 8-12

10.00am – 10.20am PIRATES ADVENTURE! 

Pull up the anchor, hoist the sails and get ready to shiver your timbers!
Join Captain Smelly Socks as she heads to treasure island, in search of her missing treasure! This interactive story is filled with role play, physical movement and a whole heap of swashbuckling fun!
Age 8 and under


The Mab is a collection of eleven epic Welsh stories from the Mabinogion, beautifully illustrated and retold for young people. These are the earliest prose stories of Britain and have been hugely influential on storytelling
across Europe.The stories in the Mab are strange and funny and thrilling. They speak of a time when the gates between the Real World and the Otherworld were occasionally left open and sometimes, just sometimes, it was possible to step through. A team of fantastic, award-winning authors bring the stories to life – and we’re joined by two – Matt Brown and Hanan Issa. They’ll be giving a sneak peak of their stories too, never heard before in public!
Age 7+

Join artist Rebecca Harry as she shows you how to make a fantastic book of your own, inspired by her latest illustrated book Flower Girl written by Lucy Owen. Rebecca has illustrated over 40 books for children including
Board Books and Picture Books. This month she celebrates the release of Flower Girl, an illustrated middle grade reading book written by Lucy Owen.
To take part you’ll need: plain paper, coloured paper, scissors, leaves, ferns and petals/flowers from the garden, lolly sticks, glue, colouring in pens or paint!
Ages 5-10 

1.00pm – 1.30pm LAURA CORYTON – SPEAK UP!
Don’t just read about inspiring women: become one! Speak Up! Is an empowering book to inspire a whole new generation of rebel girls.
Speaking up can be difficult, but did you know just how powerful your own voice can be? Written by Laura Coryton, who led the international campaign against tampon tax, Speak Up! explores what it means to stand
up for what you believe in on both a public and personal level. Laura tackles subjects like feminism, consent, online bullying and self-confidence in a meaningful but accessible and entertaining way. 

Ages 12+ 
This event is in partnership with Safer Wales Feminist Library 

HUNLLEFAU (Horror Stories and Old Nightmares)
Caewch y llenni, trowch y goleuadau i ffwrdd, ac ymunwch ag Elidir Jones am sesiwn sbwci dros ben. Ar ôl y darlleniad cyntaf erioed o lyfr newydd Elidir o straeon arswyd, Sgrech y Creigiau, cewch wybod am rai o ysbrydion mwyaf dychrynllyd y cymoedd, cyn mynd ati i lunio eich stori eich hun sy’n cyfuno eich dychymyg gwyllt a’r gwirionedd arswydus.
Oed 11+

Draw the curtains closed, turn the lights off, and join Elidir Jones for a seriously spooky Welsh-language session. After the first-ever reading from Elidir’s upcoming book of horror stories, Sgrech y Creigiau, learn about some of the scariest ghosts the valleys have to offer, before crafting your own chilling tale combining your wild imagination with the chilling truth.
Ages 11+

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