Welcome to our daily festival blog. Today’s schedule was a little different from our format so far. Instead of two author events, we took Bizzy Bear to Brentwood Library this morning and then took Nikki Sheehan to Brentwood Theatre, in the afternoon.

The Bizzy Bear series, published by Nosy Crow, are incredibly popular board books from Benji Davies. Bizzy Bear sets off on a range of adventures, from a spot of DIY to searching for dinosaurs. We set off to Brentwood Library this morning, to share stories and a cuddle or two with Bizzy Bear himself. Thankfully, even though Bizzy is rather large, he didn’t make anyone cry! Quite the opposite in fact, as these photographs show.

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Natasha shared stories, with lots of help from the children.

And the swan? Enter Nikki Sheehan, who is to magical realism what Cadbury is to the world of confectionary; an absolute treat. Nikki’s two books encompass the world of magical realism so beautifully, that the reader accepts everything that happens, including the strange! I really don’t want to give anything away about either book, so you’ll just have to read them for yourselves.

Nikki’s session was highly interactive, with a group poetry writing exercise, which highlighted the ability that we all have to create something great. It then moved on to a Q&A session led by our local book blogger, Josh, before questions from the audience. It was super to hear questions from both children and adults alike, as Nikki captured the interest and imagination of everyone in the room. I for one am waiting impatiently for book number 3…

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Tomorrow is yet another exciting day in the life of the festival, with an extended writing workshop from Julie Irwin (bring a snack, as it’s a longer sessions). Julie will be focusing on characterisation and every child attending will be given a dictionary to keep, thanks to the Brentwood Breakfast Rotary. The afternoon welcomes Dave Cousins, whose Charlie Merrick series is ideal for fans of a)Tom Gates, b) football and c) comics. Tickets are available on the door.

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