May is National Share-a-Story Month (NSSM), an annual celebration of storytelling and story sharing. NSSM was founded by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups (FCBG) with the aim of bringing children and stories together. Across the country Federation book groups and individuals run a whole host of events. Each year they are inspired by a specific theme and work with different organisations to provide people with resources and opportunities. The theme for 2016 is ‘A Place for Stories’.
The idea is to encourage the telling and sharing of stories in unusual (but safe) places. Anywhere from under a tree to aboard a canal boat or a cross channel ferry, in the depths of a castle, on a bridge or under a bridge, under the bed, in a café, at a stately home, in the depths of a forest, a tent, at the bottom of the garden, in a bird hide, on an island, at a museum, at a fairground, on the bus, on a park bench…the ideas are endless. Look for related activities here and click here to see what exciting events are already planned. Let them know what you are doing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are also three amazing dedicated story centres in different parts of the country which focus on celebrating books for children and provide great places for story-based exhibitions, activities and events: The Story Museum (Oxford); Seven Stories (Newcastle); and The Discover Centre (London).
Building on this year’s theme, I’ve put together a list of books set in unusual places to inspire you.
The London Underground – Dog on a Train by Kate Prendergast (Old Barn Books)
On a bus – Off to Market by Elizabeth Dale and Erika Pal (ill.) (Frances Lincoln)
On a train:
- And the Train Goes… by William Bee (Walker)
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (Andersen)
- Railhead by Philip Reeve (OUP)
- First Class Murder: A Murder Most Unladylike Mystery by Robin Stevens (Puffin)
On a boat:
- Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (Red Fox)
- The Wreck of the Zephyr by Chris Van Allsburg (Andersen)
- A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton (Yearling)
On a bicycle:
Down a hole – Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (ill.) (Walker)
In a box – This is Our House by Michael Rosen (Walker)
On a canal – Snowy by Berlie Doherty (Troika)
In a cave – Cave Baby by Julia Donaldson (Macmillan)
On a desert island:
In a rainforest– Where the Forest Meets the Sea by Jeannie Baker (Walker)
In the attic – In the Attic by Hiawyn Oram and Satoshi Kitamura (ill.) (Andersen)
Under the stairs – The Bear under the Stairs by Helen Cooper (Picture Corgi)
In a museum at night – Lost in the Toy Museum by David Lucas (Walker)
In the library – Willy’s Stories by Anthony Browne (
In the afterlife – More Than This by Patrick Ness (Walker)
In a graveyard – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury)
On the Moon:
These are only a few examples, can you think of any more stories set in unusual places?