Same Sky photo of Brighton Children's Parade 2022

Brighton Festival

Thanks to Becky for this post, and to Same Sky for enabling and organising the Children’s Parade and for the main image, above.

After a two-year break, the Brighton Festival is back in full swing this May, opening with the joyous, noisy and colourful children’s parade. All the schools of Brighton, Hove and surrounding area took part, with the theme for the parade being ‘Rebuilding and Hope’. Many of the schools focused on the ‘rebuilding of nature’ with strong environmental messages, and carried large bright withy sculptures of the Earth, polar bears, bees, and eco-warriors Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough


Brighton Festival 2022 seems to be a bumper year for performers and artists, keen to celebrate their creativity after a thwarted couple of years. And this year, there is a large ‘Young Readers’ programme of events by wonderfully talented authors and illustrators – many of them local – of picture books, fiction and information books, for children aged 4-12. We have the books in the Curriculum Centre for you to browse and enjoy, and at this month’s Children’s Literature Book Group on 26th May we will be discussing the books from this rich selection.


Here is a review of the books. For the dates, times, and venues where the readings and activities will be taking place, please see the Brighton Festival Brochure, copies of which can be found on University of Brighton campuses.



The Music in Me by Sophy Henn

This reassuring, playful picture book is the perfect way to get to know all kinds of emotions. Read the book to discover there’s music for every mood, from happy tunes to slow beats, and to remind us to always march to our very own beat.



The Pirate Mums by Jodie Lancet-Grant and illustrated by Lydia Corry

A rollicking pirate-themed adventure, about a boy called Billy and his high-seafaring mums. A celebration of all kinds of family and what makes them special.



Windrush Child by John Agard and illustrated by Sophie Bass

John Agard’s poem ‘Windrush Child’ was originally written in 1998 as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the arrival of the SS Windrush. This year, Walker Books have published this evocative poem about a child waving goodbye to his Caribbean home as he sets sail across the ocean to Britain, in a beautiful, vivid illustrated picture book by Sophie Bass.



Genie and Teeny: The Wishing Well by Steven Lenton

The third in a series of funny, magical adventures about a genie and his puppy Teeny, who make wishes come true… badly




The Book Cat by Polly Faber and illustrated by Clara Vulliamy

A classic wartime tale of Morgan, an orphan cat, who made his home at the offices of a famous London publishing house amidst the chaos of the Blitz during the Second World War.

Illustrated by Clara Vulliamy, daughter of the late Shirley Hughes, who taught herself to write and illustrate stories during the Liverpool Blitz.



Grimwood by Nadia Shireen

This is Nadia Shireen’s first fiction title and as with her picture books, it is funny, anarchic, and full of her zany illustrations. The story is about two fox cubs who escape to Grimwood forest to get away from Princess Buttons, the scariest street cat in the Big City. But Grimwood is not the rural idyll they had hoped for, running into various quirky characters along the way.




Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell

Loki, the shape-shifting trickster Norse God, has been banished by Odin to live on Earth as an eleven-year-old boy. Struggling to understand the difference between good and evil, friends and enemies, Loki wreaks havoc along the way. This is a laugh-out-loud diary style story packed with doodles and comic strips. You may even learn something about Norse mythology along the way.



The Wizards of Once: Never and Forever by Cressida Cowell

The fourth and final book in the Wizards of Once series, by the hugely popular, award-winning, Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell. Once again bursting with her signature drawings, the adventures of Xar, the boy wizard, and Wish, the girl warrior continue as they try to find a spell powerful enough to lift the witches’ ‘Curse of the Wildwoods’.



The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea series by Thomas Taylor

Thomas Taylor is a local author, who lives in Hastings. Taking inspiration from his historic hometown, this series of mysteries are set in the seaside town of Eerie-on-Sea, where things are not all that they seem. Herbie Lemon, the main protagonist, is washed up on the beach in a crate of lemons but has no memory of his life before this event. He is employed at the local hotel as a ‘Lost-and-Founder’ and this is where his adventures begin. We meet a host of local characters, most importantly his fellow Sleuth, Violet, who it transpires, has an equally mysterious background.



Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and artwork by Tom de Freston

Julia moves to Unst, Shetland for the summer with her parents. Her dad has been employed to automate the local lighthouse, where they will live, and her mother, a marine biologist, goes on the hunt for the elusive Greenland Shark. This is a story about integrating into the local community, bullying, mental health, love, loyalty, and loss. With stunning illustrations by Kiran’s partner Tom which complement the prose beautifully, it is a thought-provoking and moving tale.



Boy, Everywhere by A. M. Dassu

Sami is a typical 13-year-old boy living in Damascus, Syria. After a bombing in the local shopping centre, where’s Sami’s mother and daughter were witnesses, Sami and his family flee their comfortable home to make the perilous journey towards a new life in the UK. This is an absolute must-read of a book, opening the readers’ eyes to the inhumanity, danger, ordeal, and reality of leaving everything behind to become an asylum seeker. Using real life stories from refugees the author has met as motivation for writing this story, A. M. Dassu makes you realise how easy it is to become homeless and disenfranchised.



Good News: Why the world is not as bad as you think by Rashmi Sirdeshpande

Climate change, Pandemics, war in Ukraine; for children growing up in a world where social media exposes them to all the worlds ills, it’s hard for them not to feel hopeless, powerless and scared. In ‘Good News’ – shortlisted for the Blue Peter children’s book awards, 2022 – Rashmi Sirdeshpande wants to share some inspiring stories about some of the amazing things happening on planet Earth that we don’t hear much about. Empowering, reassuring and confidence-boosting, this is the positive antidote for testing times.








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