Posted in blog, events

The Box of Demons

IBSW

This year is the 10th year of Independent Bookshop Week, fondly referred to as IBW. As I am sure I have quipped before, every week is IBW for us, but it is great to have a national campaign behind us, supporting the work that we do.

To celebrate this year, we have organised two author events. The first was with Daniel Whelan on Saturday 18th June. If you missed Daniel, you missed a joyous afternoon, but never fear, for Daniel kindly signed editions of The Box of Demons before leaving us. In fact, we have the last two copies of the limited edition hard back that could be tracked down!

box_od_demons_signed_book

Daniel talked to a very enthusiastic crowd about his creative process, before setting the children the 90 second challenge of drawing their own demons and then naming them. The children’s imaginations were fantastic, with lots of wonderful ideas appearing on the page.

We would like to publicly thank Daniel and his lovely wife, Sylwia, for taking the time to travel to Brentwood for the afternoon, especially as Daniel actually flew in from Sweden just for us. Somehow the box of chocolates we had rustled up didn’t quite seem to match Daniel’s generosity!

Here are a few pics of the afternoon,

Demonic behaviour?
Demonic behaviour?
Natasha, Daniel and Jim: Superhero Poses!
Natasha, Daniel and Jim: Superhero Poses!
Reading to the crowd
Reading to the crowd

We will continue to celebrate this week with Elmer as our book of choice for Rhythm, Rhyme and Story Time on Thursday at 10:00am. Children who come along for English tuition this week with Natasha will be taking part in the Phoenix Comic Creation Workshops and the week will round off with local author, Josie Dom on Saturday 25th at 3:30pm.

Lum

Posted in blog, events

Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival News

As you may know, the Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival is launching this summer.

BCLF LogoWith 18 separate events on offer, there’s plenty of choice, suiting ages from pre-school to teen. The latest (and final) addition to the schedule is Canadian author, Caighlan Smith.

Caighlan was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador on June 1st, 1994. She grew up in the scenic coastal community of St. Philip’s, overlooking the dramatic north-west Atlantic. As a kid, she loved to play in the woods around her house, loved to tell stories and believed in magic.

Unlike many YA fantasy writers, she does not have oodles of cats or dogs or miscellaneous furry friends, as they all make her sneeze and wheeze and tear-up. Inspired by her love of fantasy and the supernatural, Caighlan’s work combines the fun and action of video games with the urgency of post apocalyptic survival.

Join author Caighlan for the exclusive UK launch of her new YA novel Children of Icarus.

Come and hear 21 year old Caighlan talk about her new novel, find out how she started writing as a teenager, how she got her first book deal and her tips on becoming an author. Bring along your work to show Caighlan, ask her about any problems you have in your writing, or quiz her on life as an author.

This event is for age 13+, taking place here at Chicken and Frog Bookshop, on Saturday 30th July, from 6:00pm. Details can be found here.

Posted in blog, events

The Perks of Being a Bookseller

There are many perks – proof copies of books, meeting new readers every day, calling your obsession with reading ‘research’…the list is quite extensive.

However, one of my favourites is meeting authors and having the privilege of seeing them interact with their audience. In the last couple of weeks we have taken not one, but two authors into schools.

The first was Sara Grant, who we have been lucky enough to work with before. Sara was booked in for a talk and signing at Brentwood County High School, with an audience of Year 7s and Year 6s from Holly Trees Primary School. Little did they realise what was in store for them, as Sara not only shared excerpts from her latest book, Chasing Danger, but also lead the pupils through a story planning session. It was a joy to watch – with well over 300 pupils to keep engaged, Sara had set herself quite a task, but it was incredible. I think that the audience (including the teachers) were surprised by the fantastic ideas that Sara teased from them in just one hour.

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Reading from Chasing Danger

 

Sara signing books
Sara signing books

Sara also helped to launch a writing competition which is exclusively for the Year 7 pupils at BCHS. We can’t wait to read their stories.

And this week, yesterday in fact, we took Nikki Sheehan into two schools. We started at Ingatestone and Fryerning Junior School and finished at Brentwood County High School, which is rapidly become our second home!

Nikki’s books are beautifully written tales of magical realism, full of believable characters who have extraordinary experiences. The audience at Ingatestone and Fryerning explored the idea of how an animal’s characteristics can be likened to our own. There was a lot of discussion amongst the pupils, as well as a chance to hear Nikki read excerpts from Swan Boy.

The Q and A session was great, with some really searching questions, such as ‘Do you write for yourself or for your audience?’ Nikki says that initially she writes for herself, and then thinks about the audience once she begins the editing process.

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Busily signing books
Busily signing books

We then whisked Nikki off to Brentwood County High School, for two back to back writing workshops with Year 8 pupils. I will never get tired of watching, in awe, as authors inspire and cajole original ideas from pupils. The creativity was wonderful.

Our thanks go to Sara and Nikki, the willing pupils and the schools for their enthusiasm and promoting of reading.

Sara and Nikki are both part of the Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival this summer.

Posted in blog, events

#IBW2016

I know, I know, another hashtag. Kids these days…but this hashtag is a very important one. It’s for Independent Bookshop Week, which is coming up in June. We love #IBW because it highlights the wonderful independent bookshops across the UK (including us of course) and the authors and illustrators who share their genius with us.

This year we are just a little bit excited to announce that we have not one, but two author events taking place here at Chicken and Frog.

Just yesterday afternoon we received confirmation that Daniel Whelan, of The Box of Demons fame will be kicking off the week with us, on Saturday 18th June! That’s all we know so far, but to say we’re thrilled is an understatement. As soon as we know more, we’ll pass it on.

box_od_demons_signed_book

And the end of the week will be celebrated with a local author, Josi Dom. Details of Josi’s event can be found here. We’re also taking Josi into a local primary school, so it’s all go!

Lum

Posted in blog, events

A Spring in Our Step

Good morning dear reader. The sun is here and with it, a spring like feel has crept into the air. There is no doubt that sunshine can do wonders for your mood and whilst nothing much else has changed, the turn in weather has been enough to re-energise us for the coming months.

So, what do we have planned? Well, quite a lot actually! Within the next few weeks, we are welcoming two local authors to Chicken and Frog, for reading and book signing sessions. First up is Karen Chilvers, who is a well known local Councillor, but did you know that she is also a children’s author? Karen’s gorgeous dog, Bailey is the star of the show, in this sweet tale of friendship.

Meet local authorKaren Chilvers

Following on from Karen, in May, is Emma McNally. The Cloudosaurus Rex is for children aged 3 to 6 years and perfect for those who love to join in with actions and rhyming verse – you can even bring along your pet dinosaurs, as long as they are house-trained.

MEET LOCAL AUTHOR (1)

As well as these planned author bookshop events, we have our regular Creative Writing, Book and Handwriting & Fine Motor Skills Clubs on offer.

And we have been busily working away, organising author events in schools, with Nikki Sheehan, James Nicol, Gary Nott and Sara Grant.

Not enough? Ok, well, we’ve also been putting the finishing touches to the Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival, which kicks off with an exclusive visit for students of Shenfield High School and Brentwood County High School, with the one and only Laura Dockrill.

Phew! Now I need to find a lovely sunny spot, curl up with a cuppa and a good book, or two.

Posted in blog, events

A Sheep’s Tail

A-Scarf-and-a-Half-Cover-294x300This week has been super busy, what with World Book Day school visits, tuition and a lovely end to the week with a visit from Amanda Brandon. Amanda focused on her two beautiful picture books, A Scarf and a Half  (which has been shortlisted for the 2016 Heart of Hawick Children’s book award) and A Box of Socks.

Amanda read the books, using a very large scarf (a scarf and a half in fact) as a great prop to include the children,

IMG_3755  IMG_3759

She finished the session with a fun craft – creating sheep collages from cotton wool!

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If ewe* missed it, don’t worry, we have copies of Amanda’s book in store.

*terrible sheep-based pun intended.

graphic-bottom

Posted in blog, events

#HarryPotterBookNight

hpnight

What a magical afternoon we had yesterday! This week marked the second Harry Potter Book Night – technically it was Thursday, but as we tutor after school it made sense to shift our celebrations along to Saturday.

As last year was far busier than anticipated, we asked people to book in this time, so that we could be fully prepared. And oh boy, I’m pleased that we did, as we managed to squeeze in over 40 children plus parents. It was a little warm by the end of the afternoon!

This year the theme was potions and charms, so we decided to create our own potions books. Here’s some of the Hogwarts’ students crafting away,

HP4There were all sorts of potions invented, from invisibility to knowledge. The young wizards and witches took to potions very well.

As well as the books, all of the children were sorted into their Houses, sung the Hogwarts Song and took part in the incredibly difficult quiz. Hats off to Ravenclaw, the winning house this year…it was close though, so let’s see what happens next year.

Mr Frog and I created something rather nifty, so that the children could pose for a crazed photograph. Here are a few suspicious looking characters:

HPmeHPmaxHPJIM

Although Harry Potter Book Night celebrates the books, rather than the films, in honour of Alan Rickman, who will always be Snape, “Always.”

Posted in blog, events, schools

Farewell 2015, Hello 2016.

As page 365 of 2015 reaches its final paragraph, we would like to take this opportunity to wish one and all a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

The year ahead promises to be a bookish affair, with the 150th anniversary of The Jungle Book, Harry Potter Book Night, World Book Day, the centenary of Roald Dahl and the launch of a certain Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival. As well as all of that, we will be welcoming authors into the shop and schools, plus helping schools with their book orders, running our tuition centre, Book Club, Creative Writing Club and of course, ringing in the New Year to the sound of Lego.

So, until next year dear readers…may your book collection grow ever more interesting.

ideal-bookshelf

Posted in blog, events

Bits and Bobs

Hello all. At this time of year, with preparations in full swing for Christmas and New Year parties, the shop is looking very festive. A ridiculously over sized Christmas cracker adorns our window,

This is what happens when you don't measure things first...
This is what happens when you don’t measure things first…

and the shop is jam-packed full of glorious books waiting to be bought, wrapped, unwrapped and cherished. If you can’t see what you want, there’s still time for us to order in especially for you. Remember, we can order in books for grown ups too. If it’s in print, we can get it!

As well as the lovely books, the Santa hunt is still on. There are 16 Santas hidden around Brentwood Town Centre, waiting to be found. Forms are available here, French Quarter and The Brentwood Kitchen. Solve the riddle and enter the free prize draw by close of play on Christmas Eve. Here’s our cheeky chappie:

santaOnce the holidays are done and dusted, we’ll be kicking off 2016 with the Lego Challenge and Book Club, followed by Creative Writing Club on Saturday 2nd January. The author of January’s Book Club book will be popping in on Saturday 23rd January – check out the events page for details. And of course, tuition will start up again from Monday 4th January.