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The Life and Times of a Bookseller

Hello all! In the past I have blogged about the various things that happen to us in any given week or two, but it’s been a while since I’ve done so, and the last week has been bonkers (as ‘all the best people are’).

Ready? Here we go. In the past week, we have hosted a grotto for the Brentwood Lighting Up; been interviewed on BBC Essex with Tony Fisher; had two lovely reps visiting us; launched #giveabook; welcomed the Children’s First Fostering Agency in; been the location for a book trailer with Rebecca Elliott and Curious Fox; launched the annual Santa Hunt; sold a fair few books; taught approximately 70 children; taken Ian Whybrow to a primary school; organised school visits for 2016 and 2017; arranged a very exciting Book Club visitor for 2017 and read a brilliant proof copy of Who Let the Gods Out?

All of that, and the week isn’t over yet! Today we have Handwriting Club, Book Club and Creative Writing Club, plus more book-selling. I need a cup of tea and a slice of cake…again.

cffaphoto
The CFFA do a wonderful job and are  promoting Cooks and Kids

 

fosteringsaveslives
We have been overwhelmed by your generosity, let’s keep going and #giveabook this Christmas.

 

rebeccaelliott
Rebecca Elliott and the Curious Fox team took over Rhythm and Rhyme, to film the book trailer for Dalmatian in a Digger.
Posted in blog, events

Brentwood Lit Fest Update

Hello dear reader. How are you? I don’t know about you, but the fact that it is already July has come as quite a shock. For a start, the summer weather has only been with us for a few days and I’m sure that there are still remnants of Easter eggs at the back of the cupboard. However, like it or not, July did indeed arrive 11 days ago, which means that the school holidays will be here very soon. In fact, for some, they are already upon us.

As a parent, I love the school holidays; especially the long summer, with endless days of family fun ahead. My bank balance isn’t quite so keen though, but that’s a whole other blog! This summer there’s a plethora of brilliant activities to take part in, including the Family Fun Days around Brentwood. The focus of this blog is the new Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival ,which launches on 20th July with closed events for Brentwood County High School and Shenfield High School, before opening to the public on Friday 22nd Ju;y, with the darkly funny Christopher William Hill.

BCLF Logo

Here’s a run down of the line up:

THE AGE SUGGESTIONS BELOW ARE FOR GUIDANCE ONLY – ALL ARE WELCOME!

Abi Elphinstone: Prepare for catapulting hedgehogs and magical runes. (Sunday 24th July, 5:30p.m. Hogarth Primary, Age 8+).

Andy Robb: An hilarious treatment of teenage angst for all you geeks out there. (Tuesday 26th July, 11:00a.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 11+).

A.F.Harrold: Riotous performance poetry, escaping the circus and a magnificent beard. (Monday 25th July, 3:00p.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 7+).

Bizzy Bear: Join this lovable story book character for a free story session – SOLD OUT!

Caighlan Smith: YA author all the way from Canada. This is an exclusive UK launch of Caighlan’s new novel.Caighlan will be on hand to read your writing, as well as talk about her life as an author. (Saturday 30th July, 6:00p.m., Chicken and Frog Bookshop, Age 12+).

Christopher William Hill: Christopher’s tales are darkly funny – perfect for fans of Roald Dahl. (Friday 22nd July, 5:30p.m., Hogarth Primary School, Age 7+).

Dave Cousins: Football, friendship and guaranteed laughs. Also, learn what to do if confronted with an angry bear. (Thursday 28th July, 3:00p.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 7+).

David O’Connell: David’s artwork was displayed in Chicken and Frog for the Art Trail. David is the comic genius behind Monster and Chips. Join him for a writing and illustration workshop. (Friday 29th July, 11:00a.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 7+).

Elli Woollard: Fight dragons and design your own knight’s shield. Elli is double-billing with Michelle Robinson. (Saturday 23rd July, 3:00p.m., Hogarth Primary School, Age 4+).

Giles Paley-Philips: Design your own dinosaurs with Giles. (Saturday 23rd July, 11:00a.m., Hogarth Primary School, Age 4+).

Hazel Williams: Sorry, Hazel’s illustration workshop – SOLD OUT!

Ian Whybrow: Join the legend behind Harry and his Bucketful of Dinosaurs. Roar!! (Friday 29th July, 3:00p.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 4+).

Julie Irwin: Join Julie for a writing workshop packed full of energy. Bring your best ideas! (Thursday 28th July, 11:00a.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 7-12).

Karen McCombie: What can we say?! Karen is the undeniable Queen of Tween. (Monday 25th July, 11:00a.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 7+).

Michelle Robinson: Eat astronaut ice-cream and get involved with plenty of shenanigans. Michelle is double billing with Elli Woollard. (Saturday 23rd July, 3:00p.m., Hogarth Primary School, Age 4+).

Nikki Sheehan: Magical realism at its greatest. Discover your inner animal. (Wednesday 27th July, 3:00p.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 9+).

Pete Johnson: The king of both horror and comedy for children. Learn how to control your parents! (Tuesday 26th July, 3:00p.m., Brentwood Theatre, Age 8+).

Sara Grant: Sara is running two writing workshops, but the afternoon session is already full. (Sunday 24th July, 11:00a.m., Chicken and Frog Bookshop, Age 11+).

In addition to all of the events, we have some treats for you. Thanks to the Breakfast Brentwood Rotary we have dictionaries to give away; a selection of books generously donated by Bloomsbury; as well as signed copies of our authors’ books, due to the kind work of Gerry Bender, who has been persuading people to ‘donate a book’ to the festival. All you need to do to be in with a chance of receiving one of these free books, is purchase a ticket and attend an event.

Ward Councillors have funded free tickets have been made available for some lucky children who attend Hogarth Primary School, St Thomas’ Infants, St Thomas’ Infants, St Helen’s Juniors and St Helen’s Infants, but you must still get online to book your places!

Tickets (at just £3 per event) are available via the website www.brentwoodlitfest.com

Tickets must be purchased for babes in arms if you are booking for an event at the Brentwood Theatre.

THE AGE SUGGESTIONS ARE FOR GUIDANCE ONLY – ALL ARE WELCOME!

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, 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

Lighting Up

I am typing wearily this morning, as yesterday’s Lighting Up was the busiest we have ever had and am very tired. Not that I’m complaining, the atmosphere was fantastic. If only every Saturday was the same!

Thanks to the support of the Brentwood Renaissance, we were able to provide a free Elves’ Grotto again this year. Every child that visited received a free gift and sweets, plus mince pies for parents. At one point Mr Frog was sent out for emergency supplies of chocolate coins as we had run out of gifts! With well over 100 children visiting, this year’s grotto was the busiest yet.

Here are a few pics of the festivities,

This little man was our youngest visitor!
This little man was our youngest visitor!

 

Our grotto - lots of twinkly lights!
Our grotto – lots of twinkly lights!

Brentwood-Borough-Renaissance-Group-v6

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Thirteen days to go…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The keys were finally handed over on Friday, which is great because we can get in there at last. It’s also a little terrifying, because we can get in there at last!

 


We keep on saying naive things like ‘Oh it doesn’t need much doing to it,’ to convince ourselves that the two week deadline we now have is not completely crazy. But it is; it’s doable, but slightly unhinged at the same time.
If you happen to find yourselves pootling along the Ongar Road in Brentwood, you may spy a lovely little shop which now sports splashes of purple and green. That’s us. And if you happen to see a tired looking woman with similar splashes of paint in her hair, that’s probably going to be me. I should qualify the ‘tired’ with ‘happy’. Yes, it is exhausting working full time, being a mum to three radishes (four if you include Mr Frog) and starting up a new business, but it’s also totally exhilarating. After years as a dream, we can see Chicken and Frog Bookshop becoming a reality and it feels good.

The shelving should be in and up by Thursday, ready for the books which are due to be delivered on Friday. Our sign is coming early next week, we’ve got loads booked in for our opening day and the painting is almost done.
I don’t mind admitting that I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself right now. I love the fact that all weekend I have heard people making positive comments about a new bookshop as they walk past and see us working away.

 

The next couple of weeks promise to be crazy busy. I’ll keep you posted.

Green Paint Splatter Clip Art