National Share-a-Story Month

NSSM National Share-A-Story Month (NSSM) is an annual celebration of the power of storytelling and story sharing, providing a fantastic opportunity to fulfil the core aim of the FCBG of bringing children and stories together. Across the country Federation book groups and individuals run a whole host of events. Each year we are inspired by a specific theme and work with different organisations to provide people with resources and opportunities.

National Share a Story Month 2020

The Planet we Share

The theme for this May is the Planet we Share – this can include stories about the peoples, the animals and also the state of our planet, giving a fairly wide set of stories to be shared and celebrated this year. Resources are now available to groups very shortly and can be downloaded from the NSSM 2020 Page on the Website.

We are grateful to the many publishers for their generous support in 2020 and look forward to knowing what you have done in groups and schools to celebrate during May.

Due to the current Covid-19 situation and our need to self-isolate and stay at home it will be some time before groups will receive their hard copy packs.  We can only apologise for this situation – but I am sure you will appreciate the need for care. Please do use any of the downloadable resources to help in your home education of children, or for circulation to group members.  

The Competition referred to in the pack will go ahead – and details are included below.  Please do join in – the theme of home, chosen long before the current situation, seems particularly appropriate now. 

Win an amazing author event for your school!

Call for Entries

Win a fantastic visit for your school from author Amber Lee Dodd, author of the amazing The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley, published by Scholastic.

Amber will visit one school in the new academic year (Sept 2020 – June 2021) at a date and time which is mutually convenient to both the school and to Amber.  She will travel by train to the school so transfer to and from your local rail station must be provided by the winning school. Full competition terms and conditions are available here


  • Entries are welcome from pupils aged 9 to 12 years
  • Entries may be prose or poetry, of no more than a maximum length of 500 words
  • Entries must be submitted via electronic means – email, in an easily readable format e.g. Word, PDF, electronic scan or picture, Pages, ODT etc. 
  • Entries must reflect the theme of home in some form – e.g. the writer’s home or an imaginary home of a different person or creature. 
  • Entries must be submitted by the closing date of 12 noon on 30th June 2020 to
  • Entries will be chosen by judges from FCBG and the final winner will be chosen from a shortlist by Amber Lee Dodd. The Judge’s decision is final. 

Good Luck to all entrants! 

National Share a Story Month 2019

Travelling Tales

The theme for May 2019 is Travelling Tales – stories that involve any sort of travel, from the usual trains and boats and planes, to journeys through time and space.  Resources will be available to groups very shortly and will also be downloadable from the NSSM 2019 page on the website.

We are grateful to the many publishers for their generous support in for NSSM19 and look forward to knowing what you have done to celebrate during May.

Golden National Share a Story Month 2018

Celebrating a World of Stories

Northampton High School joined in with NSSM by telling us about a fascinating e-twinning project they were part of involving pupils from 6 European countries who joined together to write a collaborative story about inclusion.  Languages teacher Alicia Diez, describes the project in this word document NHS blog Alicia

Abbotswood Court Care Home in Romsey Kent teamed up with Yellow Dot Nursery to share their stories for NSSM.  This was a very special project as you can see from the photos and it looks as though everyone made new friends.  The collection of stories the residents and children created together is delightful and I am sure will bring a tear to your eye! Click the pdf here to read them

Abbotswood Court Share A Story Month Project

Thank you to them all for joining in with National Share a Story Month and sharing their stories with us.

GNSSM has once again generated a wealth of interest, enthusiasm and activities across the country.  Amongst many other events, book groups held story telling sessions based on tales from other lands, encouraged readers to create a reading passport of books they had read and schools organised creative writing competitions asking youngsters to re-tell myths or legends.

We are delighted with the way the themes and ideas have caught the interest of many diverse groups of people. Abbotswood Nursing Home in Romsey, Hampshire linked with Yellow Dot children’s nursery to create an anthology of stories and pictures and Arriva buses in Liverpool arranged for poems to be left on bus seats and also linked with a care home by parking a Story Telling Bus on their drive.

Little Free Library in Hampton in Arden near Solihull, encouraged youngsters to borrow ‘book buddies’ to read to, a prison Librarian created a display and Petts Wood Library arranged a reading of Handa’s Surprise in Bengali.

It is always wonderful to see how NSSM takes on a life of its own and thankyou to everyone who took part and sent us news of their activities!

Competition Winners

A bundle of books for the school and a gift of a notebook, a pencil and colouring pencils for the youngster were awarded to the following groups for their imaginative re-tellings of myths and legends –

Chesters Nursery School, Glasgow, for their wonderful illustrated story The Magic Sunflower

Bridgewater Community Primary School, Newcastle on Tyne.

Holy Cross and All Saints RC Primary School, Salford

Highgate  School, Bishopswood Road, London  Two £10 book tokens were also sent to Saskia and Diana for their excellent stories.

Copies of the stories and drawings are below.
The Magic Sunflower is a short story created and scribed by some of the four year old children from Chester’s Nursery School in Glasgow describing a hero and their talents.

Photos from Bridgewater Community School, Newcastle on Tyne, where retired teacher Dorothy Hadden organises reading groups throughout the school and always enjoys joining in with NSSM:

Boys exploring Window as a book without words developing their own interpretation. Part of NSSM 2018 passport, Australia entry.

Child reading Katie Morag as part of NSSM 2018 passport entry for Scottish Island

Youngsters sharing books without words

Competition entries, Bridgewater Community School, Newcastle on Tyne

Explanation of the themes from Bridgewater Community School, Newcastle on Tyne:

Here you can read individual named entries from Holy Cross and All Saints Primary School, Salford:

Hubert Baruch  Isla Harvey  Laura Williams  Naima Chagu  Rory Eccleston-Evans  Zachary Hamblet

Final entries from Highgate School, Bishopswood Road, London:

Highgate Junior School NSSM Winners
Highgate Junior School NSSM Runners-Up


We are very grateful for the support from many publishers for material for the packs and competition prizes.  Several relevant and interesting organisations have also joined in and links are below.

Enjoy GNSSM, have fun and tell us all about it!

GSSM Introduction and Contents
1 Mind Map Celebrating a World of Stories
2 Competitions and Initiatives
3 Featured titles
4 Children’s Literature in Translation 2
5 The Jean Russell Storytelling Project
6 The House With Chicken Legs
7 The House With Chicken Legs drawing template
8 A Starter List of Stories That Feature Food
9 Booklist collection of myths, legends and fairy tales
10 Step into the Wild Wood with Chris Riddell_NSSW info
11 Booklist Re-tellings of myths legends and fairy tales 2
12 NNFN Food and Festivals Around the World
Outside in World FCBG Under 5 List
Outside in World FCBG 6-8 List
Outside in World FCBG 9-11 List
Outside in World FCBG 12+List
Outside in World FCBG 14+List
Outside in World Myths and Legends

Publishers – 

Tiny Owl, Gecko Press, Cassava Republic, Firefly Press, Lantana Publishing, Zephyr/ Head of Zeus, Graffeg, Pushkin Press, Barn Owl, Wacky Bee, Walker, Macmillan, Usborne

Useful organisations –

Have a look at the work of Outside in World, Letterbox Library, Mantra Lingua and the Book Trust

The aims are of GNSSM are

*to celebrate stories, poetry, myths and legends from around the world

*to explore our own British stories, myths and legends as well as stories from other cultures

*to highlight and explore Literature in Translation

*There will also be a theme of food – looking  at traditions of cooking and telling stories.  Are there similar recipes in different cultures or stories with food as a main ‘ingredient’ to the tale?

Book groups and other interested parties will be encouraged to hold story sharing sessions and cultural events with words, music, art work, food and costume from a particular land.

We shall explore the way stories are shared across cultures and identify and celebrate repeating themes and characters.  We shall see how our shared stories can link people across cultures and beliefs thus enabling empathy and understanding.

Youngsters will make or be given a ‘passport’ to record the countries they have visited through reading their stories.

There will be a variety of competitions from re-writing traditional myths for our modern times to creating stories or poems with a golden theme.

We will provide every book group with a pack of ideas, which the members can use to arrange events and activities in their homes, schools and communities during the month of May.   There will also be a book list highlighting useful titles and story collections which fit in with the theme.

We shall use the NSSM page of the FCBG website to advertise and celebrate NSSM and to point everyone to useful links and resources. The competition winners will be celebrated on our website and news of the planned activities too.  We will also be running a series of blogs during May and have a Facebook page and use Twitter too so it should be well promoted!

If anyone would like to know more then please email

We are looking forward to an exciting story sharing month of May!

National Share-A-Story Month 2017

We are delighted to give you our Competition Results for NSSM 2017

Draw a Teddy Bear in an unusual place.

There were many delightful entries for this competition and it was difficult to decide on the best, so there are four winners who will each receive a bundle of books.
Teddy on a thundercloud by Olivia of Upton Meadows Primary School, Northampton.
Teddy at the seaside by Eden English, aged 6, of Bridgewater Community School, Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Teddy in the swimming pool by Elsie Quinn, aged 5 from Birmingham Children’s Book Group.
Teddy reading at the top of a tree by Kathleen d’Souza, aged 6 from Petts Wood Library, Bromley.
Kathleen d’Souza with her prizes

Draw an alternative book jacket for one of the Children’s Book Award top ten books for 2017.

The winner is Sabah of Upton Meadows Primary School, Northampton who has won a bundle of books for the clever book jacket for Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies.

Create a comic book.

There are two joint winners from Birmingham Children’s Book Group who attend Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School –
The Missing Boy by Matthew Merrill aged 12
Prison Break by James Padley, aged 12

They will receive a collection of The Phoenix Presents comic books donated by The Phoenix Comic.

Picture a Story competition – write a short story inspired by a painting.

This has been won by Kitty Thompson, aged 11, from Ipswich Children’s Book Group.  Her story, titled ‘Courage,’ was inspired by the picture of Queen Victoria’s governess, Baroness Lehzen. You can read it here. Picture a Story competition entry by Kitty Thompson

Kitty will receive a book token for £15 from FCBG.

Well done and thankyou to all who entered our competitions this year, it was wonderful to see the creativity and enthusiasm of all those who took part!

Thank you also to the publishers Walker, Flying Eye and Macmillan and to The Phoenix comic for their very generous prizes.

6th June 2017

Here are the lists of my favourite picture books which I celebrated throughout May 2017 and which are available for download.
Book list NSSM 2017 with jackets
Book list NSSM 2017
Enjoy them all!
Louise Stothard NSSM co-ordinator

It’s that time of year again and we are delighted that the theme for NSSM 2017 is ‘Picture a Story.’

Our aims for the month are –

– to celebrate the power of illustrations, particularly in picture books, for all ages and to encourage sharing of picture books

– to celebrate, appreciate and enjoy pictures in Museums and art galleries and to encourage creative writing using these pictures as starting points

– to encourage youngsters of all ages to draw, illustrate, sketch and tell a story, however simple, through their own pictures and the comic format

Each Federation book group will be sent a pack of ideas, which can be used as a starting point to arrange events and activities in homes, schools or communities during the month of May.

FedTed has been on holiday to London and visited the Macmillan offices to meet The Everywhere Bear and celebrate National Share a Story Month.  It seems they got on very well and have become firm friends.

We are delighted to announce the Children’s ITV’s wonderful Share a Story competition which works so well with NSSM theme of Picture a Story.

CITV’s BAFTA-winning competition[1], Share a Story, is returning to the channel on 15th May and is looking for a new bunch of creative kids to make the leap from story-tellers to film-makers!

The competition itself is simple: children aged from 5 to 12 write and draw a short story. Writers, animators and TV producers help select the four finalists in each age category with the talented winners announced following an on-line vote. The four lucky children will then have their stories turned into animations and broadcast on CITV in October Half term.

And that’s not all: the winning kids also visit ITV Manchester for a script workshop day with children’s author & poet Michael Rosen. Here they will also meet their animators to help direct the films and record their own voiceover.

Everything kids need to enter will be available at, including the storyboard and story page templates they need to complete.  The competition opens in National Share a Story Month on the 15th May.

So keep watching CITV and get ready to share those stories!

[1] Best Short Form, Children’s BAFTAs, November 2012, 2013 & 2014


We suggest that book groups hold competitions and have a variety of suggestions –

*An illustration competition for KS1 and KS2 members inspired by Julia’s Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb’s new book The Everywhere Bear.  This would be a straight forward ‘drawing/illustration’ of a Teddy bear (especially Fed Ted) in an unusual place.    Each book group would chose a winner from both age groups which would be put forward for overall winners for which the FCBG would provide prizes.

The Story Museum in Oxford are keen to be involved and hopefully will find space to display the final entries.

*A simple story board competition for KS1 and 2 and a comic creating competition for individuals and groups or classes for KS2 and KS3.  The Phoenix Comic are keen to get involved and are offering some excellent prizes. Again entries could be celebrated at The Story Museum.

*Another idea for a competition is to re-design the book jacket of one of the FCBG CBA shortlisted books.

The winners will be celebrated on this website in a virtual gallery and news of all activities celebrated – so do let us know what is planned and of course please send a report and photographs of your events.

If you wish to enter any of your book group competition winners to the overall Federation NSSM competitions then please send them by 8th July to –
Louise Stothard
Manor Barn
68 Church Street
NN13 5QJ

If you are sending a drawing then please include a sae if you wish it to be returned.  Make sure the name and age of the artist and book group they are a member of are included on the back.

Thank you

Here are the activity and information sheets for celebrating NSSM this year:

Introduction NSSM 2017

Picture A Story mind map

The Everywhere Bear

BT writer in Residence Sarah McIntyre

Comic Making Links

Comic making ideas

Make a mini comic

CLPE info

House of Illustration info

The Big Draw

No Brow Flying Eye

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival 2017_FCBG NSSM

Below is a list of information for those who might like to celebrate NSSM Picture A Story in a digital format:

Picture book making digitally

We are delighted that Walker books are supporting NSSM again this year.  They have sent links to some excellent ‘How to Draw’ videos, which we are sure will be useful.

A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins

The Little Adventurers: Leafy the Pet Leaf by Philip Ardagh and Elissa Elwick

How to Draw Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek

How to Draw an Elephant by Petr Horacek

How to Draw Little Mouse by Petr Horacek

How to Draw Suzy Goose by Petr Horacek

How to Draw Timmy Failure by Stephan Pastis

How to Draw Total the Polar Bear by Stephan Pastis

There are also activity sheets for We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Bear_Hunt_activity_sheetsx4 and a very informative booklet from Marcia Williams on how to draw comics. Marcia Williams ALL activity sheets
Walker are providing some competition prizes and we are very grateful for their support for NSSM 2017.

We are delighted that Nobrow books have sent us this wonderful selection of colouring and drawing activity sheets for use during NSSM:

Pdfs on Professor Astro Cat

Pdfs on My Very Own Space
My Very Own Space Activity 1
My Very Own Space Activity 2

If anyone is interested in getting involved or would like to know more about NSSM please contact Louise at

National Share-A-Story Month 2016

Scroll down for great competitions and FREE draws with great prizes!!

 NSSM will take place during May 2016 and our 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. Click here to see what exciting events are already planned. Let us know what you are doing at Do contact us too for any further information. Louise Stothard, NSSM co-ordinator at

The NSSM pack of ideas and activities for  ‘A Place for Stories’ is growing and we have made great links with The National Trust, The Canals and Waterways Trust, The Forestry Commission as well as The Wildlife Trust who are all keen to involve visitors in story sharing in unusual places.  Several Publishers are keen to be involved too. This is only one aspect of our initiative but should be fun to take up! As part of this every group will be sent a copy of Chris Lloyd’s Wallbook Timeline of British History which links to 10 National Trust properties where important events have taken place. Here’s a link to one of the earliest moments in the book about the Giant’s Causeway:

Click here for the full pack, downloadable as a zip file. You can also download each activity pack below:

Bloomsbury have published a wonderful picture book called ‘Are You Sitting Comfortably‘ by Leigh Hodgkinson about a boy looking for just the right place to read which fits in so well with our NSSM theme!  Here is a colouring sheet to go with the book. They have kindly offered a copy of ‘Are You Sitting Comfortably?‘ and a bundle of picture books as a prize for the photo of someone reading in the most unusual place. This lovely picture book fits so well with the NSSM theme!

Please send any photos with a short explanation to me, Louise Stothard, at Friday 3rd June and they will be entered into a draw for this excellent prize.

Detective Dog‘ is Julia Donaldson and Sara Ogilvie’s exciting new picture book published by Macmillan. Nell is a very clever dog with an amazing sense of smell who comes to the rescue when all the books are stolen from the school library.  This is a great celebration of reading and and fits in well with NSSM. Macmillan have generously offered the prize of a signed copy and other goodies for our prize draw of the photograph of reading in an inventive space – with or without your dog!’

Please send any photos with a short explanation to me, Louise Stothard, at Friday 3rd June and they will be entered into a draw for this excellent prize.

We’re also looking forward to hearing about the story sharing events you have planned.

Look out for the new What on Earth? Wallbook Timeline of British History

Every book group will receive a copy signed by the author Christopher Lloyd

The latest Wallbook from What on Earth?, produced in association with the National Trust, takes a gargantuan voyage through the history of Great Britain using a giant illustrated timeline.  Readers will be taken on a journey, beginning with the first appearance of the dinosaurs 225 million years ago, then venturing through the construction of Stonehenge in 3000 BC, the Viking invasion of 793 AD, the Battle of Hastings, the Black Death, the War of the Roses, the Reformation, Civil War, Waterloo, Florence Nightingale, two World Wars, and right up to the present day with Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-ever reigning British Monarch. The new Wallbook features more than 1,000 illustrations and captions with key moments documented in over 40 newspapers stories, a crossword, letters to the editor and a 50-question quiz.

Groups or individual group members are invited to submit reviews (with a picture of the group if possible) about the new Wallbook to for publication on the What on Earth? website.  All reviews received by Friday 13th May 2016 will be entered into a free prize draw to win a What on Earth? Gift Pack containing all six Wallbooks: Big History, Nature, Science & Engineering, Shakespeare; Sport and British History.  The winner will be informed on Friday 20th May.

And the winner is Silvie Witts of Lewes Childrens Book Group. Many congratulations to her!


National Share a Story Month 2015

The theme for NSSM 2015 was Dragons!
Many thanks to all of you who have taken paert and celebrated with us. You can see reports from some of the events here.

The NSSM 2015 Pack is still available for you to use: 


The last Book groups have held their dragon inspired days of stories and craft activities, schools and libraries have sent photos of busy children wearing dragon masks and making wonderful displays, and across the country, dragon stories have been enjoyed by all.  The prize draw has finally taken place and we are delighted to announce the following lucky winners…

Oxted Children’s Book Group won the framed Dragon illustration by Korky Paul


Winnie the Witch © Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul, published by Oxford University Press © Winnie the Witch illustration Korky Paul

Ipswich Children’s Book Group won the framed Dragon illustration by Sarah McIntyre:


North Somerset Children’s Book Group won the framed Dragon poem by John Foster, illustrated by Mario Coelho:


Oxford Children’s Book group won a collection of Dragon Books.

Bishops Stortford College Prep school group won a collection of Dragon Books.

South Bucks Children’s Book Group won the Giant Egg Kit generously donated by Bookspace for Schools

Reading Children’s Book group won a collection of Dragon Books.

Bridegewater Primary School, Newcastlle won a collection of Dragon Books.

Dereham Neatherd High School, in Norfolk won a collection of Dragon Books.

The FCBG would like to thank Korky Paul, Sarah McIntyre, John Foster and Mario Coelho for their generous donation of the dragon poem and illustrations.
We thank Bookspace for Schools for their wonderful donation of the Giant Egg Kit.
Also many thanks to the publishers Orion, Random House, Nosy Crow and Orchard for their support and donation of books.

We have been delighted with the enthusiastic response to this year’s Dragon filled NSSM and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part.  We are sorry there are not enough prizes for you all!

An exciting NSSM 2016 is being planned and there will be more news soon!


National Share-A-Story Month 2014

50TH_CCF_Purple_Background250px The theme for National Share-A-Story Month in 2014 was ‘Imagination and Inventiveness’ as we joined with Dahl & Dahl and Puffin Publishers and celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Book groups and individuals held a whole host of events based on ideas linked with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and many other wonderful Roald Dahl stories. Puffin provided activity packs, posters and competition prizes and the Dahl Literary Estate supported us too. We are grateful to Puffin, Dahl and Dahl, Spineless Classics and McLaggan Mugs for their generosity in donating this year’s prizes. We are now looking forward to NSSM 2015 and would welcome any ideas and suggestions for a new theme! Please email Louise Stothard, NSSM coordinator Photos from Reading CBG’s 2014 National Share-a-Story Month events photo 3 photo 2 photo 1 Members of Reading CBG donned Willy Wonka style top hats and waistcoats for the Roald Dahl themed drop in activity at Reading Central Library on Saturday 10th May. Tables were spread with a variety of activities, information about the Federation and chocolate cake (to celebrate the 50th birthday of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Even before the official start time, families started to arrive and before we knew it the library was heaving with 60 children plus their parents! As one of the events of the annual Children’s Festival, we were in the official programme and the inclement weather also worked in our favour. Children of all ages had a go at making ‘sweets that looked round’ and ‘luminous lollipops’, creating their own sweetie concoctions and entering a quiz about the author. Lots of interest in the group, smiley faces and full tummies – an unqualified success! Happy Birthday Charlie! Yeo Valley CBG’s event makes the local news! Local papers covered Yeo Valley’s very successful NSSM event. There is an article in the Weston Mercury, and this article was published in The North Somerset Times on 21st May: yeov_paper  Saddlesworth CBG

Mr Willy Wonka turned up as a surprise guest! He gave out Golden Tickets and chocolates to children who completed the quiz.  Book group members designed sweets and ice creams with imagination and flair, as well as making top hats fit for the most glamorous of Dahl occasions.  Willy Wonka judged all the design competitions and there were lots of books as prizes, some donated by Waterstones Oldham. Local Yorkshire author Roddy Brooks  came to the event and donated two copies of his book, The Journey, which he signed for lucky winners.
Children built a Great Glass Elevator, which became a popular play area for the entire event, and there were Augustus Gloop and Mike Teavee games to join in with too.
After all the crafts and games, storytelling and building, there was a chance for all the children to try Wonka’s Whipple Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight and many children also took home Stickjaw Toffee, for talkative parents.

All in all, it was a happy party atmosphere!

Special guest Willy Wonka!

Special guest Willy Wonka!



Launch event activities

Launch event activities

Launch event activities

Launch event activities

Great Glass Elevator

Great Glass Elevator

Oxted CBG

donkey derby photo 2014On a sunny June afternoon the Oxted Children’s Book Group ran a book stall at our local scout group’s Donkey Derby.  We hoped to raise awareness of the Group and so attract some new members, as well as selling books from previous testing years.  We were pleased to raise £200, half of which we have donated to Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.