South Buckinghamshire Children’s Book Group

Recent events:

May 2019 – Steve Cole, author event with South Bucks

Steve Cole, a life-long fan of Dr Who and living the dream job as editor of Dr Who is also the author of:

  • Astrosaurs
  • Cows in Action
  • Aliens Stink
  • Adventure Duck
  • Young Bond
  • Magic Ink

It all sounds very serious but Steve had a wonderful exciting side to him at the South Bucks Children’s Book Group event in High Wycombe, as part of National Share a Story Month during the Wycombe Arts Festival.

Steve was the host of the Children’s Book Awards in 2018 and, luckily for us, he proactively approached Izzy Legg, our Chair with a very excited “Oooh, South Bucks, you cover my area” and from there, we had an author more than willing to come and work with us which was just wonderful.

The sold out event on 11th May was bursting at the seams. Such a charming and exuberant character had the children squealing with laughter at his, what felt like a performance rather than a workshop at Downley Community Centre.

Steve’s ukulele solo went down an absolute hit and his make believe cucumber character ‘Dracu Cumber’ released the audience, adults included, into hilarity.

We were so pleased to see the children grinning as they left the hall after having their book signed by and photo taken with Steve.

It was almost 20 years to the day that the SBCBG had been established and this author led event was a great way to mark our charity’s fantastic milestone.


Please find here our poster for the South Bucks Children’s Book Group’s FREE annual Storytelling event. Royal Stories Museum 2018

We are delighted to return to the magical gardens of Wycombe Museum, for this popular, summer time, family event.
“In celebration of Princes’s and Princess’s, following the Regal, Summer Wedding at Windsor, come and join us for an wonderful afternoon of Royal Stories.
Don’t forget to come dressed in your favourite royal outfit, a rug & a tasty picnic and listen to a selection of delightful tales.”

“Royal Stories”
on Wed 15th August 2018
at   2:30 – 3:30pm
at Wycombe Museum Gardens,
Priory Avenue, High Wycombe, HP13 6PX

South Bucks Children’s Book Group’s exciting interactive writing workshop for Wycombe Arts Festival 2018


with award-winning children’s author

Andrew Beasley
“A passionate reader, writer and educator, Andrew believes that reading is the key which opens every door …..  and, after this event, you will too! Discover the strange historical facts behind Andrew’s fiction; learn how to bring your own writing to life; laugh at Andrew’s real-life exploits! Listen to the author read a thrilling excerpt from his latest story of a unique crime-fighting duo and their Supernatural adventures! Thrills! Chills! Laughs! And so much more!”
on Sat 28th April 2018
at   2pm – 4pm
at St John Ambulance Centre, Harlow Road, High Wycombe, HP13 6AA
Download the posters here: Arts Festival 2018 SBCBG SCREAM

“In celebration of Beautiful Birds of all shapes, colours and sizes, come and join us for an interactive afternoon to discover all about our fascinating feathered friends. From well known birds in your own back garden to Waterfowl, Birds of Prey and those with exotic plumage from around the World.”
“Beautiful Birds”
on Sat 3rd Feb 2018
at   2pm – 4pm
at St Francis Church Hall,
Amersham Road, Terriers, High Wycombe, HP13 5AB

You can download the posters here Birds poster A4 and Beautiful Birds

We were delighted to return to the magical gardens of Wycombe Museum, for this popular, summer time, family event.

“In celebration of Teddy Bears of all shapes, colours and sizes, come and join us for an afternoon of wonderful Stories of Bears and their adventures.

Don’t forget to bring your favourite Bear, a rug & a tasty picnic and listen to a selection of delightful tales.”

“Bear Stories”
on Wed 2nd August 2017
at   2:30 – 3:30pm
at Wycombe Museum Gardens,
Priory Avenue, High Wycombe, HP13 6PX

You can download the poster here. Bear Stories in the Museum Garden

The Magic Potions Shop” on Sat 6th May
at 2 – 4pm
at St John Ambulance Centre Harlow Road, Opposite the Rye, High Wycombe

with the wonderfully imaginative children’s author Abie Longstaff to lead exciting magical storytelling and a potion-making workshop

Join us for a truly enchanting experience, to become a Magical Apprentice, transported to the bewitching world of secret spells and special, mesmerizing ingredients, found in amazing, wild locations. Let your imagination run free in the exciting search for Giant’s Eyelashes for a spellbinding Growth Potion and so much more. As part of the Wycombe Art Festival 2017.

“Marvellous Mums” on Sat 25th March
at  2 – 4pm
at Wycombe Museum, priory Avenue, High Wycombe, HP13 6PX

In celebration of all kinds of Mums come and join us for a creative afternoon of wonderful stories and craft making, for that special ‘Mum’ in your family.” You can download a pdf of the poster here Marvellous mums A4 poster

Previous events

Celebrating National Non-Fiction with a Chocolate Extravaganza

Tickets for this Saturday afternoon event more or less sold themselves so popular was the choice of topic! Alex Woolf, author of “The Story of Chocolate”, spoke first about the history of chocolate and illustrated his talk with some excellent visual aids. After the children had participated in some activities, including lolly, kebab, book and box making, Mark Hawtree, a local food historian, was able to re-use Alex’s slides in his engaging and entertaining account of chocolate-making. Chocolate tasting and hot chocolate drinking were all well received and the Traidcraft stall was busy selling a variety of fairly-traded chocolate.

There were 23 children and teenagers present. Between them, they represented 9 nationalities, spoke 8 languages and attended 10 different schools. This is a richness which we find enormously heartening.  Janice Saunders

For the South Bucks Children’s Book Group’s FREE annual Storytelling event the South Bucks CBG were delighted to return to the magical gardens of Wycombe Museum and in celebration of Elmer Day, they had an afternoon of wonderful Elephants Stories of all colours and sizes as part of the Federation’s National ‘Share a Story’ Month.

The afternoon started with action songs of swishing tails, long trunks & stamping feet, to warm the audience up for ‘Elephant’ mode.  We welcomed a delightful gathering of around 30 children & carers, some children active and vocal, others intently listening to all the Elephant Tales – big & small, read aloud by enthusiastic volunteers.

We heard of active elephants in the “Big Bouncy  Bed”, found out “What to do if an elephant stands on your foot” and lots more stories of these amazing, huge animals.

The children had great fun imaginatively colouring paper elephants and making their trunk blowers, at our craft session afterwards. Elephant trumpeting sounds were on full blast around the gardens!

Most families were winners in the picture book raffle, taking a special story book home to keep and read together and carry on the ‘Share a Story’ activity.

Big thanks to all our helpers and to our guest reader – a mum whose family brought their very own selection of favourite elephant stories and kindly read “A Large Family story – 5 minutes peace.”

And – the newly renovated Wycombe Museum is well worth a visit too.

For the summer term, we were delighted to welcome some amazing creatures that love to bask in the sun, meeting Lizard and his friends and exploring the fascinating world of Amphibians and Reptiles with creature crafts and lots of exciting fun.

As part of the Federation’s National Non-Fiction November (albeit it not in November…!), we were delighted to welcome the amazing “Quirks Animal Roadshow”, to lead our exciting & highly interactive “Meet a Lizard & Friends” event.

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A musical introduction by Anna’s wonderful oboe accompaniment, to “Never Smile at a Crocodile”, along with the ‘Boa Constrictor’ action song, encouraged everyone to get up, wiggle about and warm up nicely, for our most adventurous and ‘lively’ afternoon.

The “Quirks” family team introduced a selection of amazing real live reptiles and amphibians. Even the youngest family member proudly showed amazing confidence in safely handling these exotic creatures. The children attending were keen to ask lots of questions, as they discovered more about Pretzel the Bull snake, lizards such as Breaded Dragons, tropical colour-changing frogs that needed very careful wet hands handling and a teenage giant tortoise, which fully explored the whole hall but needed assistance to manoeuvre out of the corners!

Following a refreshment break, everyone enjoyed various, multi-sensory activities from a cerebral, fact-finding quiz to tactile sticky marshmallow ‘snake’ threading & splashing fun ‘frog’ races, from visually colourful ‘lizard’ biscuit icing & dexterously crafting amazing creatures, to hands on reptile appreciation and feeding, despite initial trepidation by grown up’s & youngsters alike. The children were eager to browse the selection of non-fiction books to discover more fascinating facts about Reptiles & Amphibians.

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A lovely selection of stories, including ‘Chameleon’s Crazy Colours’  was read as a gentle, calm down for the younger children, after the initial excitement of meeting such fascinating creatures.

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What a truly eye-opening afternoon! This wonderfully adventurous event, held at a new venue for SBCBG, was definitely worth the 2 years of planning and dedicated preparation by our Chair, Izzy.

As part of Wycombe Art Festival 2016, we welcomed the wonderfully creative, children’s author & Illustrator  James Mayhew to lead our exciting storytelling and illustrating workshop:

“Stories from Unusual Places”




Alex Milway visit

What a wonderful afternoon of creativity, guided by the delightfully entertaining and engaging children’s author/illustrator Alex Millway, in his storytelling & illustrating workshop, as part of Wycombe Arts Festival.

The rapt audience listened attentively to Alex’s tales of perky pig “Pigsticks” and his side kick hamster”Harold” on their “Incredible Journey” around the World.

We were all keen to follow Alex’s step by step guide to drawing our very own characters, thinking of their costumes, to help develop our stories: Ancient Rome inspired a Centurion – Ham, an armour clad pig, bearing arms & Legion standard flag and a toga wearing Caesar Hamster, amongst others!

At refreshment time, the delicious selection of home baked delights quickly disappeared, including “Yeti Pooh biscuits” – yum yum, made to Alex’s own recipe, (you can download it here). Alex was very approachable and happily chatted to youngsters about his writing and ideas.

Thank you to our volunteers for coping with the deluge of keen cake munchers and squash & tea drinkers.

After tea & cakes, Alex Milway was full of enthusiasm and not the slightest fazed by tired toddlers, whilst story telling from his “Mythical 9th Division” series, describing his amazing characters in “The Alien Moon”: Yeti’s in Space, what a brilliant combination of mythical creatures in an unexpected Cosmic setting, having mind blowing adventures, around the Universe.

Alex’s warm report soon inspired everyone – children and adults alike, to have another go at letting their imaginations run wild, to design their own magical creations, with extra special powers, to super charge their adventures. Shared ideas produced paint spitting, bendy, extendable Dragons and water spraying, constrictor Raptors!

What fun we all had!

A lovely mixed group of children, embracing all ages and abilities, including some with learning difficulties.


Cath and her sons, Ben & Ollie ably organised Alex’s “book shop” display and sales as eager children explored Alex’s titles including “The Mousehunter” series and selected their favourites to take home. Alex was happy talking to the children as he signed each book with a lovely ink drawing of a special little character.

Thank you to our local independent bookstore, “Gerrards Cross Book Shop” for supplying a lovely selection of Alex’s titles.

Book Week Wow!

South Bucks CBG celebrated Book Week this year with “Book Swap” & “Make-a-Book” sessions at local Primary Schools.

A surprisingly busy Book Swap was held at King’s Wood School when 243 nearly new books went home with new owners, all in the space of only half an hour!

All the volunteer helpers were left reeling but delighted by the turn out and enthusiastic response from parents, children and staff.

World Book Day itself, on 5th March 2015, found South Bucks CBG leading an after school “Make-a-Book”session at High Wycombe C of E School. Ably assisted by “Mary Poppins” and “Hermione Granger”, some of the very caring and helpful staff, all wearing their Book Day costumes! Each child selected their own topic or theme for their self-made book and they all really enjoyed creating something special and unique from fire breathing Dragons and large stripy Tigers to beautifully colourful flowers and happy family memories.

This delightful event was attended by children with a range of abilities and families of wonderfully diverse ethnic origins – every continent of the globe was represented for this truly WORLD wide Book Day celebration.

Mary Towerton Infant School held their very first “Make-a-Book” event after school, as a wonderful finale to Book Week. A quarter of the school’s total pupil population attended, together with some pupils from nearby Stockenchurch Primary School and all their parents. Everyone looked forward to making their very own special books to keep, working happily with their supportive grown up. For some children this was their first time attending an after school event – what a wonderful introduction to books, creativity and the myriad opportunities offered by extra curricula activities.

Over Book Week we believe about 120 families have benefitted from the voluntary efforts of South Bucks CBG, in bringing children & books together in enjoyable ways.

Puppy Dog Tales

South Buck’s Children’s Book Group’s exciting Easter event, celebrated some very special doggy puppydogbirthdays of favourite literary dogs – the 25th anniversary of “Kipper” by Mick Inkpen, 32nd anniversary of “Hairy Maclary” by Lynley Dodd and the 35th anniversary of “Spot the Dog” by Eric Hill.

Everyone was invited to come dressed in their favourite dog costume or clothes for lots of tail wagging fun.

A wonderful afternoon of puppy dog inspired songs “How much is that doggy in the window?” and “There was a farmer had a dog, Bingo was his name-O” were sung, while the children wore their specially made doggy nose masks, “Woof, Woof!”.

A selection of dog themed stories were shared including “Some Dogs Do” by Jez Alborough, an uplifting tale of Sid’s happy flight and “Dogs” by Emily Gravett, where gorgeous canines of every shape, size and colour bound through this irresistible book.

Everyone enjoyed the fun filled craft activities from making sausage dog (Dachshund) book marks, tail & leg wagging Kippers, birthday hats in the form of floppy, doggy ears and Kipper crowns. The laminated collage place mats and paper plate dogs were perfect for eating the delicious dog shaped biscuits, after adding lots of edible decorations – what finger-licking fun!

The “Name that Dog” quiz, matching canine silhouettes to breed names was very illuminating and brain stretching. Some children also concentrated on creating their very own doggy story book to take home.

All the home made refreshments were eaten – yum, yum and the afternoon ended with a final story of “The Most Obedient Dog in the World” by Anita Jeram.

A relaxed and happy time was had by all the families, engaging in the various 4 legged activities, taking care to complete each task without rushing and pleasure in listening to the wonderful dog filled stories of “Kipper” and friends adventures.

Many thanks to our young helpers, Ben & Oliver for their fantastic decorated biscuits demonstration and Rosie for helping the children collage and laminate their doggy inspired place mats for eating their party food.


Report on  the Tasty Travels event

South Buck’s Children’s Book Group’s culinary Autumn Half Term event, celebrated a Global variety of good things to eat, for National Non Fiction month.

OWhat a wonderful, tasty afternoon of fun and imaginative activities, which came to life so creatively as most children eagerly chomped on delicious and mouth-watering morsels from around the World, while also encouraging some more tentative children to be courageous and taste unfamiliar foods:

Italian Amaretti biscuits, Japanese Sushi, Swedish cinnamon buns, coconut & pineapple from the Caribbean, Mexican avocado & chilli based Guacamole and exotic Indian spices of garlic & coriander naan bread and mango chutney.

The children also enjoyed making fabulous food inspired crafts from Indian tiger masks, salt dough Mexican Sun’s & Skull’s (Day of the Dead), tropical flower garlands, Scandinavian reindeers, Oriental origami water lilies and Italian pizza toppings.

Purposeful concentration and dexterity was needed for the chopstick challenge game.

OThe World Quiz encouraged the children to explore the Atlases, maps and Non Fiction books to discover fun facts, while searching for the fascinating answers. A delightful event with a relaxed and very friendly atmosphere, which fostered much interaction between the parents, adult helpers and children involved. In fact everyone was so eager to complete the quiz, that we had some difficulty clearing the hall at the end of the afternoon. The exasperated cry some half an hour after the session should have finished, “Please give me the New Zealand book. It’s the last answer I need”, marked a successful conclusion to our National Non-Fiction event.

Many thanks to our young helpers, Ben & Oliver for a fantastic gingerbread house demonstration, following their “Bake Off” competition at school and Rosie for photos of our event.




Report about South Buckinghamshire’s recent event, Make-a-Book.

BCBG “Make-a-Book” session was held straight after school on World Book Day, Thursday 7th March 2013.

This is a delightful activity for a small group of children (Infants – Year 1 & Reception) & parents to enjoy quality, fun time together on a 1:1 basis. To help their child create their very own, unique picture book to keep and “read” together at home, reinforcing vital family bonds and a shared love of books.
This event is also an ideal way for parents and teachers to meet informally and build links.

SBCBG set up the Y1 classroom before hand, organising the tables with coloured pencils, glue sticks, scissors and cutting coloured sugar paper to size and folding to A4 & A5 size covers/pages for the children to choose from.
SBCBG members & staff helped to source material like colour magazines, leaflets & brochures with wonderful pictures to cut out and a very long stapler for securing the books pages together at the end of the session.


Most children & parents came prepared for the event, some bringing photos from home or having chosen a “theme/topic” for their book.
Younger siblings stayed with their parents – the toddlers quietly making their own books too.
All the children made lovely books, on a variety of different topics: football, animals, food, princess’s, nature & wildlife etc. to take home.

All the children, parents & staff enjoyed the activity.

The Literacy Co-ordinator was particularly pleased that 3 of the children, who had learning difficulties/behavioral issues, all coped well with the event and seemed to enjoy the activity.

Y4 teacher came along for a look (& liked!) and approached SBCBG to help his class with a future “POP-UP” card/book making session.
The school Literacy Co-ordinator would also like to extend this format to the Juniors for them to make Graphic Novels or Comics in future Literacy lessons.

A lovely, well attended event.

Click here to download South Buck’s Spring 2013 Newsletter.

Report about South Buckinghamshire’s past event, FLIGHT.

What a brilliant event “FLIGHT” was on Saturday.
A really big THANK YOU to everyone involved.
Three amazing speakers, all brought such different areas of “FLIGHT” to life so wonderfully.

Sarah Williamson gave a great slide show on the Chiltern & Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

Amazing photo of the skilled pilot landing on a narrow footpath between 2 reservoirs, to reach a person in need.

Dave Scott, author of “High Wycombe’s Contribution to Aviation” brought his model aeroplane for all to see and simply demonstrated aerodynamics and lift with a sheet of paper draped over one’s arm.

Robert Turner, from Booker Glider Centre at Wycombe Air Park, showed some amazing video footage from the cockpit of a glider flying over a snow capped mountain range – so exhilarating! The children were inspired to ask good questions after each speaker.

Fun craft activities for all ages – peg planes, paper hot air balloons and straw gliders with an amazing flight pattern.

Lisa the Usbourne lady brought a great selection of books, relevant to “Flight” from aeroplanes to space rockets. Lisa very kindly donated a “First Encyclopedia of History” to SBCBG, to be used as a raffle prize at a future event.

A great quiz to round off the afternoon gave everyone the chance to use the fascinating and colourful, illustrated non fiction books to find out the huge variety of flying machines that have been invented.

Where else have you seen three generations of people, all really involved in helping each other in a fun activity recently? A lovely way to bring everyone together at the end of the event. Aeroplane shaped, scrummy biscuits were the icing on the cake!

A successful afternoon all round.

South Bucks have organised a host of events this spring (2012). Download their newsletter here.

Contact: Izzy Legg