National Share-a-Story Month Events

Golden National Share-A-Story-Month 2018 Events –

Petts Wood Library – Jenny Hawke

At Petts Wood Library in Bromley we really threw ourselves into celebrating National Share A Story Month by reading a story from around the world every day that we were open. Then creating eye catching displays using the NSSM booklists from the web site which inspired children and teens to take a journey with a book.

We created a large window display to emphasise  the importance of a world of stories to our local community. With our Books Aloud group we went to Japan, Iran and many more countries through the power of stories and craft. The month drew to a close with a special session where Ferelith Hordon told wonderful stories that transported us to destinations around the world.


Romsey’s Young and Old Create an Anthology of Life Stories for National Share a Story Month

Children from Yellow Dot Nursery are illustrating the life stories of Abbotswood Court Care Home residents to create a special anthology as part of National Share a Story Month

In celebration of Golden National Share a Story Month 2018, Abbotswood Court in Romsey is bringing generations together, uniting children and the elderly through story sharing sessions. National Share-A-Story Month is an annual celebration which promotes the power of story sharing, aimed at connecting children with stories.

Yellow Dot nursery children will be visiting Abbotswood Court Care Home residents this month to listen to their life stories. Armed with paper and pencils, the Yellow Dot nursery children will then provide illustrations of the residents’ life stories which will be collated for a special anthology.

Benefiting both generations, the sessions will encourage little ones to get creative, and work on their drawing and artistic skill sets whilst also providing mental and emotional stimulation for the Abbotswood Court residents.

Gemma Ridout-Bowden, General Manager of Abbotswood, said:

“We are proud to be bringing our residents and local children together to share stories and celebrate National Share a Story Month. It will be a unique experience for both the Yellow Dot Nursery children and for our residents which will benefit both through the power of storytelling.”

Abbotswood Court Care Home and Yellow Dot Nursery regularly host sessions for the residents and children to interact and play. The dual care initiative was introduced by staff at Abbotswood, following international studies and popular TV shows such as Channel 4’s ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’. These have highlighted the multiple benefits of close intergenerational connections.

Hayley James, Manager of Yellow Dot Nursery in Romsey, added:

“We would like to thank Abbotswood Court Care Home for inviting our children to create illustrations for this unique anthology. The Children will learn from the residents life stories making links to their own experiences, as well as developing their creative skills.”

Recent Events May 2018:

We are pleased to link to National Children’s Day on 13th May. Their website has details of planned events and encourages everyone to get involved.

“The aim of National Children’s Day UK is to get as many people as possible to create events and activities that highlight and celebrate the Rights and Freedoms of Children.

The Barnes Children’s Literature Festival takes place on 12th and 13th May and we are delighted to publicise what will be an exciting weekend of children’s events, authors and illustrators.

Recent Events 2017:

Jenny Hawke and the youngsters at Petts Wood Library have taken an active role in NSSM once again, with wonderful results.  They have two Chatterbooks groups, a younger teen group, an older teen group and a group called Books Aloud for 5-7 year olds who all enjoy being involved as these delightful photos show.  


The Alderney Wildlife Trust held a story time in the community woodland at the end of May, reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar picture book. We also looked at some real hungry caterpillars, which will become emperor moths, and we went on a bug hunt. It was a lovely sunny day and we had 18 children to share our story with.

Ipswich CBG held a Picture A Story Festival on Saturday 13th May with Chris Riddell and Linda Davies. 

They were impressed with the standard of entries we received for our Picture a Story Writing Competition organised as part of National Share a Story Month and Chris and Linda were delighted to present the prizes to the winners. You can read the prize winning story here. Story by Kitty Thompson It is by Kitty Thompson, aged 11. 

Second place went to Poppy Hazelgrove, also aged 11, and you can read it in three parts here. 
Poppy Story 1 Poppy Story 2 Poppy Story 3

In joint third place were stories by Ella Warren Story by Ella Warren and Elise Story by Elise

Upcoming events:

Win a copy of Faces Faces Faces by clicking onto Facebook here. Competition closes 16 May at 8pm






Reading CBG are sharing stories on the river bank at Caversham court on Sunday 21st May from 12-4pm. Contact Sarah Stuffins

Oxford CBG are holding an event sometime during May -contact Jackie Holderness for further details.

The wildlife trust on Alderney are planning a Hungry Caterpillar event during May. Contact Clare Thorpe

Contact Phyllis Gaunt for NSSM events in Solihull.

Contact Hayley Sanderson for NSSM events run by Lincolnshire CBG.

Contact Kate Breitholtz for NSSM events run by Saddleworth CBG

Barnes Literary Festival have Children’s Story events at their Festival in London on 13th and 14th May 

Liz Smart is organising NSSM community events in Salford

Aldbourne Children’s Book Group in association with Aldbourne Nursing Home
Join us to celebrate National Share-a-Story Month
at Aldbourne Nursing Home on Wednesday 26th April at 3.30pm
Bring your favourite story to share with friends, young and old
(you don’t have to read it out loud)
Refreshments on arrival.

2016 events:

We would like to thank Macmillan  and Bloomsbury Publishers for their support of NSSM 2016!
Macmillan Publishers chose the photos sent in by Tanya Manners, class teacher at Buxton School, Norfolk as their favourites of children and adults Reading in Unusual places (see below).  They will be sending them a signed copy of Julia Donaldson’s The Detective Dog and other goodies.
They also liked the photos sent in by Jenny Hawke of unusual  reading places by Bromley Libraries (see below) and will be sending them some bookish goodies too.

Bloomsbury Publishers chose the following photo as their favourite which is from Buxton School.  They will be sending them a copy of Are You Sitting Comfortably by Leigh Hodgkinson and a bundle of books.  Bloomsbury will also send everyone who sent in photos a poster of the book.


South Bucks Children’s Book Group

As part of Wycombe Art Festival 2016, South Bucks were delighted to welcome the wonderfully creative, children’s author & Illustrator James Mayhew to lead our exciting storytelling and illustrating workshop: “Stories from Unusual Places” on Sat 7th May 2016.

The brilliantly talented James Mayhew entranced everyone with his captivating story-telling of traditional folk tales of the North, from Russian seafarers & ocean monsters to Finland’s ancient mythical Underworld. James then continued to mesmerise us all by recreating scenes from these tales, with his beautiful painting, as everyone listened to the moving classical musical pieces, composed for each legend. There was an audible intake of breath in the room, as the orange sea monster reached up a tentacle to seize the hero by the foot. A complete auditory and visual delight!

James then encouraged everyone, adults and children alike, to create their very own artwork of these magical tales of adventure. The children were inspired to produce original oil pastel pictures of their own. A truly wonderful afternoon.

 James Mayhew
the octopus tentacle
Thank you to our local independent bookshop, Gerrards Cross Book Shop, for supplying titles for sale and for signing. Thanks also to our volunteers for the delicious selection of home-made cakes and biscuits. 
Oxford Children’s Book Group

A storytelling event for NSSM was held at The Painted Rooms, on Saturday 14th May from 10.30 to 1 p.m. Here is their report:

On 14th May, thanks to the generosity of Oxford Preservation Trust, OCBG were able to use a rarely open and very special place in the centre of Oxford.  We decided in this 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s death, we would invite our members to listen to and share stories in Oxford’s secret gem, the Tudor Painted Room. This room could share a lot of history with us. Originally, a medieval inn, in more recent times it has served as a study for poet John Betjeman.

However, it is most famous for the stunning Tudor wall paintings which adorn the walls in a room where William Shakespeare used to stay with his landlord friend John Davenant. In the 16th Century, the building was known as the Crown Tavern and Shakespeare used to stay there en route from Stratford-on-Avon to London. His players used the courtyard below to perform their plays and Shakespeare became Godfather to John Davenant’s child. To protect the walls of the room, we had to organise specific time slots, so access was very limited.  Still, always willing to make a fool of herself, our chair, Jackie, came dressed as Mrs Shakespeare and Bill Laar, a mesmeric storyteller,  entertained the children.

OCBG Chair    the painted room

The OCBG team had also brought along some lovely Shakespeare-themed picture books so the children were also able to just enjoy reading to each other and with their parents in this most unusual place. The books included :

Marcia Williams: Bravo Mr Shakespeare, Mr Shakespeare’s Plays

and More tales from Shakespeare  (Walker Books)

And Gregory Rogers’ wonderful text-free tale:  The boy, the bear, the baron and the bard ( Roaring Brook Press)

We also used:

Phoenix comic Issue 225 (23.04.16) Shakespeare Anniversary Special

William Shakespeare and the Globe (Aliki, Mammoth, 2000)

Dead Famous: William Shakespeare and his dramatic acts (Hippo 2004)

Shakespeare’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream retold by Nel Yomtov (Raintree, 2012)

For more information about the Painted Room:


Reading Children’s Book Group

Reading CBG celebrated NSSM at its monthly children’s book group session at Reading Central Library on 21st May. Everyone joined in sharing stories by playing games such as charades and consequences and looking at some local stories. Visit Reading’s event page for more and for their monthly booklists.

 Saddleworth Children’s Book Group

The Castleshaw Quest!

We are going to a nearby reservoir at Castleshaw to complete a Quest: a family-walk where we follow a trail inspired by the landscape to save the reservoir from an evil toad! A local artist has come up with this trail and she’ll be leading us.

Contact Kate Breitholtz for more information

Yeo Valley Children’s Book Group

Yeo Valley Children’s Book Group author event took place on Sunday 15th May from 2pm. Our book group supported National Share A Story Month by holding our May event in an unusual place. We invited local author Benjamin Mears to share his book Chocolate and Cheese with us at Local cheese makers Lye Cross Farm. The children enjoyed hearing the story, then Benjamin shared his experiences of being an author and illustrator, even giving the children a mini master class on how to illustrate one of the characters from his book ‘annoying mouse’ plus he sold and sign his books, including a set of stories for older children called Tyler May. We then sampled the cheese made at Lye Cross Farm and the children enjoyed making cheese kebabs, It was a successful event with 22 children aged 5-12 attending.

Yeo Valley NSSM 2  Yeo Valley NSSM

Westborough School enjoyed NSSM in the park. See their pictures below:

westborough 5 westborough 4  westborough 3  westborough 2 Westborough 1

Eadie from Helmdon, Northants, enjoys a story in an unusual place whilst relaxing on the swing at the holiday campsite, as part of NSSM 2016. Eadie NSSM 2016




Jenny Hawke of Bromley Libraries says “  We put a couple of photos on Bromley Libraries Facebook page each day towards the end of May of children reading in unusual places.   We also had a lovely window display, and ran a Books Aloud session when children told us where they liked to read. We also used the book lists from the FCBG web site. “
The photos of the children reading are great fun and we are delighted they enjoyed NSSM !
NSSM Bromley 1       NSSM Bromley 2    NSSM Bromley 3  NSSM Bromley 5NSSM Bromley 4   NSSM Bromley 6    NSSM Bromley 7   NSSM Bromley 8 NSSM Bromley 9     NSSM Bromley 10     NSSM Bromley 11
NSSM at Buxton Primary School, Norfolk. 
All participants are pupils and staff from Buxton Primary School, Norfolk.
We have: In a helicopter, a reading cat, on a trampoline, on a steam engine, lying on a table and on the loo.  In the BBC newsroom, in an outdoor pool, on a shed, in a dog cage, up a tree and on a garden fort.
Cartwheeling on a trampoline, in the pool, in a cot, in a shopping trolley, in bins, upside down….
BeatriceCatcody reading
LeoJulesJo Bu
Jo BiTed & MumPippa
Jess   Hayley    Freya
Tanya  evie 1   evie 2

National Share-A-Story Month at Thornton College, Bucks.

The students at Thornton College, Bucks, abandoned the library for an entire week at the end of May to celebrate and support NSSM. Picking up on this year’s theme of reading in places a little less ordinary, librarian Mrs Barnes organised a host of exciting storytelling sessions in the school’s hidden corners. We had Year 4 students reading The Rainforest Express together out into the school grounds beneath the dappled shade of the woodland trees, and Year 5s taking a pew in our on-site church, which is a member of the Historic Churches Trust, to hear a Philip Pullman tale. Year 3 had their story read to them by a boarding mistress, in one of the boarding bedrooms. They read a story from ‘Ten in a bed’ by Allan Ahlberg. Younger girls shuffled beneath the large table in the Conference Room to listen to Isobel’s Noisy Tummy and clamoured on board the school trailer to listen to the story of Frank the Farmer. Elsewhere, Reception girls could hardly contain their excitement as they huddled in the school mini bus and tightened their seatbelts to listen to Please Don’t Chat to the Bus Driver, quite appropriate given the setting.

The girls greatly enjoyed the ‘strangeness’ of their reading locations.  It was a wonderful week of story sharing and one that we hope to repeat again soon.

P1020171   P1020154

Rosie Pike of Bishops Stortford College shows how they have have been using the theme for this year’s Share A story Month at Bishop’s Stortford College.

We have a regular weekly “Jackanory ” time and different teachers volunteer to share stories with the pupils. These had usually been held in the library but over May and continuing for our remaining 4 weeks of term we are taking this out and about the College campus.  Our first visit was to a new boarding house in the Senior School and some of the older girls in the school shared their favourite stories; one of the school secretaries has shared her favourite book she reads to her children using the school reception area; we have been outside to our Pre prep department with their storytelling chair; outside in our library garden and in the arboretum and future plans include the swimming pool upstairs seating area; our chapel and the sports field.
Jackanory Alliot 3 - Copy IN Pre prep
Cassie-1    In office reception copy

The Wildlife Trusts

We are delighted that The Wildlife Trust are keen to promote National Share a Story Month and work with groups in sharing stories in unusual places.  Visit their very useful website to find a Wildlife Trust near you and contact them if you are inspired to hold an outside story sharing event.

The following Trusts are planning story sharing events and would be pleased if a book group got involved.

The Alderney Wildlife Trust

“We are planning to tell a story in an old German bunker that is now part of our community woodland. The date is the 30th May and Dr George McGavin (FLS FRGS British entomologist, author, academic, television presenter and explorer) will be reading.”

Contact Claire Thorpe for further information.

Avon Wildlife Trust (AWT)

“Avon Wildlife Trust (AWT) are thrilled to be launching a new project called My Wild Child – it focuses on children and families having fun outdoors in local, urban green spaces.  We plan to run sessions for pre-schoolers during term-time, and wider family events during holidays.  We would like to link in with NSSM in May half-term, and use storytelling as part / whole of the theme of our family holiday sessions. The same session will be run at the 6 My Wild Child sites around Bristol, which are mainly parks and one of our nature reserves.  NSSM book groups may like to attend our nature reserve event, since this site is vast and affords many opportunities for exploration and discovery!”

Contact Sarah if you would like to be involved!

Sarah Horsell                 

 Surrey Wildlife Trust

Surrey Wildlife Trust have a busy summer schedule already planned and they hope to incorporate some storytelling into some of their regular sessions.  They have a storytelling event arranged for July Contact Laura Ashfield             

 Essex Wildlife Trust

Essex Wildlife trust are interested in organising story telling events during May.  Do get in touch if you are interested in taking part. Becky Gibson                          

 Radnorshire    Wildlife Trust

“We holding an event on Bank holiday Monday 30th May which is about finding stories in our beautiful nature reserve in Mid Wales called Gilfach.”

Contact Suzie Fraser for more information.

Nower Wood Educational Nature Reserve, Leatherhead, Surrey

Contact Lucy Gummer for news of storytelling events during May.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust are planning an event at The Forum in Norwich at the end of May.

Contact Annabel Hill at

Rutland Water Nature Reserve

Contact Becky Corby about an event at Rutland Water

Dudley Canal

Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Mines are a heritage attraction that runs boat trips into the historic underground tunnels and limestone caverns in Dudley. This year’s theme of ‘A Place for Stories’ is particularly relevant. They are currently run a weekly event which links into this month’s celebrations. Their ‘Toddler Boats’ run every Monday in term time and during these specially designed boat trips they share stories, songs and learn Makaton signs. Please click here for more details. 

2016 events

We are delighted that the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival encouraged the NSSM theme of Stories in Unusual places during their exciting Festival on 14th and 15th May.  Visit their web site at

Reports on 2015 events

South Bucks CBG

dragonstoriesSouth Bucks CBG held a very successful open air story telling event attended by about 45 children and their accompanying adults and furry dragons! We sang songs, read dragon stories and all the children made their own dragon to take home and had a very successful raffle of the Red House Books.


Reading CBG

GRR 10th anniversary report. y Lily and Jemima West.

We really enjoyed the craft sessions, making dragon puppets and paper cut outs.  We made hand prints for the big dragon which was from Margaret Bateson-Hill’s book.

The first author we heard was Nicholas Allan.  He was really funny and great at magic. Also he showed us how to draw soldiers and the royal family outside Buckingham Palace.  He made a pair of pants out of tissue paper and made another pair of pants turn into snow.  We all got to decorate a pair of pants and then he gave us chocolates.

The second author was Mo O’Hara who included a lot of acting.  We dressed up as different characters from her story, My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, and then Mo told us a line to say.  We really enjoyed having a zombie fish face off.  We also got to make up our own characters like ‘Flying Snake,’ and ‘Camouflage Horse.’

After that we listened to Margaret Bateson-Hill tell us about Lao-Lao of Dragon Mountain.  We sang a little rhyme to help us make our own paper cuts.  It went like this; ‘Fold it and cut it and turn it around, open it up and see what you’ve found.’  She also told us a bit about her other book ‘Dragon Racers.’  She told us that she liked dragons and had always wanted to fly.  She also told us about a python who walked past her in the street.

Then we had a very big birthday cake.

The final author of the day was A F Harrold.  He read some of his funny poems which made us all laugh.  Our favourite poem was a tiny one called ‘Autumn.’  We also loved the one about pirates.

It was great to be able to get some new books and also have some of them signed by the authors.

Happy Birthday GRR!!

Dereham Neatherd High School
At Dereham Neatherd High School, East Dereham, Norfolk,  we decorated the library with a dragon theme and gave each form group post it notes to ‘share their favourite novel’ on which were then displayed in the library for others to see under the dragon heads (the idea that the post its were extended scales of the dragon body) with Hot Reads, Books on Fire notices.We also had a Wellbeing Community Evening and took the opportunity to open the library to have ‘dragon themed’ activities including- How to Speak Dragonese, Design a Dragon (based on Top Trumps, Dragon Origami and also invited the school Warhammer club to join us showing how fantasy stories extend into games/adventures. Of course How To Train Your Dragon was also playing in the background!
Lorraine Gill


Oxford CBG

The Oxford group celebrated NSSM in two exciting ways.

On Wed May 27th, local storyteller and member, Deborah Cooper, entertained and mesmerised younger children with dragon tales at Kennington Public Library. The library organises its own literary festival each year and the head Librarian is a member of the group, so the OCBG works closely with them. This was another half-term family treat, much enjoyed by everyone present.

On May 30th, the committee dressed up as dragons, or almost dragons, and took over a centrally-located parish hall, in Oxford’s city centre. A few members turned up, but most of the participants were droppers-in and passers-by, intrigued by our banner and ‘costumes’.

Around 40 families came along, to enjoy a Dragon story, or two, make a dragon puppet, and try their luck in the Lucky Dip, where everyone was a winner (a packet of Haribos for every entrant and a toy dragon for starred packets!)

The puppets were made of this card, sellotaped to two strong straws, and folded to create a moving dragon. They came ready-made from Baker Ross and were a real success!

The formula for the morning was very simple, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and one or two parents asked whether we could do this every Saturday!

Our chief goal was to give local children a chance to step out of the busy bustle of a Saturday shopping expedition and be entertained and creative. Our other goal, however, was to publicise the group and its activities. Sadly, there was no press coverage but we handed out several membership forms, and are hoping we may boost our membership as a result.

We are already looking forward to next year’s NSSM!

Bridgewater Community Primary School,  Newcastle on Tyne

You can see what Bridgewater Community Primary School in Newcastle on Tyne got up to during their Dragon-themed celebrations in May here. Thank you to Dorothy Hadden for sharing.

Ipswich CBG

Jayne Gould reports:

As part of NSSM 2015 Ipswich CBG invited children to Design A Dragon in words or picture and enter our competition. Marvellous dragons of all kinds arrived , described in writing, drawn in pictures, models made of Lego , plasticine, cardboard and willow as well as two sock puppets.

After much deliberation the judges chose three winners: a beautifully descriptive poem, a well designed sock puppet and a marvellous painted model of a dragon called Loveheart made by a 4 year old with help from her uncle. There were also three highly commended prizes given.

The prizes were presented during our event held as part of the Solstice Storytelling Festival at Sutton Hoo on Saturday 20th June.  Brave souls entering the Dragon’s Lair were able to help complete a dragon by making a scale to add to the outline picture. Our grateful thanks to committee member Hannah Mee for painting this.

We were joined by a trio of dragon slaying Anglo Saxons, from re-enactment group Eadfaelder, who also announced our winners and helped present the prizes.

The dragon remained on display at Sutton Hoo for their Dragon Quest weekend in July, when they held a competition to name it.  Our dragon is now called Heatwave.

Dragons 001


Bishops Stortford College

At Bishops Stortford College we have been looking at dragons in library lessons, often using the resources you suggested, as well as holding regular storytelling sessions  which have featured  dragons.
The pupils have created dragon passports, they have performed news commentaries on dragon sightings and written poems ……it did provide a very inspiring topic and as you can see quite a gorgeous display!

dragons 3 resized dragons 2

North Somerset CBG

Sue Wilsher reports:
To kick start our celebrations, Year 6 children teamed up with our Reception children for story sharing sessions. It was so lovely to see children of all abilities sharing stories with such enthusiasm. Puppets were being used as some children chose to make up stories together and act these out. It was a magical scene and the start of regular event!

A story teller visited the two plus nursery children to share stories with the children, their parents, grandparents and teachers. On the Tuesday evening, we had a dragon themed session where the children came dressed as dragons, princesses and knights. We started with egg races before we went into groups for dragon stories, crafts and snacks- the scales were particularly popular!

Dragon themed stories were being told throughout the school and each class created art work around these during our Arts Week. Parents, carers, grandparents and friends came in for open afternoons in different classes to help the children making, painting, cutting and colouring!

The climax of the week was an exhibition in the school hall; each class manned a ‘stall’ where they told visiting parents and other children about their work. There were dragon eggs, cakes, biscuits, mod-roc dragons, maths dragons, collaged dragons, dragon glove puppets, dragon stories, poems and pictures! It was an amazing tribute to all the hard work, enthusiasm and, of course, the stories that inspired us!


Oxted CBG
Dragon-ish fun was had by all at Oxted Children’s Book Group craft and story morning. We made fire-breathing dragons, imaginatively decorated dragon egg biscuits, made colourful dragon masks and pictures, tested our skills with puzzles, and made dragons out of playdoh and duplo.  We also read and listened to some wonderful dragon stories in our story corner.

Emma R McNally event
Hylands House Visitor Centre was brought alive by the amazing acting of local children as they performed ‘Dragons Can Fly!’ by Emma R McNally, as part of the NSSM. The whole day was full of fun as children coloured in pictures from The Adventures of Harold Huxley series and met Emma R McNally, the author and illustrator, who led the drama and signed copies of her books. The children involved were proudly presented with their ‘Harold Huxley’s Drama Workshop’ Certificates for such a great performance. Future events and information on books by Emma R McNally can be found at