Pop-up Festival of Children’s Stories or Milo vs the fountain
This year’s Pop-Up Festival of Children’s Stories was in a very different location (just behind King’s Cross station) to last year’s which took place in the very lovely Coram’s Fields. For us this felt a much more urban and in a way, more “pop-up” experience than last year. Both Milo’s dad and I used to work around here many, many years ago and the development work going on is quite remarkable – it looks very different, just King’s Cross train station itself is a massive improvement.
It’s always surprising to find such interesting spaces that you never knew existed in London and the Central St Martins building and Granary Square didn’t disappoint. And while there weren’t the playgrounds that Coram’s Field have and which proved a happy distraction between events last year, there was a fountain. A rather fabulous fountain. A rather fabulous, enromous fountain that it proved very, very difficult to drag my three year old boy away from.
In retrospect, we should really have gone on the Sunday. There was a lot more for Milo to see and do on the Sunday and, while we had a great time on the Saturday, it did feel a bit more geared to older children (something which is often lacking in book festivals so no bad thing at all).
But we did have fun, and I got to browse the book store and Milo had a terrific time and great food to eat… here’s what we got up to:
As soon as we got there, Milo was transfixed by the YMM (Young Music Makers) band. He does love live music does this boy, as did the other kids there who were all up and dancing with and without their parents. I’ve got to say this again say about the location… it is a truly uplifting experience coming round the corner of a building sight surrounded by builders and grey and dust and dirt (we walked the old way round by accident) to hear a jazz version of I Want to Break Free, being played by a big brass band in what seems like the middle of nowhere until you investigate further.
It’s The Beat Goes On by Buddy Rich that Milo’s been singing the most since the festival.
Then we had a lot of fun running around and trying not to destroy Herve Tullet’s pop-up scultures.
There were quesadillas, ice cream, a story from a storyteller, listening to the screams coming from Marcus Sedgewick’s theatrical version of Thw Swordhand is Singing (Milo seemed to enjoy the idea that there were people inside a big black box terrified!), a peek inside The Comics Big Top of Awesome.
I’d have loved to have stayed a while in The Comics Big Top of Awesome, even just to have admired Sarah MacIntyre’s hat for a bit longer, but Milo was insistent on checking out that fountain again.
And a little more (this is when I gave up all hope of keeping him partially dry or making it to an actual event):
Afterwards, we headed to the Southbank where Milo and his dad had great fun in the rainbow beach and buying a tasty dinner from the market stalls and I had a superlative time heading back across the river to meet up with some super lovely fellow children’s lit bloggers and Twittery types, and Clara Vulliamy (of being an author and illustrator fame!). All in all, for someone who loves children’s books and chatting about children’s books this was pretty much the best day ever!
Here are a few other people who’ve written (probably more interesting) write-ups of the Pop-Up Festival:
Be sure to check out the Pop-Up Festival fb page for tons of fab pictures of the weekend
James Mayhew’s Promenade of the Pop Up Picture Pavillion
Sarah McIntyre’s write-up of the events and beyond in the fabulous Comics Big Top of Awesome
Neil Cameron’s write-up from the Comics Big Top of Awesome
The lovely Damyanti’s blog post of her day out at Pop-Up in pictures