The Oak National Academy has set up a new Virtual School Library, featuring a different author each week – Jacqueline Wilson is the first. One of the author’s books is available as an e-book, and there are video interviews to support.


But don’t forget that our local libraries have a great selection of e-books, available to library members, and it’s free and easy to join.

Nottingham City Libraries


Inspire Libraries for the county outside the Nottingham City area


And while the libraries have to be closed, they are providing Click and Collect services if you want to borrow “real” books

Podcasts can be a good way to vary learning and widen children’s horizons. The National Literacy Trust has some recommendations here, including CBeebies Bedtime Stories for younger children, Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, and The Scoop, which celebrates reading, writing and creativity, and features some popular children’s authors and illustrators


Authorfy has a range of resources for free – Interactive video masterclasses, downloadable activities, all based around the latest bestselling children’s books. Originally aimed at primary schools, access is free for parents and home-schoolers as well as schools.



Haydays, the family and Young Adult element of Hay Festival, has lots of videos from 2020 available, for free, on its website. Great for inspiring kids to pick up a book, do some writing or illustrating, or hear a story.


Looking Ahead …

Bournville Bookfest is going online for 2021, with videos and educational resources available for free, during World Book Week, 1-5 March. The whole programme for schools is available to families as well this year. Authors and illustrators contributing include Cressida Cowell, Benjamin Zephaniah, Michael Rosen, Nick Sharratt, Tom Palmer, and many more.



There are so many authors and illustrators for children and young people, who are making content available for free. They really are generous with their time and talent. Here is a small selection, plus some lists to find more.

Poet and author Michael Rosen is always good to watch and listen to, and now has his own YouTube channel, “Kids’ Poems and Stories With Michael Rosen”, with a huge range of videos.


Tom Palmer has plenty of resources on offer. He is well known for his children’s books based around football, but also writes some great stories based on historical events. Check out his website here


At the moment, there are resources available, based on After the War, his book about 3 children arriving in the UK after World War 2, as survivors of the concentration camps. These resources, including videos and writing prompts, are available, as part of Holocaust Memorial Day, at


Local author L.D.Lapinski has an activity pack based on her Strangeworlds Travel Agency Books, available at


Emma Carroll, whose books are probably most appreciated by 9-13 year olds, has an interesting idea. She is starting the first draft of a new book, and sharing the process on Instagram. Each Tuesday and Thursday at 10AM, she will be writing, and setting some writing exercises for children to try. As she says, it’s a first draft, so it is all about fun and creativity. She is @emmacarroll2603 on Instagram, and the sessions are saved for catch-up. Details at:


For younger members of the family, Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo, etc) features on Scholastic Bookfairs, with videos of her reading from some of her books, as well as links to other resources.


And illustrator Nick Sharratt has some super drawing tips at


Links to a whole range of authors offering free resources, can be found at these websites




Other ideas

The Bookwanderers series of videos is back on YouTube. Anna James of A Case for Books brings interviews and inspiration for youngsters, with the newest edition featuring book chat and top tips from authors and booksellers.


The British Library has a range of book-based activities inspired by their collections.


We’ve mentioned The Lost Words before, of course, and the resources available to support its enjoyment by schools and families. Now available is the Explorers Guide for the Spell Songs – some beautiful songs created by leading musicians, based on the original poems. The Spell Songs can be heard on YouTube, and the resource pack is here:


For the younger members of the family, the National Trust has a whole series of Peter Rabbit activity packs to download, based on favourite Beatrix Potter characters – Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Squirrel Nutkin and more.