We will be regularly updating this page as we find new resources. If you have any tips, or good links, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE 15TH JUNE
Here is our latest update of resources you can find online, to help with home schooling, and the summer holidays…
Reading Together Day Resources
16th July is Reading Together Day – don’t worry if you missed it, reading together is always important any day of the year. Check out the link below for online events on the day and resources to help!
Summer Reading Bingo
This Summer Reading Bingo looks fun to use over the summer – 2 different versions to download according to age group. Read – before breakfast, outdoors, with someone over the phone … you get the idea: https://www.booksfortopics.com/bingo
and there’s a similar game here too: https://www.worldbookday.com/reading-stars/
Book Readings on YouTube
You and your family may have been listening to authors read from their books on video – a great way to get into books. There are still loads going on, including Anthony Horowitzreading his spy thriller for youngsters, Stormbreaker, and film-maker and actor Taika Waititi reading James and the Giant Peach
Creativity Summer Camp
Cressida Cowell, Children’s Laureate, presented a Creativity Summer Camp recently, and all the resources are there to use whenever you want. There are videos on magical ideas, illustration, writing, reading around the world…
Authorfy’s Creativity Challenges
Authorfy have a Ten Minute Challenge every day – look at their website to see them all. Set by bestselling authors and illustrators, they are a good way to get creative quickly
The Book Trust Reading Resources
The Book Trust continues to provide some great resources. You can find their latest here, including “The book that made me” from Jeremy Strong, author of many funny books, and an item on Wild Reading – take that book outdoors to find a favourite reading spot!
World Book Day’s Stay-At-Home Ideas
It may not be World Book Day for a while yet, but their website has some brilliant “Stay-at-home” ideas
One that stands out is their online master classes from 12 authors and illustrators, to inspire 5-12year olds, and provide a creative challenge
Help With Finding Reading Books with ‘Love My Books’
Website Love My Books has lots of resources and activities for young children, available free, as well as book reviews and help in choosing books.
There’s a Young Wild Writer Competition, with different age categories – write anything creative, about British wildlife, and submit by 24th July.
Our local partners Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust are running a competition for creative types, to produce a piece of art, postcard sized, in any medium. All entries will be exhibited at their Idle Valley Centre, when it reopens, and there are prizes on offer. Deadline 31st July.
Read On Nottingham Resources
Read On Nottingham works with families and young children to improve their life chances by giving them early literacy skills. Its Facebook page has lots of ideas for activities with little ones, some provided by their Literacy Champions.
@ReadOnNottm on Facebook
We recommend trying their Time Capsule activity pack!
Story Parks last year took reading into Nottingham’s open spaces – this summer, they are online with lots of activities at https://storyparksnottingham.com/
Local Libraries Are Opening Up
Our local libraries are starting to open again now, which is brilliant news. Check their opening arrangements
They still have lots of online resources available, and are running the Summer Reading Challenge.
Inspire, who run the Notts libraries, even have an author and artist in residence to support the Challenge: https://www.inspireculture.org.uk/arts-culture/community/artist-author-residence/residence-2020/
UPDATE 9TH JUNE
In view of world events at the moment, books for youngsters on black experience and racism can be a way to help make sense of things. Here are a few suggestions:
Books for Topics is a mine of information on books to support school topics, and this one is great to find books to help children understand Black Lives Matter
Ideas of anti racist books from the Guardian
And look at this for books for teenagers
There are some festivals going on this week, and all online and free:
The Puffin Festival of Dreams, celebrating 80 Years of Puffin, is running Monday 8th to Sunday 14th June. With 20 minute videos at 10.30am and 3.30pm each day and heaps of fun activities including Nick Sharratt drawing your dreams!
Barnes Children’s Literature Festival has gone online, from 9-14 June – lots of authors doing slots all week
Empathy Day is on 9th June, and there are lots of activities for different ages to get involved in, with Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, Malorie Blackman, a poetry challenge from Sarah Crossan, story times and rhyme time. More details at:
More Literacy Resources
We’ve mentioned Toppsta before as a website which will give you loads of ideas of bookish things to do with kids. They now have a Youtube channel, with some lovely book reviews, including one by 5 year old Henry.
National Writing Day is on 24th June, and young people are being asked to share a piece of writing on social media using #WriteFromHome, writing about experiences of life in lockdown. There are also lots of writing tutorials and teaching/learning resources for all ages.
A great source of book videos for younger children is Picture Book Author Events Online on Facebook, where new quality videos are being added all the time.
The Literacy Trust continues to provide some great resources in their Family Zone. There is a free e-book of The Kick Off by Dan Freedman, along with football themed activities. And the #MyDearNewFriend project, with resources to help youngsters to write letters to people in care homes
RadioBlogging.Net is a live daily radio broadcast that teaches literacy and is aimed at families and schools. It’s interactive so that children can do some creative writing and their work is published during and after the show. Recent authors involved have been Cressida Cowell and Beverley Naidoo.
Our local libraries continue to provide fantastic online services at
And they are involved in the Summer Reading Challenge, which has just been launched. This year the challenge, aimed at 4-11 year olds, is all digital and the theme is The Silly Squad. Reading will unlock digital rewards, activities and video content. A certificate will be available to download when children reach their reading goal. Sign up at
Nottingham City Libraries has a Creative Zone for 11-24 year olds with competitions and other resources.
UPDATE MAY 18TH
Inspire, who run Notts Libraries, have a range of family activities on their website, including a challenge here by writer Jayne Williams. Watch and listen as she tells her story of The Night the Books Came to Life, and have a go at writing your own story.
Inspiread is a new online Primary Book Award, created by Inspire’s Education Library Service. The aim is to get everyone reading children’s books: pupils, teachers, parents, grandparents, carers, schools, families and friends. The award will run during the Summer Term, lockdown or no lockdown! The shortlist is on the website now, so get reading, and you can vote from 6th July.
Hay Book Festival, like most festivals this year, can obviously not run in the normal way, but has instead gone online. And it kicks off on Monday 18th May with a week of free events for youngsters. Each day, from 8am onwards, you can see two primary (years 3-6) authors introduced by Konnie Huq and two secondary (years 7-10) authors introduced by Jenny Valentine. These events will be available to watch again on Hay Player and you can access teaching materials to support learning before, during and after the festival. There are some fantastic authors, and the resources look very user friendly.
There are also free resources for students, aimed at 16-25 year olds. including Hay Levels, short films for A level students, and free access to Hay Player, full of audio and film of the world’s great writers.
Authorfy aims to bring together readers and writers, with interactive video masterclasses, and downloadable activities and resources for children and parents. For a daily dose of creativity and fun, try their 10 minute challenges, set by bestselling authors and illustrators. There’s a new one added every day.
The Literacy Trust’s family zone are adding new content on a regular basis – this is the link for activities for the youngest age range
And new resources at the Book Trust are highlighted here
Independent bookshop, The Alligator’s Mouth, have some great story videos on their Youtube channel, with new ones being added regularly. See them at
National Book Tokens, are running a competition to design a book token, with prizes for the winning children and their school, once schools reopen. The closing date is 28th June.
Read Aloud is a campaign that aims to encourage all parents to read with / to and with their children. They have lots of resources, including a 21 day challenge …
Locally, Creswell Crags in Notts, home to some of the earliest cave art in Britain, has a poetry competition, open to adults as well as under 16s. They are asking you to send in your poems inspired by nature, place and landscape, and the deadline is 31st May.
Notts author L.D. Lapinski’s book The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, a magical adventure story, was published this April. And her website has links to her videos of writing prompts, workshops and other activities.
Not strictly an online resource, but worth a mention is a book just out, Be Plastic Clever, by young Nottingham sisters Amy and Ella Meek. The two teenage activists are on a mission to rid the world of single-use plastics, and this practical book is perfect for budding eco-warriors. Their website has lots of information and ideas as well
And finally, something for adults … The NSPCC are making their online safeguarding training (which takes 15 minutes) available free. As they point out, postal workers, delivery drivers and workers who regularly visit homes are well placed to spot any emerging safeguarding concerns or signs of possible abuse and neglect. So it makes sense to offer free training to promote this. Find information at https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/training/safeguarding-awareness-course
UPDATE 2nd April 2020
Author Nicola Morgan is doing a great job of collating free online resources from children’s authors, at
The National Justice Museum in Nottingham has lots of activities, which you can keep up with on Twitter
and is inviting people to join their #lettersofconstraint project: “write a letter that shares a personal insight into a time of confinement and isolation during the current Covid 19 pandemic”. The deadline is 12th June
Nottingham Playhouse has activities for the family at their Family Fest site, including drama games and the Bookworm Club
Story Parks, which ran last year in Nottingham’s Parks, is going online this year, for obvious reasons. Find all their resources at
The Book of Hopes is a wonderful book, published by the Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury. It is a collection of stories, poems and pictures by well-known writers and illustrators for children, put together by author Katherine Rundell. It aims to help children, and indeed all of us, to keep hopeful in difficult times. It is available, for free, online only at
BookBound2020 has a great selection of story readings to watch, including Jasbinder Bilan reading from her book Asha and the Spirit Bird
The British Library have some good ideas, in Discovering Children’s Book, including a video of Axel Scheffler demonstrating how to draw a Gruffalo:
The Schools’ Hub at Chicken House Books has a #CoopedUpKids section with loads of resources :
For creativity of all kinds, follow Create to Connect, who will be hosting a month of daily creative challenges in May. This is all about being creative at home, and sharing the results. You can sign up and receive daily emails for the challenges, or just use the website, at
Nicola Morgan is launching an “Anti-Viral Creative Writing Competition” for ages 11-18.
For the younger members of the family
Local writer Jonathan Emmett has a sing-along video of his book She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain, on Youtube at
YouTube channel ‘Storytime Storytime’ has a huge selection of story readings, and you can also upload your own – some are in languages other than English
UPDATE: 25 April 2020
Authors Live on BBC Iplayer is a great resource, 40 minute sessions with writers and illustrators. Author Joseph Coelho and Martin Brown, Horrible Histories illustrator, are just two of the excellent programmes on offer
Nosy Crow have a weekly audiobook at bedtime, so each evening you can listen to the next instalment. This week’s has been The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge. Check the link to see what is coming next.
You can hear some brilliant interviews with authors who write for young people, in a podcast made by students at Glenthorne High School Library. Booklings Chat has 42 episodes now, and you can listen on Soundcloud:
The Reading Agency have pulled together a host of resources, at their Reading Agency Hub, which has ideas for both children and adults
For general apps to use while home schooling, the Guardian has a handy list, for pre-school up to GCSE:
Local authors and libraries feature this week –
Darren Simpson, author of Scavengers, is offering to answer any questions from young readers on Twitter – just Direct Message him at @DarrenSimpson44. He also points out that Scavengers is available just now as an e-book (on any platform) for just 99p, along with all of Usborne’s children’s books.
Twitter – @DarrenSimpson44
If you fancy a book scavenger hunt, there are two on offer from Bromley House Library, for different age groups. These will get you looking in the books in your house (or even books that you have read) for a variety of things – like a rainbow, a long word, or a cooking boy! There is one for adults as well.
Update to online resources for children: 18 April 2020
A good place to find out about booky things to do with your kids is the Toppsta website, which is updating, each weekday, its list of author and illustrator events online.
If you fancy a go at story writing with the family, Nottingham City Transport have a competition, with categories from age 5 up to adult. The closing date is 30th June, so you have plenty of time to get creative.
Jasbinder Bilan, author of the Costa Award Winning Asha and the Spirit Bird, has some writing tips and prompts, with 3 videos on Youtube. Jasbinder is one of our local Nottingham authors. Find her at
Nottingham City Libraries have started a live storytime every Monday at 11AM, and Friday at 6PM, at https://www.facebook.com/NottinghamLibraries/
And there are videos of staff reading stories on Youtube at
Nottingham Forest’s Big Dream Activity sheet has some creative ideas
For the younger members of the family, Noisy Crow Stories Aloud has a different picture book each day, read aloud with full illustrations. It was Pip and Posy the day I checked it out.
Noisy Crow have also published a free downloadable book on Coronavirus for children, a great way to help talk to youngsters about what’s going on at the moment. And it’s illustrated by Axel Scheffler, whose pictures you will know from The Gruffalo.
Dave Cousins is another author doing writing prompts on Instagram – including Writing out our fears and Tiny Diary, Big Secrets
@davec9000 on Instagram
Nicola Morgan, author of The Teenage Brain, as well as YA fiction, has lots of ideas on Instagram, with a new prompt every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, promoting mental; health as well as creativity and reading
@nicolamorgansbrain on Instagram
Illustrator Emily Gravett is doing some fantastic draw-along sessions on Youtube. This one is for Cyril and Pat, but there are others
And some well known faces are reading bedtime stories on Instagram, at #savewithstories.
Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell, has some tips for parents trying to home school their children. Along with many other experts and teachers, her advice is not to try and teach what they would be doing at school. As Cressida says, “You might not achieve everything on your school’s curriculum, but if you’ve sparked their imaginations – and they’ve developed a love of reading – then they will go back to school with a fantastic foundation for future learning.”
Reading and crucially a love of reading is one of the most important things you can do with your kids. And she has some tips on how to do that, as well as encouraging creativity and having fun together.
Reading and other related activities are listed usefully by the Literacy Trust at https://literacytrust.org.uk/family-zone/
and by the Book Trust at https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/have-some-fun/
While our local library branches are now closed, they do have brilliant free e-resources: books, audio, newspapers and magazines for people to access online (you just need to be a library member to access these and if you aren’t a member already you will be able to join online.)
https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/libraries/ebooks-emagazines-and-eaudio/ – Nottingham City libraries
https://www.inspireculture.org.uk/online/ – Nottinghamshire libraries outside the city area
AUTHORS AND ILLUSTRATORS
Many children’s authors are reading their books online, hosting online chats, posting challenges, and generally engaging with their readers –
- Cressida Cowell at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe01xn13M8q2dsIw0mvW9lg
- Tom Palmer, who writes children’s fiction, often with a football theme, is reading his books on Youtube, with other resources available at https://tompalmer.co.uk/ Follow him on Twitter for daily ideas on @tompalmerauthor
- If you enjoy Robin Stevens’s books, the Murder Most Unladylike YA detective series, you can see her being interviewed on The Bookwanderers Club at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS0z09x-hXM&feature=youtu.be
- S.F.Said, author of Varjak Paw (a must read for cat lovers!) is doing a live chat on Twitter every Tuesday, 1 – 2 PM. @whatSFSaid
- Robin Stevens (Murder Most Unladylike) is posting a writing prompt every Monday at https://robin-stevens.co.uk/writing-prompt-mondays-prompt-2/
- For younger children, try Picture Book Author Events Online. This has all sorts of videos and livestreams by authors and illustrators https://www.facebook.com/AuthorEventsOnline/
- Learn to draw a monster, with award winning illustrator Ed Vere, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QhFVcbRqms
Resources for parents to use with children, based on specific books, are at https://authorfy.com/creative/
Premier League Primary Stars has lots of resources, including their poetry writing challenge at
If you want books to listen to, which can be a great way to engage children with books, and develop their listening skills – then Audible children’s books are available free at the moment.
The National Justice Museum has many resources available on its website
The Canalside Heritage Centre in Beeston is asking people to create artwork (a story, poem, opinion piece, drawing, collage, painting) based on the theme of community and what it means to you. Submissions will be collated into a book.
Young Creative Awards, for ages 11-24, give youngsters a chance to show off their skills in Creative Writing, Digital and Animation, Drama, Film, Photography, and many other areas. The deadline for entries is now 27th April.