Onjali Q. Raúf Introduces Young City Reads
On World Book Day Brighton Festival and Collected Works CIC invite schools to register for Young City Reads ‘big read’!
To mark World Book Day (7 March) we’re inviting schools to register for the ‘big read’ with Onjali Q. Raúf’s The Boy at the Back of the Class.
The book follows the story of Ahmet, a young Syrian refugee. This beautiful tale of empathy and compassion introduces us to a small group of determined nine-year-olds, who go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure their new classmate has a sense of belonging.
Primary schools across Brighton & Hove, Sussex and beyond can now register online here and take part in getting children reading and talking about this inspirational story. Throughout the project, participating classes will receive free weekly e-bulletins which include bite-size literacy resources and fun activities. On Wed 22 May Brighton Festival is delighted to welcome Onjali Q. Raúf at Brighton Dome Concert Hall with a special live event for schools, tickets can be booked online here.
Watch our interview with this year’s Young City Reads author Onjali Q. Raúf
Collected Works CIC launched Young City Reads with Brighton & Hove Libraries and Crisis Classroom on World Book Day with a fantastic workshop for children from City Academy Whitehawk and St John the Baptist’s Primary School. Crisis Classroom works directly with refugees, asylum seekers and the homeless in the UK, hosting engaging workshops that not only provide a safe environment, but help build communities and friendships through creativity.
Young City Reads Director, Sarah Hutchings commented:
‘Crisis Classroom believe in empowerment through education, for all refugees. They work tirelessly to inspire children and adults to become more involved in their local communities to bring about greater understanding of the refugee crisis and to promote global change. We are delighted to be working with them during this year’s Young City Reads 2019.’
Brighton Festival Reveals Young City Reads Author and Title 2019
Brighton Festival and Collected Works CIC are delighted to reveal that Onjali Q. Raúf’s The Boy at the Back of the Class has been chosen as the 2019 ‘big read’ for children across Brighton & Hove, Sussex and beyond.
The start of the ‘big read’ is on World Book Day, 7 March 2019. At Brighton Festival on 22 May 2019, the Young City Reads live event takes place at Brighton Dome featuring author, Onjali Q.
The Boy at the Back of the Class (which has been long listed for the Blue Peter Book Awards and nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2019) is the story of new boy Ahmet, a refugee from Syria. It is told from the point of view of one of his classmates who goes to great lengths to make friends and give Ahmet a sense of belonging. The unexpected adventure that follows strikes the perfect balance between humour and poignancy, topped off with a terrific twist. The result is an unforgettable story that will find a home in the heart of every child. Onjali Q. Raúf portrays the refugee crisis through the eyes of a child in a way that’s accessible, warm and funny. It’s a story about friendship and how naturally children celebrate, rather than fear, all our differences.
Onjali Q. Raúf is Founder and CEO of Making Herstory - a human rights organisation working with other movements to end the abuse, trafficking and enslavement of women and girls in the UK and beyond.
Author of The Boy at the Back of the Class Onjali Q. Raúf says:
‘I am utterly thrilled to have ‘The Boy at the Back of the Class’ chosen for Young City Reads! It is such an honour. I hope all human ‘beans’ (of every age!) reading and engaging with it, reach its end feeling a little more understanding and hopeful about what we can all do to ease the plight of refugee children the world over. Sometimes the best, most joyous things start with a story, and my deepest wish for this book is that it helps inspire lots of interesting discussions and ideas about one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our times. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to make this happen.'
Sarah Hutchings, Director of Collected Works CIC added:
'Onjali Q. Raúf’s book has all the qualities that we look for – empathy, kindness, adventure and humour. In 2018, nearly 2,000 children took part in the project with 1,438 coming to the final event at Brighton Festival. I know that our Young City Readers will love getting to know Ahmet and his friends.'
Primary school teachers and classes are invited to register online (for free) and agree to read The Boy At The Back of the Class together in class from March to May 2019. The Class Teacher or Head Teacher can complete a sign-up form on the City Reads Website.
Throughout the project, participating classes will receive free weekly e-bulletins which will include bite-size literacy resources and fun activities to complete.
Danny Wallace introduces Young City Reads 2016, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Festival and Collected Works CIC are rather excited for the 2016 Big Read. The concept is simple: one book, by one author is selected for the whole community to read, explore, discuss and creatively engage with. This year's featured book is Danny Wallace’s Hamish and the Worldstoppers.
Danny Wallace’s Hamish and the Worldstoppers chosen for Young City Reads
Collected Works CIC and Brighton Festival - which celebrates its 50th edition in 2016 - are delighted to reveal that Danny Wallace's Hamish and the Worldstoppers has been chosen as the 2016 'Big Read' for children across Brighton & Hove. The concept is simple: one book, by one author is selected for the whole community to read, explore, discuss and creatively engage with.
‘Everyone knows that Brighton has the funniest, coolest, stinkiest children in Britain - and when I heard that they’d all be reading my book, my feet fell off in delight. Brighton Young City Reads is a brilliant thing, and for Hamish to be at the centre of it this year is a real honour. Jamie and I can’t wait to see what the kids think. Now excuse me while I put my feet back on.’ Danny Wallace, Young City Reads author, Jan 2016
About the book
What would YOU do... if the whole world just stopped? Yes the WHOLE WORLD. Birds in the air. Planes in the sky. And every single person on the planet - except you. Because that's what keeps happening to ten-year-old Hamish Ellerby. And it's being caused by The WorldStoppers and their terrifying friends The Terribles! They have a PLAN. They want to take our world for their own . . . Oh, and they hate children. Especially if you're a child who knows about them. Hang on - You know now, don't you? Oh dear. Can Hamish save us from the WorldStoppers? Only time will tell…..
Sarah Hutchings, Artistic Director, Collected Works CIC, commented, ‘Young City Reads is all about the pure pleasure of reading. It inspires children to take time over the reading a book and then encourages them to discuss it with friends, teachers, parents or grandparents. It’s a celebration of words and pictures. And did I mention it’s also great fun!’
Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said: ‘Young City Reads is always a highlight of Brighton Festival; young booklovers, en masse, discussing and sharing one story before meeting the author themselves… it’s a unique event and something we’re very proud of. One theme we’ll be exploring at our 50th Brighton Festival is the future of art - who are the new voices, what will the next generation make and what role might they play? That Danny Wallace’s adventurous tale sees the fate of the world in the hands of one plucky youngster is, to me, a very fitting and apt choice for the whole city to enjoy.’
How can local primary schools get involved?
• Primary school teachers and classes are being invited to register online (for FREE) and agree to read Hamish and the Worldstoppers together in class between (3 March – 19 May 2016). The Class Teacher or Head Teacher can complete a sign-up form on the City Reads website at: cityreads.co.uk
• Throughout the project, participating classes will receive FREE weekly e-bulletins which will include bite-size Hamish quizzes, puzzles and fun activities to complete.
• This is a great way for classes to get excited about a book and to experience the benefits of shared reading and the fun it brings.
• 3rd March 2016 (World Book Day) Young City Reads launches at Jubilee Library
• 19th May 2016 (Brighton Festival Event) Special Young City Reads event at Brighton Festival featuring the author and illustrator LIVE.
Get involved: Wonderful ways to be part of Brighton Festival
There are plenty of wonderful ways to get involved with Brighton Festival and we’d love you to be part of it. We’ve tonnes of volunteer and artist opportunities - we’ve got options for writers and readers, performers and greeters and treasure seekers and culture needers, not to mention, there’ll be heaps of competitions to enter over the coming weeks.
Find out more about this amazing project launched on world book day. See what happened on their launch day in the video below...
Collidescope offers artists an in-depth insight into Brighton Festival and is suitable for artists who have been making work for at least five years, this opportunity will provide an immersive experience through a packed show schedule across the 23 days of Brighton Festival, and the chance to meet Guest Director Ali Smith and Festival artists in up-close encounters. Artists and creators making work in all areas of the performing arts are welcome to apply - 6-8 participants will be selected.Fleeting will be a tribute to the West Pier, the people of Brighton and Hove and the transforming power of nature – a fitting finale to Brighton Festival 2015Explore our programme and come and see a show - there’s heaps on offer – join in our celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events. Immerse yourself fully and challenge yourself to see all our free events this May too!
Keep an eye open for competitions. Rapid review will return, with plenty of tickets as prizes and they’ll be plenty more competitive ways to get involved with Brighton Festival 2015 – just watch this space…
Young City Reads 2015 title revealed
William Sutcliffe’s Circus Of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom chosen for annual children's reading project.
Collected Works CIC and Brighton Festival are delighted to reveal that William Sutcliffe's Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom has been chosen as the 2015 Young City Reads book for children across Brighton & Hove.
Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom tells the funny and heartwarming tale of Hannah, whose life is boring, boring, boring… until she meets Billy Shank, his astonishing camel Narcissus, and a host of other bizarrely brilliant members of the circus. But all is not as it seems; Armitage Shank, evil ringmaster and Billy's surrogate father, has a dastardly plan involving light-fingered thievery. Can Hannah and Billy stop his stinking scheme before it's too late…
'I’m thrilled to be chosen for Young City Reads, and not just because I like any excuse to visit Brighton. An initiative like this, that encourages children and adults to enjoy books together, and that gathers a community to enjoy the written word in a spirit of inter-generational fun, is exactly what every children’s book writer dreams of participating in.' William Sutcliffe, Young City Reads author
The concept of Young City Reads is simple - one book, by one author, is selected for the whole community to read, explore, discuss and creatively engage with. The brainchild of Brighton based award winning literary organisation Collected Works CIC – a social enterprise devoted to promoting shared reading in the community – Young City Reads was established in 2013, when broadcaster and former children’s laureate Michael Rosen (that year’s Guest Director of Brighton Festival) agreed to champion the project. Michael Rosen has praised the scheme for ‘inventiveness and simplicity’ in its approach to encouraging children and young people to read for pleasure’
‘The more we read, and the earlier we start reading, the wider and more fruitful the big wide world becomes and the more thoughtful and versatile our understanding of it. Young City Reads is a gift to young minds….’ Ali Smith, Guest Director, Brighton Festival 2015
The initiative invites primary school teachers and classes to register online for free and agree to read the Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom together in class. Throughout the project, participating classes will receive weekly e-bulletins which will include bite-size Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom quizzes, puzzles and fun activities to complete. Visit cityreads.co.uk to sign-up and get reading!
‘Young City Reads has become an integral part of Brighton Festival; to see the city’s young people come together to read one book is always an exciting prospect – involving city-wide discussion, exploration and creative engagement. With award-winning author Ali Smith as Brighton Festival 2015’s Guest Director, the written word plays a very important role in this year’s full programme of events, and Sutcliffe’s tale of a truly unique – and incredibly mischievous – circus promises to be a great fit given the number of extraordinary performances, stories and characters than head to Brighton & Hove in May.’ Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival
Young City Reads 2015 will conclude on Wednesday 20th May 2015 at a special Brighton Festival event featuring William Sutcliffe and illustrator David Tazzyman.
Introduction to Young City Reads & The Sleeping Army at Brighton Festival
What is Young City Reads?
Imagine sharing a book with your best friend, your teacher, your family or your bus driver. Reading a book together is a fun experience. Everyone should try it!
Children's author Francesca Simon (creator of the fantastically fiendish Horrid Henry series) invites you to join us in a citywide read of her book The Sleeping Army from now until Thu 22 May 2014.
Young City Reads is for everyone: whether you're an avid adventurer, budding bookworm or a simply terrific teacher... even Mums and Dads can join in. It doesn't matter who you are, Young City Reads is about opening up the world of words and ideas to everyone.
Collected Works CIC is the award winning reader development organisation behind Young City Reads 2014 and will be delivering the project as part of Brighton Festival this year.
Here are the people behind the organization:
Sarah Hutchings - Artistic Director
Sarah studied Theatre and Drama at University, and always knew her job would have to involve books and writers in some way. She was taught to read at home by her mum (who was a teacher) and remembers what enormous pleasure learning to read gave her. What she loves most about working on Young City Reads is being able to share that joy of reading with others.
Favourite Children’s Book(s): It was a toss up between To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Both books were read at school and made a lasting impression.
Favourite Adult Books: The Bone People by Keri Hulme and Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban both life changing in their own way...
Vicky Tremain - Project Manager
Vicky has worked for Collected Works since Spring 2012 and runs a variety of arts projects across the city, many of them with children and young people. She also loves making music, eating peas and reading (of course!)
Favourite Children’s Author: Definitely Roald Dahl whose books taught her that she'd better be good.
Favourite Adult Authors: Too many to name them all, but favourites include: Russell Hoban, Flann O'Brien and Terry Pratchett.
When she was 16 Vicky read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and realised that sci-fi is most definitely not just for boys.
Clare Hankinson - Arts Admin Assistant
Clare lives in Brighton and works for various arts organisations. She is particularly interested in working on projects that aim to engage more people in culture and the arts.
Favourite Children’s Book: Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole - because it's really funny and she loves the illustrations.
Favourite Adult Book: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Clare likes it because although not that much happens it's all about family and the small things in life that mean so much to us.
Adam Stower - Illustrator (The Sleeping Army)
Adam Stower (pictured on top of the page), the exceptionally talented illustrator behind this year’s Young City Reads title (Francesca Simon’s The Sleeping Army) has been drawing ever since he was old enough to hold a crayon.
Adam grew up in Switzerland by Lake Zurich and went to a boarding school in Norfolk during term time. He studied illustration at Norwich Art School, gaining a first class degree and went on to complete a Masters in Narrative Illustration at University of Brighton, and has lived in Brighton ever since.
Four things every Young City Reader needs to know about Adam:
His favourite author is Roald Dahl.
He has worn a beard for so long he can’t remember what his face underneath looks like.
His favourite food is freshly baked bread. Oh….and biscuits, let’s not forget the biscuits.
He’s appearing with Francesca Simon at Brighton Dome Concert Hall on Thu 22 May at 1.30pm as part of Young City Reads at Brighton Festival. Find out more information here.
This year’s ‘big read’ revealed! Young City Reads returns to Brighton Festival 2014
Brighton Festival and Collected Works CIC (the organisation behind Brighton & Hove's City Reads) are delighted to reveal the title selected for this year's ‘big read’ for children is The Sleeping Army by Francesca Simon.
Young City Reads launches on World Book Day (06 March) and will finish on 22 May with a very special Brighton Festival event for schools featuring the bestselling author whose book is this year’s focus. More news on that following the Brighton Festival launch on Feb 25.
The concept of Young City Reads is simple: one book by one author is selected for the whole community to read, discuss, debate and enjoy. Primary schools are being invited to register online to read the book together in class and to participate in a range of special activities.
Francesca Simon said: ‘What a thrill to have all of Brighton & Hove reading The Sleeping Army and then coming together at the end to discuss it – I can't wait to talk about the book and meet all my readers at the event in May. What a brilliant way to bring a city together and support reading’
Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said: “We are delighted that Young City Reads will return as part of Brighton Festival in 2014. Celebrating literature in this way provides a unique opportunity for children to creatively engage in the arts. I’m sure Francesca Simon’s inventive reworking of the Norse myths will fascinate and inspire young readers across the city”
Sarah Hutchings, Artistic Director, Collected Works CIC, added, “Young City Reads is all about reading for pleasure. It encourages children to learn through their enjoyment of literature. There is a power in sharing books and stories together, and the younger we start the more fulfilling our lives will be.”