Welcome to the 2022 Durham Book Festival programme for schools. This year we have a variety of ways for primary and secondary schools across County Durham to engage with the festival, including free digital resources, online events with children’s authors and our new diverse reading programme Balance the Books.

Balance the Books

Balance the Books is a new project by New Writing North Young Writers that invites you to discover brilliant new books by authors from underrepresented backgrounds. We know that the best books act as both a mirror and a window: reflecting back to us our own experiences and feelings, while also revealing a wider view on the world, so that we can understand and empathise with others.  Balance the Books is all about celebrating diverse literature. You’ll find amazing books by authors from a wide range of underrepresented backgrounds, including but not limited to: people of colour; disabled people; LGBTQIA+ people; working class people; care experienced people.

As part of Durham Book Festival 2022, we are offering secondary schools a special Balance the Books package. For £200 per school, schools will receive a copy of each of the 20 books alongside resources and two filmed events with featured authors.

Online Events for Schools

The Little Read

Each year, our Little Read campaign gifts thousands of picture books across County Durham, inviting children to read for pleasure and be part of a shared moment for the county. This year’s Little Read is the charming picture book Polonius the Pit Pony by Richard O’Neill.

Richard O’Neill is an internationally acclaimed storyteller. Born into a fully nomadic Romani Gypsy family, travelling throughout the North of England and Scotland, his roots are also to be found in the coal-mining communities of the North East. This co-cultural upbringing is reflected in his creative work, and Polonius the Pit Pony brings together both cultures.

From September you will be able to download free resources and inspired by the book, including a two special videos recorded by Richard O’Neill, available to watch for free.

Durham Book Festival will be distributing a free copy of Polonius the Pit Pony to every primary school in County Durham


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