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Birmingham has a Book Trail

Birmingham has a book trail and it is absolutely brilliant; after last year’s hugely successful Big Hoot owl trail it seems that this year we here in the Midlands UK are getting a rather wonderful trail of books.

The trail will consist of over 170 benches which have been painted by schoolchildren from across the city and then placed in venues that will be hosting different activities, with storytellers and publishers coming to read books to children to get everyone involved in the love of reading.

The Big Read Book Trail will be officially opened during CBBC’s Awesome Authors weekend at the Library of Birmingham and Centenary Square which takes place during the weekend of July 16 and 17. Several of the benches will be in pride of place and the event will include appearances by some the UK’s best-loved authors, including Dame Jacqueline Wilson, David Baddiel, David O’Doherty, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Jeremy Strong and attending children will also be delighted by the presence of some of CBBC’s biggest stars.

The benches featured were painted by the children of 175 schools from the area and depict their favourite books – from Willy Wonka, Elmer and Alice in Wonderland to the Gruffalo, the BFG and Narnia.

One bench featuring the one and only Paddington Bear brings a real local touch with his bench as he pops into the Library of Birmingham after filling his shopping trolley with posh marmalade from the local Selfridges store.

This year’s exhibition, titled The Big Read has been made possible by Wild in Art who were aided in bringing the project to fruition by The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham and Wesleyan, in association with the National Literacy Trust, and Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity whom the project is in aid of.

Look out for Cat in the Hat and the Mr Men, Where’s Wally, Mr Tickle, Mary Poppins and many more.

The benches are not only to be found in and around the city centre but are spread right across the region with exhibits inside libraries, galleries, museums, cultural venues and book shops in Solihull, Walsall, Sandwell and Coventry.

Inside the city centre benches will be everywhere you look including Grand Central, The Mailbox, Waterstones, Foyles, Sarehole Mill, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Library of Birmingham.

The Book Benches are set to remain for an eight week period and is set to end on September the thirteenth in order to coincide with Roald Dahl Day when the benches will be removed and returned to the schools and organisations that painted them, leaving each of them with a lasting legacy of this year’s celebrations.

If you are planning on visiting Birmingham a map of the benches can be collected at various retail outlets across the city or you will be able to download a copy here. And best of all? It’s completely and utterly free!

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