ON your marks and get set for Tameside Council's first-ever virtual children's book festival.
"Ready, Steady, Read!", which runs from February 24 to March 12, has been designed to give children, families and teachers a chance to engage with popular authors and illustrators using Zoom.
Running in conjunction with the Tameside Loves Reading campaign its aim is to enhance young people's experience of books, and to encourage them to use Tameside's libraries to improve their literacy skills and develop a lifelong love of reading and learning.
The programme features many well-known figures from children's literature including author Caryl Hart who has worked with families to create storybooks as part of the council's ongoing Story Makers projects for the under-fours.
Poet, performer and educator Joshua Seigal starts things off on Wednesday, 24 February, (1.45pm) followed by:
Monday, 1 March (11am) Shoo Rayner: Shoo is the illustrator of more than 300 books. His mission is to teach, inspire and promote drawing as the essential tool of creativity.
Tuesday, 2 March, (11am, 1.30pm, 6pm) Fables at the Kitchen Table: Online theatrical storytelling from Stute Theatre's Sophia Hatfield.
Thursday, 4 March (1.45pm) Dominic Berry: Winner of the 2020 Saboteur Award for Best Spoken-word Artist. Glastonbury Festival's poet-in-residence 2017.
Friday, 5 March (1.45pm) Caryl Hart.
Monday, 8 March (11am) Tom Palmer: Writer of many children's books including the Football Academy series.
Tuesday, 9 March (11am) Guy Parker Rees: Illustrator of the international best-seller "Giraffes Can't Dance".
Wednesday, 10 March (11am) Marie Basting: Author of "Princess BMX".
Thursday, 11 March (1.45pm) Caryl Hart.
Friday, 12 March (11am) Matt Goodfellow: Poet and ambassador for National Poetry Day.
Friday, 12 March (1.30pm) Phil Earle: Award-winning novelist.
Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council's executive member with responsibility for culture, said: During lockdowns, when class visits to our libraries aren't possible, it's more important than ever to maintain and develop engagement with our schools.
"'Ready, Steady, Read!' allows us to do this. It's a perfect example of the way our libraries have adapted so they can continue to provide their services in these challenging times of restrictions.
"In the autumn we held the very successful 'Digital Words' festival for adults interested in developing their writing skills. I'm sure 'Ready, Steady, Read!' will do every bit as well in helping young people deepen their love of books, reading and learning."
For more information call 0161 342 2031 or visit www.tameside.gov.uk/libraries