Ooh! I wish I could go here…

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From 17 to 20 November, the Institut français in London will be celebrating magic of children’s books, illustration and films through an inspirational series of events at their Youth Festival. Children aged 3 to 15 will have the opportunity to hear and meet French and British authors and illustrators, have their books signed and take part in story-telling, workshops and talks!

Guests include Quentin Blake, Michael Rosen, François Place, Stéphanie Blake, Carl Norac, Isabelle Chatellard, Ed Vere, Véronique Joffre,Gaëtan Dorémus, Jean-François Martin, Alexis Deacon, Kit Wright, and Bruce Ingman.

Quentin Blake, a longterm patron of the festival and François Place, one of France’s leading artists and respected fiction writer, will be on stage to kick off the launch event. Quentin Blake is an English cartoonist, illustrator and children’s author, well known for his work with the writer Roald Dahl and famous for his humour. François Place is best known for his works The Last Giants, The Old Man Crazy About Drawing and The Atlas of the Geographers of Orbae, which has been celebrated as a masterpiece of children’s literature. These two artists will animate a drawing duel (Wed 17 Nov, 6.30pm), which will provide an engaging exchange of ideas for all to watch!

Ciné-comptines with Michèle Baczynsky

Storytelling events are programmed for all ages. The younger kids will be dazzled by the cine-nursery rhymes on the theme of ‘Monsters, fairies and other strange creatures’, through sound and image, organised by Michèle Baczynsky (Sat 20 Nov, 10am). Offering a mesmerising spectacle of word, songs and cinematic surprises this event will provide an unforgettable treat. The older ones are invited to travel with Mohamed Baouzzi, who is a well-known and loved French story-teller born in Marrakech (Sat 20 Nov, 11am). Children can listen to him tell tales from around the world whilst camels graze around camp fires on the slopes of the Atlas Mountains.

Image from Eleanor's Secret

On Saturday 20 November Ciné lumière will screen a UK premiere of Eleanor’s Secret, an animation by Dominique Monféry, which tells the captivating story of a little boy called Natanaël and his brave journey to save a band of story-book characters in danger of disappearing.

Père Castor, the lovable creation of Paul Faucher, is celebrated through a comprehensive exhibition, covering the history of the collection from the very first publication in 1936 to it’s most recent successes (18 Nov – 17 Dec) and talk (18 Nov, 7.30pm). Michael Rosen, one of Père Castor’s biggest fans, along with Michel Defourney, will share their love and knowledge of this legendary collection. Michael Rosen, leading poet and children’s book author, has written numerous illustrated books. Michel Defourny is Professor of Children’s literature at the University of Liège. He has an expert knowledge of the history behind Père Castor and the collection. François Faucher, the son of the creator of Père Castor, Paul Faucher, will also attend.

Père Castor Exhibition

Now, doesn’t all of this sound wonderful? Full details can be found on the Youth Festival’s website.

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