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BfK’s Brilliant Children’s Bookshops Chorleywood Bookshop

Chorleywood Bookshop is an independent bookshop on the edge of the Chilterns and the end of the Metropolitan Line. This year the shop won Independent Bookshop of the Year for South East and East England in the Bookseller Industry Awards. Co-owner Sheryl Shurville gives us a virtual tour of the shop and their work with children.

indeed! We had several hundred entries this year, a fantastic response.

Our school events give us the opportunity to meet and get to know young parents too, and we follow that up with events for them and their children in the shop. We run story-time sessions at the main shop, and at our new branch in Gerrard’s Cross. We’ve run story-times on Chorlewood’s common too, and one of our most popular sessions was a pyjama party in the shop. The children came along in the evening, all in their pyjamas, for a special bedtime story – it was really exciting for them to be out in the dark, and in the shop at night, and great fun for us too! Last year we worked with Macmillan to organise a special Gruffalo Trail across the common as part of Chorleywood Village Day.

We also like to encourage parents to read with their children especially dads. Oh, and have we mentioned the Blue Peter shadowing groups we do?

Leading up to WBD Blue Peter feature fiction and non-fiction books on their programme and then get children to vote on which was their favourite book. We also do this, organising groups of children who meet in the library, one group at Chorleywood and one at Rickmansworth. The kids then vote to say who would be their winner, we read them at the same time and discuss.


here’s been a bookshop in Chorleywood for over 40 years, but with the demise of so many independent bookshops, we’re one of the few left in this area. I’ve been here for 13 years with co-owner Morag Watkins, and we see ourselves carrying on the tradition of

good, local bookselling. We do all sorts of things in the community – we run book groups, we take books into old peoples’ homes, we even act as a box office for the local film club, and sell books at the shows. Chorleywood is right in the middle of the commuter belt, and there are lots of young families with children living here, so of course events for children are really important to what we do.

We run lots of events in schools, as well as at local festivals, e.g. the canal festival, Woodoaks Farm festival, the Enid Blyton anniversary celebrations at Bekonscot - and for the last two years we have run our own children’s book festival. We hold this in March, to coincide with World Book Day, and this year it featured 38 events over three weeks – we just can’t say ‘no’ to authors! Jacqueline Wilson was one of our special guests, which was wonderful.

As part of the festival we get funding from Hertfordshire County Council and with some of this money we take authors out into schools and, instead of just hoping for good book sales, we give every child a book. The children are thrilled! Lots have never owned a book before, they write thank you letters and the teachers tell us how precious the books are to them - this isn't Chorleywood, but not far away. The books are all plated with Herts CC. We are also able to give books to their libraries.

We’ve been running a literary festival for adults since 2006, so it seemed natural to launch a children’s festival. One of the star features of our adult festival has always been a writing competition, so when we conceived the children’s festival, we moved the writing competition under that umbrella. The competition has always been judged by writers, and this year was no exception: the judges were none other than Emily Gravett, Charlie Higson, Jonathan Stroud and Christopher William Hill – we felt very fortunate

We get lots of grandparents coming in to buy the classics for their grandchildren, but we’re always keen to promote today’s authors to children and their parents: Liz Pichon is a real favourite now, and we have a particular affection for Ciaran Murtagh, author of the Dinopants and Genie in Training series. He does fabulous writing workshops for children, and has done lots of them for us – we’ve made him our own!

Right now, we are planning the launch of a children’s book group, and are already thinking about next year’s Chorleywood Children’s Literary Festival. n

Chorleywood Bookshop favourites Touching the Void, Joe Simpson, Vintage, 978-0099771012, £8.99 pbk Left for Dead, Nick Ward, A & C Black, 978-1408128169, £8.99 pbk

The Rabbit Problem, Emily Gravett, Macmillan, 978-0230704237, £12.99 hbk Meerkat Mail, Emily Gravett, Macmillan, 978-1405090759, £6.99 pbk The Victory Dogs, Megan Rix, Pufin, 978-0141342733, £5.99

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, Mo O'Hara, Macmillan, 978-1447227984, £4.99 Flat Stanley, Jeff Brown, Egmont, 978-1405204170, £4.99 pbk

I’m Dougal Trump and It’s Not My Fault, Jackie Marchant, Macmillan, 978-1447219965, £5.99

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam, Tracey Corderoy and Steve Lenton,Nosy Crow, 978-0857631466, £6.99 Fizzlebert Stump by A.F. Harrold, Bloomsbury, 978-1408830031, £5.99 Itch Rocks, Simon Mayo, Corgi, 978-0552565516, £6.99

Genie in Training, Ciaran Murtagh, Piccadilly Press, 978-1848122260, £5.99

Chorleywood Bookshop, 4 New Parade, Chorleywood, WD3 5NJ. Tel: 01923 283566

Books for Keeps No.206 May 2014 13

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