If the thought of a rainy half term and the need for indoor entertainment for the kids fills you with dread, head along to one of these venues on Saturday. They're all giving children a chance to pick up a new book or two for free, just in time for half term.
Over 35 venues across the city are taking part in the London Children's Book Swap. Children can donate an old book that they've finished with, and then take home a new one.
The event is now in its fourth year — with last year's seeing over 2000 books swap hands across London, making for happy little readers, and even happier parents. It encourages children to discover new stories whilst sharing their favourite authors and illustrators with others — and best of all, it doesn't cost a penny.
Plenty of the venues taking part have other activities going on alongside the book swap:
- Barking Learning Centre offers crafts and face painting, plus a visit from Walker Bear of Walker's Children's books.
- Hackney Picturehouse runs bookmark and badge making sessions, as well as quizzes and other games
- Jackson's Lane in Highgate offers free storytelling sessions with readings from authors Lissa Evans and Celia Purcell.
- House of Illustration at King's Cross — which last year held an exhibition of work by children's book author Quentin Blake — runs illustrator led workshops for families.
- Southbank Centre combines the book swap with a children's clothes swap in a day of double parent-pleasing.
- The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green has crafts people from London Centre for Book Arts on hand to let you make a book that you can take home.
If you're busy this Saturday, but fancy giving your kids' bookshelves a spring clean anyway, plenty of venues are accepting advance donations of books. See individual websites for details.