It is the classic tale of friendship, adventure and homecoming, where new ideas jostle with old comforts and a plate of hot, buttered toast soothes the weariest traveller. Above all, it’s a story that delights young and old alike, making it the ideal book to share.
This month Durham Book Festival and Durham University’s Palace Green Library will be giving away 1,000 copies of The Wind in the Willows to children and adults across the county.
Free books will be distributed at primary schools and libraries throughout October. Copies of The Wind in the Willows will also be available to borrow from County Durham libraries, while e-books can be downloaded free of charge on Kindle.
At a special book festival event at Palace Green Library on October 12, the actor and Strictly Come Dancing star Mark Benton will perform readings from the book. Mark actually played Toad in a Northern Stage Christmas show in Newcastle a few years ago.
Schools across Durham will be sharing the book in class and special family events will be held at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, and Broom House Farm, Witton Gilbert.
But the escapades of Ratty, Mole and friends aren’t just for the kids. Adult reading groups at County Durham libraries will also share the text and visitors to Durham cafes can enjoy classic literature with their cappuccinos.
The Big Read ties in with a new exhibition at Palace Green Library. It is called Books for Boys and it takes a sideways look at the First World War by exploring the classic literature of heroism, adventure, and empire which was read by those children who grew up to fight in the war.
The Wind in the Willows is just one of the books which will be on display in the exhibition (a first edition of the Kenneth Grahame classic) along Toad’s canary yellow caravan for children to play in.
Big Read events include:
A special event at Palace Green Library on October 12 (11am to 12noon) to include readings from The Wind in the Willows by Mark Benton. The ticket price (£6 and £4) includes a copy of the book.
Family fun and craft activities inspired by The Wind in the Willows at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, on October 18 (1-4pm) as part of the normal admission price.
- The Wind in the Willows Family Weekend at Broom House Farm, Witton Gilbert, including storytelling, forest trails and adult watercolour workshops. October 11 and 12 (10am to 4pm). Prices vary.
Find full details are at http://durhambookfestival.com/programme/bigread