WATCH: Kids play it by book at pop-up festival

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A FESTIVAL themed on books for children popped up in Sunderland over the weekend.

Hundreds of youngsters visited the Gala Day Pop-up Festival held in the library in Fawcett Street, and in the nearby Museum and Winter Gardens.

STORY TIME: Emma Enchanted with Tilly Cook, age five, of Silksworth.

STORY TIME: Emma Enchanted with Tilly Cook, age five, of Silksworth.

Story telling was a big part of the festival with sessions in side rooms in both buildings.

Fourteen children’s writers and illustrators held workshops during the day.

Youngsters - and the not so young - were able to try their hand at a range of activities including making a book, drawing a book character, decorating a T-shirt, and creating an animated film.

Others who wanted to get creative could try calligraphy in the style of the Lindisfarne Gospels or contribute to a doodle wall.

Mr Doom and Mrs Bloom livened things up with stories using puppetry, live music and song, while Emma Enchanted could be found spreading her own brand of fairytale magic.

People could have their photo taken with Alice in Wonderland and see if they could spot the Mad Hatter and other characters from the book out and about around town.

Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, said: “There’s nothing like getting into a good book to whisk you away to another world.

“We can all remember our favourite books from when we were young, and there’s something very special about being able to pass on that joy of reading to our children.

“We are really pleased with the enthusiasm we have had for the Gala Day.

“Many of the sessions were fully booked, so it seems to have caught people’s enthusiasm really well.

The day in Sunderland marked the finale of the two-week Northern Children’s Book Festival which has been held annually since 1983, and is now the largest free annual reading celebration for young people in Europe..

Around 13,000 children are estimated to take part in the various events around the region.