FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY – New adventure sets sail in Liverpool’s Calderstones Park

To celebrate the start of the school summer holidays, and fresh from the success of their last two seasons, The Storybarn’s Storyhunters are setting sail on a brand-new adventure in Liverpool’s Calderstones Park.

Part-storytelling experience, part-interactive theatre show, The Storyhunters – All At Sea is a brand-new indoor / outdoor adventure from The Reader’s Storybarn, the team that brought Michael Rosen’s Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake & Bad Things to the North West earlier this year.

As one recent visitor said, it’s “a fantastic day out, [I went] with two friends on Saturday and our six children! The children had a brilliant time and it was made more magical by the wonderful engaging staff! A truly wonderful day out, not one to be missed.”

Beginning this Saturday, July 22, and running until Sunday, September 10, Storyhunters – All At Sea sessions are specially developed for children aged three to eight and their families. Including a mix of stories, songs and crafting activities, voyages begin in The Storybarn and venture out across the park on the hunt for The Story Captain’s Story Clues. Discover stories of all shapes and sizes including Edward Leer’s The Owl and The Pussycat, Quentin Blake’s The Green Ship and Marcus Pfister’s The Rainbow Fish.

The Story Captain said: “YO HO HO! Avast ye landlubbers, me tales have gone missing, the seadog storyhunting crew need yer help to follow the story clues and find them before they end up in Davy Jones’ locker. So batten down the hatches and join in the adventure in Calderstones Park.”

Tickets for The Storyhunters – All At Sea are only £4 per person and are available online now or in-person at The Reader Ice Cream Parlour.

Around the World in 80 Days with Off the Ground Theatre

Around the world in 80 days with off the ground theatre

Off The Ground Theatre bring their adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days to Calderstones Park on July 27 but before the curtains open on the performance, the team are holding two special workshops inspired by the play at The Storybarn.

On July 15, families will have two opportunities to take part in the action and meet the cast in a special workshop full of fun, silliness and adventure.

Tickets are free but only a limited number are available so book now to avoid disappointment!

saturday 15 july, 10:00 – 11:15am

saturday 15 july, 12:00 – 1.15pm



The Short Story Prize 2017: Could you recreate a classic fairy tale?

Our friends at National Literacy Trust have teamed up with Bloomsbury Publishing (J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Louis Sachar) to search for aspiring children’s writers.

The Short Story Prize 2017 is calling on budding children’s fiction writers to recreate a classic fairy tale – with the chance of having their work published!

The competition challenges unpublished authors to put a modern twist on a well-known fairy tale that will capture children’s imaginations.

Entries should be between 2,000 and 4,000 words and the writing should be aimed at children aged 8 – 12.

The top 10 stories will be published in an eBook anthology by Bloomsbury and each winner will receive £200.

Emma Cox, winner of the New Children’s Author Prize 2015 said:

“This is a magical opportunity to grasp with both hands – how fabulous to write a twisted, wicked modern take on a fairy tale…. I’d say don’t doubt yourself: enter this competition. Have faith in the talent that you have, throw in a bit of luck, some powerful magic and support the wonderful work of the National Literacy Trust. Set yourself achievable targets, start scribbling ideas down now, carry your story in your head wherever you go … it’s a wonderful experience, and if you’re one of the 10 winning writers you will have created your own happy ever after. Just think of that.”

The competition closes on June 25. For full details on how to enter visit National Literacy Trust.


More dates added to The Storyhunters!

More dates added to the storyhunters at The Storybarn (and we’re open bank holiday monday!)


Hilda Von Schmunter, Expert Storyhunter here.

My Storyhunter team and I have been super busy here at The Storybarn over the past few weeks. We’ve met so many fantastic new Storyhunters! And my goodness there are so many wonderful stories to be found here in the magical surroundings of Calderstones Park. I’ve included some footage of our storytelling adventures so far…

But we’re not done yet! We’ve decided that there must be oodles and oddles more stories out there to be hunted down and certainly more families who will make excellent Storyhunters. So we’ve decided to stay a little longer so we can continue our storytelling adventures and share our expert story-hunting techniques with The Storyhunters of tomorrow!

Over and out!

Due to the popularity of The storyhunters experience at The Storybarn, we’re delighted to announce new dates have been added, including bank holiday monday.


The Storybarn presents The Storyhunters!


Following Storm Doris damage The Reader’s Storybarn announces new interactive family experience

Last month The Reader was devastated to confirm that the damage Storm Doris inflicted on Michael Rosen’s Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake & Bad Things exhibition at Liverpool ONE was too extensive to allow the experience to continue.

Today, the team are thrilled to announce that The Storyhunters, a new family adventure is set to launch in time for the Easter School Holidays.

Part interactive theatre show, part literature-based experience, families will become Storyhunters as they set off on an indoor / outdoor storytelling adventure in the heart of Liverpool’s Calderstones Park.

Beginning on Friday 7 April , these sessions are specially developed for children aged two to eight and their families. Sessions, which include a mix of stories, songs and crafting activities, will begin in The Storybarn but will also see families setting out across the park on the hunt for the “story clues”.

Jane Davis, The Reader’s founder and director said:

“We want to say a huge thank you everyone who got in touch following the devastation Doris caused. We received hundreds of messages of support from people across the Liverpool City Region and beyond and a number of generous donations including one from a Reader in New York! We are thrilled to be able to offer an alternative literature-based event at our headquarters in Calderstones – we can’t wait to see families become The Storyhunters!

“It’s been a busy week for The Reader, we announced our plans to refurbish and transform Calderstones Mansion House into The International Centre for Shared Reading and The Storybarn is key to the project’s ambitions. Over the last year we welcomed more than 16,500 people through our big barn doors – kick-starting a life-long love of reading for pleasure for little readers and future leaders.”

The Storybarn presents

The Storyhunters

An Interactive Family Adventure

Tickets £4 per person, Spring Stories start Friday 7 April.

Sessions take place weekly on Friday – Sunday (Tuesday – Sunday during school holidays).

Session times, details and tickets available on The Storyhunters page.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea at The Storybarn

the tiger who came to tea weekend

saturday 18 – sunday 19 March

Tiger 1

To celebrate the Olivier Award nominated production of The Tiger Who Came to Tea taking to the Liverpool Epstein stage on March 30, we’re having our own Tiger tea-party at The Storybarn this weekend. And we’ll be giving away a Family Ticket for four people to go and see the show at The Epstein on Saturday 1 April.

Join us this weekend for tea and tigers and get crafty with us for the chance to win a visit to the theatre.


Tiger 2

*Please note that the Family Tickets covers four people. Tickets are for the 2pm showing on Saturday 1 April and are non-transferable and non-refundable.


Top Ten for World Book Day!

Happy World Book Day! We’ve spent the morning reading some of our favourites so we thought we’d share them, perhaps you know some of them already?

IMG_20170302_105334_999Sam & Dave Dig A Hole

Mac Barnett

Sam and Dave go on a mission to find something very important. So they start digging… and they dig… and they dig.. but what will they find?


IMG_20170302_105934_469mr tiger goes wild

Peter Brown

Mr Tiger is bored of being sensible. He’s bored of tea parties and top hats and talking about the weather. Mr Tiger wants to go wild!

But what about Mr Tiger’s friends? Will they stay sensible or will they go wild?



IMG_20170302_110148_705We’re going on a bear hunt

Michael Rosen

Never mind Storm Doris! We can go on a bear hunt whenever we want! We’re going to catch a big one! What a beautiful day!


IMG_20170302_110410_519don’t let the pigeon drive the bus

Mo Willems

Of course you shouldn’t let the pigeon drive the bus! Everybody knows that! But boy oh boy is that pigeon going to try!


IMG_20170302_110249_155a bear called paddington

Michael Bond

A classic read for older bookworms, Paddington has become a household name, but do you know the story of how he first came to be found in a London train station?

This is not my hat

Jon Klassen

The great hat saga continues from I Want My Hat Back. Fin d out what happens to the tiny fish in the little blue hat when he meets the enormous fish who won’t wake up.

we found a hatIMG_20170302_110514_657

Jon Klassen

And it doesn’t stop there! In the latest hat kerfuffle two turtles find a mysterious hat. It looks good on both of them, but who gets to keep it?



IMG_20170302_110545_533penguin in peril

Helen Hancocks

Three cats are very hungry, they want some fish, so naturally, they steal a penguin to catch some for them. How will the penguin escape? And what will happen to the hungry cats?



IMG_20170302_110101_585The day the crayons came home

Drew Daywalt

The crayons need to be rescued! They’ve been trapped down the side of the sofa, sat on by dad and even melted into one of Duncan’s socks. How on earth will they be saved?

IMG_i6k6dpA little, aloud for children


We might be a bit biased but we LOVE this anthology. Published by The ReaderA Little, Aloud For Children is designed to be read aloud so families can enjoy storytime together. With lots of stories and poems to choose from, there’s something for everybody with favourites from authors such as David Almond, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Shaun Tan and Neil Gaiman, Joan Aiken , Roald Dahl and E. Nesbit, as well as bite-size snippets from Shakespeare, Kipling and Dickens.

You can order a copy of A Little, Aloud For Children on The Reader website.

You can enjoy all these stories and more at our exciting storytime sessions at The Storybarn where we bring books to life and create masterpiece crafts, enjoy imaginative games and whizz down our giant slide!

book now

See all our favourites in our World Book Day gallery:

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Storm Doris – She huffed, she puffed, she blew our house down


Following storm damage, The Reader have released the following statement regarding Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake & Bad Things.

Yesterday was one of the hardest days we’ve ever had at The Reader. As you will have seen on the news, Storm Doris caused significant damage across the Liverpool City Region; at one point the Liverpool Echo reported winds of 100mph at the Port of Liverpool. We are devastated to have to confirm that Michael Rosen’s Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake & Bad Things, our pop up experience on Liverpool ONE’s Thomas Steers Way, was damaged beyond repair.

storm-doris-damage-at-bear-huntThe Reader is a charity. Our mission is to get great literature into the hands of people who need it. Research from UNESCO shows that “reading for pleasure is the single most important thing that will make a child successful in life”. That’s why, bringing Bear Hunt to the heart of Liverpool’s community was such an important project for us and our event partners, Discover Children’s Story Centre, Arriva, Liverpool ONE, Radio City and Waterstones.

Jane Davis, The Reader’s founder and director said: “Everyone was so excited by the big white bubble tent. We were so proud of bringing reading to the heart of Liverpool City Centre. Thankfully no-one was present in the exhibition when the damage was sustained. The team is currently in the process of contacting customers with tickets who are affected and we are taking some time to assess the options available to us.

Thank you to the 4257 parents and children who have come through the doors and all the schools who visited from across the region. The Reader are so proud to have brought this wonderful thing to thousands of children from across the region, but utterly devastated that thousands more are going to be disappointed. Thank you for all the messages of support. We encourage families to please do your own bear hunt at home or come and see us at The Storybarn. And for those individuals and businesses who want to donate or help, thank you.

Through The Reader’s Shared Reading groups, we know that connecting to literature and to each other, helps us cope with difficult life experiences like this. As George Herbert puts it in The Flower:

Grief melts away Like snow in May. As if there were no such cold thing.”

Profits from the event were due to support The Reader’s Shared Reading groups and The Storybarn, our children’s literature centre in Calderstones Park. The financial implications for the charity are significant – The Reader has already spent £55,000 to set up the event, as well as staff costs, and now faces the financial hit of the loss of ticket sales.

If you would like to help:

1) Make a donation to The Reader. Every penny counts, particularly at a time like this. Find out more on our website.

2) Bring your family to The Storybarn. The spirit of Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake & Bad Things continues in our children’s literature centre in the heart of Liverpool’s Calderstones Park. Find out more at

3) If your business or organisation is inspired by our work and can help, please get in touch. Email

If you have booked tickets please bear with us, we will be in touch with each customer individually, as soon as possible. If you have any specific queries please email and a member of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.


March in The Storybarn

There’s lots of fun and games to be had in The Storybarn this month. Find out what’s happening each weekend of March:



A bear who’s lost his hat, a crocodile who doesn’t like water, and one very hungry little caterpillar…come along and meet some of our favourite creatures as we open up a treasure trove of tales all about things with tails (not to mention claws, beaks, wings and fur!) We’ll be getting creative with some critter-themed crafts, and don’t forget to dig out your mouse ears and join us in fancy dress – let’s create our very own Storybarn menagerie!

If you have a favourite cuddly toy creature who you think would enjoy a story or two, feel free to bring them along to join in the fun!

book now



Let the Storybarn cast a spell on you this weekend as we wave our magic wand and conjure up a whole host of stories – perhaps a traditional favourite will appear out of the hat, or maybe we’ll be bewitched by a lesser known tale from another culture or era.

Some may be grim (or even Grimm!), cautionary or grisly – beware the peculiar creature Baba Yaga, and don’t venture too far into the woods in search of gingerbread houses. Some may warm our hearts and sprinkle some magic – keep your eyes peeled for elves with an eye for designing beautiful shoes, and bears with a great love of porridge.

Don your fairy wings, capes and crowns and join us as we share stories and create some magical masterpieces.




Dive into a fabulous Storybarn weekend as we embark on an exciting aquatic adventure. Whether you’re a fan of pirates and mermaids, or are intrigued by the mysterious world under the ocean, you’re guaranteed to open up a treasure trove of fun at The Storybarn this weekend. Grab your net and help us to fish out some favourite watery stories and fabulously fishy crafts!




Join us for a weekend of space exploration and wild rumpuses as we step inside the pages of some truly out-this-world tales. We’ll be making our own monsters, dreaming up our own planets and maybe even going totally wild with a spot of alien dancing!

Don’t forget to come along dressed as the wildest being you can imagine, and see how many of our Storybarn monsters you can spot!




Join us for a weekend full of foody themed fun! We’ll be meeting one very hungry little caterpillar, puzzling over whether we’d like ketchup on our cornflakes, and licking our lips with joy as we share a gorgeously gooey poem all about chocolate cake. We’ll be cooking up a crafting storm getting busy decorating our very own collage cupcakes, as well as a whole host of other culinary-themed crafts. Pop your apron on and come and join us as we stir up a recipe for fun in The Storybarn!


Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake & Bad Things is now open!

We’re Going on a bear hunt….

Michael Rosen’s Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake & Bad Things experience is now open in Liverpool ONE. Brought to you by creators Discover Children’s Story Centre in partnership with The Storybarn, you’re invited to join us on a Bear Hunt right in the heart of Liverpool.

Find out what our first Bear Hunters made of the experience:

Book your visit now: