CONTACT KNOWHOW The World of Children’s Books

Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books, Newcastle
How do you get into the mind of a child for your writing? KnowHow editor, Eleanor Pender, explores museums, arts centres and event spaces across the UK that are there to help us with exactly that.

As writers for young people, we are always looking for ways into a child’s world. Using our own memories, reliving experiences, there are many questions we ask as writers. How does a 10-year-old boy react when his dog goes missing? How does a teenage girl feel about her little sister?

A few years ago, I came across an exhibition called 26 Children's Winters, run by writing collective 26. 26 writers had been selected and allocated an item in a special exhibition in Edinburgh's Museum of Childhood. They would write a piece about, inspired by or relating to this item.

 This approach has never quite left me, the idea of imagining the journey of an antique sledge, the children who played with it, who loved it or left it behind as they grew up. I found the idea of seeing the world through items helped see the world through the eyes of those who had used them. 

With this in mind, KnowHow has an idea for you. Head out and explore the world of children and children’s books by visiting these helpful organisations in cities across the UK.

Story Museum, Oxford 
Rochester House, 42 Pembroke Street, Oxford OX1 1BP 

Head to the Story Museum in Oxford and discover a venue that celebrates the story in all forms through immersive exhibitions, events and outreach work. With some spaces currently in a period of redevelopment and building work, events are running in and around the city. Be sure to pop by in spring 2020 when new spaces will be unveiled, with magical names like a Whispering Wood and an Enchanted Library.

Seven Stories, Newcastle 
30 Lime St, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2PQ

Seven Stories, also called The National Centre for Children's Books, is a museum and visitor centre with an impressive archive holding writing, letters and more from household names in children’s writing. Visitors can read Michael Morpurgo’s entire archive, background notes by David Almond, draft material Beverly Naidoo, short stories by Enid Blyton and much more. The centre also runs a jam-packed year-round events programme with exhibitions, workshops, books signings and more.

Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh 
43-45 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1SR 

Celebrating storytelling in the heart of Scotland, Edinburgh’s Scottish Storytelling Centre shares a love of story through performance, education, experience and more. A traditional artform, the history of storytelling is celebrated with a colourful and engaging events programme for all ages, from ceilidhs to theatre, poetry to puppets. Pop in to the café the next time you wander down the Scottish capital’s Royal Mile.

Main image credit: By Andrew Curtis

Based in Bristol, Eleanor lectures in digital communications and chairs YA and middle grade events at festivals including Bath Children's Literature Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, and YALC. She is currently working on a young adult fantasy novel.


Do you have any helpful organisations or centres dedicated to children in your area? Tell KnowHow! Email our KnowHow editor, Eleanor at

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