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Festive fun for families: ‘The Owl Who Came for Christmas’

01 Feb 2023

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This year, we partnered with Macmillan Children’s Books to provide four days of festive literary treats for parents, carers and their babies and children, aged 0 to 5. Our Christmas-themed activities were centred around the magical story ‘The Owl Who Came for Christmas’, written by John Hay, illustrated by Garry Parsons and published by Macmillan Children’s Books.

‘The Owl Who Came for Christmas’ tells the heart-warming tale of Rosie the Screech Owl who quite literally came for Christmas. The story follows Rosie’s journey of being captured in her tree that is unexpectedly chopped down, whilst taking a snooze – then discovering that her tree has actually become a Christmas tree that belongs to a family! Luckily, this family love owls – and Rosie is a very welcome and special visitor.

As part of our four video sessions, we had a reading of the story and some creative owl-themed activities, where families could have a go at creating their very own owls together. We were also lucky enough to have author John Hay share with our audiences the story behind his wonderful book idea, as well as illustrator Garry Parsons complete a wonderful drawing session with families, that they could ‘draw along’ to. These videos were all viewed by audiences of parents, carers and children aged 0 to 5 on National Literacy Trust social media channels.

These Christmas activities form part of the Start for Life campaign, a campaign led by the National Literacy Trust, funded by the Department for Education. The campaign works across 12 areas of the country to help parents and carers of children aged 0 to 5 in their home learning environment and provide practical support to parents and carers to support their children’s literacy development through chat, play and read activities.

National Literacy Trust Early Years team is delighted with the feedback and figures as a result of this year’s Christmas project. The videos reached just under 18,000 families across the country and achieved over 250 likes and shares on Facebook!

We would like to say a big thank you to John Hay and Garry Parsons and our colleagues, who filmed the festive videos and to Macmillan Children’s Books for giving us permission to use the book as part of the activities, and finally to all the families who joined the festive fun!

This has been such a lovely project with such wonderful feedback that we have created some more owl-based activities for families.

Explore our owl-based activities for families on Words for Life
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