Bournville Village

Primary School

Get in touch

Contact Details

The Book Bench Story

Bournville Junior
School Create
Their Book Bench

Year 3 and 5 work with illustrator, Jess Mikhail to join in with The Big Read this summer.


As part of the Wild in Arts 2016 Big Read, Year 3 and 5 have been meeting with Jess Mikhail, illustrator of 'Two Brothers and a Chocolate Factory - The remarkable Story of Richard and George Cadbury' to illustrate their own book - but this time in the form of a bench!

The book bench design is inspired and based on Jess Mikhail and Juliet Clare Bell's book. The design conveys the beauty and open space in Bournville - a place that Richard and George Cadbury created which significantly improved the work life and living conditions of so many people. People who live in Bournville today still enjoy the beauty and rich history around them.


Year 3 started the project by giving the bench a 'wash' of green and blue.



Then Year 3 and 5 started drawing the grass, trees and roses.


It was then time to get down to some drawing. Six pupils from year 5 were chosen by their teachers to work in the library with Jess to get some finer details done.


We looked at old photographs of Richard and George Cadbury and tried to imagine what they would have looked like and the clothes they might have worn.


Some of the group did some drawings of the Cadbury Angels who were the women and girls who worked at the factory known for their radiant, white, clean dresses.


We also had some old drawings from the Cadbury archives of the original Cadbury factory that was built in Bournville before it was knocked down and replaced by the bigger factory that we all recognise today.


The drawings were then cut out and pasted onto the bench. There was still a long way to go but it was already starting to look great!

Although the bench was created by years 3 and 5, the rest of the school all had an opportunity to take part in the creation. Jess visited all of the classes in the school and asked them to draw some pink blossom flowers and also some Daffodils - Blossom trees and Daffodils are something that Bournville has lots of and they make the area very distinct and beautiful.

The Blossom needed to be thumbnail size.


The school worked very hard to draw, colour and cut out all of the tiny flowers that they had drawn. Soon, it was time to stick them all onto the bench...


We wanted to put a quote on the front of the bench - one that would capture the Cadbury brother's vision for making a better place for their workers. We used this quote from the book...

"No man ought to be condemned to live where a rose will not grow"
- George Cadbury

We pasted this quote onto the front of the bench with the drawings of the roses surrounding it.


More trees and bushes were added...


And the front of our bench was starting to look complete!


Finally, it was time to do some artwork for the back of the bench. Everyone got the opportunity to draw their home and their family and they were pasted onto the back of the bench.

Noah from year 5 asked his grandfather, who is a professional sign maker, to make us a sign for the back of the bench. I'm sure you will agree he did a fantastic job!


The bench is now complete and is waiting to be collected by Wild in Arts. The next time we see it, it will be in Birmingham somewhere as part of the The Big Read trail!

Here are a couple of things from Wild in Arts to put in your diary:


Big Read Preview Event on 14 July

Please put Thursday 14 July, 10.30am, in your diaries! We’ll be holding an event at the Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, exclusively for Big Read schools and groups.

Arrival and refreshments provided from 10.30am and speeches will take place at 11am. Activities will be provided for the young people and guests are welcome to tour the other exhibits in the Gas Hall, including Year of Youth Arts displays, and explore the rest of the museum to find the 26 BookBenches on display.

Please note this event is for a maximum of 2 staff and 2 pupils per school and e-invitations will be sent shortly to collect RSVPs.

This event is in advance of the public launch of The Big Read trail, giving you an opportunity to preview some of the BookBenches and meet fellow Big Read participants.

The trail will officially open on 16 July at Awesome Authors and will conclude on 13 September to coincide with Roald Dahl Day, the biggest ever-global celebration of Roald Dahl's birthday.

CBBC Awesome Authors on 16 & 17 July

The Big Read trail will officially open during CBBC’s jam-packed Awesome Authors weekend at the Library of Birmingham and Centenary Square on Saturday 16 July and Sunday 17 July. A number of BookBenches will take centre stage in children’s workshops and will be on display at the event, which will also feature some of the UK’s best-loved authors including Dame Jacqueline Wilson, and some of CBBC’s biggest stars.

A Note From Jess

Dear Bournville Junior,

Thank you for inviting me to your school to work with you on your bench. I have enjoyed meeting all of you - teachers and pupils. You made me feel very welcome and the thing I like most about your school is that there is always lots of singing going on!

Congratulations on all of your hard work on the bench. It looks brilliant and I am sure that once it gets out on the trail, everyone else will agree.








Copyright © 2016 Jess Mikhail Illustrations, All rights reserved