We’re all really looking forward to the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year after catching some great shows last year! We’re going to bring you an array of reviews through August, but thought that we’d just highlight a few of our favourites ahead of the festivities:

Kate writes…

From the perspective of a mum of wee-er ones, my top picks are all shows badged as being suitable for age 3-6.

1. I really like the look of Sophy Henn: Super Duper Unique You and would love to celebrate the varied and wonderful things that make each of us unique in a ‘joyful hour of colour and creativity’.

2. Morag Hood: Adorable Aardvarks also looks like great fun. Morag is an Edinburgh local and award winning children’s author and illustrator. This show incorporates a story from Brenda the sheep as well as the tale of Aalfred and Aalbert, an aadorable romance between two aardvarks.

3. Pippa Goodhart’s classic book You Choose is a firm favourite in our house and we are hoping to catch at least one of her events over the book festival. Pippa Goodhart: Sharing’s Caring is aimed at a young audience and introduces a new picture book, Fair Shares. It’s about hare, bear, pears and chairs. Join in the rhymes if you dare…

4. As well as the ticketed events there are loads of free drop in activities, often crafts and stories, suitable for children of all ages. The Book Festival website has a really useful FAQ section on attending with kids (for example, you can request a free baby ticket for children under 2 for most events) and there’s a great Family Day Out page on there too.

Whatever age your children are the Book Festival is a superb opportunity to immerse them in stories and get them excited about authors and their books. We look forward to seeing you there.

Laura writes…

1. Alexander McCall Smith has long been one of my favourite authors, so I was delighted to introduce his books to my kids now that they can appreciate a longer story. I went to a book reading of his years ago and had the most delightful afternoon so his Climb Aboard with illustrator Iain McIntosh is a must for my gang.

2. One event that caught my eye immediately was Dragons and Wizards with Cressida Cowell – her How To Train Your Dragon series was a huge hit with my eldest, so I can imagine we’ll not be disappointed with her latest adventure!

3. As Blue Peter’s longest serving presenter, Konnie Huq IS still Blue Peter to me – so I was really excited to spot that she’s written her own book, Cookie, about a British-Bangladeshi girl who dreams of being a scientist. Silly Science promises to be ‘Filled with madcap humour and sensational science’ – I think this is just the ticket for any kid 8+!

Caroline writes…

Teaching yoga to children has highlighted to me the need for mental health awareness for young people.  I keep hearing about children suffering from anxiety, teens who have trouble sleeping, others battling with bullying online and face to face at school. This is just a snap shot of what children are dealing with today, and coupled with the brain development they go through during adolescence, any support we can offer them will help them navigate these challenging years. With all this in mind I spent some time reading through the Book Festival programme, and here are my highlights with health & wellbeing in mind.

1. Emma Shoard & Lara Williamson: Handling Anxieties: A discussion on their books and how they have used words and images to explore young people’s anxieties

2. Yasmin Rahman: The Power of Friendship: Poignant discussion around lifesaving friendships

3. John Boyne: Transitions: Discussing his book and its theme of transgender teens.

4. Juno Dawson: The Dark Side of Glamour: Discussion on the #metoo movement in relation to modelling the theme of her book

5. Change The World with Robert Muchamore: Exploring his book about two teenagers from very different lives both determined to change the world

6. Elizabeth Acevedo & Dean Atta: Speaking Up: Two verse novels about identity and self-acceptance

7. Keep On Reading: Discussion on encouraging children to keep reading once they move into adolescence and other things take precedence

8. Making Connections with Brian Conaghan & Lisa Williamson: The authors will be talking about grief, resilience and hope in relation to their novels.

9. Anthony McGowan and Alex Wheatle: Tough Teens: Authors of gritty stories about teenagers growing up in tough urban worlds.

10. Pete Etchells (adult programme): Game On: discussing how video games can be of great benefit to individuals relaying his personal experience through the loss of his father.

I hope that this has shown that there really is something for everyone at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Hopefully see you there – it’s probably obvious but we’re totally book geeking out here! Tickets go on sale TODAY – 25th June 2019!

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