14 July 2015

7 (and a half) Reasons To Take a Child to Edinburgh Book Festival 2015

I love Edinburgh. But I love it the most in August. (Sorry September to July Edinburgh, it's not your fault. It's just that in August you treat us all so blooming well, and this year looks to be no exception...) When the Festival and Fringe descend in all their crazy, noisy, spectacular glory I will seek refuge in Charlotte Square for as many of the 17 days of the Edinburgh International Book Festival as I can.

During the festivals of 2012 and 2013 I was an employee of EIBF, selling books in the Children's BookShop - easily one of the best summer jobs I have ever had. Despite no longer working there, I have poured over this year's 'Baillie Gifford Children's Programme' with as much care and attention as I did when my job depended on it. Having compiled an extensive list of events I am very excited about, I have whittled this list down to 7 of my favourites. All that's left is to borrow my sister's children and get us tickets while there are still some left!

1: Jacqueline Wilson, 1.30pm Sunday 16th (Age 9-12) £4.50
I have loved Jacqueline Wilson's books since the age of 9 when I became obsessed with Double Act (and the notion that somewhere out there I might have a long lost identical twin). She has written over 100 novels and is an inspiring and engaging speaker.
2: Are You Sitting Comfortably?, 10am Monday 17th (All Ages) FREE
Vivian French takes this session. I'm sure I don't need to say more, but if there is a young child (or adult for that matter) who hasn't yet experienced storytelling, poems and songs from this amazing author, then they are truly missing out. 
3: Debi Gliori's Big Draw,  11am Saturday 22nd (All Ages) FREE
This year's Illustrator In Residence is Debi Gliori. Her latest books feature 'Alfie', who joins the many loveable characters Debi has created over the past 25 years. Today she invites children of all ages to decorate Antarctica with penguins, seals and other creatures. I'm THERE.
4: Nick Sharratt, 1.30pm Saturday 22nd (Ages 4-7) £4.50
Remember when I said I loved Jacqueline Wilson books? Well this love can largely be attributed to the colourful, bold illustrations of Nick Sharratt. In this event he will tell the audience about his latest book through drawing, playing, and generally be a genius.
5: To the Moon and Back with Petr Horacek, 3.30pm Thursday 27th (ages 4-7) £4.50
When I was studying at ECA we were lucky to have visiting illustrators talk to us about their careers and show their work. Petr's memorable visit had us all totally enthralled. He is a very entertaining storyteller, and his sketchbooks and picture books are full of hilarious images and characters. 
6: Alex T Smith's Animal Obstacles, 2.15pm Friday 28th (Ages 3-6) £4.50
Okay, so I am slightly biased when it comes to fairytales (and humerous re-tellings of), but I promise this isn't why this event has made my list. Alex T Smiths's illustrations are not only engaging and communicative, but they are also BEAUTIFUL. Oh, and he is also brilliant on Instagram and Twitter. Follow.
7: Illuminating the Art of illustration, 10.30am Sunday 30th (Age 14+) £7/£5
I wish I had attended this event as a 14 year old. Actually, at any age it's going to be brilliant.  Three of the most talented illustrators currently working in the picture book industry - Chris Haughton, Oliver Jeffers and Chris Riddell - in conversation about their work and careers.

(And here's the half)
Seeing as you are already there...I'm doing an event on site on Sunday 30th. Yup! It isn't in the programme but I will be there, with my giant illustrated map of Edinburgh and plenty of pens. It's free, and the map is really rather big, so come along from 11am-1pm and help me colour in and doodle all over it! 

In the meantime, here is a picture of what my desk looked like shortly after I found out this was going to happen: