Bath Festivals and the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell go global with the launch of the free online Reading is Magic Festival – September 2020

Bath Festivals has announced the launch of the Reading is Magic Festival for young people, bringing together UK and international festivals to create and deliver a free, inclusive and engaging digital schools and family programme. This follows Bath Festival being forced to announce the cancellation of the events planned for this Autumn, and have instead organised twenty five events over a six day period that will be available online and free to all.

The festival has been inspired by Cressida Cowell’s key message as the current Waterstones Children’s Laureate: “reading is magic, and magic is for everyone”. The award-winning children’s author and creator of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once book series said, “Books have a transformative magic in their unique ability to develop three key magical powers; intelligence, creativity and empathy.” 

In association with Cressida, the festival will set a daily theme drawing on specific points from her Waterstones Children’s Laureate Charter , declaring that ‘every child has the right to…’ 

• Be creative for at least 15 minutes a week 

• Have a planet to read on 

• See themselves reflected in a book 

• Have advice from a trained librarian or bookseller.

Promoting creativity and connection through stories and shared experiences, and creating content for children and young people in primary and secondary schools, the virtual doors to this online book festival will open on Sunday 27th September with a special public event curated by Borders Book Festival with a week-long schedule of daily events following on – with Cressida joined by an all-star line-up of leading authors and illustrators. 

The following Authors and Illustrators are contributing (more to be announced) –

  • Cressida Cowell
  • Dapo Adeola & Nathan Byron
  • Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet
  • Jasbinder Bilan
  • Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Sophy Henn
  • Steve Lenton
  • Steven Butler
  • Joseph Coelho

Featuring a collaboration of the following Festivals –

Schools can incorporate the events into a learning programme, to be viewed either at point of broadcast or as on demand afterwards. Online materials and resources will support each event with book buying opportunities promoted via local independent bookshops. Fun Kids Radio is a festival media partner and will be interviewing authors and running competitions in the run up to the festival.

I was delighted when Bath Festivals suggested the Reading is Magic Festival in partnership with a network of other festivals, based on some of the themes in my Waterstones Children’s Laureate Charter – the giant ‘to do list’ I announced on my appointment as Children’s Laureate. Research shows that reading for the joy of it has powerful, measurable real-life benefits that can transform lives. This ‘magic’ ought to be available to everyone which is why the work literature festivals do with their local school communities to inspire a love of reading is so important. I am excited that the wonderful virtual programme of events in the Reading is Magic Festival will be available, for free, to schools up and down the country and internationally, so that young people, whether at home or in their classroom bubbles can experience the magic of books and reading.” – Cressida Cowell, Waterstones Children ’s Laureate 2019 – 2022

For more information visit the website here.

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