Why a literary festival makes a great family day out

Bunting blowing in the wind


The sun is starting to shine and our preparations for taking a stall at some fabulous literary festivals and summer markets are in full swing. You may think a literary festival would be no place for kids, with lots of long lectures and intellectual discussion but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The breadth and depth of events for children at these festivals is simply stunning. Yes, there are sessions where you get to hear from favourite children’s book authors but they’re pitched perfectly for kids and are usually very interactive. There may also be opportunities to watch fantastic illustrators drawing live, which is mesmerising. Plus there are often performances, games, musical interludes, craft activities and workshops to enjoy.

So if you’re looking to spend a day, or just a few hours, doing something a bit different with your kids we’d heartily recommend you check out some of these festivals. They make books, and talking about books, fun and exciting which we’re all in favour of. Seeing authors and illustrators up close is also hugely inspirational – children see that it’s real people creating these fabulous books and might think “maybe I could do the same?”

As you can tell, we’re huge fans of literary festivals. We’re very excited to be taking a stall at the following three festivals, where we will be selling our subscriptions, running craft activities for kids and offering a range of taster packs to purchase. If you’re visiting any of these events please come and say hello, we would love to chat with you!

Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival

Set in the grounds of this historic and stunningly beautiful castle, this four-day festival is aimed at both adults and children. The events for children are concentrated on the Bank Holiday Monday (6th May) and include the chance to hear from author and illustrator duo A.F. Harrold and Emily Gravett, take part in an Aardman Animation modelling workshop, watch a performance of The Little Mermaid and get stuck in to a writing workshop for budding authors. We’re also really excited by The Big Jungle Dance Party, where illustrator Guy Parker-Rees will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Giraffes Can’t Dance with a session of storytelling, drawing and dancing! Check out the programme and book tickets here.

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival

This is the largest dedicated children’s literature festival in London, taking place on 11th and 12th May. Authors and illustrators taking part include Jim Smith, Emma Carroll, Lauren Child, Kieran Larwood, Judith Kerr, Axel Scheffler, Maz Evans and many more. There’s also a Matilda musical theatre workshop, a singing workshop inspired by The Greatest Showman and Roald Dahl & The Wurble Gobblers which explores Dahl’s fantastic words and stories. See the full programme of free and ticketed events here.

Wealdon Literary Festival

Taking place on 29th and 30th June, this festival is focused on celebrating nature through literature, arts, crafts and food. It takes place in beautiful Boldshaves Garden and entry is free for children under 14 who will be able to enjoy talks from children’s authors and illustrators, art classes, storytelling, den-building, bushcraft and foraging! Find out more and book tickets here.

Looking ahead to the Autumn we’re also keen to see the programmes for Bath Children’s Literature Festival, Guildford Book Festival, Wimbledon BookFest and Richmond Upon Thames Literature Festival.

Are you keen to supercharge your child’s love of reading but feel like you could be doing more to support them? We know that discovering, purchasing and recommending books that maintain your child’s enthusiasm for reading, helping them to reach their full potential, is time consuming. Why not let us take that off your to-do list? With a Parrot Street Book Club subscription your child receives a carefully chosen new children’s book and accompanying activity pack through the post each month. They receive a stream of varied and exciting books, whilst the book club-style questions and activities are perfect for sharing. Find out more here.


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