Books for curious young minds

BATH Children’s Literature Festival, from Friday 24th September to Sunday 3rd October, is bringing a stellar line-up of favourite and new writers to the city, including Cressida Cowell, Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, Sophie Dahl, Chris Smith and Greg James, Jasbinder Bilan, Stephen and Anita Mangan,  Adam Kay and Joe Wicks – plus workshops, activities and story time.

There’s something for everyone to do at this year;s festival, which brings a host of writers and illustrators to the city for live, interactive events for young people of all ages.

Irish comedian David O’Doherty will make a welcome return to the festival with his new novel, The Summer I Robbed a Bank.

Actor Stephen Mangan has teamed up with his illustrator sister Anita Mangan to create a fast-paced action novel for nine to 12-year-old readers. Escape the Rooms is described as “where The Crystal Maze meets Alice in Wonderland.”

Illustrators Steven Lenton (Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam series) and Dapo Adeola (Look Up! and Clean Up!) bring their new characters and drawings to Bath (Dapo has illustrated a new picture book by Malorie Blackman), while #DrawWithRob internet sensation Rob Biddulph will lead a draw-along event for all the family inspired by his action-packed book Monster Madness and new middle grade adventure Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City.

Joining the festival for the first time are sporting stars from Bath Rugby, bringing their energy and know-how to a fact-packed, fast-paced sporty event based on the book Rampaging Rugby – perfect for a rugby-loving city.

Also for active kids is the nation’s favourite PE teacher and global fitness phenomenon Joe Wicks, the man who got so many families through the domestic incarceration of lockdown. His creations The Burpee Bears will spring to life through Joe’s own go-getting attitude. Be prepared to let off some steam with Joe!

Silliness and fun abound with the latest adventures of Supertato – Supertato: Night of the Living Veg brought to us by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, while Kristina Stephenson’s The Museum of Marvellous Things is an inter-active theatrical show that will be enjoyed by children and their grown-ups too.

Ian Stockley, CEO of Bath Festivals says: “Our aim, as always, is to entertain and enrich curious young minds. It will also be interesting to be part of stimulating conversations around issues important to young adults.”

The festival reflects the interests and concerns of young people. Rashmi Sirdeshpande is a lawyer turned children’s writer who addresses the anxieties that children may have about the world in Good News: Why the World is Not as Bad as You Think, giving tips and advice on how to seek out positive facts and how to spot fake news. Naturalist, environmentalist and race activist Dr Mya-Rose Craig aka Birdgirl will be talking about Dream to Reality: Protecting the Planet, exploring how we can support the young people of colour demanding change to protect the world for the future.

Stuart Lawrence, the younger brother of Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack at the age of 18 in 1993, is an educator and motivational speaker, who aims to help young people harness the good in themselves and in the world around them.

Parents introducing their children to live book events will be delighted to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar story time and craft, while older children and young adults can listen to a groundbreaking playlist with a twist, exploring the History of Modern Black Britain in 28 Songs with teacher and music enthusiast Jeffrey Boakye.

A new venue this year is Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute in Queen Square, which is hosting drop-in sessions on Saturday 2nd October, giving young paleontologists an opportunity to explore items from the institute’s globally renowned collections. Their Digital Discovery Trail will be running all week!

To book or for more information visit

Pictured: Mya-Rose Craig, Joe Wicks, and Sue and Paul.