Reading Is Magic – and free

FREE access has been extended for events in last year’s successful Reading is Magic Festival, organised by Bath Children’s Literature Festival. The autumn event, featuring a line-up of top children and young adults’ writers and illustrators, reached more than 155,000 children in 30 countries.

Festival organisers, who realised that they weren’t able to put on a live festival, invited the writers to film themselves, creating a variety of events, from simple storytelling to heartfelt monologues sharing their own experiences.

The initial plan was to start recouping some of the costs to arts charity Bath Festivals by charging a modest sum to view the 25 events from 1st January 2021. But in light of the current social restrictions, partial school closures and return to home schooling for thousands of young people, it was decided to extend the free access period until the end of lockdown

The free streaming service has been expanded to give home schoolers an extra helping hand for the duration of the lockdown. Enjoy free access when you sign up by using the promo code FREEMAGICBCLF at

Reading is Magic was supported by Cressida Cowell, creator of the How to Train Your Dragon series and the Waterstones UK Children’s Laureate, who also features in the festival. And each festival event is introduced by CBBC star Karim Zeroual.

Highlights of Reading is Magic include Storytime. with Kristina Stephenson, with her popular character Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and The Tale of Two Treasures; writer and illustrator Jessica Love reading her book Julian is a Mermaid, a story of a grandmother’s unconditional love; inter-active sessions with Adam Murphy, creator of Corpse Talk, and The Big Draw Off illustrators Steve Lenton and Sophy Henn; or tongue-twisters with poet Joseph Coelho.

Topics also include some of the big issues of our time:  Listen to activist, model and writer Eunice Olumide in conversation with Malizah, a young activist from Bristol about their experiences of the black curriculum in schools.

And we all need to laugh, whatever our age: For sheer giggly silliness watch Sue Hendon and Paul Linnet of Supertato and No-Bot, or dive into the world of scary dinner ladies with author Pamela Buchart who also talks about her latest book Icarus was Ridiculous.

Pictured: Cressida Cowell; school children enjoying a Big Draw Off session.