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NEWS: Reading is Magic Festival Events

Reading is Magic Festival is returning in October and we’re highlighting some of its top free events for schools – including free digital author workshops with David Almond and Cressida Cowell. Find out more about how to join in with the exciting festival program, because “reading is magic, and magic is for everyone”…
reading is magic festival 2023


reading is magic festival 2023

Get Ready to Be Spellbound: The Return of the Reading is Magic Festival in October!

The Reading is Magic Festival is making its return this October and it promises enchanting online author events for readers of all ages.

With the participation of renowned children’s authors, illustrators, and poets, this five-day extravaganza will be brought directly to schools and households around the world, igniting a passion for the written word.

Free Digital Author Events

BooksForTopics is delighted to be an official Festival Ambassador this year. The Festival remains completely free and entirely online so children and schools across the UK and globally can benefit from a world-class line-up of best-selling writers, poets and illustrators – picking out the most suitable digital events from an exciting line-up that includes Joseph Coelho, Harry Woodgate, David Almond, Benjamin Zephaniah, and, of course, the enchanting Cressida Cowell herself, among many others.

The inspiration behind this captivating event stems from the profound message of Cressida Cowell, the Waterstones Children’s Laureate from 2019 to 2022, who famously declared, “Reading is magic, and magic is for everyone.” Cressida Cowell, whose award-winning series like “How to Train Your Dragon” and “The Wizards of Once,” is taking centre stage at the festival.

Schools and families can access the programme for free at Events will last between 15 and 30 minutes and will be broadcast on a schools-friendly platform – perfect for beaming into classrooms, assemblies or library lessons. Even better – schools can view events live in UK time or on-demand afterwards. Online materials and resources will support each event and book-buying opportunities will be signposted. 


The Events

The festival schedule can be viewed on the Reading is Magic website. Below are some highlights that we think schools in the BooksForTopics network will love, including an exciting Skellig event with David Almond:

Monday 2nd October

● 9:30am: Join Cressida Cowell for a very special anniversary event as we ask her 20 questions for 20 years of How to Train your Dragon

● 10:30am: James and Lucy Catchpole introduce their picture book You’re So Amazing! a brand new story featuring Joe, who has one leg. You’re So Amazing! offers a funny, warm and informative take on abled responses to disability.

Tuesday 3rd October

● 11:30am: Join Belgian author Tom Schamp for an interactive workshop inspired by his non fiction picture book Wheels, The Big Book of Vehicles

Wednesday 4th October

● 10:30am: Join Adrien Prize founder Elle McNicoll, inaugural Prize winner Aisha Bushby, and shortlisted authors Lisette Auten and Cerrie Burnell for a discussion about authentic disability representation in children’s literature

Thursday 5th October

● 9:30am: Join multi-award-winning author David Almond and acclaimed artist & illustrator Tom de Freston for a very special event celebrating 25 years of Skellig with a special illustrated edition.

Friday 6th October

● 9:30am: Steve Lenton & Tracey Corderoy celebrate 10 years of Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam with fur-bulous interactive storytelling and paw-some live illustration.

● 10:30am: Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho is joined by brilliant new talent J.T. Williams to present Bookmaker Like You celebrating the extraordinary variety of new and exciting talent we have in the UK and showing every child that they too can be a bookmaker.


Watch the Festival Trailer

There’s plenty more – watch the trailer below or see the full schedule here.


To view the books highlighted by the festival, visit our Reading is Magic booklist.

For the complete programme and to sign up for the Reading is Magic Festival newsletter visit 



Where next?

booksfortopics website> Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub.

> Browse our Topic Booklists.

> See our Books of the Month.

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