Children’s Book Festivals and Events

Literary festivals and events

Recommended Children’s Book Festivals and Children’s Literature Events

Children’s book festivals and events – below is a calendared list of children’s book festivals, events, social media days, weeks and months; CPD, training conference opportunities and wider movements and causes that are ideal for schools to utilise in primary and secondary-aged school in the context of promoting children’s and YA literature and opportunities for whole school literacy activities and creative writing projects.

There is a range of single-day, week-long, and themed months to help school leaders and coordinators create whole-school awareness and target particular causes each term.

Enlivening a curriculum throughout the year with gifted and talented opportunities and exit pathways is essential to promoting literacy across a school. If you would like your event or festival added to this list, do let us know.


  • Holocaust Memorial Day – Holocaust Memorial Day serves as a poignant reminder, commemorating the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, fostering reflection and understanding.
  • Hugo Young Award, detailed on the writing competition page, honours excellence in political journalism, recognizing outstanding contributions to the field.
  • Laugh Out Loud Book Awards – The Laugh Out Loud Book Awards celebrate humour in children’s literature, engaging young readers and encouraging a lifelong love of reading.
  • National Primary English Conference – The National Primary English Conference provides a platform for educators to explore innovative teaching methods and share best practices in primary English education.
  • National Storytelling Week – with lots of free resources, this high-profile week is a great opportunity to book a visiting storyteller to enthuse primary and secondary-aged children.
  • Poetry by Heart Competition – The Poetry by Heart Competition inspires students to embrace poetry, promoting memorization and performance skills in a celebration of language and expression.
  • Reading Champions Challenges – Reading Champions Challenges empower schools to cultivate a culture of reading, motivating students to become enthusiastic and proficient readers.
  • Rotary Young Writers – Rotary Young Writers is a platform for aspiring young writers to showcase their talent, encouraging creativity and literary expression.
  • Rotary Youth Speaks – Rotary Youth Speaks provides a stage for young speakers to articulate their ideas, fostering public speaking skills and intellectual discourse.
  • Spark! School Book Awards – The Spark! School Poetry Competition.
  • The Adrien Prize – The Adrien Prize recognises excellence in illustrated early fiction, promoting the value of captivating visual storytelling for young readers.
  • Winter Mini Challenge – The Winter Mini Challenge offers a seasonal literary adventure, encouraging children to explore books and maintain their reading momentum during the winter months.


  • Children’s Mental Health Week – Children’s Mental Health Week promotes awareness and understanding, providing resources for educators to address mental health in the classroom.
  • Empathy Week – Empathy Week fosters empathy skills in students, emphasizing the importance of understanding and compassion in education. Have a look at our Empathy topic book list.
  • FCBG Children’s Book Award – The FCBG Children’s Book Award recognises outstanding contributions to children’s literature, showcasing the best books for young readers.
  • Harry Potter Book Night – a great opportunity to hold after-school and library events.
  • Hugo Young Award – The Hugo Young Award honours excellence in political journalism, acknowledging impactful contributions to the field.
  • International Mother Language Day – International Mother Language Day celebrates linguistic diversity, encouraging the preservation and promotion of mother languages.
  • Imagine Festival of Children’s Literature, The Imagine Festival of Children’s Literature at South Bank immerses young readers in a literary wonderland, featuring live performances and workshops by authors, artists, and poets.
  • National Storytelling Week – National Storytelling Week captivates audiences with the power of storytelling, fostering a love for narrative expression.
  • Poetry by Heart Competition – open for entries this month.
  • Random Acts of Kindness Day – Random Acts of Kindness Day prompts schools to focus on kindness, fostering a positive and compassionate school culture. Have a look at our Kindness book list.
  • Reading Champions Challenges – continues to operate this month.
  • Stepping into Stories – The Herne Hill Kid’s Lit Festival. Including live performances and workshops by authors, artists and poets, this is an event not to be missed.
  • Waterstones Children’s Book Prize – The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize highlights exceptional children’s literature, showcasing the creativity and talent of contemporary authors and illustrators.
  • Winter Mini Challenge – continues to operate this month.


  • Blue Peter Book Awards – The Blue Peter Book Awards recognises and celebrates outstanding children’s literature, showcasing the best in contemporary writing for young readers.
  • British Science Week – “a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths“.
  • Deptford Literature Festival offers a range of children’s, YA and family events including workshops, writing classes and author events.
  • Earth Hour – established to highlight climate change. “An unmissable message to world leaders“. –
  • Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award – The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award honours and encourages the poetic talents of young writers, providing a platform for their creative expression. See our writing competitions page for more details.
  • Henrietta Branford Writing Competition – The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition invites young authors to showcase their storytelling skills, fostering a passion for writing. See our writing competitions page for more details.
  • International Women’s Day – International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements and contributions of women worldwide, promoting gender equality and empowerment.
  • NLT Primary Conference – The NLT Primary Conference offers a valuable platform for educators to explore innovative approaches and best practices in primary literacy.
  • OU Reading for Pleasure Conference – The OU Reading for Pleasure Conference is a gathering that focuses on the significance of cultivating a love for reading among students and promoting lifelong literacy.
  • Oxford Literary Festival – run in association with FT Weekend. Features lots of big-name children’s and YA authors each year.
  • Poetry by Heart Competition – The Poetry by Heart Competition inspires students to immerse themselves in the beauty of poetry, encouraging memorization and expressive recitation.
  • Red Nose Day – Red Nose Day is a comic relief initiative that harnesses the power of laughter to raise funds for various charitable causes, making a positive impact on communities.
  • Shakespeare Week – “an exciting week of projects, challenges and online events and exhibitions.
  • UKLA Book Awards – The UKLA Book Awards recognise and celebrate exceptional contributions to children’s literature, highlighting books that engage and captivate young readers.
  • World Book Day – World Book Day is a global celebration of books and reading, encouraging a love for literature through various events and activities.
  • World Poetry Day – established by UNESCO. “Celebrating the linguistic expression of our common humanity“.
  • World Storytelling Day – World Storytelling Day provides a platform to celebrate the art of storytelling, fostering cultural exchange and connecting people through narratives.
  • Young People’s Book Prize – The Young People’s Book Prize acknowledges outstanding science books, sparking curiosity and promoting a love for learning among young readers.
  • Yoto Carnegies – The Yoto Carnegie Medals honour outstanding achievements in children’s literature, showcasing the most distinguished books for young readers. Includes the Yoto Carnegies Shadowing Scheme which offers an immersive experience for young readers to engage with and discuss the Carnegie Medal shortlisted books, promoting a deeper appreciation for quality literature.


  • Branford Boase Award – recognises outstanding debut novels for young readers, celebrating the collaboration between authors and their editors, a testament to literary beginnings.
  • Cardiff Kid’s Lit Festival – Cardiff Kid’s Lit Festival creates a vibrant literary haven, bringing children’s authors and their stories to life in the heart of Cardiff.
  • Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival – The Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival unfolds a world of enchanting tales and literary exploration, captivating young minds through engaging events and activities.
  • Earth Day – Earth Day provides a global platform for environmental education, encouraging schools to participate in activities that promote ecological awareness and sustainability.
  • Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award – open for submissions this month.
  • Henrietta Branford Writing Competition – See our writing competitions page.
  • International Children’s Book Day – International Children’s Book Day celebrates the joy of reading and children’s literature worldwide, fostering a love for stories and storytelling.
  • Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize – The Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize recognises exceptional writing by British authors of colour, contributing to diverse and inclusive children’s literature.
  • Little Rebels Children’s Book Award – The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award champions radical children’s fiction, sparking conversations about social justice and inspiring young readers to think critically.
  • Oscar’s Book Prize – Oscar’s Book Prize highlights outstanding preschool picture books that capture the magic of storytelling, celebrating the imagination and creativity of early years literature.
  • Talk Like Shakespeare Day – Great for a whole-school-sponsored event. Talk like it’s 1602 all day long and exchange fruity Jacobean insults! Or not. That is the question.
  • World Book Night – an “annual celebration of books and reading“.


  • Bookfest Shropshire – a children’s book festival that “aims to inspire, enthuse and entertain as many children who attend Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin primary schools as possible.”
  • Children’s Book Week – a two-week-long celebration of children’s literature.
  • CLiPPA book awards – The CLiPPA book awards shine a spotlight on exceptional poetry for children, recognising the power of verse to captivate and inspire young readers. The CLiPPA Shadowing Scheme involves schools in the joy of exploring and appreciating the shortlisted poetry, fostering a community of young poetry enthusiasts.
  • Elmer Day – Elmer Day brings the beloved patchwork elephant to life, celebrating the joy of individuality and diversity through vibrant and engaging activities.
  • Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award – open for submissions this month.
  • Hay Festival – The Hay Festival and its Programme for Schools offer a rich literary experience, bringing renowned authors to engage, entertain, and educate students.
  • Henrietta Branford Writing Competition – for more details, see our writing competitions page.
  • Learning at Work Day – Learning at Work Day becomes an occasion to celebrate continuous learning and development, fostering a culture of curiosity and growth.
  • Klaus Flugge Prize – The Klaus Flugge Prize acknowledges exemplary picture book illustration, recognising the visual storytellers who captivate young readers.
  • Mental Health Awareness Week – hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.
  • National Share a Story Month – National Share a Story Month encourages the joy of storytelling, inviting schools to share tales and promote a culture of reading aloud.
  • The Alligator’s Mouth Award – The Alligator’s Mouth Award celebrates illustrated early fiction, recognising books that ignite a love for reading in young children.


  • A Day of Welcome – A Day of Welcome fosters inclusivity and diversity, “to develop a day of solidarity and learning in their school that contributes to building a culture of welcome, understanding and compassion for those forced to flee.”
  • Barnes Kid’s Lit Festival and the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival Schools Programme – offer an engaging programme for schools, bringing literature to life through author interactions and inspiring talks.
  • Bradford Literature Festival. This 10-day festival ‘celebrates the written and spoken word in all its forms‘ and includes family days out, workshops and an education programme with resources for teachers. There are lots of children’s events featuring top authors and illustrators.
  • CLiPPA Shadowing Scheme – continues this month.
  • Empathy Day – established to help show how “important it is that we understand what other people are going through“. Browse our Empathy topic book list.
  • Essex Book Festival – “Each year the festival hosts 100+ events in a range of venues across Essex.”
  • Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award – submissions continue to be open this month.
  • Information Book Award -The Information Book Award recognises outstanding non-fiction, promoting books that educate and inspire curiosity in young readers.
  • Summer Book Clubs – have a look at our ‘Booktious’ Summer Reading Challenge with free downloadable resources.
  • National Family Week – National Family Week becomes a celebration of family bonds, fostering connections through shared activities and experiences. Have a look at our Family topic book list.
  • National Writing Day – established as an “annual celebration of creative writing“, and supported by First Story and the National Literacy Trust.
  • Pride MonthStonewall offers a useful range of free activities for schools.
  • Refugee Week – Refugee Week becomes an opportunity for schools to explore themes of displacement, resilience, and empathy through literature.
  • St Austell Festival of Children’s Literature aims “to inspire a community that embraces reading for pleasure“, and includes a variety of events, author readings, book signings and a creative writing competition.
  • School Diversity Week – “a fantastic way to make your school safer, happier and more welcoming for pupils who may be LGBT+“.
  • Sky Arts Access All Arts Week – Free access to Sky Arts to help promote the arts in schools.
  • Shropshire Bookfest Book Awards – Shropshire Bookfest Book Awards recognises outstanding contributions to children’s literature, encouraging a love for reading in young audiences. Winners announced.
  • Transition-Ed – provides virtual CPD opportunities for educators, focusing on effective strategies for supporting students through transitions – for example, primary to secondary and secondary to post 16.
  • WhizzFizzFest – inspired by Roald Dahl
  • Windrush Day 2022 -“Celebrating Great Britain’s DNA“.
  • World Environment Day – “Let’s get active, not anxious. Let’s be bold, not timid. Join #GenerationRestoration“.
  • YA Book Prize – organised by The Booksellers, the YA Book Prize recognises outstanding works in young adult literature, celebrating the diversity and creativity present in the genre. Shortlist announced.


  • BookTastic book festival – based in Bedford, this festival offers programmes for schools, live-streamed events, public meet-the-author sessions, and hosts a stellar line-up of children’s writers.
  • Kid’s Lit Quiz World Finals – The Kid’s Lit Quiz World Finals become a thrilling showcase of young readers’ literary knowledge and enthusiasm.
  • Rochdale Children’s Literature Festival – “Celebrating Reading for Pleasure in Rochdale“.
  • Summer Reading Challenge – The Summer Reading Challenge invites children to embark on a literary adventure, promoting a love for reading during the school break. Have a look at our free resources.
  • Teachers’ reading challenge – a great way to discover new children’s literature in the summer holidays.
  • UKLA annual conference – a virtual conference that explores “the purpose and function of spoken language; spoken language repertoires as the basis of reading and writing”.



  • 500 Words Competition – a platform for young writers to showcase their storytelling talents.
  • Appledore Book Festival – “Our five-day Schools Week offers talks and workshops to young people from preschool to Sixth Form.”
  • Bath Kids Literature Festival – The Bath Kids Literature Festival unfolds as a captivating celebration of children’s literature, bringing together authors and young readers.
  • Banned Books Week – be diverse, representative, democratic, and depending on where you are in the world, subversive. Have a look at our Banned Books list. 
  • Discovering Children’s Books: Creative Campaigns – organised by the British Library, Children’s Books: Creative Campaigns introduces innovative campaigns, creating excitement and engagement around children’s literature.
  • Early Years Book Awards – Early Years Book Awards recognises outstanding contributions to early childhood literature, celebrating books that capture young imaginations.
  • European Day of Languages – The European Day of Languages invites schools to celebrate linguistic diversity and promote language learning.
  • International Literacy Day – held worldwide on 8th September. A global celebration of literacy education and learning.
  • Read Hour – Read Hour encourages schools to dedicate an hour to the joy of reading, fostering a culture of shared literary experiences.
  • Roald Dahl Day | Resources – a celebration of the beloved author’s legacy, inspiring schools to explore his enchanting stories.
  • The Children’s Bookshow – The Children’s Bookshow brings authors to life in captivating performances, offering students a unique and inspiring literary experience.
  • September is World Kid Lit Month – “an annual celebration of world literature and translation for children and young adults.” There are lots of ideas and resources to help teachers, schools and libraries celebrate children’s literature on the World Kid Lit Month website.


  • 500 Words Competition – students can enter stories during this month.
  • Bath Children’s Literature Festival – a long-established literary extravaganza, featuring a diverse array of children’s literature events.
  • Black History Month – founded in the UK in 1987. Invites schools to explore and celebrate the rich history and contributions of Black figures in history.
  • Cheltenham Literature Festival – includes a variety of children’s literature events, including Cheltenham Literature Festival: Literature For Schools.
  • Children’s Book Week – Children’s Book Week provides a dedicated time to celebrate the joy of reading and storytelling among young audiences.
  • CSV Makes a Difference Day – CSV Makes a Difference Day inspires schools to engage in community service projects, fostering a sense of social responsibility.
  • Dyslexia Awareness Week – sheds light on dyslexia, fostering understanding and support for individuals with dyslexia.
  • Global Media and Information Literacy Week – an opportunity for schools to explore and promote media literacy education. Run by Unesco.
  • Harry Potter Book Day – celebrates the magical world of Harry Potter, inviting schools to engage in wizarding activities and events.
  • Henley Literary Festival Children’s Festival – with online and in-person events during the first and second weeks of October. There’s a programme for schools here.
  • Ilkley Literature Festival – “the longest-running literature festival in the north and we celebrate all things reading and writing.
  • International School Library Month – a celebration of school libraries, recognising their vital role in fostering a love for reading.
  • Libraries Week – celebrating ‘the best libraries have to offer.’
  • London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre – a literary feast, featuring events for children, teens, and adults alike.
  • National Poetry Day – a day of poetic celebration, inviting schools to engage with and appreciate the beauty of verse.
  • Oracy October – a time to emphasise the importance of spoken language skills, fostering effective communication in schools.
  • Poetry by Heart Competition – inspire your students to explore and recite poetry, celebrating the spoken word.
  • Poetry Together – a moment for intergenerational connection, fostering shared experiences through poetry recitation.
  • Reading is Magic Festival – a magical literary experience, featuring enchanting events and activities for young readers.
  • Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils Conference – provides a platform for educators to explore innovative strategies and share best practices in fostering a love for reading among students.
  • Tes SEND Show – offers a valuable resource for educators focused on special educational needs, providing insights, workshops, and networking opportunities to enhance teaching practices.
  • The Children’s Bookshow – continues.
  • Wokingham children’s book festival – held over two days at Wokingham Town Hall, this event features story readings with picturebooks, 5-7, 7-9, and middle-grade authors, and an art event with an illustrator. The events have been organised for both in-person and online attendance.


  • Anti-Bullying Week – founded by the Anti-Bullying Alliance to raise awareness and promote anti-bullying initiatives in schools, fostering a safe and inclusive environment.
  • BBC 500 Words competition – The BBC 500 Words competition ignites the creativity of young writers, challenging them to express their imaginations through captivating short stories.
  • Britannica Magazine runs an online school’s non-fiction challenge for school children in KS2 and KS3 to celebrate National Non-Fiction Month in November.
  • Children’s Language, Literacy and Literature Conference – The Children’s Language, Literacy, and Literature Conference serves as a dynamic platform for educators and literacy enthusiasts to explore innovative approaches and trends in language and literature education.
  • Discovering Children’s Books: Creative Campaigns – continues.
  • The Diverse Book Awards – The Diverse Book Awards recognises and celebrates diversity in children’s literature, promoting inclusive and representative storytelling.
  • Empathy Action Month – fostering a culture of compassion and understanding among young readers. Have a look at our Empathy book list.
  • Excelsior Award – The Excelsior Award recognises and celebrates outstanding graphic novels, captivating the imaginations of young readers while promoting the literary merit of the graphic novel genre.
  • National Non-fiction Day and National Non-fiction November – run by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, highlight the significance of non-fiction literature, encouraging exploration and learning beyond fictional realms.
  • Nero Book Awards – The Nero Book Awards honour literary excellence, recognizing outstanding contributions to children’s literature through captivating storytelling and engaging narratives.
  • Remembrance Day – see our list of suggested remembrance topic books and resources.
  • Richmond Literature Festival – ‘A festival of books, conversations and ideas’ that includes children’s events including book events with authors, illustration workshops and interactive sessions.
  • Spark! School Book Awards – Spark! School Book Awards recognises and celebrates diverse books, engaging young readers and fostering a lifelong love for reading. The first sessions for schools are in November.
  • The Children’s Bookshow – continues.
  • World Kindness Day – a good opportunity to relate to books with themes of empathy and understanding. Have a look at our Kindness book list.
  • YA Literature Convention – The YA Literature Convention provides a space for young adult literature enthusiasts to engage with their favourite authors and immerse themselves in the vibrant world of YA literature.


  • Bananagrams Challenge sign-up (for the following January-March) – The Bananagrams Challenge sign-up opens the door for students to engage in a thrilling word game, fostering literacy skills in a competitive yet fun environment.
  • Educating for Empathy Conference – The Educating for Empathy Conference provides a platform for educators to explore strategies and practices that promote empathy in school environments, emphasizing its crucial role in education.
  • Excelsior Award – Shortlist announced.
  • National Reading Champions Quiz – The National Reading Champions Quiz invites schools and students to showcase their reading prowess, fostering a culture of literacy and friendly competition. Registrations open in December.
  • Shropshire Bookfest Book Awards – shortlists announced.
  • Royal Mail Letters to Santa – always a favourite in EYFS and KS1 classes.
  • Winter Mini Challenge – The Winter Mini Challenge offers an exciting reading adventure during the winter break, encouraging children to explore books and maintain their reading momentum.

All year round / undated / not annual

  • Bananagrams Challenge – The Bananagrams Challenge engages students in a lively and educational word game, promoting literacy skills in an entertaining format.
  • Bookfest Shrewsbury – Bookfest Shrewsbury unfolds as a literary celebration, bringing together authors, readers, and book enthusiasts in Shrewsbury.
  • Children’s Books Events (Ireland) – Children’s Books Events (Ireland) serves as a hub for literary gatherings and events across Ireland, fostering a vibrant community of young readers and writers.
  • Children’s Book Week (May and November) – Children’s Book Week, observed in May and November, is a biannual celebration dedicated to the joy of reading, encouraging children to explore the world of literature.
  • Discover  – Discover Children’s Literature Festival in Stratford, London, provides an immersive experience for young readers, featuring interactive sessions and encounters with renowned authors.
  • Exeter Children’s Literature Festival – The Exeter Children’s Literature Festival creates a dynamic space for literary exploration, connecting children with authors and fostering a love for reading.
  • Hoo Kid’s Book Festival – Hoo Kid’s Book Festival offers a unique platform for young readers, bringing together literature and fun activities to inspire a lifelong love for books.
  • Kid’s Lit Quiz – The Kid’s Lit Quiz is a captivating international literary competition, challenging young minds with questions about a wide range of books.
  • Manchester Children’s Book Festival – The Manchester Children’s Book Festival showcases the richness of children’s literature, providing a vibrant space for literary discovery and engagement.
  • National Literacy Trust competitions page – The National Literacy Trust competitions page offers various literacy challenges, motivating students to unleash their creativity and passion for reading.
  • National Storytelling Week | Resources – National Storytelling Week | Resources provides a treasure trove of storytelling materials, promoting the art of narrative and encouraging educators to incorporate storytelling into their teaching.
  • Northern Children’s Book Festival – The Northern Children’s Book Festival brings literature to life with author events and activities, fostering a reading culture in the North of England.
  • Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour – The Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour brings authors directly to schools, creating opportunities for students to interact with their literary heroes.
  • Young Readers, Birmingham – Young Readers, Birmingham, nurtures a love for reading through events and initiatives, connecting young readers with diverse literary experiences and opportunities.

If you have an event you would like to suggest for inclusion on this list, please get in touch using our contact form.

For more competitions and events, have a look at our children’s competitions for public speaking and reading aloud, our list of children’s literature awards, our recommended children’s writing competitions and our suggested GCSE revision books for English language and literature exams.
This page was last updated on Apr 12, 2024 @ 1:25 am.

About Tom Tolkien

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Tom Tolkien is a highly qualified (BA Hons, PGCE, QTS) children's literature expert and teacher with over 25 years of experience. He has led inset courses, developed curriculum materials, spoken at conferences, advised on longlisting for several international children's literature literature awards and written for educational publishers including contributing to a BETT award-nominated app. Social profiles: Twitter | Linkedin

This resource was last updated on April 12th, 2024 and first published in 2012.