A Summer of Sensational Schools Events at the Book Festival

It’s been an amazing summer of schools events at the Book Festival! Over 14,000 school children joined us in the Book Festival village in Edinburgh for events in our Baillie Gifford Schools Programme – with schools travelling from as nearby as Dalry to as far away as Dornoch. Plus, our three pop-up Festivals in East Kilbride, Aberdeen and Irvine attracted lots of school groups from the surrounding areas. There were events for all ages from Early Years to S6 featuring well-known authors and bright new talent, covering a diverse range of topics from gender to the Russian Revolution to superhero vegetables! 

“Our visit to the Book Festival is a highlight of the year for many pupils.” Teacher, St Margaret’s Academy, Livingston

In Edinburgh, ‘founding fathers of hip-hop’ The Last Poets entertained and enthralled students and teachers alike with an electrifying live performance and lots of audience participation in a sold out event.

Six-time Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Chris Hoy had pupils raring to both get on their bikes and pick up a pen and start writing in his event in which he presented his fantastically funny Flying Fergus series. Not only did pupils get to hear from one of Great Britain’s most successful ever athletes but they also witnessed some live drawing from the series’ illustrator Clare Elsom.

2017 Book Festival Illustrator in Residence Kristina Stephenson celebrated 10 years of Sir Charlie Stinky Socks with a musical puppet-filled extravaganza and had pupils rolling in the aisles with laughter after an hour of fun!

Plus, there were events from The Demon Headmaster creator Gillian Cross and Zom-B writer Darren Shan; author M G Leonard’s event featured live beetles(!); and storytelling duo Macastory led a special relaxed event for ASN pupils.

“The students were really engaged and are asking already if we will be going again next year.” Teacher, Lockerbie Academy 

On the final day of the Book Festival, the gates were closed to members of the public and primary schools from across the country were invited to participate in Baillie Gifford Schools Gala Day. The Where’s Wally theme ensured lots of fun and excitement as Book Festival staff donned their stripy jumpers and glasses to welcome school groups, and entertainers including storytellers and circus performers took over the Gardens. There were lots of exciting events and pupils were able to browse the Baillie Gifford Children’s Bookshop and spend their £3 book voucher on a brand new book.

“A perfect day out for book lovers.” Teacher, St John’s RC High School, Dundee 

The fun wasn’t limited to Edinburgh as schools events took place at three pop-up Festivals across the country as part of our Booked! programme, the Book Festival on the road around Scotland supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Carnegie Medal winner Sarah Crossan and Costa Children’s Book Award winner Brian Conaghan introduced East Kilbride pupils to their new co-written romance novel We Come Apart, which began as a WhatsApp conversation; Patrice Lawrence, Maz Evans and Joshua Seigal were among the authors who entertained huge numbers of Aberdeen school kids over two days; and our Irvine schools programme started with a special event with the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who read to pupils in her own hometown from one of her favourite childhood reads, Enid Blyton’s Five on a Treasure Island.

“I loved the Festival. It was a good experience and it was good to see the paintings being painted.” Pupil who attended The Pavee and the Buffer Girl event in Aberdeen

 If you’re missing the Book Festival already, don’t worry! We’re going to be adding lots from the Festival to the Learning site over the next few months – look out for full event videos and audio, interviews with authors conducted by teenage participants of Scottish Book Trust’s What’s Your Story? Programme, and lots of useful learning resources built around 2017 Book Festival events.

In the meantime, if you visited the Book Festival with your school this summer, why not use our Building on Author Events resource to help you follow up on your visit now you’re back in the classroom?

Thank you so much to everyone who attended our schools events in Edinburgh, East Kilbride, Aberdeen and Irvine this summer – we had a blast and hope you did too!