Reading Is Magic Festival

“Reading is magic, and magic is for everyone!”

Cressida Cowell, author, illustrator and former Children’s Laureate. 

The Reading Is Magic Festival takes place in October, and is free for schools and home to engage with a whole host of authors and illustrators for every age group. We have been lucky enough to be able to ask Cressida Cowellthe very first question in her event this year.

This week’s Friday Library Recommendations highlight some of the books, authors and illustrators featured in this year’s festival.

Wheels by Tom Schamp

No one knows who exactly invented the wheel, but in the inventive hands of illustrator Tom Schamp young readers will have great fun learning about all the ways wheels have rolled through history. From prehistoric carts to cars of tomorrow, this big, fun book takes a historic journey through a world where everything has wheels, from the Trojan horse to the Harley Davidson; from the stagecoach and the steam train to the Vespa and the Ferrari; from skateboards to electric scooters.

Every spread of this deliriously entertaining and educational book is filled with Tom Schamp’s quirky and colorful art. His sly, subtle texts will make older readers smile. Younger readers will return again and again to these playfully crowded pages to discover what different countries’ emergency vehicles look like; to learn about buses of every imaginable dimension and weight; and to choose which bike they’d use to win a race. Each viewing will reveal charming new details that are as absurdly funny as they are educationally rewarding.

Over The Shop by JonArno Lawson and Qin Leng

A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the rooms above their shop will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the potential of the space – until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways.

In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A wordless picture book that celebrates the power of community, the joys of new friends and the magic that happens when you open your heart, and fill your home with love and joy.

How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third is a smallish Viking with a longish name. Hiccup’s father is chief of the Hairy Hooligan tribe which means Hiccup is the Hope and the Heir to the Hairy Hooligan throne – but most of the time Hiccup feels like a very ordinary boy, finding it hard to be a Hero. In the first of the twelve book series, Hiccup must lead ten novices in their initiation into the Hairy Hooligan Tribe. They have to train their dragons or be banished from the tribe forever!

But what if Hiccup’s dragon resembles an ickle brown bunny with wings? And has no teeth? The Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus is stirring and wants to devour every Viking on the Isle of Berk… Can Hiccup save the tribe – and become a Hero?

This fantastical series has been around for twenty years now, and is the inspiration behind blockbusting films and the endearing and entertaining TV series, Riders Of Berk. They are as staggeringly good now as when they first hit our bookshelves, and are packed full of fun, mischief and moral dilemmas perfect for helping young heroes be a touch more heroic when needed.

Nic Blake And The Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy by Angie Thomas

I was delighted to see Angie Thomas writing for Primary school children having adored her books for young adults, and this thrilling fantasy was even better than my high expectations. Reading like a film playing out in front of me, Nic Blake is an exhilarating adventure weaving Black history and culture into an innovative, richly imagined new world that sits alongside our own.

It’s not easy being Remarkable in a world where standing out is dangerous…

Nic Blake is a Manifestor. All she wants is to learn the Gift, so she can be as powerful as her dad … until she discovers a shocking secret. Now she must find a powerful magical weapon, or risk losing him for ever.

You can find out more about the Reading Is Magic Festival here and join in at home!