Cheltenham Literature Festival: Family-Friendly Readings



  • All The Family
  • Under 5s
  • School Age
  • Adults






Book-worms assemble! The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is THE place for family fun - yes kids, reading can be enjoyable! Running from the 5th - 14th October, this year's line up promises to be bigger and better than ever, with the festival theme 'East Meets West' guaranteed to spark up exciting playground conversation (for big kids and little ones)!

We've selected a few hot picks from the literature festival's child-friendly line-up below, suitable for little ones ages 2-9. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin..


Nick Cope's Music Show: Acclaimed children’s singer-songwriter Nick Cope (previously lead singer with The Candyskins) is a huge hit with kids and parents alike. Singing songs from his new books Why is the Sky Blue?, I Don’t Wanna Do That and The Very Silly Dog, join Nick for an acoustic folk-rock musical session of fun lyrics and catchy melodies. Sit back and relax, or get up and dance! Friday 5th October, 10am - 10:45am @ The Hive. £6 plus booking fee, all children under 12 years must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult. Find out more.

Olobob Top: The exciting world of Olobob Top (CBeebies) comes in all shapes, colours and sizes. Come along for an interactive story and craft session for pre-schoolers with author and illustrator Leigh Hodgkinson. Friday 12th October 10am - 10:45am @ The Hive. £6 child / £4 adult plus booking fee. Find out more.


Fairytale Hairdresser: Abie Longstaff is every little girl’s dream fairy godmother. Enter a modern fairy tale world where the Big Bad Wolf runs the opticians (all the better to see you with) and Red Riding Hood has a skateboard shop. Abie reads her newest Fairytale Hairdresserstory and brings along dolls for everyone to practise hairdressing themselves! Thursday 11th October, 10am - 10:45am @ The Hive. £6 plus booking fee. Find out more.

There's A Pig Up My Nose: What do you do when you get a pig stuck up your nose? You’re guaranteed to laugh – and oink! – out loud as Natalie and her class try to find the best way of getting the farmyard animal out. Join author John Dougherty and illustrator Laura Hughes for a delightfully silly reading, music and live drawing. Wednesday 10th October, 10am - 10:45am @ The Hive. £6 plus booking fee. Find out more.


Once Upon A Wild Wood: Take a journey into the wild, wild wood with Little Green Cape and former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. Which fairytale characters will they meet along the way? A magical event of fairytale storytelling and drawing, including a draw-along for the audience. Sunday 14th October, 3:30pm - 4:30pm @ The Hive. £6 plus booking fee. Find out more.

You're Safe With Me: When the moon rises high and stars twinkle, it is bedtime for the animals of the Indian forest. Join author and storyteller Chitra Soundar (You’re Safe With Me, You’re Snug With Me) as she shares her stories and then get busy making and colouring stars and snowflakes. Tuesday 9th October, 4:30pm - 5:30pm @ The Hive. £6 plus booking fee. Find out more.


Fantastically Great Women Who Made History: Stand tall with suffragette Flora Drummond for VOTES FOR WOMEN! Send secret messages with brave WWII undercover radio operator, Noor Khan. Search for treasure with pirate queen, Sayidda Al-Hurra and meet a whole host of other women who made history with author and illustrator Kate Pankhurst. Saturday 6th October, 10am - 11am @ Parabola Arts Centre. £6 plus booking fee. Find out more.

Gaspard The Fox: One evening, a little fox appeared outside BBC Radio 4 broadcaster Zeb Soanes home – now people all over the world send messages to Gaspard! Meet Zeb and illustrator James Mayhew as they chat about their warm-hearted animal story and the real fox that inspired it, find out foxy facts and draw your own curious fox. Sunday 7th October, 4pm - 5pm @ Parabola Arts Centre. £6 plus booking fee. Find out more.


James Campbell Stand Up Comedy Show For Kids: Hold onto your socks, take the banana out of your ears and enjoy the best comedy for kids from the man who invented it. James Campbell’s show will find the funny things in everything from pets, couscous, making your own yoghurt, bees or why we have hair, to questions like: Do sausage dogs eat sausages? Or do they just look at them and say, ‘I’m not eating that – it looks like my granny.’ After the event, James will be signing copies of his new children’s book The Funny Life of Pets in the Waterstones Book tent. Friday 5th October 5pm - 6pm @ The Times Forum. £6 plus booking fee. Find out more.


Tongue Fu For Kids: Bring the whole family to this lively, special kids version of one of the UK’s leading spoken word shows. Jam-packed with word play, improvisation, participation and musical wizardry from poets, storytellers, rappers and the amazing Tongue Fu band. Each show is unique and features stars of UK spoken word. Saturday 13th October, 4pm - 5pm @ Parabola Arts Centre. £8 plus booking fee. Find out more.


I Bet I Can Make You Laugh: Joshua Seigal received rave reviews for his children’s poetry show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was shortlisted for the Laugh Out Loud Award. Come and enjoy this feast of rhyme, rhythm, rap and randomness as words are brought to life by this young dynamic performance poet. Saturday 6th October, 11:45am - 12:45pm @ The Hive. £6 plus booking fee. Find out more.

Jacqueline Wilson: Join us for an afternoon with the brilliant Jacqueline Wilson. The former Children’s Laureate and author of over 100 books talks with Katie Thistleton (CBBC) about starting her writing career, creating some of her best-loved characters and her much-anticipated brand new book, My Mum Tracy Beaker. Jacqueline Wilson will be not be signing after this event but printed bookplates with Jacqueline’s signature will be available with purchases from the children’s bookshop. Saturday 13th October, 12pm - 1pm @ The Times Forum. £8 plus booking fee. Find out more.


Create A Hero Workshop: Come and conjure up a story with the author of the bestselling Who Let the Gods Out? series, Maz Evans, in this fun and creative writing workshop. Learn about the wacky world of the gods, and create your own hero. Saturday 13th October, 2:30pm - 3:30pm @ Parabola Arts Centre, Dance Studio. £10 plus booking fee. Find out more.

Pre-booking is required for most of the paid events, although there are plenty of FREE festival activities in our round up HERE. To book or find your favourite from the full line up for older children please follow the link HERE (early booking is advised).

Open hours