Edinburgh Book Festival 2024 Children’s Programme

Last night, I attended the launch of the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2024 programme. This year, the Book Festival will take place at its new permanent home in the Edinburgh Futures Institute. I was if course particularly interested in the Children’s Programme, which as always has a fabulous line up. Tickets for most of the paid family events are £6, with a few exceptions, but there there is also a host of free events to choose from, making the Book Festival accessible to all. You can view the full line-up of events on the Book Festival website, but I wanted to just highlight the free events here.

On most mornings, the programme starts with a free ‘Art You Sitting Comfortably’ story time session from 10am – 10:30am, featuring a different author, illustrator or performer each day. Some days also offer free Rhymetime or Bookbug sessions. All these, along with a few other events, are free but require pre-booking as space is limited. Bookings open on 20 June, and from experience these sessions always book up very quickly so I won’t list them all as this post would very quickly become out of date.

However, there’s also a programme of free daily drop-in events, including a daily trail to celebrate 25 years of the Gruffalo. You can collect your Gruffalo trail sheet from the Festival Bookshop. I’ve summarised the other drop-in events below, full details can be found in the Book Festival programme.

Saturday 10 August

Hip Hop Story Stop! (all ages)
10am – 11am & 1pm – 2pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Dancing, sing-alongs, games, rhymes, and interactive storytelling. A dynamic blend of hip hop beats and imaginative tales.

Meet the Gruffalo (all ages)
11:30am – 12:30pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Join in with songs, dancing and games. Give the Gruffalo a cuddle or a high five, and snap a selfie.

Sunday 11 August

Sprog Rock! (age 0-5)
10am – 10:30am
Spiegeltent; Free, Drop-in

Sprogrock return to the Book Festival with their unique, catchy songs in a rocking and (nursery) rhyming extravaganza.

Meet Pikachu (all ages)
10:30am – 11am/ 11:30am – 12pm/ 12:30pm – 1pm/ 1:30pm – 2pm/ 2:30pm – 3pm/ 3:30pm – 4pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Come along and meet Pikachu at his special Book Festival appearance. Give him a high five or pose for a photo.

Monday 12 August

Alice Melvin: Paper & Nature Workshop (age 4+)
10:30am – 1:30pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Join award-winning illustrator Alice Melvin to create your very own pop-up scene around the theme of nature, inspired by her new book ‘Mouse on the River’.

Tuesday 13 August

Make a Zine with Glasgow Zine Library (age 12-16)
12pm – 2pm & 2:30pm – 4:30pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Create your very own zine, with help from Glasgow Zine Library who will take you through how to get started and where to find inspiration.

Wednesday 14 August

Gaelic Bookbug with Scottish Book Trust (age 0-5)
10am – 10:30am & 11am – 11:30am
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Join Lindsay from Scottish Book Trust for Gaelic songs, rhymes and stories. No prior knowledge of Gaelic language necessary.

Pop in and Play! (all ages)
12pm – 4pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Join Dads Rock with activities to keep your wee ones busy.

Thursday 15 August

Pop in and Play! (all ages)
12pm – 4pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Join Edinburgh for Under 5s with activities to keep your wee ones busy.

Saturday 17 August

Meet Supertato (all ages)
11:30am – 12pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Join in with some fruit and veg-themed songs, rhymes and games. Share high fives and cuddles with Supertato, and pose for photos.

Wheely Wonderful with Tom Schamp (age 8+)
1pm – 4:30pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Join Belgian illustrator Tom Schwamp to create a HUGE piece of interactive art around the theme of transport.

Sunday 18 August

Wheely Wonderful with Tom Schamp (age 8+)
1pm – 4:30pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Join Belgian illustrator Tom Schwamp to create a HUGE piece of interactive art around the theme of transport.

Storytelling Yoga with Gilly Balfour (age 5+)
1:30pm – 2pm & 2:30pm – 3pm
Venue A; Pay What You Can

A playful storytelling movement session for children (and their grown-ups) that will get you stretching, breathing, and using your imagination.

Monday 19 August

Pop in and Play! (all ages)
12pm – 4pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Join Edinburgh for Under 5s with activities to keep your wee ones busy.

Friday 23 August

Pop in and Play! (all ages)
12pm – 4pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Join the Edinburgh Libraries team with arts and crafts to keep your kids busy.

Saturday 24 August

Dance n’ Tales with Fergus McNicol and Moyra Banks (age 6+)
10am – 11am & 1pm – 2pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Dancer Moyra Banks and storyteller Fergus McNicol blend storytelling and dance to transport you through time and myth – from Ancient Egypt to cosmic adventures among stars.

Meet the Gruffalo (all ages)
11:30am – 12:30pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Join in with songs, dancing and games. Give the Gruffalo a cuddle or a high five, and snap a selfie.

Sunday 25 August

Rainbow Parade with Elmer the Elephant (all ages)
11:30am – 12:30pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Pantomime dame Mama G and Elmer the patchwork elephant will bring David McKee’s stories to life in an inclusive story time full of sings, illustrations and empowering silliness.

A Life in Colour with Kate Temple (age 5+)
12:30pm – 3:30pm
Children’s Tent; Free, Drop-in

Come along to a colourful and fun workshop based on the brand-new Art Activity Book celebrating the life and work of trailblazer Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. Led by artist Kate Temple.


Will you be visiting the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year? What are you most looking forward to seeing?

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