Picture Hooks at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

We have just ten days until the Edinburgh International Book Festival takes off again in Charlotte Square Gardens. Of course the festival is not only about the written word – there is plenty in store for picture book fans and illustrators too. We’re thrilled that so many from our own Picture Hooks community has made it into the programme. Our past mentors will be introducing new books, hosting live drawing sessions, and showing us how illustrations can be used to teach. We’ve compiled this summary of events so you know who’s doing what and where.

Debi Gliori will join Faye Hanson (author of picture books Midnight at the Zoo and The Wonder) in the Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre. They will talk about creating compelling fictional worlds that give space for children’s imaginations and questions. Gliori will also host The Crocodiamond Big Draw, a draw-along where audiences can invent their own baddie characters.

Ross Collins will invite you to create your own characters when he talks about his picture book, There’s A Bear On My Chair. He will show audiences how he draws his characters (from big bears to small mice) before asking you to draw with him. Collins also speaks with writer Claire Barker about the latest book in their popular series, Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog and the Last Circus Tiger. Expect some live drawing at both events, and a good dash of whimsical humour.

Nick Sharratt will give an interactive talk when he promotes his first book of nonsense poetry called Vikings in the Supermarket. A highly-accomplished illustrator and fantastic entertainer, Sharratt’s event will include live drawing and silly rhymes for the whole family.

Cate James is also introducing a new picture book this year called Go Home, Little One!. She will showcase her story, which describes a tiny hedgehog who would rather play outside with his squirrel friends than hibernate through the winter.

Shakespeare 400 will also make an appearance when Brita Granström and Mick Manning use live drawing to introduce children to the bard. The pair will show how pictures can bring facts about William Shakespeare to life for children.

On a similar note, Vivian French will discuss how picture books can be used in the classroom in our very own Picture Hooks event, The Hook of Visual Literacy. French will argue that communicating with children through images is getting more and more crucial in our increasingly visual world. Another of French’s events, The Write to Read: Discussing Dyslexia, will cover writing books for children who struggle to read. There will be a Book Doctor on-hand at the end of the event to recommend dyslexia-friendly books.

French will also host a game of consequences for comic book makers. The audience will be asked to start each story, while the artists take turns continuing the plot through live drawing. On top of this, she will join her long-time collaborator David Melling to talk about the latest installation of their Knight in Training series. We will hear about whether Sam J Butterbiggins has achieved his dream of becoming a knight yet.

There is a fantastic array of events featuring illustrators this year, so don’t just stop with our ones. The Edinburgh International Book Festival presents a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the picture book world.