2021 Baillie Gifford Schools Programme – full line-up announced

We are delighted to announce the line-up for this year's Baillie Gifford Schools Programme, which takes place for free, live and online from Monday 23 – Tuesday 31 August 2021.

Schools can join us online this August for a rip-roaring programme of book events curated with learning at their heart. All Schools events are free to view, and schools can take part by watching live online, or catching up at a time that works for them. All live events come with opportunities for pupils to ask authors questions and will be accompanied by a learning resource to help classes get the most out of every session. As well as an inspirational programme, we are also proud to be able to offer free books to schools, with special thanks to Baillie Gifford’s Big Book Giveaway, in addition to a discount on all school book orders from our online independent bookshop.

Rachel Fox, our Children & Schools Programme Director, said “We have consulted closely with teachers to shape an online programme that works for them, and their pupils, in the current circumstances. With events exploring a variety of curriculum-led subjects and topics from some of the best authors, illustrators and thinkers writing for children and young people today, taking part in the Book Festival, even on an online basis, is a fun and accessible way to get children engaging with books and stories: exploring the world around them in a creative and thought-provoking way.”

P7 & Secondary School Events

Every weekday morning from Monday 23 to Monday 30 August, older pupils can enjoy a 45-minute event, consisting of inspiring conversation, readings and a Q&A with world class authors. The programme kicks off with Stonewall ambassador Juno Dawson discussing her new book What’s the T?, tackling the complex realities of growing up trans and/or non-binary with honesty and humour (S3-S6). Then Alex Wheatle and Liz Kessler share two powerful works of historical fiction: Alex’s Cane Warriors recounts the brutal uprising of slave plantation workers in 1760’s Jamaica, and Liz’s When the World Was Ours follows three young friends on different sides during the Second World War (S1-S5).

Wednesday 25 August sees Femi Fadugba, Ben Oliver and Jonathan Stroud share three fictionalised versions of the future: from a world where climate disaster has transformed London into a lagoon; to a prison ruled by all-powerful AI; and to Peckham, where two teenagers transcend time and worlds to undo an act of violence (S3-S6). Then award-winning authors Brian Conaghan and Patrice Lawrence join forces to discuss their new novels, Rat and Cardboard Cowboys, which explore the community around us, how we can all be guilty of making judgements about others, and the actions we can take to show we care (P7-S1). On the Friday we welcome three outstanding contributors to a joyous new anthology of stories from Black British authors and illustrators – Patrice Lawrence, Dean Atta and Yomi Sode celebrate the launch of Happy Here (P7-S1). And finally on Monday 30 August, writer and activist Gina Martin empowers us with the tools and courage to challenge injustice and fight for change (S2-S4).

Baillie Gifford Gala Day – Events for Primary Schools

On Tuesday 31 August, our Baillie Gifford Gala Day presents eight 30-minute events for Primary pupils from P1 to P7, all hosted by the wonderfully entertaining Scottish children’s writer Pamela Butchart. We start the day with Sally Gardner who introduces us to The Tindims, tiny Borrower-like creatures who love to turn our everyday rubbish into treasure in their home on Rubbish Island (P1-P3). Maisie Chan reads from her hilarious and warm-hearted book about Danny, a young boy who loves drawing and hates maths (P5-P7 ). Poet Joshua Seigal shares his latest collection of funny and heartfelt poems (P1-P3); and Abi Elphinstone talks about the real-life adventures and accidental daydreams behind her stories, before introducing her latest book – The Crackledawn Dragon (P4-P6).

Author, illustrator and environmentalist Neal Layton reveals how every plant and animal on earth is part of an amazing web of life (P1-P3); while Chae Strathie steps into the past as he illustrates exactly what life was like for kids in the Aztec age (P3-P5). Award-winning author Onjali Q Raúf introduces her new book The Great (Food) Bank Heist which explores themes of food poverty and food banks, while celebrating kindness and friendship (P4-P6); and finally David MacPhail reads from the first book in his action-packed new series, Velda the Awesomest Viking and the Voyage of Deadly Doom (P2-P4).

More information on all these events, including how to take part and how to apply for FREE books, can be found in our digital Schools Brochure, and on our Learning Site.

Baillie Gifford Big Book Giveaway and Bookshop Discount

There is an opportunity for teachers to register their class and receive a free book for every pupil watching an event in the Baillie Gifford Schools Programme.  For each event, five lucky classes will receive a book for every pupil, and every school that registers will be given a selection of books for their school library. To register a class for this great offer visit learning.edbookfest.co.uk/news/free-books-for-schools and complete the application form. The Book Festival is also offering 25% off any books ordered by schools through its independent online bookshop. Teachers can find the specially created Schools page at shop.edbookfest.co.uk/schools to browse books in the programme and receive 25% off all orders. The offer applies to all books featured in the Baillie Gifford Schools Programme and the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme and is valid until 30 September 2021.

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