What's happening in children's books this year? Your complete 2018 calendar of events
Compiled by Emily Drabble
2018 has only just begun, but there are so many events and exciting things to look forward to this year - from festivals to new books and fabulous exhibitions.
Take a look below at our full calendar of events from the children's book world - and do let us know if you think we're missing something by email or on Twitter @BookTrust. And keep checking back as we'll keep this calendar updated throughout the year.
1 February: It's the most magical night of the year - Harry Potter Book Night! This year, the night is dedicated to celebrating Harry Potter's Fantastic Beasts, the mythical creatures at the heart of the series. You can find out lots more on the website here and there's even a map showing which events are taking place near you (and around the world). If you're in London you can see BookTrust's Emily Drabble in conversation with Fantastic Beasts illustrators Jim Kay and Olivia Lomenech Gill at Waterstones Piccadilly.
1 February: The Branford Boase Award longlist will be announced today. The honour recognises an outstanding first novel from a first-time writer for young people - and their editor. The shortlist will be announced on 2 May, followed by the winner on 4 July.
7-18 February: London's Southbank Centre's Imagine Children's Festival launches today for youngsters aged 0-12. Highlights include a free event in the Clore ballroom to celebrate the winner of this year's BookTrust Lifetime Achievement award with a host of famous illustrators and authors including Chris Riddell, Sophy Henn, Polly Dunbar and David Roberts. Also catch Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes, Joseph Coelho, Nadia Shireen, Robin Stevens, an afternoon with Jacqueline Wilson, and much, more!
7 February: The Waterstones Children's Books Prize shortlist will be announced today! Will any of your favourites make the list?
8 February: Get really excited - the new BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award winner is announced today. Who will be next to receive the honour after Shirley Hughes, Judith Kerr and Raymond Briggs? We can't wait to find out! Find out more about the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award here.
12-14 February: STORYSTOCK brings its circus of stories to the iconic Battersea Power Station's brand new 'Village Hall'. Come and be inspired a creative workshop with the Waterstones Children's Laureate Lauren Child's 2018 project 'Staring Into Space', enjoy the Ruby Redfort show and see the Lauren tribute band. Authors and illustrators like Judith Kerr and Sophy Henn will also be there - and sun salutations with the Gruffalo on Once Upon A Yogamat sound intriguing too! More details and how to
13 February: The Klaus Flugge longlist is announced today. The award celebrates the most exciting and promising newcomer to children's picture book illustration and was won last year by Francesca Sanna for The Journey. The shortlist will be announced on 16 May, while the winner will be named on September 12.
14 February: Today isn't just Valentine's Day - it's also International Book Giving Day, which is all about getting books into the hands of as many children as possible. You can get into the spirit by giving a book to a friend or family member, leaving one for someone lucky to find, or donating one to your local hospital, school or shelter. Keep an eye on the hashtag on social media - you can join in on #BookGivingDay.
16-19 February: Need some help finishing off the next great children's book? Get yourself to Dunford House in Sussex for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Writers Retreat, featuring advice from brilliant author Sophia Bennett. Also, apparently there might be cake. If you're interested, you can get details on the website.
17 February: It's Random Acts of Kindness Day... and what could be a better act of kindness than giving someone a book or reading them a story? You can pledge your act of kindness in advance here.
26 February: It's Tell A Fairy Tale Day... so which one will you be sharing?
26 February: The top 10 books on the shortlist for the (Golden) Children's Book Award 2018 will be announced today. The shortlist is chosen and voted for by children themselves, with three categories for different age groups. Youngsters will be able to pick their favourites online until 25 May and the winner will be announced on 9 June.
1 March: We hope you've got your costume ready... because it's World Book Day! From free books to events in schools and, of course, the fun of fancy dress, there will be loads going on to get children excited about reading.
1 March: The winners of the Blue Peter Book Awards are announced today... so who is it going to be? Will it be Lissa Evans with Wed Wabbit, Cressida Cowell with The Wizards of Once or Kiran Millwood Hargrave for The Island at the End of Everything for the Best Story award? Who will reign triumphant for the Best Book With Facts Award? Will it be Adam Murphy and Lisa Murphy with Corpse Talk: Ground-Breaking Scientists, or Dara O'Briain and Dan Bramall with Beyond the Sky: You and the Universe? Or maybe it will be Real Life Mysteries by Susan Martineau and Vicky Barker? All will be revealed at 5pm live on CBBC's Blue Peter.
1 March: It's time to get your class reading as the Ten Million Minutes Reading Challenge kicks off on 1 March. Every primary school in England can enter, and with prizes up for grabs including a new library or reading area for your school, it's surely worth a shot. So how many minutes can your pupils read for over the course of a week? You can find out more information about the challenge on the Achievement For All website.
1 March: Seriously, March is kicking off in style. Also on 1 March, we'll find out the shortlist for the YA Book Prize. Which books will be nominated?
8-18 March: The Huddersfield Literature Festival kicks off, with loads of events for children. Expect author talks, poetry readings, workshops and even a literary afternoon tea. All the information you need is on the website here - but one event you might want to check out is on 11 March, when you can see Annabel Pitcher and Lucy Mangan chat about the joy of reading with children and how it's changed over the years in a talk chaired by BookTrust's Emily Drabble.
9-14 March: The Belfast Children's Festival is taking place in March, with loads of events to enjoy including a Book Clinic and a talk from Laureate na nÓg PJ Lynch. As part of the festivities, the Children's Books Ireland Book of the Year shortlist will also be unveiled before the winners are announced in May.
12-18 March: It's Shakespeare Week, which is all about giving primary school children their first experience of the great playwright. There will be events across the country, including performances and workshops. If that's not quite enough of the Bard for you, though, we have a list of the best Shakespeare retellings for younger readers... and why not learn all about how you speak Shakespeare without even knowing it?
15 March: The shortlists for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and Kate Greenaway Medal are announced today, before we find out the winners of the Carnegie, Kate Greenaway and Amnesty CILIP Honour commendation on 18 June. Also today, the official CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway prize shadowing begins. Schools can find out how to join in here.
15 March: After announcing its shortlist on 20 February, the winner of the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year will be unveiled today; the prize celebrates British or British resident BAME writers. A children's author didn't win last year, but the fantastic The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave did make the shortlist.
17 March: Today marks the launch of the Oxford Literary Festival, which lasts until 25 March. And there's loads going on for young people, including events with Waterstone's Children's Laureate Lauren Child, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Nadia Shireen, Kwame Alexander, Frances Hardinge, Philip Ardagh and many more! One talk definitely worth checking out will be Judith Kerr, who will chat to Nicolette Jones in the 50th anniversary year of The Tiger Who Came To Tea. Get all the details about what's going on here.
20 March: Today is World Storytelling Day - a perfect day to sit down with your family and share a book!
21 March: It's World Poetry Day today.
22 March: The Waterstones Children's Books Prize winner will be announced today - who will succeed 2017 victor Kiran Millwood Hargrave and her book The Girl of Ink and Stars?
26-29 March: The Bologna Book Fair is the largest trade show and book fair for children's books - so if you fancy a trip to Italy, this is the perfect excuse!
27 March: As part of the Bologna Book Fair, the winner of this year's Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will be announced today. There are 235 nominees from 60 countries, including authors and illustrators from the UK such as David Almond, Shirley Hughes, Waterstones Children's Laureate Lauren Child, Michael Morpugo, Chris Riddell, Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Laird and Sara Fanelli - you can read the full list here.
Also in March: The Scottish Children's Book Award winner will be unveiled ... The shortlist for the UKLA Book Awards will be unveiled - they're the only national awards judged by class teachers, so it will be interesting to see what gets picked before the winner is announced in July.
2 April: It's International Children's Book Day, which falls on 2 April to mark Hans Christian Andersen's birthday.
10-12 April: It's time for the London Book Fair, which sees the biggest names in the world of books getting together including Waterstones Children's Laureate Lauren Child. And are we about to be introduced to our new favourite children's author?
13-15 April: The Federation of Children's Book Groups Hidden Gems: Bright Futures conference will take place at Queenswood School in Hertfordshire. Authors including Michael Morpurgo, Jackie Morris, Jacqueline Wilson, Sarah Crossan, Katherine Woodfine and Robin Stevens will be speaking at the event. This year, the Federation of Children's Books Groups is celebrating its 50th anniversary, so the conference will be extra special.
21 April: Cardiff Children's Literature Festival begins today and runs until 29 April in Cardiff City Centre. The festival holds events in both English and Welsh, and it looks like there are lots of things planned, from storytimes with The Gruffalo and Paddington to a Harry Potter party, writing workshops, and fun with myths and legends. Plus you can expect a whole host of brilliant authors including Jess Butterworth, Sibéal Pounder, Tom Percival, Kaye Umansky and heaps more - find out more on the website.
22-29 April: It's time for the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival! The programme hasn't been announced yet, so mark the date and check back here or on the festival website nearer the time to see what exciting events will be taking place.
23 April: It's the eighth World Book Night, which is all about inspiring people of all ages to get reading by giving out books in places like prisons, libraries, hospitals, youth centres and homeless shelters. There are lots of events going on to celebrate, too, so visit the World Book Night website to find out more!
26-29 April: It's time for Chipping Norton Literary Festival, with some fantastic children's authors including Nadia Shireen, Abi Elphinstone and Robin Stevens taking part.
All this month: May is National Share-a-Story Month, founded and run by the Federation of Children's Book Groups... so make the time to tell a tale or two! This year the focus is a World of Stories: celebrating stories, poetry, myths and legends from around the world, exploring other cultures as well as our own British stories. And remember, it's the FCBG's 50th year, so the month is bound to be even more special.
4 May: The Shrewsbury Bookfest launches today and runs until 7 May! Check the website for the full programme from March onwards.
7-27 May: Pack the bucket and spade and head to the seaside: it's time for Brighton Festival. Artist and cartoonist David Shrigley is this year's guest director so we should be in for some visual delights and hilarity - check out the Brighton Festival website for all the details, as the full programme has now been unveiled. Alongside an 'Adopt an Author' scheme for local schools, expect talks from the likes of Peter Bunzl and Jacqueline Wilson, writing workshops, and lots of other fantastic family-friendly events.
12-13 May: Barnes Children's Literature Festival, London's largest dedicated children's literature festival, is back for its fourth year! Confirmed authors and illustrators include Judith Kerr, John Burningham, Cressida Cowell, Frances Hardinge, Axel Scheffler, Andy Stanton, Tony Ross, Sophie Kinsella, Emily Gravett, Harry Hill, Dan and Peter Snow, Emma Chichester-Clarke and Matt Sewell, and there will also be a chance to see the stage adaptation of Waterstones Children's Laureate Lauren Child's Ruby Redfort detective series. You can find out more on the website here.
13 May: It's National Children's Day, which is all about the importance of a healthy childhood and protecting the rights and freedoms of young people. There should be lots of events going on throughout the country, too.
14 May: The British Book Industry Awards take place today, so which book will follow last year's triumph - Kiran Millwood Hargrave's A Girl of Ink and Stars - and win Children's Book of the Year in 2018? We're also excited that this year there's a new award for Illustrator of the Year.
17-22 May: It's time for more prizes... this time voted for by children in Leeds. The Leeds Book Awards will give out a prize in the 9-11 category on 22 May, while on 17 May there will be awards in the 11-14 list and 14-16 category. The shortlists are already out, and you can see which books are nominated on the website.
19-27 May: The International Literature Festival Dublin is held in May. We don't know details of the full programme yet, but one thing we do know is that the winners of the Children's Book Ireland Book of the Year Awards will be announced as part of the celebrations.
24 May: The best children's picture books of the year will be celebrated at the English Association 4-11 Picture Book Awards today - with categories for fiction and non-fiction in two age ranges, 4-7 and 7-11. So which of your family's favourites will be honoured in 2018?
24 May: The legendary Hay Festival launches today and runs until June 3 - it's one of the biggest events in the books calendar so we're sure there'll be loads to whet your family's appetite. You can find the full programme of events for children and teenagers on the website, but we can tell you that Waterstones Children's Laureate Lauren Child will be there. Hay Festival has also has an extensive Schools Programme, with free events for pupils - more details about that to follow.
26 May- 3 June: It's time for the Edinburgh International Children's Festival, formerly called Imaginate. This festival has an emphasis on theatre and dance, but expect a lot of storytelling too - the website has more information on the events taking place.
26 May: Who could resist that patchwork elephant drawn by the amazing David McKee? It's Elmer Day today with events taking place in nurseries, schools and bookshops across the country.
2 June: As part of the Hay Festival, the YA Book Prize winner will be announced in a special ceremony. So which title will follow Patrice Lawrence's Orangeboy (2017), Sarah Crossan's One (2016) and Louise O'Neill's Only Ever Yours (2015) to scoop the prize?
2 June: We find out who's won the 2018 Little Rebels Children's Book Award, which celebrates fiction for young readers that promotes social justice or challenges stereotypes; 2017's winner was Ada Twist, Scientist written by Andrea Beatty and illustrated by David Roberts. You'll be able to find the 2018 shortlist on the website in May; this year's guest judges are Patrice Lawrence, Darren Chetty, B.J. Epstein, Catherine Johnson and BookTrust's Emily Drabble.
3-5 June: Wychwood Festival takes place this weekend at Cheltenham Racecourse, with a kids' literary festival one of the main draws of the event. For more information, keep an eye on the website.
4 June: BookTrust's National Bookstart Week launches today, encouraging families to read together.
9 June: The winner of the Golden Children's Book Award 2018 will be announced today - which one will scoop the prize? That's not all, because the winner of the Wicked Young Writers Award will also be revealed today.
12 June: After a very successful pilot last year, we are delighted to say that Empathy Day now joins the literary calendar and is returning in 2018. It's a day to celebrate, read, and spread the word about the power of books that help readers to build real-life empathy. It's all about using books as a tool to challenge prejudice and build connections between us all.What could be nicer than that?
16 June: It's time to celebrate your local bookshop with Independent Bookshop Week, which runs until 23 June. There'll be lots going on across the country including workshops, storytellings, literary lunches, signings and even the odd bit of face-painting, so it's the perfect excuse to get out there and support your nearest shop.
18 June: The Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal winners are revealed today, along with the Amnesty CILIP honour. Who will be taking home these prestigious prizes?
22 June: Very exciting - today the winner of the CLPE Children's Poetry Award 2018 (also called the CLiPPA) will be unveiled at the Poetry Show at the National Theatre. Last year, the award was won by Kate Wakeling for Moon Juice.
22-24 June: The Schools Library Association is holding its conference with CILIP YLG in Glasgow this weekend; this year, the title is Weavers of Dreams: Creativity and Imagination. To find out more, visit the website.
28 June: If your family loves all things scientific, you're in luck - today marks the start of the Lancashire Science Festival, which runs until 30 June. No details about this year's programme are on the website yet, but last year there were lots of book-related events to enjoy.
31 June: The Bradford Literature Festival kicks off today and will feature ten days of events and activities. Details to come!
All this month: Starting this month and continuing through August, the Summer Reading Challenge is back! This year's theme is Mischief Makers, inspired by the much-loved iconic children's title The Beano, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this month.
3 July: As part of its Industry Insiders programme - which will host events throughout the year - the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators will host a Writing Other Lives panel, examining how authors approach writing characters from different backgrounds and how agents and editors can make sure these stories accurately represent all sorts of communities. It should be an interesting evening - you can find out about that and the other Industry Insiders events on the website here.
4 July: The winner of the Branford Boase Award will be announced today, recognising an outstanding first novel from a first time writer for young people - and their editor.
6 July: The winners of the UKLA Book Awards will be announced tpdau. These are the only national awards voted for by class teachers, so it will be fascinating to see which books end up victorious - the shortlist will be unveiled on March 26.
8-13 July: Fly, University of East Anglia's Festival of Literature for Young People, is a week of 11 talks and 40 workshops including the Mal Peet memorial talk by Frances Hardinge, Bali Rai, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Anthony McGowan.
20 July: London Film and Comic Con is back, featuring YALC, the UK's YA Lit Con, returning for its fifth year. Details aren't available yet, but you can check the website here.
24-27 July: If you're working on a picture book, why not get some expert advice to make sure it really shines? The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is holding its Picture Book Retreat at Holland House in Worcestershire, with advice from Alexis Deacon and Lynne Chapman. It's already booked up, but head to the website and you can ask to be added to the waiting list.
3-27 August: It's time for the Edinburgh International Festival, always a highlight of any year, and the Book Festival runs from August 11-27. Details will be updated on the festival website when they're available - we're expecting the programme to launch on 14 March.
9 August: It's National Book Lovers Day, so make sure you find time to curl up with one of your favourites.
17-19 August: The Just So Festival kicks off at Rode Hall in Cheshire this weekend. More details of who you can see there to come on the website.
8 September: Today is UNESCO's International Literacy Day, which celebrates efforts to improve literacy around the world.
12 September: The winner of the Klaus Flugge Prize is announced today! The award celebrates the most exciting and promising newcomer to children's picture book illustration and was won last year by Francesca Sanna for The Journey - who will follow in her footsteps?
13 September: Grab a snozzcumber and some Fizzy Lifting Drinks - it's Roald Dahl Day!
13-17 September: The Chiswick Book Festival takes place this week! More details about what's taking place will be available when we're closer to September.
19-23 September: Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival runs this weekend. More details to come nearer the time.
21 September: The Appledore Book Festival in North Devon launches today and runs all the way until 29 September. Full details of the programme should be on the website soon.
27-30 September: There's a brand new event to add to your calendars for September 2018! This year marks the launch of the Broughton Hall Children's Literature Festival, which will take place at Broughton Hall near Skipton in Yorkshire. Founder Trevor Wilson says he wants to make a big difference to children from local schools, and he's partnering with the mental health charity The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust for the event, too. The plan is to have 50 authors and poets visiting 150 local schools, with two days of performances at Broughton Hall - basically, it definitely looks like one to keep an eye on. More details will be announced nearer the time.
30 September: Happy International Translation Day!
Also in September: Look out for the Children's Book Show ... The Bath Children's Literature Festival happens in September, with more details of dates and who will be there coming soon to the website... The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators will hold its Members' Only Agents Party, a great way of kickstarting careers (you can read about last year's event here).
All this month: October is the month of The Big Draw Festival, which will see lots of events around the country encouraging you to get sketching.
1-7 October: Henley Literary Festival is another extravaganza which has a special programme of children's events and a schools festival to boot. More details should be on the website soon.
3 October: Today is No Pens Day Wednesday, an initiative from the Communication Trust that encourages schools to put down the pens and celebrate a day of learning through speaking and listening activities. Will you be getting involved?
4 October: Today is National Poetry Day! The theme for 2018's event is Change, so expect an explosion of activity nationwide - all to celebrate poetry's power to bring people together.
5 October: It's National Teachers Day today! Make sure you make a fuss of the teachers in your life... or if you ARE a teacher, make sure people make a fuss of you.
5-14 October: The Cheltenham Literary Festival is one of the oldest literary festivals in the world. The line-up hasn't been revealed yet, so keep your eye on the website!
6-15 October: Durham Book Festival is another well-established event and it always works closely with schools. More details to come nearer the time!
9-14 October: It's National Libraries Week so make sure you get to your local library and celebrate.
21 October: As part of its Masterclasses, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators will host a special event with Piers Torday, Creating Characters To Care About. It sounds like a great way to polish up any stories you're working on - attendees are offered the opportunity to bring characters who need a little something extra with them. You can find out more about this event and the other SCBWI Masterclasses on the website.
27 October: How lovely - the UK celebrates National Tell-A-Story Day today. Who will you choose to share your tales with?
All this month: It's National Non-Fiction Month! Look out for resources, book reviews and ideas on our website.
3 November: The Federation of Children's Book Groups Golden Anniversary celebration for children takes place in Birmingham today, featuring an exciting programme of author events for a young audience; you can expect to see former Children's Laureates Julia Donaldson and Jacqueline Wilson and the finale of this year's Jean Russell Storytelling Project. More info will be available on the FCBG website nearer the time.
20 November: The UN's Universal Children's Day is marked today, promoting togetherness and awareness among children worldwide.
Also in November: Dates are still to be confirmed, but the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators normally holds its annual conference in November. Details are yet to be announced, but last year's event featured Liz Pichon, Alex T Smith and Julia Eccleshare.
Stay tuned: listings for December will come later in the year.
And what's already happened this year...
3 January: The Costa Book Awards category award winners were announced on 3 January - congratulations to Katherine Rundell, who won the children's category with The Explorer.
January until February: Don't miss the British Library's exciting Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition! Also, don't forget to check out our What to Read After: Harry Potter feature, which features loads of great recommendations.
January until 4 March: Don't miss the Quentin Blake and John Yeoman 50 Years of Children's Books exhibition at the House of Illustration in London. This exhibition includes Quentin's very first illustrations for children's literature, which John Yeoman persuaded him to draw in 1960, as well as work from their latest collaboration and 10 projects in between.
January until June: There's a brilliant sounding comics exhibition at Seven Stories in Newcastle. See an eclectic mix of original comic art to impress and inspire all comics fans including Dennis the Menace as drawn in the 1940s and 50s and Captain America, Wonder Woman, Superman and Hulk as drawn by British artist Ian Churchill. You'll also be able to explore the work of current illustrators such as Laura Ellen Anderson.
15 January: BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award winner Judith Kerr will be taking part in a fundraising concert for the Refugee Council by reading from When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit - it all takes place at London's Royal Festival Hall. You can find out more on their website.
18 January: The winner of the Laugh Out Loud 2017 awards - also known as the LOLLIES - is announced today. The award has been judged by former Children's Laureate and poet Michael Rosen, CBBC presenter Katie Thistleton and the Sunday Times' Children's Books Editor, Nicolette Jones. But that's not all - look out for the launch of the 2018 competition later this month!
18 January: It's Winnie-the-Pooh Day - to celebrate, why not remind yourself why the bear of very little brain was actually full of wisdom?
27 January: National Storytelling Week begins today and continues until 3 February, so start thinking up your best tales now.
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