Sir Michael Morpurgo, the internationally bestselling author of War Horse and Private Peaceful, will kick off Stratford Literary Festival's packed programme of events for young people. The multi award-winning writer will be talking about his latest book, Boy Giant, on 2 May ahead of the main festival which starts on 9 May, with nine days of activities for all ages and interests.

On Saturday 16 May, Cressida Cowell, the current Children's Laureate and creator of the world-wide success, How to Train Your Dragon, will be introducing the latest in her Wizards of Once series to her legion of fans. The Riverside Theatre Company, a favourite of the festival, will be bringing to life the favourite Velveteen Rabbit story and local BAFTA-winning animators, the Brothers McLeod, will be introducing Knight Sir Louis with the chance for children 7 and over to create their own animations. Another Stratford-based writer/illustrator, Evgenia Golubeva, will be reading I'm Not A Mouse, a sweet exploration of why nicknames aren't always popular.

Also on Saturday 16 May, the award-winning author of I Love You Night and Day, Smriti Prasadam-Halls, will charm children with her latest book and Kristina Stephenson, creator of Sir Charlie Stinky Socks, will be asking Why Are There So Many Books About Bears?

Hands-on craft events include the brilliant Aardman modellers returning to Stratford to show participants of all ages how to create Nick Park's much-loved characters including Shaun the Sheep and Feather's McGraw. At two drop-in events, children from 5 years can help to make giant models of the hare in the timeless story. Guess How Much I love You, on Sunday 10 May, and the inimitable Fantastic Mr Fox - to mark the story's 50th anniversary - on Saturday 16 May with Escape Art's Ros Ingram.

The Festival's Children's Day on 17 May is packed with events taking place at Stratford Play House and Stratford Primary School, Authors and illustrators featuring this year include Horrible Histories illustrator, Martin Brown, and the award winning author/illustrator Jonny Lambert. Another author/illustrator, Teddy Keen, will share the amazing story behind The Lost Book of Adventure, based on notebooks he found in the Amazon jungle, and the creator of Isadora Moon. Harriet Muncaster, presents the latest in the hugely successful series.

Festival ambassador and Roald Dahl Funny Prize winner, Philip Ardagh, will be introducing Furry Furry Beancat: The Pirate Captain's Cat, the former international Paralympian and TV presenter Ade Adepitan, with be sharing his Cyborg Cat, a creation that helped him to embrace his differences, and illustrator Kate Hindley takes us up Treacle Street, with her new lift-a-flap book.

Children can get hands on with Alison Limentani, veterinary nurse, as she asks How Tall Was a T-Rex?, and comic fans can create their own with the comic-making expert Neil Cameron, who'll be showing storytellers how to turn a story into an illustrated strip.

There will be story telling too as George Hoyle returns to the Festival to share That's Not My…, Guess How Much I Love You, and Not Now Bernard - some of the nation's favourite stories.

And all age groups will be able to enjoy a love of books and stories with Kate Coleman bringing Kate's Storytree to her story den by the Festival Hub on Bridge Foot Lawn, with events for pre-schoolers every morning and afternoon from Monday 11 until Friday 15 May. The Festival programme includes events for teenagers too including the acclaimed poet Nikita Gill introducing SLAM on Saturday 16 May and blogger Candice Brathwaite talking about how to create a successful blog.

'This year's programme offers something for young people of all ages,' says Annie Ashworth, Festival Director, 'from beautiful new board books for little ones to inspiring poetry and writing for students. We are so pleased that we are bringing some of the best writers and illustrators for young people to Stratford with such a wide and varied programme. There will be so much to do!'

This year's children's events programme is sponsored by Warwick School, and the full programme can be seen at stratlitfest.co.uk, and in the printed programme that will be distributed throughout the region. Tickets can be purchased by calling 0333 666 3366, online at ticketsource,co.uk/stratford-literary-festival and in person at Stratford Play House Box Office.

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