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Event 2 Jacqueline Wilson: The History Girls

Friday 2 March, 10am-11am   Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

Superstar children’s author Jacqueline Wilson has created some of the most beloved characters in children’s literature, from the mischievous Tracy Beaker to the headstrong Hetty Feather.

Her new book, Wave Me Goodbye, tells the moving story of 10-year-old Shirley, an evacuee in the Second World War who is sent to live in a strange old house with the mysterious Mrs Waverley….

Travel back in time with Shirley, Hetty and many more in Jacqueline’s capable hands.

There will be no public book signing at this session, but printed book plates with Jacqueline’s signature will be available with each book purchased at the Festival Bookshop.

The lucky first 200 ticket buyers will have a chance to meet Jacqueline for a special book signing and photo.

Language: English

Age Group: 9+

Jacqueline Wilson: The History Girls

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Event 31 Hats Off to Jon Klassen (Live Video Link)

Friday 2 March, 10am-11am   Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Authors: Jon Klassen
He’s taken us on hat adventures galore, and now Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Jon Klassen joins us live from the US to talk about his brand new tales with Mac Barnett. Triangle is the start of a hilarious new trilogy about sneaky shapes and geometric prankery, and The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse reveals the surprising upsides of being eaten by a wolf!

Join Jon for a chucklefest of readings, demonstrations of his work and maybe even some sneak peeks at his future projects!

Signed book plates will be available for books purchased at the Festival Bookshop after the session.

Check out the trailer for The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse below:

Language: English

Age Group: 4+

Hats Off to Jon Klassen (Live Video Link)

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Event 64 Julia Johnson: The Secret of the Cave

Friday 2 March, 12pm-1pm   Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Authors: Julia Johnson
In a remote mountain village of the UAE, in the grip of a deadly drought, a young girl falls into a cave and makes a discovery which could save her people… if only she could reach them!

Award-winning UAE-based author, Julia Johnson, is famed for her gripping stories about the history, culture and wildlife of the region, from the Kirkus-starred book The Leopard Boy, to winner of the International Children’s Book award, The Turtle Secret. In her trademark warm storytelling style, Julia will transport us to the beautiful, and sometimes dangerous, mountainous regions in her brand new book, The Secret of the Cave.

Language: English

Age Group: 7+

Julia Johnson: The Secret of the Cave

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Event 11 Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Philip Ardagh & Elissa Elwick

Friday 2 March, 2pm-3pm   Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

In a world first, prepare to meet girl & dog detective duo Stick & Fetch – published early especially for the Festival!

Author-illustrator duo Philip Ardagh and Elissa Elwick, creators of the charming Little Adventurers books, have collaborated once again to bring us Sally Stick and her shaggy French poodle Fetch, hapless detectives who leave a trail of mayhem behind them.

Towering Philip and petite Elissa bring their tag-team stage act of storytelling, hand puppets, live drawing and general silliness to Dubai for the first time – you’d be barking mad to miss it!!

Language: English

Age Group: 5+

Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Philip Ardagh & Elissa Elwick

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Event 12 Kiran Millwood Hargrave: The Girl of Ink & Stars

Friday 2 March, 2pm-3pm   Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

When Isabella’s best friend disappears, she volunteers to guide the search. With ink maps and her knowledge of the stars, can she navigate her island’s forgotten heart to find her friend?

Unbreakable friendships, dark secrets and legendary monsters abound in Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s bestselling and multi-award winning The Girl of Ink & Stars. Compared to fantasy greats such as Philip Pullman, Kiran’s star continues to rise with latest novel, The Island at the End of Everything.

Come and hear about Kiran’s love for myth and folklore – and why islands make such magical fictional worlds.

Kiran will be in conversation with Sally Mousa.

Language: English

Age Group: 8+

Kiran Millwood Hargrave: The Girl of Ink & Stars

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Event 17 Dream a Story: Samar Mahfouz Barraj and Yara Bamieh

Friday 2 March, 4pm-5pm   Al Khayma, InterContinental

Words and pictures combine to bring the story to life in this exciting picture book session!

Author Samar Mahfouz Barraj and Illustrator Yara Bamieh show the unique way they work together when Samar reads her story The Nice Visitor while Yara draws the scenes – children are encouraged to give their predictions! Then, after a quick reading from their book My Swing, the fun continues with author and illustrator teaming up to show how every child can sit on their own swing and write and draw their own story – paper and pencils will be provided if you want to join in!

Language: Arabic

Age Group: 8+

Dream a Story: Samar Mahfouz Barraj and Yara Bamieh

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Event 18 Stephen Ritz: The Power of a Plant

Friday 2 March, 4pm-5pm   Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

Authors: Stephen Ritz
Stephen Ritz’s seeds of motivation have blossomed into an international movement – come and discover The Power of a Plant!

‘America’s favourite teacher’ turned around his struggling New York school by changing its grounds into urban gardens. His students’ health, grades and community spirit, previously some of the worst in the country, completely transformed. He has since pioneered ways for schools around the globe to start farms that require little in the way of space, dirt or water – just enthusiastic children!

Learn more about the man who changed the fates of a generation of New Yorkers, and how green fingers can grow hope.

Stephen will be in conversation with Paul Blezard.

Language: English

Age Group: 9+

Stephen Ritz: The Power of a Plant

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Event 33 Philip Ardagh: The World of Moominvalley

Saturday 3 March, 10am-11am   Al Ras 2, InterContinental

Authors: Philip Ardagh
Tove Jansson’s Moomins are beloved by children and adults worldwide. Lifelong Moomin fan Philip Ardagh has written The World of Moominvalley, a beautifully illustrated guide to Jansson’s magical world and its inhabitants.

In this family session Philip will introduce the book to Moominfans old and new in his unique larger-than-life style, revisiting the cast of unusual characters, showing how to spot a Moomin, and opening up the Moomin archive to show rarely seen material.

This is a very special session celebrating some of the greatest children’s books of all time – come and visit Moominvalley!

This session will be hosted by Daniel Patrick LeBlanc. 

Language: English

Age Group: 6+

Philip Ardagh: The World of Moominvalley

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Event 37 Guy Parker-Rees: Giraffes Can’t Dance

Saturday 3 March, 10am-11am   Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

… or can they? Guy Parker-Rees, illustrator of beloved children’s books Giraffes Can’t Dance, Be Brave Little Penguin, Dylan the Doctor and many more shares his storytelling magic live on stage.

Learn how Guy creates his lively and loveable animal characters, then enjoy the live drawing and an interactive reading of Giraffes Can’t Dance – there will certainly be dancing, and there may even be an appearance from puppet Gerald the Giraffe! Join in the draw-along, and you’ll leave inspired to create a dancing animal of your own.

Language: English

Age Group: 4+

Guy Parker-Rees: Giraffes Can’t Dance

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Event 36 Nidhal Guessoum: Inspiring Science

Saturday 10 March, 4pm-5pm   Al Khayma, InterContinental

Stargazing, awesome experiments, and a baloney detection kit… a brand new science book for young Muslims is sure to inspire imaginations. 

Professor Nidhal Guessoum is one of the major voices speaking up for the advance of science in Muslim countries, and was recently recognised by Global Influence as an Arab Thought Leader and ‘a prime scholar on the relations between Islam and modern science.’

His new book The Young Muslim's Guide to Modern Science, launched at this session, introduces the basics of modern science, combats myths and misunderstandings, and emphasises that Islam, at its core, embraces the very same inquisitive spirit that underlies scientific thinking.

For curious minds of all ages.

Nidhal will be in conversation with Rehan Khan.

Language: English

Age Group: 10+

Nidhal Guessoum: Inspiring Science

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Event 38 Anthony Horowitz: Alex Rider Returns

Saturday 3 March, 10am-11am   Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

Alex Rider is back by popular demand in the new adrenalin-fuelled novel, Never Say Die.

Anthony Horowitz has brought the world’s greatest teenage spy out of (early) retirement to put an end to Scorpia once and for all. Come and hear about the thrilling mission that throws Alex back into a world of deadly secrets, from Egypt to France, with a minefield of dangers along the way. And listen closely for some hints of what to expect in Alex’s next adventure, Nightshade!

Anthony will be in conversation with Julia Wheeler.

Language: English

Age Group: 9+

Anthony Horowitz: Alex Rider Returns

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Event 39 Ahmed Al Shoaibi: The Camel and the Drone

Saturday 3 March, 12pm-1pm   Al Khayma, InterContinental

Hamad and Saeed are ready for an epic race, between Hamad’s camel … and Saeed’s drone! But who will win? Emirati children’s author Ahmed Al Shoaibi is back by popular demand for more modern-day adventures blended with Emirati culture, following characters Hamad and his sister Ayesha.

Learn more about Emirati identity and values such as heroism and kindness in this fun-filled story session. Ahmed will share his tales in both Arabic and English, so the session is open to all.

Language: Arabic, English

Age Group: 9+

Ahmed Al Shoaibi: The Camel and the Drone

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Event 41 Poetry Pie: Roger McGough and LiTTLe MACHiNe

Saturday 3 March, 12pm-1pm   Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Have a slice of Poetry Pie with Roger McGough and LiTTLe MACHiNe!

Roger McGough’s poems for children are full of witty wordplay and clever rhymes, and when he teams up with stars of musical poetry LiTTLe MACHiNe the poems come to life! From food and animals to school and ghouls, these rib-tickler rhymes will leave you thinking long after … and humming too!

A morning of fun and laughter to be savoured.

Taaleem Prize winners will be given free tickets to this session.

Language: English with Arabic translation

Age Group: 6+

Poetry Pie: Roger McGough and LiTTLe MACHiNe

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Event 58 Katy Hudson: Tortoises, Rabbits and Runaway Eggs

Saturday 3 March, 12pm-1pm   Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Authors: Katy Hudson
Tortoise just wants to sleep through the winter, but his friends have other ideas…. Prepare to be charmed by Katy Hudson’s long-suffering Tortoise as he goes to ever greater lengths to find a quiet place to nap.

In this enchanting session, Katy will read from her timeless picture books, which include A Loud Winter’s Nap, Too Many Carrots and The Runaway Egg, and will share how she creates her beautiful illustrations, taking the audience through the various stages of her cute and captivating paintings.

The perfect session for little animal lovers!

Katy will be in conversation with Ciaran Kelly.

Language: English

Age Group: 4+

Katy Hudson: Tortoises, Rabbits and Runaway Eggs

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Event 46 Alex Wheatle: Straight Outta Crongton

Saturday 3 March, 2pm-3pm   Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

Authors: Alex Wheatle
Mo has to survive a difficult home, the dangerous South Crong streets – and when things get really bad, her own urge for revenge…

Brixton Bard Alex Wheatle, winner of the Guardian Children’s Prize, had a challenging childhood in the UK care system, and has gone on to become a celebrated writer, active in promoting diverse voices in literature. His Crongton series – Liccle Bit, Crongton Knights and the latest book Straight Outta Crongton – tells the story of teenagers growing up in a fictional tough London estate. Streetwise humour and tenderness shine through as the characters struggle to hold on to their dreams.

Alex will be in conversation with Robert Mitchell.

Language: English

Age Group: 15+

Alex Wheatle: Straight Outta Crongton

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Event 51 Philip Ardagh: The Eddie Dickens Trilogy

Saturday 3 March, 2pm-3pm   Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

Authors: Philip Ardagh
Enter the implausible world of Eddie Dickens, an average Victorian boy who has the misfortune to be surrounded by criminals, madmen, and criminal madmen. And a stuffed stoat called Malcolm.

Larger-than-life children’s author Philip Ardagh, winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, will take the audience on a whirlwind tour of his Eddie Dickens series, which begins with our unfortunate hero’s parents turning yellow and crinkly … and goes downhill from there.

Come and share in Eddie’s unpredictable adventures with Mad Uncle Jack, Even-Madder Aunt Maud, Lady Constance and more!

Language: English

Age Group: 7+

Philip Ardagh: The Eddie Dickens Trilogy

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Event 53 Dinos in the Desert: Maitha Al Khayat & Elissa Elwick

Saturday 3 March, 2pm-3pm   Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Did you hear about the dinosaur who got the hump?

Author–lllustrators Maitha Al Khayat and Elissa Elwick bring two unlikely friends together for the first time: a dinosaur and a camel!

Get ready for a desert adventure like you’ve never seen before. In this story jam, Maitha and Elissa will create a brand new story with your help and then live-draw the tale!

Did camel and dino meet at the mall? Does dino feel icky about sand between his toes? Come and help to create the characters and tell the tale.

Language: English

Age Group: 4+

Dinos in the Desert: Maitha Al Khayat & Elissa Elwick

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Event 69 MG Leonard: Beetle Boy

Saturday 3 March, 4pm-5pm   Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

Authors: MG Leonard
MG Leonard was terrified of insects … until she wrote her award-winning first novel Beetle Boy. She discovered the extraordinary world of creepy-crawlies through Darkus and Baxter, a boy and a beetle on a mission to stop mad scientist fashionista Lucretia Cutter. The adventure continues in Beetle Queen and the forthcoming Battle of the Beetles.

In this bugtastic talk, MG Leonard will read from her books, and, with help from The Green Planet and some real life insects, she will talk about beetle super-powers and how these little creatures are important to the environment.

Language: English

Age Group: 8+

MG Leonard: Beetle Boy

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Event 142 Judith Kerr: The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Live Video Link)

Saturday 3 March, 4pm-5pm   Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Authors: Judith Kerr
The Tiger has been coming to tea for 50 glorious years! Come and celebrate this incredible anniversary of Judith Kerr’s beloved picture book.

Joining the session via video link, Judith will read from the book and share stories of her past, tales of Mog, and the challenges of drawing tigers. Afterwards, there will be interactive fun for all – and maybe even an appearance from the Tiger himself!

Judith will be in conversation with Paul Blezard.

Language: English

Age Group: 4+

Judith Kerr: The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Live Video Link)

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Event 141 Rachel Hamilton: Unicorns Do Exist!

Thursday 8 March, 4.30pm-5.30pm   Al Ras 2, InterContinental

UAE-based children's author Rachel Hamilton – with the help of an eternally optimistic unicorn named Louie – will explore what it's like to give life to characters who don't actually exist... Except maybe they do!

Rachel is a Festival favourite and the author of the Unicorn in New York series as well as The Case of the Exploding Loo and The Case of the Exploding Brains. Join her for an afternoon of hairbrained stories and writing inspiration for kids of all ages.

Language: English

Age Group: 6+

Rachel Hamilton: Unicorns Do Exist!

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