Hats off to Jon Klassen (live video link)

Friday 2 March, 10am-11am

Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Lit Fest says: 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!

We say: Known for his tongue-in-cheek humour and surreal stories with a twist, Jon Klassen is a festival regular who never fails to captivate with his gorgeous illustrations.  

Watch the trailer for Jon’s latest book in collaboration with Mac Barnett here: 

Guy Parker-Rees: Giraffes Can’t Dance

Saturday 3 March, 10am-11am    

Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

Lit Fest says: 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.

We say: An expat toddler himself many years ago in Zimbabwe, British illustrator Guy Parker-Rees is all about bringing vibrancy and bounce to his expressive characters. Your littles ones are guaranteed to come away with fingers itching to draw and feet itching to dance!

Katy Hudson: Tortoises, Rabbits and Runaway Eggs

Saturday 3 March, 12pm-1pm     

Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Lit Fest says: 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.

We say: We suggest you encourage your kids to take away a love of animals and even vegetables (carrots, anyone?) from this session rather than Katy’s childhood habits: She started her illustration career as a little girl drawing on the freshly painted walls of her house! With a cast of lovely fluffy characters including bunnies – and some eggs too - this session is a good one for the run up to Easter.    

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Dinos in the Desert: Maitha Al Khayat & Elissa Elwick

Saturday 3 March, 2pm-3pm        

Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Lit fest says: 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.

We say: Two for the price of one, this fabulous duo - both writers and illustrators – will give you the best of both worlds, combining Emirati and British storytelling styles. Focused on the blossoming of an unusual friendship, this session is a great event for emphasising diversity as well as teaching kids about how to harness their own power for storytelling.  

Judith Kerr: The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Live video link)

Saturday 3 March, 4pm-5pm   

Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Lit fest says: 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!

We say: A true legend of children’s literature, this is a rare opportunity to bridge the gap between generations with a celebration of a beautiful picture book that many of us enjoyed when we were little.  

Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper: Oxford Reading Tree

Friday 9 March, 2pm-3pm 

Al Ras 3, InterContinental

Lit Fest says: Grab the Magic Key and get ready for storytime fun, because the author and illustrator team behind Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy are coming to Dubai!

They will take to the stage in this interactive family session to show how they write and draw their engaging and educational tales, loved by generations.

The creators of more than 800 books in the Oxford Reading Tree series, Alex Brychta and Roderick Hunt's work has helped millions of children learn to read – now you can see the story masters live!

We say: Instantly recognisable, the characters created by Alex Brychta and Roderick Hunt are some of the most well-established tools used by schools and parents alike to build confidence in young readers. This session is perfect if your kids are just starting off on their reading journey.   

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I want…Tony Ross!

Saturday 10 March, 12pm-1pm   

Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

Lit Fest says: Come and see one of the best-loved illustrators of children’s books today as he draws live on stage!

Tony Ross is creator of the hilarious Little Princess series, the illustrator of Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry, and the genius behind the drawings for all of David Walliams’ books.

This tour of his work features stories, loads of drawing and buckets of laughter, with a glimpse at his brand new book with Michael Rosen, Bah! Humbug! – a heart-warming take on Dickens’ classic tale.

We say: Children’s illustrators don’t get much more famous than Tony Ross and, despite his 80-odd years, he still maintains an insatiable sense of fun in his drawings and in life. Describing himself as being a bit of a Horrid Henry to his own parents, Ross has enjoyed a stunningly prolific career but still seems very much able to get inside the mind of his young readers – and maybe this is the secret to his success.  

Fanteer the Fluffy Flamingo: Story and Craft workshop with Noura Al Khoori  

Saturday 10 March, 2pm-3pm     

Al Waha, InterContinental

Lit Fest says: Fanteer the Fluffy Flamingo is Noura Al Khoori’s story of a little flamingo who gets lost on an island after playing hide and seek with his friend the crab. Will he ever find his parents? Or will they find him? This workshop features a reading and talk from Noura followed by a chance to make your own pink flamingo to take home.

The tutor: Noura Al Khoori is an up-and-coming Emirati author of children’s books, including Fanteer the Fluffy Flamingo, Golden Dates, and The Tender Hands, a moving story about life as a refugee.

We say: Dealing with tough subjects like global conflict with as much skill and sensitivity as lighter ones, Noura’s work serves as a great introduction to children’s stories that incorporate local culture and environmental themes.

All sessions are recommended for children aged four and up.

The regular children’s programme sessions are Dh50, while workshops are priced at Dh100 for one child and an accompanying adult.

Visit www.emirateslitfest.com for full programme details. 

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