Skip to the content

The 46 Amazing Interviews From Our Online Children's Book Festival 2021

We hosted a free children's book festival and it turned out to be a powerful CPD extravaganza for schools

This special event grew out of our Ian Gilbert finding himself on a Zoom coffee morning chat with a wide range of authors, all brought together by Sue Atkins, TV's celebrated 'parenting coach'.

Post-lockdown, it is even more vital to help children develop their reading skills - and that all-important love of reading. So, we felt that bringing these wonderful authors together and giving each one 20 minutes to share their book, read a short extract and explain what drove them to write would be a really useful and enjoyable thing to do.

So that's what we did.

What emerged was a unique CPD resource covering topics from behaviour to dyslexia, nutrition to activism, diversity to inclusion, bereavement to happiness, trauma awareness to attachment theory, well-being, positivity and the environment and so much more.

Just scroll down and click the links to see the interviews and hear about the stories within the stories too. Bring tissues.

We are also worked with the nice people at The Roving Bookshop who set up a special online Festival Book Store where you can not only order the books but also get signed and dedicated copies too.

Relevant for teachers and parents and anyone working with children of any age, we were blown away by the event.  We know you will be too.

Saturday 26th June

Isaac and the Red Jumper by Amanda Seyderhelm

Click here to watch the interview

Isaac is heartbroken when his best friend dies. His red jumper turns grey with grief. It's only after Isaac understands love never dies, that his jumper turns red again. Engaging picture book with questions for an adult to ask a bereaved child and start a conversation, and creative exercises.

Age 4-10

TAM's Journey The Beginning by Amanda Peddle

Click here to watch the interview

More ways of encouraging children to manage their emotional responses - and in a much more understandable way - are sorely needed in times such as these. Teaching children and young people the ‘how and why’ of emotions can remove stigma and calm some of the worries they may have and, by sharing a learning experience like a story, they can develop their understanding of why we act and react the way we do.

Age 8-108

Peter Pants and His Collection of Silly Poems by David - Pep the Poet - Anderson

Click here to watch the interview

How does one sum up Peter Pants? Easy … Venture into a world where pants dance, washing baskets come to life and neckties talk. Meet some insects with accents and listen to the scarecrows and snowmen who love to rap. A world where ladybirds are feminists and ninjas like to bake.

Age 6-11

Daniel's Dream: Monster Mountain by Leanne Brown

Click here to watch the interview

This book is a beautiful story about a young boy, Daniel, who is shy, kind and often worries about things that happen in his life. When he goes to sleep at night, his dreams take him on magical adventures. However, this particular night is different... This is a quirky, award-winning children’s book that serves as a gentle introduction to mental health issues.

Age 6-12

The Can Do Kids Journal by Sue Atkins

Click here to watch the interview

My Journal is bursting with tried-and-tested activities that will empower children with skills they need in this time of turbulence, change & uncertainty. This fun-filled illustrated book is perfect for developing resilience, confidence and a growth mindset. It offers kids a multitude of engaging guided activities to help them make lots of small changes that will make a BIG difference in their day-to-day lives.

Age 7-13

The Mini Adventures of Freddie by Kate Ball

As seen on BBC's Dragon's Den!

Click here to watch the interview

In this colourful storybook, first aid is brought to life by the adventures of young Freddie. Not only does Freddie get into his own scrapes, but he also knows exactly what to do when his Mummy has a fall. A must read for families who want their children to learn this valuable life skill. You just never know when you or your child could save a life!

Age 3-7

Time2Play: Marc's First Visit by Marcia Rowe and Kelita Wood

Click here to watch the interview

This book, with worksheets included, is fun, colourful and educational. It highlights the importance of life skills and life values for children under 8 years. It's all about a little boy who attends a play group class for the first time and, during his day, he subconsciously learns a lot of life skills and life values. The worksheets at the back of the book highlight these and encourage meaningful conversations between the child and the grown up to develop understanding.

Age 4-8

Mission Dyslexia by Julie McNeill

Click here to watch the interview

A fun, interactive book full of drawing and writing activities to open up helpful conversations around self esteem, self understanding and confidence. The strategies help develop strengths to tackle everyday challenges posed by reading, writing, organisational skills or telling the time. The colourful cartoons and dialogue encourage readers to name their feelings and develop strategies to overcome challenges.

Age 7-12

How Food Shapes Your Child by Louise Mercieca

Click here to watch the interview

How Food Shapes Your Child combines health facts and predictions, showing how lifestyle is linked to future health. It covers nutritional science such as building a brain and how to engage children in the biology of their own body. It is also a practical hands on family friendly cook book.

Age 4-10

The Perfect Mask by Claire Lamb

Click here to watch the interview

This book is an insight into the lives of special needs parents, capturing the emotional demands of being a mother and balancing a busy life with the added pressure of having children with additional needs. It explores societal and professional pressures, friendship, mental health and the all-important message of speaking out when it is ok not to be ok all of the time.

For Adults

Help! My Toddler is Not Eating by Dr Elizabeth Roberts

Click here to watch the interview

Are you struggling to know how to feed a picky toddler? Have mealtimes become a battle? Are you are worn out by a constant round of mealtime meltdowns and resorting to preparing food on demand in an attempt to get a picky child to eat something, anything! Written by a registered dietitian and child feeding specialist, this book offers a comprehensive, scientifically based plan to tackle selective and fussy eating in young children.

For Adults

Orion's Messenger by Antonia de Winter

Click here to watch the interview

Orion's Messenger is a flight of fantasy, firing the imagination by transporting children to a magical place called Blue Sky Island. Follow hero Alex, and Ordompom, a hapless wizard. With talking creatures and a magnificent golden eagle called Orion, all pitted against the schemes wrought by nasty ogre The Grizzly Grumpot. Children will be engrossed and page turning for the duration of this delightful, colourful book!

Age 7-11

Sunday 27th June

Simple Activities For Toddlers by Lisa Forsythe

Click here to watch the interview

Harness power of play to create beautiful life-long memories with your child. Focussing on developing the fundamental skills of toddlers, using resources you already have at home. The ideas save you time and money. Take the step towards reducing the overconsumption that plagues many families.

Age 2-6

The Creative Songwriting Journal by Sophie Garner

Click here to watch the interview

A beautiful journal teaching children how to express themselves through creative songwriting. Packed with exercises, quotes and ideas, Sophie's approach to building confidence and supporting well-being through the simple art of songwriting is built on 27 years as a full-time singer, songwriter, vocal coach and MA graduate.

Age 7-12

The Rainbow Blots by Carlie Wright

Click here to watch the interview

The Rainbow Blots is a bold, beautiful children’s storybook and accompanying song, designed to teach children the seven colours of the rainbow, in the correct order. But to young readers, it will just seem like loads of fun, as they interact with the ‘Blots’ while they go about their day, play with colour-related objects and morph into their favourite thing. It’s unique to say the very least.

Age 2-6

You Can Change the World! by Margaret Rooke

Click here to watch the interview

More than 50 young people talk about how they've changed their own lives and the world around them. Young campaigners, fundraisers, volunteers and others show how they help the environment, beat online bullying, support those who are struggling, and deal with their own difficulties in a way that makes them stronger.

Age 9-16

Meditation for Children by Shelley Wilson

Click here to watch the interview

Children of all ages can learn and enjoy the benefits of meditation. Designed to help access creative abilities through relaxation and imagination, these stories help develop the necessary tools needed at a young age for lifelong healthy habits of managing stress and anxiety while also improving learning skills.

Age 5-9

The Little Paws Hotel - Olive by Clare Luther

Click here to watch the interview

Olive helps young children explore big emotions and physiological reactions associated with worry, anxiety and separation anxiety. Written in thoughtful rhyme with relatable key words and beautiful illustrations this book helps young children recognise themselves, offers gentle suggestions of how to work through the challenges and promotes meaningful conversations.

Age 3-8

Your Happy Child 10 Proven Steps to Raising a Happy Child by Usha Chudasama

Click here to watch the interview

This book lays the foundation to build resilience for your child's life and future challenges. Uniquely, blending the up-to-date theory of positive psychology, neuroscience and holistic practices, it takes you step-by-step through scripted, fun and practical activities, powerful techniques and strategies to create the ideal setting for raising a happy and confident child.

For Adults

Cats’ Eye View of... Litter by Octavia Lonergan

Click here to watch the interview

Tibby is upset! The humans have left a frightful mess in the park... Join Ozzy, Tibby, Leo and Mimi as they share their thoughts. Children will enjoy this rhyming story, and get to know all about littering, with a little help from the furry feline friends.

Age 5-7

Erin and Roderick Discover Families by Fliss Goldsmith

Click here to watch the interview

A picnic in the park brings up questions as to what makes a family a family? They all look so different. We soon learn that whatever the question, let love guide the answer. Diversity, equality and inclusion through love, tolerance and understanding.

Age 4-8

The Secret of the Golden Cauldron by Jayne Avery

Click here to watch the interview

A fun and exciting fantasy tale but also an invaluable tool for parents and teachers to help children to want to eat healthily, build self esteem and combat bullying. Follow TG on his adventures with the Rainbow Warriors. Meet Candy Floss, the Fast Food Fiend, Billy the Burp and Captain Retlas

Age 7-10

The Little Iceberg from Nicky Murray and Suzanne Zeedyk

Click here to watch the interview

The Little Iceberg holds a secret. She's not just cold and lonely. She's frightened too. It is a little bird, singing songs of compassion, who helps her find a place of belonging. This is the metaphoric story of a child who is able to embark on a journey of healing because she no longer has to cope with loss and trauma on her own.

Age 4-11

Please Stay Here - I Want You Near by Dr Sarah Mundy

Click here to watch the interview

An interactive picture book to support children, and parents, to understand and manage separation anxiety, that can also be used as children transition from pre-school to reception. Written by clinical psychologist, children are asked questions not just about the characters experiences but about their own.

Age 2-5

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence by Lynn McAllister

Click here to watch the interview

Pixie Van Dimple, the centre of all the drama, the protagonist and heroine, is a typical girl. She goes to school, hangs out with her friends in the park, has sleepovers, loves shopping and is always hungry! She also loves her phone! Everyone has one and they are all connected - all is not well in smart phone world though as there are many dangers... she has been warned... what is the fuss about? Well, she will soon find out and it is truly disturbing...

Age 8-13

How to be a Front Runner by Dr Alan Beggs

Click here to watch the interview

The 11 Plus experience can be horribly stressful. The good news is that the resilience, grit, and mental toughness that pupils so desperately need can be learned by using this workbook. In it they will find some of the simple, yet powerful techniques which are used by highly competitive sports performers to succeed.

Age 9-11

Pre-recorded interviews

Independent Thinking Newsletter

Sign up now to be the first to know about events, offers, books and more.

You'll also receive our monthly 2nd Thoughts newsletter, full of interesting stories, research, insights and videos you might otherwise have missed.

We'll also send you a free copy of our controversial 25-point Alternative Good School Checklist as a thank you.

See you on the other side.


Full details of our privacy policy, which include the collection of personal data and how it is used, are available by clicking here.

About the author

Ian Gilbert

Ian Gilbert

Ian is an award-winning writer, editor, speaker, innovator and the founder of Independent Thinking. He has lived and worked in Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia and has a privileged view of education and education systems globally.

Make a booking, ask a question, panic. All acceptable.

Give us a call on +44 (0)1267 211432 or drop us a line at

We promise to get back to you reassuringly quickly.