It has been announced that Sir Michael Morpurgo,the internationally bestselling author of War Horseand Private Peaceful, will kick off Stratford Literary Festival’s 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 16 May, Cressida Cowell, the current Children’s Laureate and creator of How to Train Your Dragon, will be introducing the latest in her Wizards of Once series. The Riverside Theatre Companywill be bringing The Velveteen Rabbit to life and BAFTA-winning animators, the Brothers McLeod, will be introducing Knight Sir Louiswith the chance for children seven and over to create their own animations. Stratford-based writer/illustrator, Evgenia Golubeva, will be reading I’m Not A Mouse.

Also on 16 May, the award-winning author of I Love You Night and Day, Smriti Prasadam-Halls,will be presenting 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 Aardman modellersreturning 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 aged five and up can help to make giant models of the hare from Guess How Much I love You and Fantastic Mr Fox with Escape Art’s Ros Ingram.

The Festival’s Children’s Day on 17 May is filled with events taking place at Stratford Playhouse and Stratford Primary School. Authors and illustrators featuring this year include Horrible Histories illustrator, Martin Brown, and author/illustrator Jonny Lambert. Another author/illustrator, Teddy Keen, will share the 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 series.

Festival ambassador and Roald Dahl Funny Prize winner, Philip Ardagh, will be introducing Furry Furry Beancat: The Pirate Captain’s Cat, former international Paralympian and TV presenter Ade Adepitanwill be sharing his Cyborg Cat, a creation that helped him to embrace his differences, and illustratorKate Hindleywill be taking attendees 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?’, whilst comic-making expert Neil Cameron will be showing storytellers how to turn a story into an illustrated strip.

George Hoyle will be returning to the Festival to share That’s Not My…, Guess How Much I Love You, and Not Now Bernard with visitors.

And all age groups will be able to enjoy a love of books and stories with Kate Colemanbringing Kate’s Storytree to the story den, with events for pre-schoolers every morning and afternoon from 11-15 May. The Festival programme includes events for teenagers too including the acclaimed poet Nikita Gillintroducing SLAM on 16 May and blogger Candice Brathwaitetalking about how to create a successful blog.

Festival director, Annie Ashworth, said: “This year’s programme offers something for young people of all ages. 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!”