7th-10th November

he countdown is on for the Ignition Children's Book Festival (7th-10th November), sharing the Dunedin stage with the Children's Literature Hui "Wild Imaginings" (9th-10th November) what an exciting time for readers, writers and illustrators of children's books in our fair city! 

The Ignition Children's Book Festival is the biggest festival in the South Island, dedicated solely to children's books! 

Building on our 2018 festival, where we entertained close to 1,000 children and their families over three days, we are thrilled to announce that we launch the Ignition ship again on 7th November for four full days of festival fun.

Fire up your imagination at the only festival in South Island New Zealand dedicated exclusively to children’s books! Bring the family to Dunedin City and enjoy four days of stories, dragons, jokes, theatre, crafts, films, fun and games with our very special guest authors and illustrators. This year’s guests include:

Kate de Goldi | Kelly Wilson | Stacy Gregg | James Russell | Donovan Bixley | Steph Matuku | Barbara Else | Kyle Mewburn | Heather Haylock | Reo Pēpi | Tessa Duder | The Playhouse Theatre | Tom E Moffat | The Mozartinis!

Presented by Ignition Kids Children’s Book Festival, a partnership between University Book Shop Otago and Dunedin Public Libraries. View the full Festival programme below, or call in to collect a printed programme from the Libraries or University Book Shop.

The Festival runs Thursday 7th November – Sunday 10th November at Venues throughout Dunedin City, South Otago and North Otago

Ignition Children's Book Festival, Dunedin 7th -10th November 2019 — Image by: Kay Mercer


COUNTDOWN TO IGNITION: Pre-Ignition Events...

Look out for our Pop-up Festival Fidgets – little previews of the Festival at the Dunedin Dream Brokerage Countdown to Ignition Festival shop in the Wall Street Mall – follow our Facebook Page for more details https://www.facebook.com/ignitionkids/

Saturday 19th October – Friday 1st November: On Display! All the Gobbledegook Poetry Competition entries will be on display at the Wall Street Mall for People's Choice voting. Come and view the entries and cast your vote for your favourite poem.

Monday 4th November – Friday 8th November: Ideal Animal Home Exhibition – visit the Botanic Garden Visitor Information Centre to view the entries for the Best Nest Design Competiton.

Tuesday 5th November: Continued Sense of Wonder - Classic Lines. 7pm, Dunedin City Library
From Peepo to Potter, what constitutes a children’s classic? Join this group of Children's Literature fans in an informal conversation. For more information contact Jackie McMillan Jackie.mcmillan@dcc.govt.nz


Thursday 7 November – Day 1

5.30pm Blast Off Festival Launch, Dunningham Suite, 4th floor, Dunedin City Library. Tickets $5 available from University Book Shop  
Reception and keynote welcome from Kate De Goldi. MC'd by Donovan Bixley, author and illustrator extraodinnaire, and music courtesy of Mozartinis children's musicians with arrangements by Tom McGrath of University of Otago School of Music. Plus the presentation of the annual Ignition Festival Award for outstanding contribution to children’s literature.

Keynote Speaker, Kate de Goldi: Please do not understand me too quickly: the necessity of children’s literature
Research has now confirmed what we have long believed - that reading for pleasure is vital to sustain comprehensive literacy, and crucial for the development of cultural and emotional growth in individuals and communities; this is particularly so for children. What kind of literature might build a child? And what exactly do we mean by literature?

Friday 8 November – Day 2​

10.30am JOY COWLEY SELECTION STORYTIME. Children’s Storypit, City Library. FREE

Head along to the Storypit for some stories from one of New Zealand’s favourite children’s authors.

Kate de Goldi — Image by: Author supplied

WRITERS WORKSHOPS - The Young Eye: Voice & perspective in writing for children presented by Kate de Goldi. $30 Tickets available from University Book Shop  
10.30am-12.30pm Port Chalmers Library
OR 3.00pm-5.00pm Athenaeum Library, 24 The Octagon
Children are new, though we are not,’ wrote the legendary children’s publisher, Ursula Nordstrum, and much of the great children’s fiction has at its heart a watchful child, scoping the wonder, puzzle, and absurdity of the new – adult driven – world they find themselves in. This workshop will explore the fictional child’s point-of-view and the business of ‘voice’, a mysterious alchemy of subject matter, point-of-view, tone, rhythm, and language.

Saturday 9 November – Day 3

Barbara Else — Image by: Author supplied

10am-11am SATURDAY MORNING BOOK CLUB with Barbara Else. Atheneum Library. FREE
Booking essential – contact the University Book Shop 


Presented by Dunedin Public Libraries in partnership with University Book Shop:-

STORY PIT (Children’s Library) Story-time for the Young & Old

Kyle Mewburn — Image by: Author supplied

· ​11.15am – 11.45am : Hey, it’s Kyle Mewburn!
Kyle reads some of her best-loved stories. Afterwards, join her in the Fun Stuff Tent for a game of Insult Jousting!

Heather Haylock — Image by: Author supplied

· 1.15pm-1.45pm : readings of Granny McFlitter, Champion Knitter and A Country Yarn by Heather Haylock - Come and hear about the adventures of Granny McFlitter – penguin-protector, brilliant bull-tamer and knitter extraordinaire. Author, Heather Haylock, will read Granny McFlitter the Champion Knitter and her latest book, Granny McFlitter: A Country Yarn. Stay for a while afterwards and make your own rosette fit for an A&P show star and design a fabulous penguin jumper. You can even learn how to knit!

THE CUBE (Ground Floor Performance Area) Meet the authors

James Russell — Image by: Author Supplied

· 11.45am Lost in Books : James Russell gives an introduction to his books and writing, what inspires and drives him, why he writes for children and how the augmented reality in his books have inspired children to read.

Donovan Bixley — Image by: Author Supplied

· 12.15pm Mozart: The Man Behind the Music : Donovan Bixley spent 6 years creating his illustrated biography of Mozart. With luscious illustrations and a to-die-for soundtrack, Donovan shares some of the stories behind Mozart’s amazing music, as well as the composer’s quirky personality and why he remains one of the greatest figures in history.

Steph Matuku — Image by: Author supplied

· 12.45pm Double the Fun: Steph Matuku recounts the experience of writing two very different books at the same time... and surviving to tell the tale!

· 1.45pm Mozarlele! The inaugural performance by this newly formed ukelele orchestra to play us out for the day under the watchful eye of Donovan Bixley.

THE FUN STUFF TENT (Outside on the Library Plaza*) Arts, crafts, fun, games and comedy – join our guest authors and illustrators in the outdoor arena for lots of hands-on activity to keep you busy

· 11am -12pm – DIY dragon masks and hobby horses! Come and get crafty.

· 12pm Here be Dragons! Playhouse Theatre presents an adaptation of “My Father’s Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannett, a fun, sweet story of a boy who goes on an adventure to rescue a baby dragon, that wil appeal to young and old.

· 12.30pm Children’s stand-up comedian Tom E Moffat brings you side-splitting jokes and funny yarns.

· 12. 45pm Insult Joust with Kyle Mewburn – Come ye, brave knights! Defend thine honour in this battle of Medievel slurs. Bring a sharp tongue and a loud voice.

· 1.15pm Where’s my egg? – Someone has made off with a dragon egg! Catch him and rescue the dragonet.

*weather permitting


12pm-1pm Children’s Stack Trek Ignition Special – come and explore the library basement on a special tour of the underground books (for adults and children) – meet your tour guide at the children’s help desk, ground floor

12.45pm-1.15pm (2nd floor Teen Space) Mozarlele! Join our ukelele tutor for a quick lesson, and learn a tune to perform for Donovan Bixley.

Kimberly Andrewes — Image by: Author supplied

PRIZEGIVING 3pm, Dunedin Botanic Garden
Judging and prizegiving for the Ignition competitions, plus readings of Kimberley Andrews' stories and the launch of the Botanic Garden’s brand new Play Trail.

Sunday 10 November:

Dunedin City Library

Reo Pēpi — Image by: Kay Mercer

11.15am Te Pāti Pukapuka-Te Reo Māori Book Party with Reo Pēpi!
Join Reo Pēpi and friends for a cool party with fun waiatia, poi lessons, facepainting and stories.

Dunedin Public Art Gallery

Stories in Pictures – free public screening of two much-loved children's movies at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery
1pm: Babe
3.30pm: Pete’s Dragon

Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

David Elliot — Image by: Kay Mercer
  • 12.30pmFirst Map: How James Cook Charted Aotearoa
    David Elliot (illustrator and author) and Donald Kerr (Special Collections, Otago) will discuss his work on illustrating First Map: How James Cook charted Aotearoa New Zealand. Written by Tessa Duder/Illustrated by David Elliot, First Map tells the human story behind the creation of the famous chart, following the progress of Cook's six-month circumnavigation of New Zealand over the summer of 1769-70 and piecing the map together as the narrative on H.M.B. Endeavour unfolds.
Heather Haylock — Image by: Author supplied

  • 1pm A Great Yarn: Granny McFlitter & Heather Haylock at Toitu.
    Meet children’s author Heather Haylock, discover how a book gets writen, and hear the story of Granny McFlitter, Champion Knitter and her Country Yarn. Plus, try your hand at knitting, and a chance to make a rosette fit for a winning entry at the A&P show.

Enjoy the Festival, and see you again next year – 2nd week of November 2020!