The Malta Book Festival 2022 is a unique experience for children and their families where literature, and the visual and the performing arts meet

The Malta Book Festival (MBF) is the place where children and young adults can experience literature in all its forms – including their adaptations to theatre and the performing arts. As one of Festival’s primary objectives, promoting a love of books among children and teenagers through fun, age-appropriate, learning activities will take on new forms during this edition.

ŻiguŻajg International Festival for Arts Festival for Children & Young People at the Malta Book Festival

ŻiguŻajg International Festival for Arts Festival for Children & Young People and the Malta Book Festival are joining forces, and the National Book Council (NBC) has teamed up with ŻiguŻajg to bring to children and families visiting the Festival at the MFCC entertaining and educational shows, as well as special performances adapted from the 2022 Terramaxka Prize winning books, and specially dedicated to students from schools in Malta and Gozo.

Żigużajg will be curating the special programme for registered schoolchildren and educators during weekday mornings, and a ‘meet the author’ show where they will have the chance to meet MBF22 international guest and author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas John Boyne. The MBF 22 Theatre will also host Żigużajg’s very own dance performance, Coco the Singer, the Chocolate Finger, inspired from the tale of Andrew Rausi’s book The Rise of the Baker’s Dozen, choreographed and produced by Pamela Kerr – straight from Żigużajg’s international arts festival to the MFCC. You can purchase your ticket on

The first show during weekday mornings will be suitable for children of up to 8 years of age and based on Ride the Feeling (Merlin Publishers), written by Auntie Sab, with illustrations by Emma Galea Naudi and winner of the category ‘Original Works for Children 0-7’. The second show, suitable for children of of 8 years of age and up is based on Vjaġġ bil-Ballun (Horizons), the winning book in the category ‘Original Works for children 8–12 years of age’. Both shows are directed and adapted by Prickly Pear Productions. On Friday 25 November another very special show awaits schoolchildren: registered students will be treated to a special appearance on stage by John Boyne, who will be reading an extract from The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and answer questions from the audience, while illustrator Gattaldo will illustrate live for the audience. This show is directed by Rebecca Camilleri.

More than 10,000 students have booked for the Malta Book Festival, making this attendance the biggest ever in the history of the books event. Schoolchildren will have time to see the performance and browse through books. Each student visiting the Festival and registered as part of a participating school will be receiving a €5 voucher redeemable from the  during the Festival.

Other collaborations

All performances are sensory-friendly, designed to create an inclusive and welcoming arts experience for everyone. The Festival will also offer a sensory-friendly room in collaboration with Inspire Foundation, which is autism-friendly and allows children on the spectrum to have access to storytelling activities in a safe and inclusive environment. Inspire will also organise events for children on the spectrum, among them storytelling sessions through movement and dance across the five days of the Festival for children from 3-6 and 6-12 years of age respectively. Access is allowed to children accompanied by their parents/educators.

A first for our collaborations, the Water and Energy Agency (EWA) has a packed programme of events for children and families along the five days of the Festival, with reading and storytelling sessions aimed at imparting knowledge about biodiversity and energy saving. The events will be in Maltese and English. EWA will have events revolving around their theme ‘WATER – Be the Change’ (‘L-ILMA – Ibda Minnek’), an educational and awareness-raising campaign on the optimised and efficient use of water resources.

Other events for children and their families and the Malta Book Festival include author sessions with children and parents organised by Merlin Library, the Pandora event with author Lucienne Cassar, the launch of the first book by nine-year-old Carl Thomas Tonna, the launch of Tita Tmiss l-Art by Glen Calleja and Clare Azzopardi, and a book signing session with Gattaldo, author and illustrator of Il-Ġurnalista – l-Istorja ta’ Daphne Caruana Galizia (Klabb Kotba Maltin). And, since you’re there, why not book your spot for the puppet show organised by Merlin Library?

Books and illustrations

Gattaldo will give a one-off one-hour illustration workshop session for children aged 7 to 12. Since the number of participants is limited to twenty, register for a spot here. All materials will be provided.

The exhibition From Illustration to Book, a collaboration between the National Book Council and Arts Council Malta (ACM) will provide a showcase for illustrators and graphic designers working in and around the publishing industry, where visual arts and literature work hand in hand. Among a showcase of contemporary book illustrations and designs, and the evolution of illustration in Malta from the interwar period to the present, families and children will be able to meet illustrations of characters that marked the childhood of most Maltese children, namely Kunċett u Marinton, Fra Mudest, Il-Qtates ta’ max-xatt and Ir-Ronnie.

The Malta Book Festival is the largest and most extensive celebration of the book culture in Malta. It runs between 23-27 November at the following opening hours: on Wednesday and Thursday from 9am-1pm and 5:30pm-9pm; on Friday from 9am-1pm and 5:30pm-10pm; on Saturday from 9:30am-10pm, and on Sunday from 9:30am-8pm.

Visiting with the family has also been made easier – hassle free parking will be provided at the North entrance of the Malta Fairs & Conventions Centre (MFCC) in Ta’ Qali. Everyone can reach the Festival by public transport thanks to enhanced bus routes offered by Malta Public Transport. A shuttle service from Valletta will be available, while the current routes leading to Ta’ Qali will be increased in frequency from Wednesday to Sunday route 202 (Rabat-Sliema) – route186 (Rabat- Buġibba); route 56 (Valletta – Ta’ Qali); route TQ1 (Valletta – Ta’Qali)

ŻiguŻajg International Arts Festival for Children & Young People is the only festival in Malta specifically aimed at children & young people, presenting an enticing programme of international productions and new commissioned work, annually. Since its inception in 2010, the festival programme of ŻiguŻajg has grown from strength to strength, becoming a cornerstone of the cultural calendar both in Malta and overseas.

The full programme of events for the 2022 Malta Book Festival is available online here. For the latest updates, please follow the NBC website, and the NBC Facebook page and Malta Book Festival 2022 Facebook event page.

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