Young readers at St George's School in Whanganui got a sneak preview of what may the most eagerly anticipated book of the year.

Annual 2 edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris will have its national launch in Whanganui next week as part of the Whanganui Literary Festival.

Lesley Stead of Paige's Book Gallery took some advance copies along to St George's for their Book Week celebrations.

The book's predecessor Annual, was described by reviewer John McIntyre as "the hero publication of the year" for 2016.

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"It is like the annuals we loved when we were children but with modern, Kiwi content," said Mrs Stead.

With a mix of fiction, comics, poems, essays, art and "high jinks", Annual 2 is aimed at readers aged from 9 to 13.

The Annual 2 launch will be a combined effort from Paige's, the Whanganui Literary Festival, Whanganui illustrator Gavin Mouldey, with editors Paris and De Goldi on Wednesday.

The following day, Paris and De Goldi (aka Annual Ink) will deliver the low-down on the making of Annual 2.

How did they wrestle 52 writers and artists into producing 154 pages of original content for New Zealand's 9-13-year-olds?

The programme promises that those who attend will be among the first to view the knitted digestive system, hear a song from Bic Runga and discover the back story to New Zealand's forgotten space programme.

There will even be a chance to find out why Kate Sheppard is running a sausage sizzle outside the local supermarket.

Launch of Annual 2 is at Sarjeant on the Quay from 5.30 to 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 4 and the Annual 2 Talk is at Gonville Library from 1-3pm on Thursday, October 5. Both events are free and no bookings are required.