It’s the most wonderful day of the year! Well, I know it has some competition, but on May 20, when the first families wander onto the Festival Lawn in World’s Fair Park, a day full of fun, imagination and curiosity begins. We started the Children’s Festival of Reading in 2005 as a celebration of all things literary – authors, illustrators, storytellers and songwriters joined us to launch the library’s summer reading programs. Since then, the festival has become a must-do event for families all over the region.
This year, kiddos of all ages are invited to snap selfies with Lyle Crocodile, Pete the Cat, and Pout-Pout Fish. And they can take a ride on the Molar Express, walk a tightrope with One World Circus or create a masterpiece in Miss Libby’s Arts & Crafts Tent.
If that’s not enough, they can join the Parade of Books, discover some sizzling science with Dr. Al Hazari and the American Museum of Science and Energy. They can tap their toes to some great music and meet community organizations from Concord Sailing to the Knoxville Symphony to the Muse.
New this year, we’ll have dozens of young makers selling their goods at the Children’s Entrepreneur Market.
But the real showstoppers are always the authors and illustrators. This year, we are proud to host:
- Frank Morrison, award-winning illustrator of Jazzy Miz Mozetta and Our Children Can Soar
- Jen Calonita, New York Times bestselling author of more than 30 books, including Diamond in the Rough
- Elizabeth Raum, teacher/librarian-turned-writer of middle grade interactive historical novels
- Stacy McAnulty, author of picture and chapter books including her most recent, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
- Oge Mora, collage artist and storyteller whose picture book Thank you, Omu! racked up all the big awards
The Festival launches the second leg in the Mayor’s Read City Million Hour Challenge: Feel the Beat. Everyone in the community is encouraged to read and log 36 hours to earn prizes including a Rewards Book worth $200 of eats and treats at area businesses as well as a prize pack from the library.
We hope to see you there. It all takes place from 10-3 and it’s free.
Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library