The Virginia Center for the Book’s director, Jane Kulow, announced this morning, January 27, 2016, the details for the very popular series of ‘kid-friendly’ programs known as StoryFest, that will take place during the 22nd annual run of events that will comprise the 2016 Virginia Festival of the Book, to begin on Thursday the 16th of March, and to run full-tilt through Sunday March 20th, in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The full schedule is now available.
As always, during StoryFest programs, kids will have the chance to meet their favorite authors and, for aspiring young writers, to be given advice from experienced authors who have published bestselling young adult books. They will not only be able to explore the comic book genre, but will be able to learn how to make mini-comics. For younger readers, they will have several opportunities to read and share new picture books and to explore the possibilities for kids of all ages in the areas of juvenile publications from chapter books at the next level, all the way to young adult literature, whether in print in the traditional form, or as e-books or audiobooks.
There will be more than 60 programs presented this year for children and teens, selected specifically by Festival staff and volunteers, and many are free and open to the public. Middle school and high school students are encouraged to enter the Annual Poetry & Prose Contests, and for younger folks there will be a story time program at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center; and a special outdoor workshop at the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center in Darden Towe Park; and the annual Kids’ Book Swap at Oakley’s Used Books.
Other programs for younger persons and teen are these:
- · Does This Author Know My Family? Sibling Rivalry and Family Dynamics, with Hannah Barnaby (Some of the Parts), Kelly Fiore (Thicker Than Water), and Lamar Giles (Endangered) in a panel discussion about family dynamics and sibling relationships in young adult literature
- · Teen Writers, which will provide writing and publishing insight for teen writers from young adult fiction authors Robert Beatty (Serafina and the Black Cloak), Jen Swann Downey (The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand), and V.E. Schwab (A Gathering of Shadows);
- · Making Mini Comics, a partnership with the Monticello Reading Council, featuring Laura Lee Gulledge (Will & Whit); and,
- · Books About Being Yourself, in which Vanessa Barger (Super Freak), Shelley Sackier (Dear Opl), and Kat Spears (Breakaway) will discuss how they develop characters and write novels about self-acceptance and bullying.
One of the most popular events of the 2015 StoryFest was the sell-out event featuring award-winning author and former U.S. Ambassador of Children’s Literature (2014-2015) Katrina Elizabeth “Kate” DiCamillo, whose first book Because of Winn Dixie was adapted for film which also featured one of Charlottesville’s favorite singer songwriters and performers, Dave Matthews, in the role of Otis.
This year’s headliner event will feature children’s author Jon Scieszka and author/illustrator Steven Weinberg, in a special ‘zany afternoon for all ages’ for a program entitled Stinky Cheese and an Egg! Egg! Egg! The two will discuss their popular children’s books on Sunday, March 20 at 1:00 PM at UVa’s Culbreth Theatre.
- Jon Scieszka is the author of The New York Times bestselling Frank Einstein series. His other books includeThe Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. In 2008, Scieszka was named the inaugural National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Librarian of Congress, and he is the founder of Guys Read, a web-based literacy program for boys.
- Steven Weinberg, author of You Must Be This Tall, also illustrated and wrote his debut children’s picture book, Rex Finds an Egg! Egg! Egg!, and a biographical travelogue, To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story. His newest book involves two friends and a roller coaster.
- Scieszka and Weinberg will participate in additional Festival programs, including a discussion of the Guys Read initiative as well as a hands-on workshop with Weinberg for aspiring children’s book illustrators. Further, the two authors will give presentations for 2,400 students in 2nd and 3rd grade throughout the Charlottesville and Albemarle area. These presentations are co-hosted by St. Anne’s-Belfield School, taking place in the school’s state-of-the-art Conway Convocation Center and livestreamed for homeschool associations, additional public and private school students, and UVa Children’s Hospital patients to enjoy as well.
For additional details about the StoryFest series of programs and about the Festival’s in-school programming, visit the Virginia Festival of the Book website.