News Column

Children's Festival of Reading promotes literacy with fun [News Sentinel]

May 10, 2013


Storybook characters, storytellers, authors, illustrators and science experiments are part of the Knox County Public Library's ninth annual Children's Festival of Reading.

The festival spread across World's Fair Park is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, May 18. Most events are free. There's a $3 hayride around the park; food and beverage vendors sell their products.

The festival each May advances the library system's summer reading programs, particularly those aimed at children of elementary age or younger. Readers and listeners of any age will be encouraged to sign up for one of the programs.

Authors and illustrators discuss their works, local arts groups will perform, storytellers tell tales and musicians entertain on stages set up around the park. An arts and crafts tent is always a big draw for children.

Fifty booths hosted by various community groups offer educational activities. The Concord Sailing Club shows children how to tie knots; the University of Tennessee Gardens often brings plants to touch. The Knoxville Zoo presents "Animal Tales" story times and the East Tennessee Discovery Center offers a program about insects. Storybook character Curious George leads a noon "Parade of Books" through the park.

This year the festival adds a healthy living component with the Junior League of Knoxville's Kids in the Kitchen area. The "kitchen" will include various demonstrations for healthy living such as cooking demonstrations, dance parties and gardening.

The festival's Science Village returns with experiments and robots. Students from the L&N Stem Academy, located on the fair site, will demonstrate and discuss their robots and some science experiments. Singer/entertainer Sean McCullough will broadcast his WDVX "Kidstuff" program live from the festival's music stage at 10:15 a.m.

Authors on the festival's main "Dig into Reading" stage include "Lunch Lady" graphic novels author Jarrett Krosoczka, who speaks at 10:45 a.m., and "Dinosaur vs." series author Bob Shea, who speaks at 2:15 p.m.

Five-time Coretta Scott King Author Award winner Sharon Draper talks about her books at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Draper, who is also a teacher, is best known for her books for teens that include the Jericho and Hazelwood trilogies. Deborah Diesen, the Michigan author of the rhyming "The Pout-Pout Fish" picture book series, speaks at 2:30 p.m.; Philadelphia-area writer Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, whose books include "Chicks Run Wild" and "Pirate Princess, talks at 10 a.m.

Author and University of Tennessee graduate Kerry Madden talks at 2 p.m. Madden's books include "Jessie's Mountain" set in the Smoky Mountains and the biography "Up Close: Harper Lee." Marc Tyler Nobleman, author of "Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman" and "Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman," speaks at 10:30 a.m. Author/poet/performer Allan Wolf of Asheville, N.C., performs at 12:30 p.m. from the "Dig Into Reading" stage. Wolf's books include "The Blood-Hungry Spleen and Other Poems About Our Parts."

A complete schedule of events is at the library website,

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