The National Book Festival
What better way to celebrate the back-to-school season than to soak in an afternoon of books, books and more books? Each fall, the Library of Congress hosts a free, public festival of all things books to celebrate our nation’s literary history and to nurture an enthusiasm for reading amongst readers young and old. This year’s event marks the 15th anniversary of the festival and the festival’s theme: “I Cannot Live Without Books” – a quote from book-lover Thomas Jefferson – honors the 200th anniversary of the acquisition of Jefferson’s personal library by the Library of Congress. The festival will be held on Saturday September 5, 2015 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from 10 am – 10pm.
This year’s festival will host 175 authors, illustrators and poets in genre-specific pavilions designated Children; Teens; Picture Books; Biography & Memoir; Contemporary Life; Food; Fiction; History; International Programs; Mysteries, Thrillers & Science Fiction; Poetry & Prose; Science; and Special Programs. Authors to be present include David Baldacci, Louise Erdrich, Lynn Freed and children and teen favorites Kate DiCamillo, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Buckley. Check out the complete list of authors to see if your favorites will be in attendance. A full schedule of book signings can be found here.
Special programs will include a poetry slam featuring teen poets from across the nation; a “Melting Pot America” program led by Rick Suarez, celebrating the history of diversity that has made the United States great; a discussion on “Publishing in the Digital Age;” and selected readings by winners of the “A Book That Shaped Me” summer reading contest, in which young readers write letters to the authors of the books that have made an impact in their lives. In honor of Thomas Jefferson’s contribution to the beginnings of the Library of Congress, a special program featuring prominent authors and historians will examine the life and legacy of Jefferson, as well as the third President of the United State’s great love of books. For more details and a complete list of special programs, visit the festival website’s special programming page.
The Library of Congress will have its own pavilion at the festival dedicated to sharing and celebrating the inner workings of the largest library in the world. Display topics will include “Local History and Genealogy,” “Preservation,” “World Digital Library” and “American Folklife Center” among other fascinating displays. Special presentations will also be taking place at the pavilion throughout the day. Don’t miss “Mapping the West with Lewis and Clark” by Ralph Ehrenberg and Herman Viola; “WWI Sheet Music” by Paul Fraunfelter; “We Cannot Live Without Folklife” presented by Stephen Winick, and “To Know Wisdom and Instruction” led by Lee Avdoyan. See the Library of Congress festival pavilion webpage for more info and a complete schedule of displays and events.
Plan to make it a family day – with family friendly activities all day long on the exposition floor, the National Book Festival is a great way to fire up your young reader’s excitement for books as the school year takes off. The expo floor will feature a Literacy Corner with a graffiti wall, ongoing story time, literacy information for parents and other interactive activities. The Pavilion of the States exhibit will offer a “Discover Great Places Through Reading” brochure featuring 52 kid-friendly must-reads and a map to fill with special stickers from different parts of the festival. “Ned the Newshound,” trusty mascot of The Washington Post, will be standing by for photos and fun from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm and The Post’s booth will also invite kids to create their own comic strips and bookmarks. To top off the fun, take home a 2015 National Book Festival Scout Patch, fun for scouts and non-scouts alike to commemorate this fun-filled literary event.