This weekend’s Traverse City Children’s Book Festival is the only one of its kind in Michigan. On Saturday November 12th 2011, the second annual event will be taking place at the Traverse City Opera House from 10 to 4. It is a day full of activities, books, performances and family fun. Amy Shamroe (Director) says, “The intimacy and relative smallness makes this event particularly unique.”
This is an amazing opportunity for kids to meet authors and directly experience the creative process. The tables in the event itself are sold directly to vendors, and all the proceeds that go above and beyond the cost of the event are being donated to Grand Traverse Area Literacy Council. One of this year’s authors is ten-year-old brain cancer patient Olivia Whitman who was a Make-A-Wish Foundation participant. With Jenkins Group (sponsor), Olivia was able write and publish a book. She will be among the authors at the event selling and signing her work.
Kids and their families are invited to participate in an awesome array of activities during the day. There will be activity tables, an instillation piece for the kids to contribute to, they will be able to make books and bookmarks, and even meet with authors. Brilliant Books is going to feature a Young Adult section so that older kids can have a space to explore during this very family oriented event. Amy smiles, “This event is truly awesome because kids get to talk to authors face to face—it makes the literature very tangible for kids.”
Throughout the day, the main stage of the Opera House is going to highlight some very lively acts that kids can actually participate in as well. For instance, there will be an interactive performance of In the Indian Night Sky (one of the books featured at the festival) and Paleo Joe will be talking about prehistoric Michigan—among many other AWESOME activities.
Jenkins Group and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards officially sponsor the event, but there are an overwhelming amount of local sponsors looking to participate in this important day. Since the very beginning, the Traverse Area District Libraryhas been an very supportive partner in helping to get the word out and mirror the festival’s efforts. Amy smiles, “As long as the community supports us, we’re looking to give back as much as we can.” The Children’s Book Festival is a beautiful way to show commitment to the future of Traverse City.
Although the event has a family feel, everyone is welcome. There are vendors and authors coming from all over the United States from New York City to Hawaii! The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards is the culmination to a day celebrating children’s literature. This is a national award open to anyone who wishes to enter. Originally, the Moonbeam Awards were presented at different venues around the country. However, it has now found its home at the Children’s Book Festival and is just another way to celebrate literature!
“Traverse City is a community that celebrates arts and culture,” Amy explains. She envisions Traverse City as the perfect place to get children more involved with literature and there has been overwhelming positive response since the initial festival last year–the first crowd was double what they had anticipated! They are hoping that this year will be even more successful! ~Joanna Dueweke, Regional Director