Sunday, August 26, 2018

National Book Festival Offers Adventures for Families, Readers of All Ages

From our friends at the Library of Congress...

Festival Will Feature Wide Variety of Free Activities and Programs on September 1

A diverse lineup of authors - including 40 who write for children and teens – as well as readings, trivia, costumed characters and interactive exhibits will provide a wide variety of family-friendly activities at the 2018 Library of Congress National Book Festival. The 18th festival will be held Saturday, September 1 from 9 AM to 7:30 PM (doors open at 8:30 AM) at the Washington Convention Center. The event is free and open to everyone.

This year’s festival will include two stages for children’s authors, one for teens and a variety of activities on the Concourse and Lower Level presented by the Library of Congress and festival sponsors. Authors for children and teens appearing at the festival include: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jacqueline Woodson, bestselling author Matt de la Peña and illustrator Loren Long, Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo, fantasy writer Leigh Bardugo and many more. Fans of graphic novels will find writers including Roxane Gay (“Black Panther: World of Wakanda”), Ed Piskor (“X-Men: Grand Design”) and Pénélope Bagieu (“Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World”) on the Genre Fiction stage.

Families can pick up a children’s guide to the festival at the information booth on the Lower Level and both children’s stages to plan a day of activities. The guide, which will also be available online at, was created by the Mensa Foundation and the Library to provide tips on what to see and do.

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Here are some of the activities presented by the Library and festival sponsors:

Library of Congress Pavilion and Areas:
Stop by to meet the presidents. The Library of Congress holds the personal papers of 23 U.S. presidents, and attendees can learn more about these fascinating documents. Also, the Library’s American Folklife Center staff will discuss treasures of the nation’s culture.

The Library’s Educational Outreach team will make learning fun for children, families and teachers with activities featuring books, primary sources and giveaways. Visitors can solve puzzles, share their favorite book titles and demonstrate their artistic and writing abilities. Inspired by the hot air balloon on this year’s National Book Festival poster, the Library is hosting a selfie station, activities that feature balloon-related materials from the collections and opportunities for visitors to share “uplifting” books.

Parade of the States:
Attendees can meet representatives from their home states and learn about each state’s literary heritage from 8:30 AM until 5 PM in the Parade of the States. The Institute of Museum and Library Services, with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, makes it possible for an affiliate of the Library’s Center for the Book in each state, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories to participate in the festival. “Discover Great Places Through Reading,” a brochure, offers a list of 52 great reads and a map for kids that encourages them to visit all 52 affiliates to get a unique sticker or stamp. These books will be for sale in the festival bookstore.

Children who collect all 52 stickers from the Parade of the States can pick up a special prize at the Junior League of Washington table. The Junior League returns this year as the Library’s primary partner for volunteer support, a role the organization has played since 2003.

Visitors can also stop by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) booth in the Parade of the States to take selfies with Jane Austen, Frederick Douglass, Mary Shelley and Alexander Hamilton. The booth will also offer free posters of World War I headlines from the Chronicling America database of historic newspapers and cover illustrations from NEH’s HUMANITIES magazine. NEH also will host an interactive demonstration of the award-winning “Walden, a game,” a first-person video game that recreates Henry David Thoreau’s experiences at Walden Pond, at 10 AM and 2 PM on the Parade of the States stage.

The Washington Post:
Celebrate literature with The Washington Post through a series of daylong activities. Families are invited to attend animated readings by local children’s book authors every hour from 11 AM to 3 PM and pick up color-your-own bookmarks throughout the day. The Post’s mascot, Ned the Newshound, will make a special appearance from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM to pose for photos with festival-goers.

The Lily, a women-focused publication of The Post, will host author Elizabeth Acevedo, for a lively discussion about her book “The Poet X” from 10 to 11 AM. Festival-goers can test their knowledge of history during trivia hour hosted by The Post’s history podcast, “Retropod,” from 3 to 4 PM. As part of the Post's longstanding partnership with the festival, more than 20 Washington Post journalists and editors will be participating in festival programming. A special stand-alone edition of “Book World” covering the daylong programming is available at information booths.

Wells Fargo:
Wells Fargo will feature a reading area to share a large assortment of children’s books. They will have readings every half hour from 10 AM to 7:30 PM. In addition, stop by for fun and games, including a bouncy horse racing game; an audio book zone; make your own bookmark; and pictures in the Wells Fargo stagecoach.

PBS returns to the festival with “THE GREAT AMERICAN READ,” an eight-part television series and multi-platform reading initiative that shines a national spotlight on the importance of reading. Attendees can join the conversation and vote for their favorite novel, test their knowledge of literary trivia and take photos in an interactive photo booth. Across the hall, PBS Books will live-stream interviews with festival authors from 10 AM to 4 PM ET at and Coverage will be hosted by PBS Books Executive Producer Rich Fahle and Jeffrey Brown of the PBS NewsHour.

National Geographic:
Do you love adventure, exploration, puzzles, codes and mysteries? Stop by the National Geographic booth to meet real-life explorers and get the inside scoop on their latest discoveries. Visitors can test their skills with secret codes and ciphers, become immersed in an amazing virtual-reality experience, check out rare artifacts from National Geographic’s collection and play games that spark their curiosity and knowledge of the world.

Scholastic Inc.:
Scholastic returns to the festival with an array of activities, giveaways and live poetry performances the whole family can enjoy. Festival-goers can pose for photos with their favorite literary characters, including Clifford the Big Red Dog, Dog Man and Captain Underpants. Families will also enjoy read-a-louds featuring exciting new books throughout the day beginning at 9 AM.

Book TV on C-SPAN2 marks two decades this fall. Over 20 years, they've covered 15,000 authors and hundreds of book festivals – including the National Book Festival since its founding. Have your picture taken in front of a green screen at the Hall A Overlook to look like you're on the Book TV studio set. Share your picture on social media from their station.

Bookshare is a library of e-books that makes reading easier. Kids and adults with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy and other reading barriers can access a huge collection of titles in formats like audio, audio + highlighted text, large font and digital braille, and customize their reading experience in ways that work for them. Bookshare is free for U.S. students with qualifying disabilities and less than $1 per week for unlimited reading for qualified adults. Stop by and experience reading in a whole new way. You can also pick up giveaways that enhance reading like earbuds and mobile chargers.

Reading Is Fundamental:
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is committed to a literate America where all children have the opportunities that reading provides. RIF will have giveaways for attendees, including free children’s books plus bookmarks and stickers. Stop by to learn about RIF’s programs and to experience RIF’s newest on-the-go resource, the RIF Reading Log App in which reading time can be safely and easily listed, tracked and shared to positively motivate children’s interest in reading.

Whittle School & Studios:
Enjoy family time in the Whittle School & Studios Workshop. Write a postcard about your favorite book, help color and grow an artistic tree, listen to readings of some favorite stories and take home a special gift.

The New York Times:
For the first time, The New York Times will have a booth at the National Book Festival, the country’s most exciting literary event. Swing by to make an “Internetting”-inspired GIF, try on some virtual reality goggles or just say hello at the booth on the Lower Level.

Split This Rock:
The National Book Festival Youth Poetry Slam will include some of the nation’s top youth slam groups - from the capital and around the country. Champion delegates from these groups will compete to be named the festival's top youth slammer by performing new works on books and reading. Celebrity judges include Elizabeth Acevedo, author of the bestselling novel-in-verse "The Poet X," and poet Javier Zamora, winner of the 2016 Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers Award. This event is presented in collaboration with the poetry organization Split This Rock.

These are just some of the great activities planned for the National Book Festival. Follow the festival on Twitter @librarycongress with hashtag #NatBookFest, and subscribe to the National Book Festival Blog at or download the National Book Festival app for all the latest information.

The National Book Festival is made possible by the generous support of private- and public-sector sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy, led by National Book Festival Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein. Charter sponsors are the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Washington Post and Wells Fargo; Patron sponsors are The James Madison Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Champion-level sponsor is PBS; Contributor-level sponsors are National Geographic and Scholastic Inc.; and, in the Friends category, AARP, Booklovers Circle members, Bookshare - a Benetech initiative, Buffy Cafritz, Marshall B. Coyne Foundation Inc., Joseph and Lynn Deutsch, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction administered by The University of Alabama School of Law, The Hay-Adams, The Junior League of Washington, Leon Levy Center for Biography (CUNY), Library of Congress Federal Credit Union, J.J. Medveckis Foundation, Mensa Foundation, Lissa Muscatine & Bradley Graham, Timothy and Diane Naughton, Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, Reading Is Fundamental, Small Press Expo (SPX), Split This Rock and the Whittle School & Studios. Media Partners are C-SPAN2’s Book TV, The New York Times, NPR and PBS Books. Those interested in supporting the National Book Festival can contact the Library at

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States - and extensive materials from around the world - both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at and register creative works of authorship at