Children’s Book Fest Set This Weekend

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By Edie Crabtree

The space of time between the end of summer and the start of the holidays is notoriously jam-packed – the return of homework, football practice, and soccer games just to name a few, keeps most families on the go, leaving little time for plain old family fun.

Likewise, at least at my house, it is also hard to staunch the free-flow of cash fleeing my wallet to acquire school supplies, new wardrobes, and football cleats, leaving little left to pay for the “family fun” we don’t have the time to engage in anyway.

Well, it seems I have found the solution to both problems.  On Sunday, Oct. 2, Orange Coast College will host the 8th annual Orange County Children’s Book Festival, and … it’s FREE!

It is never too early to instill a love of books in our children, and what better way than by letting them have access to the “behind the scenes” of book making.  At the festival, kids will be able to meet and hear from some of their favorite authors and illustrators.

They will be able to hear for themselves what it is that inspires authors to write the stories we love.  They will find out how illustrators decide what the characters in these stories will look like.  In short, the creative process will be brought to life!

This year, the headlining guest is popular actress and author, Molly Shannon, who will be promoting her just-released children’s book,  “Tilly the Trickster.” Appearing alongside Molly, among others, will be Robin Priess Glasser, illustrator of the wildly popular “Fancy Nancy” series.

In addition to being able to meet and get autographs from these and other notable authors and illustrators, there will be plenty of hands-on opportunities.  Illustrators Larissa Marantz and Steve Gray will be returning this year to teach kids how to draw their own characters.  There will also be a petting zoo, trackless train ride, face painting, and crazy hairstyling.  They will even have a craft area where kids can make their own bookmarks and such.

Still not sold on the idea?  Maybe you and yours will enjoy the captivating tales told by the festival’s professional storytellers.  Or, how about a visit to the animal stage, which will feature wild animal presentations as well as readings of animal stories?  Perhaps you might enjoy the family friendly entertainment being offered on the “OC Family Main Stage”, which will include Orange County kid performers WhipLash Kids Band, local dance troupes, and more.

There will even be an area designated for adolescents, with Young Adult literature, and teen-appropriate entertainment.  There will truly be something to occupy the whole family!

The festival runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and you’ll want to plan on staying for the duration, so there will also be food vendors available to keep your bellies full without ever having to leave.  And, should you decide to maximize your day out, you can get a jump on your holiday shopping at one of the featured vendor booths, selling books and other items as well.

If you ask me, this is a slam-dunk event – we can celebrate with our children the joy of literacy in a fun, inviting environment.  They will be able to enjoy the characters that have become treasured friends, and discover new authors and genres, all while having good, clean fun.  We can offer them first-hand a glimpse of the worlds that can be opened up to them each time they open a book.

And, did I mention it’s free?

For more information about participating authors, illustrators, and vendors, or for a schedule of events, please visit www.kidsbookfestival.com

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