Young Readers Festival
Young readers, from preschoolers to teenagers, have always been a part of the South Dakota Festival of Books through the children’s and young adult literature track. Now, they’re getting a Festival all their own.
To serve more children, teens and families, the South Dakota Humanities Council is planning a pilot Young Readers South Dakota Festival of Books, to be held Thursday, Sept. 25 at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota in Brookings. This event will feature appearances by nationally-known children’s and young adult writers and illustrators, led by 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and two-time Newbery Medal winner Kate DiCamillo.
“We are extremely fortunate to have Kate DiCamillo joining us,” said Jennifer Widman, coordinator of the South Dakota Festival of Books and the new Young Readers Festival. “She has long been a ‘rock star’ in the world of young people’s literature, but this year has been an especially good one for her. She was inaugurated as National Ambassador and won her second Newbery Medal all in the space of about two weeks.”
DiCamillo and other authors will speak with young readers, their teachers and their family members at the inaugural Young Readers Festival in Brookings, then go on to participate in the 12th annual South Dakota Festival of Books in Sioux Falls Sept. 26-28. At both locations, they will take part in readings, presentations, school visits and book signings.
Other Young Readers Festival presenters will include children’s book illustrator and New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss, Abenaki storyteller and prolific author Joseph Bruchac, and a number of local favorites, like Chris Browne, Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve and Donald Montileaux.
In conjunction with the Young Readers Festival and with input from area elementary teachers, SDHC has selected DiCamillo’s book, “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” as the first Young Readers One Book South Dakota. The book’s publisher, Candlewick, worked with SDHC to print a special edition of Edward Tulane for the Young Readers One Book program.
SDHC will donate 3,000 copies of the book to area youth, including a giveaway to all third-graders in the Brookings and Sioux Falls School Districts this spring. The students will then have the opportunity to meet DiCamillo in person in September at the Young Readers Festival in Brookings or the South Dakota Festival of Books in Sioux Falls.
Leading up to the Festivals, SDHC will partner with the Children’s Museum of South Dakota, the Brookings and Sioux Falls School Districts, Head Start Inc., area Boys & Girls Clubs, Brookings and Sioux Falls libraries, and additional youth organizations to facilitate book discussions throughout the summer. In addition, the Brookings School District Summer School program, run through the Boys & Girls Club of Brookings, will incorporate the Young Readers One Book into the summer school curriculum, helping students meet their summer reading goals and continue their progress toward Common Core standards in English. Ultimately, all of these activities will promote literacy and encourage South Dakota youth to be active readers and lifelong learners.
Many of the authors and illustrators participating in the Young Readers Festival have been chosen from those featured on the “Celebrating Children’s Books” Traveling Quilt Exhibit, which appeared at the Children’s Museum in Brookings from January through March and will be on display at the Siouxland Public Library in Sioux Falls from July through September. The six quilts in the exhibit were pieced together over a 13-year period by Muriel Feldshuh, a retired librarian and author from New York City. Each quilt is a collection of squares, 165 in all, that contain handwritten comments and original artwork from best-selling and award-winning authors and illustrators. The exhibit has toured the country over the past decade with stops at many children’s museums, libraries and other youth-friendly public spaces. Please stay tuned for more details on this event, as well as the 2014 South Dakota Festival of Books.