MORRISTOWN, NJ - The sixth annual Morristown Festival of Books featured KIDFEST at the Presbyterian Church Parish House. Among its many fun activities were indoor author talks and outdoor entertainment and activities including balloon making, craft making, and games. After each event, the authors signed their books and chatted with the children.
The program for the event describes KIDFEST as being “where kids and authors meet.”
Caroline Godfrey, a member of the Board of Directors of the Morristown Festival of Books and co-chairwoman of KIDFEST, enthused that “KIDFEST is a wonderful community event – an entire venue devoted to kids.”
She has been its co-chair for all four years of its existence. She explained that KIDFEST choses participating authors by looking at those authors who have published and/or have gone on book tours within the past six to nine months.
The goal is to present a wide variety of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, picture books, and poetry.
Pat Boyer who owns Bookends in Ridgewood with her husband Walter sold children’s books outside the venue. She stated that she was “thrilled to participate again in the festival” and explained that a percentage of her sales go back to the festival so that it can come back year after year.
For the second year, The Rotary Club of Morristown, an event sponsor, collected gently used and new books geared to infants up to fifth grade. The books are donated to
organizations that serve needy children. Their goal is to foster a love of reading. Last year the Rotary Club collected over 2,000 books.
The KIDFEST participating authors were Katherine Arden, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Meg Cabot, Jerry Craft, Anika Denise, Ame Dyckman, Jason Fry, Karina Yan Glasser, Paul Noth, James Riley, Heather Ross, Stephanie Sabol, Franceso Sedita, Jessie Sima, Chuck Wendig, and Doug Yacka.
The KIDFEST featured author was Kwame Alexander who is a Newberry medal winner and a New York Times best-selling author of 32 books, including Swing, Rebound, The Undefeated, and The Crossover. Wearing a tee shirt that read “Dude Be Kind, he read from several of his books and engaged the enthusiastic audience by asking them to fill in rhyming words. He explained his personal history of developing a love of reading and learning that “words can transform your life.” He was accompanied in his reading by a guitar-playing singer and pianist. He called up a trio of librarians from the audience to rap to words in a poem contained in his book “Booked.” He announced that his novel “Solo” will be a movie produced by Disney.
He gave advice: that books are like an amusement park and kids should be allowed to pick their rides.
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