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BookFest @ Bank Street 2015

October 29, 2015


The 44th annual BookFest opened on October 24th to a sell out crowd!

The day began with registration and morning coffee.  Early on, participants were able to mingle with authors and moderators.

The library staff, as well as everyone else, was delighted with the return of Lisa Von Drasek, former children’s librarian and Jenny Brown, former Center for Children’s Literature director.


Lisa Von Drasek and illustrator Raúl Colón

Jenny Brown and historian Leonard S. Marcus

Jenny Brown and historian Leonard S. Marcus

Although composed at the gathering, the library staff had put in months of preparation.


Library staff preparing the day before BookFest


Director of library services, Kristin Freda, Jenny Brown, director of the Center for Children’s Literature, Cindy Weill, archivist & special collections librarian, Lindsey Wyckoff

The first panel, “Teachers as Writers,” was moderated by Leonard S. Marcus, children’s literature scholar. Authors Adam Gidwitz (GS ’08), Elizabeth Bluemle (GS ’98) and Cindy Weill made up the discussion group.


Leonard Marcus, Adam Gidwitz, Elizabeth Bluemle and Cindy Weill

The second panel, “Artists and Mentors: Book…Making…101,” was moderated by Joe Rogers Jr., founder of Total Equity Now. Panelists included: Christopher Myers, Shadra Strickland, Raúl Colón and Sara Varon. Joe also led the participants in a rousing rendition of Reading Rainbow!

After a short break, the day re-commenced. Monica Edinger of the Dalton School moderated the panel, “Young Women in the Plot Driver’s Seat.” Laura Amy Schlitz, Jeanne Birdsall, Kat Yeh and Liz Kessler shared their often hilarious insights.


Jeanne Birdsall, Monica Edinger, Kat Yeh


Monica Edinger, Liz Kessler, Jeanne Birdsall, Kat Yeh and Laura Amy Schlitz

Afterwards, participants moved to their break out groups to discuss themes in children’s literature.

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Later, participants had books autographed by BookFest authors and illustrators!

The final panel of the day was, “Pushing Narrative Boundaries in Teen Literature” moderated by Vicky Smith of Kirkus Reviews. Tim Wynne-Jones, Beth Kephart and Daniel José Older read selections from their books and discussed a variety of themes related to their work.


Vicky Smith, Daniel José Older, Beth Kephart and Tim Wynne-Jones

The audience was delighted with closing keynote speaker, Rita Williams-Garcia and her talk on the history she references in her books.

Some other photos from the day!

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-Cindy Weill

Photos courtesy Carol Van Houten. Check back soon for video of the day.

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