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BookFest @ Bank Street 2018

October 24, 2018
by Dr. Cynthia Weill, Director, Center for Children’s Literature

BookFest @ Bank Street was celebrated this year on October 20, 2018 for the 9th consecutive year and the 47th year in its history!

Some of the biggest names in the children’s literature community joined us for  panel discussions on books for children.  At the end of the day, Bank Street Graduate and  Newbery Honor Winner, Adam Gidwitz gave a thoughtful and brilliant keynote.

The first panel was moderated by School Library Journal Editor, Shelley Diaz.  The panel titled, Collaborative Couples in KidLit  focused on the joys and struggles of living and working with ones creative partner.   Wade and Cheryl Hudson, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann contributed to the wonderful dialogue.

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Moderator, Shelley Diaz with Wade and Cheryl Hudson; Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and Eric Rohmann and Candace Fleming (Photo credits:  Bryan E. McCay)


Next, Author, Emma Otheguy moderated Authors/Illustrators: School Visits and Their Impact on Practice with Adam Gidwitz, Rita Williams-Garcia, Kat Yeh and Stephen Savage.  Each panelist discussed how children had influenced them in their creative work.

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Emma Otheguy with Adam Gidwitz, Rita Williams Garcia, Stephen Savage and Kat Yeh (Photo Credits: Bryan E. McCay)


We were very honored that the President of the American Library Association, Loida Garcia-Febo attended BookFest.

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President of ALA, Loida Garcia-Febo with Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson authors of And Tango Makes Three


Former Bank Street Children’s Librarian and Director of the Center for Children’s Literature, Lisa Von Drasek returned to Bank Street for the day to give a presentation on Writing Boxes: The Reading/Writing Connection for Supporting Literacy in the Library

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Lisa Von Drasek speaks at BookFest (Photo Credit: Bryan E. McCay)


Afterwards, participants moved to their book discussion sessions.  Topics included mock Newbery, graphic novels, mock Caldecott and Best Spanish Language Books.

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We were very pleased to have the author/illustrator of Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel and Little Red (PeachTree Publishers) as a book discussion leader as well.  Bethan Woollvin was visiting from  Sheffield, England.

Bethan with Director of Library Services, Kristin Freda and ALA President, Loida Garcia-Febo. Photo credit: Mollie Welsh Kruger


Our last panel of the day was Bringing the Real World to Life! Illustration in Informational Books moderated by Gillian Engberg with panelists: Maira Kalman, John Parra, Roxie Munro, Melissa Sweet and Zeke Peña.  The group explored the particular challenges and rewards in depicting real people, places, animals and events in informational books.

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Legend: Moderator Gillian Engberg with Roxie Munro, John Parra, Maira Kalman, Melissa Sweet and Zeke Peña (Photo credits: Bryan McCay)


Our final keynote was led by the wonderful Adam Gidwitz.

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(Photo credit: Bryan McCay)


At the end of the day, authors and illustrators signed their work for participants.

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Photo credits: Bo Zaunders and Bryan McCay


You can watch the entire livestream of the day thanks to KidLit TV and Epic!  Note that Adam Gidwitz’s keynote begins at: 5:39:45

Twitter: #BookFest18

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors:

Abrams, Candlewick Press, Charlesbridge, Disney Book Group, Enchanted Lion Books, Epic!, Getty, Holiday House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Kane Press, KidLit TV, Lee & Low Books, Lerner, Little, Brown and Company, Peachtree Publishers, Penguin Random House, Scholastic

Some fun photos from the day!

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More resources and press:


Educating Alice

Publishers Weekly



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