CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — About 90 local schools will welcome award-winning authors and book illustrators as part of the University of Illinois’ 2016 Youth Literature Festival.
The annual festival, this Thursday-Saturday (Oct. 20-22), brings together local and national authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers who nurture a love of literature and share the magic of storytelling with children, teens and adults.
Children at Urbana’s Thomas Paine Elementary School listen as author Keiko Kasza reads from one of her books as part of her visit to the school during the 2014 Youth Literature Festival. During the 2016 festival, participating authors and illustrators are expected to visit 90 schools in Central Illinois for readings, writing workshops and discussions with more than 20,000 area children.
Photo by College of Education
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This year, 24 of the participating authors and illustrators will visit schools in and around Champaign to perform readings, lead writing workshops and discuss their books. About 20,000 schoolchildren across eight Illinois counties are expected to participate.
“These author visits to area schools are more crucial than ever, given the large number of Illinois schoolchildren who come from low-income families and might not have opportunities otherwise to meet and be inspired by award-winning writers and artists,” said James D. Anderson, the interim dean of the College of Education, one of the festival’s sponsors. “These creative individuals impart to children the fun of reading and the joy of making stories come to life, which are invaluable to the kids and to our community as a whole.”
This year’s participating artists include storytellers Kathe Brinkmann, Crystal Chan and Dan Keding; Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson, the author and the illustrator, respectively, of the multiple award-winning children’s book “Last Stop on Market Street”; David Schwartz, an author of more than 50 acclaimed children’s math and science books, including “Where in the Wild?,” which won the SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Literature; and Duncan Tonatiuh, an author-illustrator of books such as “The Princess and the Warrior” and “Funny Bones,” and a recipient of the Siebert Medal and various other awards.
The festival will conclude Saturday (Oct. 22) with the Community Day Celebration, a family-oriented event that will include readings, book signings, live music, dance, art displays, puppet shows and a variety of hands-on activities for children. A highlight of the day’s activities will be a 1 p.m. performance of “Peter and the Wolf” by the Central Illinois Puppetry Guild and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra.
Admission and parking are free for Community Day, which will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the I Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 S. First St., Champaign.
Additional sponsors of the festival include the University Library and numerous local supporters.
More information on the festival and this year’s participating artists is available online.