Once upon a time, there was a book festival that needed a new home. After searching every town, hamlet and village, a group of parents, librarians, businesses, town officials and more decided to give it a home in Chappaqua. They gave it lots of love and attention, and after 10 years, it grew to be one of the biggest and strongest in the country!
The moral of the story? It truly takes a village – a dedicated and powerful one – to connect authors and readers at this very special annual event: the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival.
The 2023 Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival
This year marks the 10th annual Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival (CCBF), where thousands of visitors from near and far descend on the town to enjoy a beautiful autumn day, meeting their favorite authors and enjoying all that Chappaqua has to offer.
The fun-filled day will include author readings, special presentations, illustrator demos, book sales and signings. Gourmet food trucks, a bubble bus, live entertainment, and activities provided by local merchants, organizations and sponsors lend to the energy, and excitement. The Family Fun Zone will feature giveaways, crafts, games and more. This year CCBF will launch an app, allowing festival goers to easily find books by author, subject, age and more.
As CCBF Executive Director Dawn Greenberg puts it, “Every year it feels like a family reunion, and the family keeps growing!”
The Festival gives kids and families a chance to meet and interact with the creators of their favorite characters – another highlight of the CCBF being the costumed characters who make appearances throughout the day for photos, hugs, and high-fives, truly bringing books to life.
As always, a percentage of the proceeds and tons of books will go to literacy programs to area schools in Westchester and the New York Metro area.
Welcoming The Magical Mary Pope Osborne
This year, the CCBF is overjoyed to welcome famed and beloved author Mary Pope Osbourne as the festival’s headliner. Best known as the author of the Magic Tree House series, which has sold over 200 million copies worldwide, Osborne is revered as an author but also as a fierce advocate for children’s literacy. Geared towards new readers, Osborne has written over 65 books in the last 30 years, and still at it. Her magical adventures transport readers to different times and places, each new adventure filled with imagination and learning.
Her biggest advice? “Remember who you were at 8, because you were right: The world is filled with wonder and magic, and you have a big role to play in it.”
Chappaqua will honor the magic of Osborne with treehouses and crafts throughout the town. A recent event at the Chappaqua library invited kids to create their own “magic treehouse” and the results were incredible! More events and tributes will take place leading up to the festival day.
Many other fan favorites, including Victoria Kann (Pinkalicious), Alyssa Capucilli and Pat Schories (Biscuit), Nick Bruel (Bad Kitty) and local authors including Barbara Dee, Matt and Mara Van Fleet, Hudson Warm, Jean Van Leeuwen, and Sujean Rim will return.
The Festival Grows Up
When it began in 2013, the CCBF was geared to young readers. The festival has grown, not just in numbers but in content. The day now includes many Young Adult authors and titles, as well as graphic novels and more of interest to older readers.
This year, in light of recent book bans, the festival will showcase banned books by CCBF authors in a thought-provoking special booth.
“It is our mission to represent ALL voices,” said Greenberg. “Books teach us everything – empathy, worldview, how to live in our own heads. They entertain but more important, they can transport us. What a gift! And we believe that no one should limit that access. I am proud that we are fighting back through the festival, and every day, to get books into as many kids’ hands as possible.”
A Community Comes Together
It is no easy task to make the CCBF happen, year after year. The festival is a grassroots, all-volunteer effort, with community members working together so that children and teens can be inspired by their favorite authors. The hard working CCBF Board invites authors, works to promote the festival, and handles all logistics for an event of this size and scale from ordering books to planning all events and setup.
Town officials and New Castle Police, Sanitation and more help make the day run smoothly. Authors travel from near and far to meet their biggest fans, and community sponsors, including businesses, restaurants, stores and more, provide critical funding. And then there are scores of volunteers – hundreds in fact – from individuals to families to groups who work tirelessly throughout the day, giving their time to make the event shine.
Though this story is certainly happy, this year, of course, is not “The End” for the CCBF – and it will be exciting to see the next chapter!
FESTIVAL POSTER IMAGES COURTESY OF CCBF
CCBF PHOTOS BY GRACE BENNETT/INSIDE PRESS
By the Numbers
Authors in 2013: 45
Authors in 2023: 180
Steps Executive Director Dawn Greenberg takes on Festival Day: 30,000
Author traveling the farthest: Chris Baron / California
Visitors expected: 10,000
Books sold: Over 50,000
Authors who attended all 10 festivals: 30
10th ANNUAL CHAPPAQUA CHILDREN’S BOOK FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 30, 2023
10AM – 4PM
Chappaqua Train Station
*rain or shine*
Calling All Volunteers!
The CCBF is run by volunteers – from our community and beyond! We are looking for volunteers of all ages and availability to help make this the best festival yet! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!