By Mollie Roth
The upcoming Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival will be an opportunity for young readers and their parents to connect with the authors who make reading hour and bedtime come alive. Local librarians, educators, and volunteers have planned a fantastic event where children can come together with the authors that spark their imaginations.
Headlining the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival is Mary Pope Osborne, author of the beloved Magic Tree House series. Young and old, fans of Jack and Annie’s time-traveling and global-trotting adventures will have the opportunity to speak to Osborne about all their favorite stories, as well as learn about her newest books. Meeting authors like Osborne is an opportunity for children to form personal connections to books new or beloved. Chappaqua Librarian Theresa Bueti looks forward to seeing young people engage with books in a brand new way. When young patrons attend the festival, “they realize that people write books,” says Bueti, turning the solitary act of reading “real, vivid, and approachable.”
The students at Douglas Grafflin Elementary School are particularly excited to meet author Josh Funk. His book My Pet Feet won the 2023 Official March Book Madness Picture Book Bracket after being voted in by the Grafflin community and their nation-wide peers. Kaitlyn Lester, a library media specialist at Grafflin Elementary, says, “students are excited to meet [Funk], tell him how much we love My Pet Feet, and explore his other books that we are sure to love!”
Keep an eye out for Lauren Tarshis, author of the New York Times Bestselling series I Survived. Roaring Brook Elementary School’s Suzanne Stolzenberg and Andrea Schaber from West Orchard Elementary School say their students are very excited to meet the author of this disaster themed collection about children who survive a thrilling historical event. Coming to the festival shows children that “if they have something they want to say, they could write a book about it,” claims Bueti. In the aftermath of a global pandemic, perhaps Tarshis’ work will prove inspiration to young readers.
Many illustrators will also be in attendance at this year’s book festival. Head of children’s services at Chappaqua Library Robbin Friedman is particularly excited to meet Ruth Chan. “Her animal faces are so goofy, adorable, and expressive,” notes Friedman. “Everything about [Chan’s work] is weird and wonderful and exactly the right way.” Chan has a long career as an illustrator, as well as being the sole creator of books like Thank You, Neighbor! For children interested in creating and expressing themselves through art, meeting the illustrators at the festival should be a galvanizing and memorable experience.
There are seven scheduled readings throughout the festival day, where attendees can hear stories read by their authors. This is a wonderful chance for children to connect with their peers and the adults in their lives as they all encounter the same story at the same time. Author Raj Halder will be reading This Book is Banned, a picture book grappling with censorship in a delightfully silly and meaningful manner. However, the experience of being told a story is not limited to our yearly festival. Through the Chappaqua Library, anyone can rent the audiobooks of many books found at the festival. Many children’s authors read their books themselves, so children can have a little slice of the festival all year round.
The books mentioned are available for purchase at the festival, along with many other fascinating reads. However, finding new books does not have to be a once-a-year event. Stoever encourages “every child [to] find the librarians from the children’s room at the Chappaqua Public Library and speak to them.” The librarians are thrilled for this opportunity to further engage with the community, and recommend the book clubs and reading groups for anyone motivated by this year’s festival.
The Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival will take place on Saturday, September 30, 2023 at the Chappaqua Train Station, from 10am to 4pm. Along with the author and illustrators, there will be food trucks and a family fun zone. Admission is free, and livestream coverage of the event. For regular updates, visit www.ccbfestival.org
Inside Press Story Presented in Partnership with the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival.