September 24, 2003 2003 National Book Festival Offers Fun Activities for Children of All Ages

Contact: Library of Congress contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022 | Fleishman-Hillard: Danny Maiello (202) 828-8899

With storybook characters and basketball stars, a big red chair and a magic school bus, the 2003 National Book Festival will offer a wide range of entertaining activities for children and young adults. Sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by Laura Bush, the festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 4, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (rain or shine). This widely anticipated national event is free and open to the public.

“As America’s library, the Library of Congress is pleased to provide this opportunity for all Americans to celebrate books and the joy of reading,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “We hope this annual event will play a role in developing a nation of readers who use and appreciate the rich resources of our country’s libraries.”

The more than 80 award-winning authors, illustrators, poets, musicians and storytellers who will participate in the book festival are among the most beloved figures in children’s literature. They include Julie Andrews, children’s book author and star of “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music”; Stan and Jan Berenstain, creators of the Berenstain Bears book series; “Goosebumps” author R.L. Stine; and Avi, winner of the 2003 Newbery Award for “Crispin: The Cross of Lead.” Clifford the Big Red Dog, Arthur and a host of other favorite picture book and cartoon characters and their creators will be on hand to greet festival-goers.

Within the 13 pavilions that comprise the festival, children can meet their favorite authors and illustrators, have their books signed, listen to multicultural stories being told in song and verse, and much more.

Basketball Stars
Join basketball Hall of Fame center Bob Lanier (author of the “L’il D” children’s book series) and other current and former NBA/WNBA stars who will read to children of all ages in the

“Teens & Children pavilion at 10:45-11:10 a.m. and again at 12:45-1:10 p.m. The event is part of the National Basketball Association’s Read to Achieve program.

Favorite Characters
Shake hands with your favorite storybook and television cartoon characters. Sponsored by PBS, beloved characters such as the Berenstain Bear family, Arthur, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Ord of “Dragon Tales” and many others will be on the festival grounds throughout the day. PBS will also reprise its popular make-a-book workshop in the Let’s Read America II pavilion.

Press Conference for Young Reporters
Young reporters (elementary to high school) will have the opportunity to interview Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, author and actress Julie Andrews and an NBA/WNBA player about the role that reading and books have played in their life. The press conference will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the Media Tent.

The Magic School Bus
Hop aboard Scholastic Inc.’s Magic School Bus for a wild and educational ride. Parked outside the “Let’s Read America II” pavilion, the bus—made popular through the children’s book series and television cartoon show—will offer hands-on exhibits about ocean life, the weather, the solar system, rocks, volcanoes, insects and the human body.

Big Red Chair
Curl up with a good book in the comfortable big red chair, a popular feature of the annual National Book Festival. Sponsored by Target, the oversized chair will be in the “Let’s Read America II” pavilion.

Library Wall
Vote for your favorite festival author by writing his or her name on a sticker in the shape of a book spine and posting it on a 7-foot-tall library wall (provided by festival sponsor AT&T in the “Let’s Read America II” pavilion. Voters will receive a complimentary tote bag. Votes will be tabulated at the end of the festival.

Bedtime Story
Be among the first 250 children to receive a free copy of the ninth edition of the beloved bedtime storybook “Say Good Night to Illiteracy” (HalfPrice Books/ at 2 p.m. in the “Let’s Read America II” pavilion.” This delightful book contains 20 original stories by amateur authors, paired with specially commissioned illustrations. BW, the Half Price Books bookworm, will be on hand to greet visitors.

Latin Rhythms
Take a journey through Latin American culture, history and oral traditions through song and dance. Children’s author and recording artist Jose Luis Orozco will present his Latin rhythms during a 30-minute show at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in the “Let’s Read America II” pavilion.

The National Book Festival is made possible with generous support from Charter Sponsors AT&T and the Washington Post; Patrons AARP, the James Madison Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kinder Foundation, Target, and WorkPlace USA as well as a host of other contributors.

For more information about the 2003 National Book Festival, call toll-free

(888) 714-4696 or visit the festival’s Web site at


PR 03-160
ISSN 0731-3527