August 30, 2011 Literacy and Fun to Delight Patrons at the Two-Day National Book Festival

Press Contact: Jennifer Gavin, (202) 707-1940

An abundance of fun, fascinating activities will be offered by the organizations sponsoring the Library of Congress National Book Festival, the first to offer two days of authors, poets and illustrators. Visitors to the festival – adults and children alike – will find many and varied activities to stimulate their imaginations and creativity.

The National Book Festival will take place on the National Mall between 9th and 14th Streets on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 25 from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event, free and open to the public, will take place rain or shine.

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, the first lady, are the honorary chairs of the event. The Distinguished Benefactor of the event is David M. Rubenstein, who co-chairs the National Book Festival Board with Dr. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress.

Target, the Distinguished Corporate Benefactor, will host more than 20 children’s authors and family-friendly musical acts at the “Family Storytelling Stage,” a large pavilion in the children’s area of the festival grounds. The Family Storytelling Stage is dedicated to this year’s National Book Festival theme: “Celebrate the Joys of Reading Aloud.” Education is at the heart of Target’s philanthropy and the company is on track to reach a total of $1 billion in giving to education by the end of 2015. Target’s sponsorship of the 2011 National Book Festival is one way the company inspires parents and caring adults to nurture a child’s love of reading.

Others sponsors offering fun activities for kids of all ages include The Washington Post, Wells Fargo, AT&T, Penguin Group (USA), Scholastic and, all situated within the Let’s Read America pavilion.

Charter sponsor The Washington Post will have a KidsPost table where kids can pick up the final game piece of the first National Book Festival-KidsPost scavenger hunt. After collecting all three game pieces, kids can claim their prize at one of the information booths at the festival. Charter sponsor Wells Fargo will offer festival-goers a chance to see a stagecoach up close, listen to storytelling, participate in exciting activities and receive free books, coloring books and other items. AT&T invites visitors to take the pledge to keep reading and pose for a picture with Dipper, the AT&T Cares star.

Also within the Let’s Read American pavilion, Penguin will give festival-goers a chance to have their photo taken with its mascot, the Penguin, and invite children to enjoy making creative bookmarks and to try out Pearson Foundation’s online reading site “We Give Books,” which lets kids put books in the hands of other children who don’t have them. Further, families can meet’s animated mascot, Hilda the spokesgoat, and guest authors who will talk to children and adults about what makes reading aloud with family members so special. Kids can also play Hilda’s special reading game for prizes throughout the day. In the Scholastic corner, kids can create masterpieces out of colorful materials and glue using the popular Build-A-Book kit. Just a short walk away, children are invited to ‘‘hop on the bus’’ and meet Ms. Frizzle herself, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of a Scholastic classic, The Magic School Bus.

In the PBS KIDS pavilion, parents and kids will explore the world of literacy featuring live sing-alongs with SteveSongs, story readings and skill-building activities. Young readers can pose for pictures with their favorite PBS KIDS characters, including the cast of SUPER WHY!, Martha from Martha Speaks, The Cat in the Hat from The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Wells Fargo will also present a history display, adjacent to the History & Biography pavilion, showcasing its link with the six-horse Concord Coach that once sped across the vast plains and high mountains of our nation. Historians will quiz visitors on stagecoach history and play games for prizes.

Returning to the festival is the Digital Bookmobile, a high-tech exhibit powered by OverDrive, which supports reading and literacy with eBooks from libraries. Equipped with Internet-connected PCs, sound systems and a “Gadget Gallery,” the Digital Bookmobile enables visitors to browse a public library’s website, sample popular eBook, audiobook, music and video titles, learn how to download, and try out supported mobile devices.

The Library’s Gateway to Knowledge traveling exhibition sponsored by the Rapoport family will complete its one-year journey to 90 rural communities in 34 states from Texas to Maine, concluding its tour where it began, at the National Book Festival. Learn more about the Library and its treasures and ask the docent duo about the free educational resources available on the Library of Congress website.

Festival-goers can visit representatives of their home states and learn about each state’s literary heritage on Saturday in the Pavilion of the States. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the major sponsor of the pavilion, with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The IMLS/NEH support allows an affiliate of the Library’s Center for the Book in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands to come to the festival. Guests are invited to collect state stickers and stamps and “Discover Great Places Through Reading.”

The National Endowment for the Arts sponsors the Poetry & Prose pavilion which will again feature performances by award-winning students of Poetry Out Loud, an NEA and Poetry Foundation program that encourages high school students to memorize and “perform” great poems.

The 2011 National Book Festival poster, by renowned illustrator Jon J Muth, can be downloaded from the festival website at Copies of the poster will also be distributed free to festival-goers. CSPAN2 will provide free book bags for visitors to the festival.

Authors and illustrators scheduled to participate in the National Book Festival will make their presentations in the Children, Family Storytelling Stage, Teens, Fiction & Mystery, Poetry & Prose, History & Biography and Contemporary Life pavilions. On Sunday there will be three new pavilions: State Poets Laureate, “The Cutting Edge,” and Graphic Novels. Author lineups in the pavilions include:

  • Children: Mary Brigid Barrett, Harry Bliss, Calef Brown, Susan Cooper, Carmen Agra Deedy and John McCutcheon, Tomie dePaola, Jack Gantos, Joe Hayes, William Joyce, John Bemelmans Marciano, Patricia McKissack, Dorie McCullough Lawson, Sam McBratney, Julianne Moore, Jon J Muth and Chris Van Dusen;
  • Family Storytelling Stage: Wally Amos, Tom Angleberger, Mac Barnett, Michael Buckley, Angela Farris, Daniel Kirk, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Josh Lewis, Tom Lichtenheld, Loren Long, Cedelia Marley, Julianne Moore, Lauren Myracle, Jane O’Connor, Matthew Reinhart, John Rocco, Mark Pett and Gary Rubenstein, Ellen Sabin, Bob Shea and Lisa Yee;
  • Teens: Cassandra Clare, Susan Cooper, Sarah Dessen, Jack Gantos, Gordon Korman, Uma Krishaswami, Patricia McKissack, Shelia P. Moses, Kadir Nelson, Katherine Paterson, Gary D. Schmidt, Brian Selznick and Rita Williams-Garcia;
  • Fiction & Mystery: Sherman Alexie, Russell Banks, Louis Bayard, Steve Berry, Jennifer Egan, Margaret George, Laura Lippman, Gregory Maguire, Terry McMillan, Toni Morrison, Sara Paretsky, Esmeralda Santiago and Neal Stephenson;
  • Poetry & Prose: Michael Cunningham, Rita Dove, Dave Eggers, Claudia Emerson, Mary Gordon, Kimiko Hahn, Terrance Hayes, Garrison Keillor, Yusef Komunyakaa, Linda Pastan, John Milliken Thompson, Poetry Out Loud and Jonathan Yardley;
  • History & Biography: Eric Foner, Adam Goodheart, Maya Jasanoff, David McCullough, Justin Martin, Candice Millard, Kristie Miller, Edmund Morris, Carla L. Peterson, Eugene Robinson, James Swanson, Douglas Waller and Isabel Wilkerson;
  • Contemporary Life: Joel Achenbach, Amy Chua, Bob Edwards, Leon Fleisher (with Anne Midgette), Joshua Foer, Jessica Harris, Marc Kaufman, Hoda Kotb, Jim Lehrer, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Sylvia Nasar and Sarah Vowell;
  • State Poets Laureate (Sunday only): Dolores Kendrick (District of Columbia), Kelly Cherry (Virginia), Stanley Plumly (Maryland), Wes McNair (Maine) and Carol Muske-Dukes (California);
  • Graphic Novels: Kazu Kibuishi, Rachel Renee Russell, Richard Thompson, Allen Say and Eric Wight;
  • “The Cutting Edge”: Eric Dezenhall, Eric Jerome Dickey, Kia DuPree, Amanda Houck and Kimberla Lawson Roby

Barnes & Noble is the official bookseller for the 2011 National Book Festival. Festival-goers can visit the book sales pavilion conveniently located on the festival grounds to purchase selected books by 2011 National Book Festival authors, 52 great reads chosen by State Centers for the Book, and selections from the Library of Congress. Festival attendees can pick up books by featured authors before going to the book-signing areas.

The 2011 National Book Festival is made possible through the generous support of National Book Festival Board Co-Chair David M. Rubenstein; Distinguished Corporate Benefactor Target; Charter Sponsors The Washington Post and Wells Fargo; Patrons AT&T, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The James Madison Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS KIDS; Contributors Barnes & Noble, Digital Bookmobile powered by OverDrive, Penguin Group (USA), and Scholastic Inc.; and—in the Friends category--the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction; The Hay-Adams and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Thanks also to C-SPAN2’s Book TV and The Junior League of Washington.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may be accessed through the Library’s website,, and via interactive exhibitions on


PR 11-160
ISSN 0731-3527