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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Celebrate with books

August 29, 2014

It's earlier than it's been in the past and the location has changed from the National Mall to the Washington Convention Center but once again, it's back. If past is prelude, then it will be just as much fun (with the benefit of indoor plumbing and air-conditioning against the dreaded DC humidity).

I'm talking about the National Book Festival, of course.

2014 National Book Festival

You can hear two-time Newbery Medalist and current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Kate diCamillo. She’s sure to talk about Flora and Ulysses (the 2014 Newbery). Maybe she'll also introduce her newest hero, Leroy and his newfound sidekick, Maybelline, a horse with very specific taste and certain demands. Readers who like to chortle are sure to enjoy Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive (Candlewick) with illustrated by Chris Van Dusen that echo and expands the story's understated humor. And since this is Volume One, diCamillo might hint at the next adventures of contemporary cowboy Leroy and his faithful steed!

Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King award winning illustrator, Bryan Collier, is sure to engage when he talks about how he creates his art, maybe even how it brings historical events into focus in My Country, 'Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights written by Claire Rudolf Murphy (Holt).

Dav Pilkey will certainly introduce the adventures of his comic heroes Ricky Ricotta and the ever irreverent Captain Underpants.

One of my favorite authors (who is also a cartoonist), Jules Feiffer, has created another picture book that captures a child's fantasy. Mandy dances gleefully in front of her cat, Rupert. Only when Mandy sleeps does the feline display her enormous dancing talent in Rupert Can Dance (Farrar).

There are lots more authors appearing at the Book Festival, too many to list. Even if you’re not in DC for the festival or have a time conflict and miss your favorite author or illustrator, the Library of Congress will record and stream the presentations soon after.

What a neat way to celebrate summer and welcome a new season!

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox