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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.

A national celebration

September 21, 2012

Tents have been growing on the National Mall for a few weeks now. Authors have been visiting local schools and bookstores this week, too. There's excitement building around D.C. — and it has absolutely nothing to do with elections. In fact, this is something that everyone can enjoy!

It's time again for the National Book Festival!

There's nothing quite like meeting an author or illustrator to motivate children to read. The new-to-first grade daughter of a friend of mine went to a program with her class where she met the creators of Chloe and the Lion (Hyperion). She was thrilled to learn about how the team worked, enjoyed hearing them read their book (filled with kid-humor) and now feels that she, too, can make books.

There are lots of well-known, highly acclaimed, award winning authors and illustrators for children and young adults to meet this weekend perhaps fueling their creative juices.

Some very young writers will be on hand, too. Their essays about books they read during the summer will be honored at a special program.

Fred Bowen, author and Kids Post columnist, will be on hand to present the awards. Fred's books and columns are sports-oriented but appeal to both boys and girls. In fact, an adult student of children's literature, an admitted not-interested-in-sports kind of reader, found herself totally enmeshed in Quarterback Season (Peachtree).

Just goes to show that readers are writers and writers are readers — and motivation comes from both.


The National Book Festival was awesome! If you missed it, or could only make one day like myself, you can see the author talks by going to, and clicking on "Book Festival Video Webcasts." Right now they have the 2011 videos up, but this years will be posted. Also, if you enter the search for previous years you will be able to see those as well.

There is nothing like visiting the National Mall during the annual Book Festival and being surrounded by thousands of adults and children who have come for one reason--they love books! It is the best feeling in the world. If you plan a family trip to Washington, DC, I highly recommend scheduling it to coincide with the National Book Festival. You will not be disappointed!

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"Books are a uniquely portable magic." —

Stephen King