The inaugural Columbus Children's Book Festival will culminate years of dreaming and planning when the event debuts with a keynote address Friday night and the main event Saturday at the Columbus Public Library. Due to the threat of rain, activities will be held inside the library.
Famous authors and illustrators will be in town for free presentations and autograph sessions. The festival also will include entertainment, jump houses, books for sale, food and beverages.
Jerry Pinkney, a Caldecott Medal winner and illustrator of more than 100 books, will present the keynote address at 7 p.m. Friday in the Columbus Public Library auditorium. Pinkney is expected to speak about his life's work in the field of children's literature and how he sees the industry changing.
The festival's opening ceremony, featuring Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and the Hardaway High School Marching Band, will be start at 10 a.m. Saturday. Author presentations will run from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m.
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Among the featured authors and illustrators joining Pinkney at the festival Saturday will be:
R.L. Stine, creator of the "Goosebumps" series.
Jane O'Connor, creator of the "Fancy Nancy" series.
Shana Corey, editor and author of "Here Come The Girl Scouts!" and the "First Graders from Mars" series.
David Catrow, illustrator of more than 25 books, such as "I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!" and an editorial cartoonist syndicated in more than 900 newspapers.
Jonah Winter, author of New York Times children's bestsellers "Diego" and "Here Comes the Garbage Barge," along with his latest non-fiction work, "You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!"
Linda Davick, illustrator of the popular counting books "10 Trick-or-Treaters," "10 Trim-the-Tree'ers" and "10 Valentine Friends." She also is the designer for the Columbus Children's Book Festival logo.
Entertainers at the festival will include magician Arthur Atsma, clown and juggler Lew-E, mad scientist Doc Atoms, street performances by Gateway Performance Productions and the Springer Opera House Stilt Walkers, plus costumed characters brought to life by the Family Theatre.
Sponsors for the festival include: Mildred Miller Fort Foundation Inc., Muscogee County Library Foundation, Aflac, The Children's Hospital at The Medical Center, Muscogee County Friends of Libraries, Star Family Foundation, Ledger-Enquirer, WRBL News 3, Sunny 100, CBS Outdoor Media, Hughston Clinic and Publix.