Excited to a Be a Part of the First Ever VA Children’s Book Festival!

Virginia Children’s Book Festival Announces Top Authors For Inaugural Event


Farmville, Va.—The centerpiece of the inaugural Virginia Children’s Book Festival will be a remote appearance by beloved and celebrated young adult author Judy Blume.


The complete cast of authors includes New York Times bestselling authors, a Caldecott honoree, a National Book Award winner, a PEN/Faulkner Award winner and many other influential writers and illustrators. While Blume will appear remotely, her son, Lawrence, will be present at the festival to lead a question-and-answer session.


“We are excited by the lineup we are able to bring to the inaugural event,” said VCBF director Juanita Giles. “Every one of these authors has inspired children around the world, and Virginia will get a heavy dose of that inspiration over these two days. Every study shows that children who develop of a love of reading are vastly better prepared for life, and this festival can be the spark that opens up a child’s mind to the possibilities inside books.”


The inaugural lineup includes:

  • Blume, appearing remotely, a bestselling author and winner of more than 90 awards, novels have been translated into dozens of languages
  • Mac Barnett, New York Times bestselling author and Caldecott honoree for his book Extra Yarn
  • Timothy Basil Ering, illustrator of Newberry Award winning book The Tale of Despereaux
  • Benjamin Alire Saenze, PEN/Faulker Award for Fiction winner, named one of the 50 most inspiring authors in the world
  • John Bemelmans Marciano, grandson of the creator of the Madeline books
  • Meg Medina, Exra Jack Keats New Writer award winner and American Library Association Pura Belpre award winner
  • Leonard Marcus, children’s book historian and Maurice Sendak biographer
  • Kathryn Erskine, National Book Award winner for her young adult novel Mockingbird
  • Steve Watkins, Golden Kite Award for Young Adult Fiction winner
  • Teri Kanefield, civil rights author whose book The Girl from the Tar Paper School, is set in Farmville
  • Gigi Amateau, author whose books have been selected as New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and Best Children’s Book of the Year by Bank Street College
  • Kat Spears, bestselling author
  • Lamar Giles, creator of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign


The Virginia Children’s Book Festival, set for Oct. 10-11 on the campus of Longwood University in Farmville, Va., brings together both children and well-known authors to foster a love of reading in the Commonwealth. The days will be packed with readings, writing and illustration workshops, question-and-answer sessions and lively presentations from some of the nation’s top-selling authors.


“Longwood University is a perfect place to have this festival,” said Giles. “Its central location at the intersection of Charlottesville, Roanoke and Richmond gives children of many diverse backgrounds the opportunity to join together and let their imaginations loose. It doesn’t matter if you live in the city of Richmond, the suburbs of Charlottesville or the wilds of Franklin County, the VCBF has an author who will connect with you.”


Suzy Szasz Palmer, dean of the Greenwood Library at Longwood University, said the festival will have a far-reaching impact. “The VCBF will be such a positive impact on the lives of so many of Virginia’s children and families: it will be a tremendous event and we look forward to a very successful future.”

Additional festival details can be found at http://www.vachildrensbookfestival.com